The US embassy in Baghdad today denied a New York Times report that Washington may scrap its Iraqi police training program, AFP reports. "The Police Development Program is a vital part of the US-Iraqi relationship and an effective means of standing by our Iraqi friends," an embassy rep said. But the embassy didn't deny that the US was cutting police training staff from 350 to 50 officers, or that $100 million had been spent on upgrading a police college that was subsequently abandoned.
The Times article depicted a costly training program out of touch with life in a war zone, and Iraqi officials bristling over the ongoing US presence in Iraq. “I think that with the departure of the military, the Iraqis decided to say, ‘OK, how large is the American presence here?’" said US ambassador to Iraq James F. Jeffrey. “How large should it be? How does this equate with our sovereignty? In various areas they obviously expressed some concerns.”