Wednesday, February 25, 2004


Can they learn to police themselves?
The cadre of officer candidates was selected, officials say, to represent Iraq's explosive mix of Arabs and Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites. Predictably, things have not always gone smoothly.

Two officers were sent home after a brawl that began when one, a member of the Sunni minority that rose to privilege under Mr. Hussein, sang an anthem glorifying the ousted dictator. A Kurdish officer hit him with a duffel bag.

"The Iraqi officers are forbidden to speak of the past," said Brig. Gen. Achmed D. Farajat, the Jordanian who is director of the training program here. "We tell them, `You are not a Sunni, a Shia or a Kurd. You must forget what happened to your father or your cousin in the past. You are leaders of a new Iraqi Army now.' "

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