Iraq’s army has taken strides toward independence—but it still needs the help of American forces, say Iraqi troops and officers interviewed by the New York Times. “We are too many years behind other countries. We need the coalition forces until 2015,” said one officer. But American officers are increasingly pushing Iraqi troops to go it alone.
“The time for the US forces to hold your hand is over,” a US captain recalled saying to an Iraqi officer. Some Iraqis believe they need better equipment, but many Americans argue that poor coordination is the problem. High-ranking officers used to years of following orders under Saddam Hussein’s tough system have trouble taking matters into their own hands, say observers.