Reason Number 10,001 For Withdrawing U.S. Forces from Iraq

From Holden:

Iraqi security forces really do not want to be associated with U.S. forces.

An Iraqi national guard unit has been disbanded after it refused to attend a military training academy overseen by US advisers, former members of the unit said yesterday.

The soldiers, part of a 90-strong force that calls itself the Defense Force of Rutba, said they feared reprisals from locals if they were seen to have cooperated with the Americans.

”We refused to go because we were afraid that when we came back to Rutba we would be killed,” said Taha Allawi, a former member of the unit. Rutba is in the far west of Iraq, close to the border with Jordan.

”The people here would believe that we were cooperating with US forces and that is a reason for anyone to be killed.”

Oh, and regarding Iraqi sovereignty…

Tain’t no such thing.

Another former soldier in the force, Ahmed Dhahi, said the disagreement began two months ago when he said the US military proposed the idea of them attending a training course.

”They told us we had no right to refuse. They said the duty of soldiers was to obey orders, but we said ‘We are Iraqis, not Americans, we don’t follow orders from Americans,’ ” he said. ”We did not want the locals to think that we were working with the Americans and then threaten us.”

Dhahi said that once it became clear that the unit would not attend, the US military took away their weapons, uniforms, and identification tags, and dismissed the force. Iraqi units have fled the front line when ordered to fight insurgents before, but it was believed to be the first case of soldiers refusing to attend training for fear of reprisals.