LDT: Are Iraqi forces up to the task?

Click photo to play
Length: 2:48

LOU DOBBS: Iraqi insurgents have killed eight more of our troops. Two U.S. soldiers were killed in northwest Baghdad by a roadside bomb. One soldier and three Marines were killed west of the Iraqi capital in al Anbar Province. Two of our soldiers died in Samarra, where an improvised explosive device exploded.

2,859 of our troops have now been killed. More insurgent bombs and bullets killing scores of Iraqis today. Twelve killed by a car bomb near a gasoline station in Baghdad. The bullet-riddled bodies of 55 people were found in neighborhoods all across the city.

General Abizaid's plan for Iraq is to speed up the hand-over from American to Iraqi troops. But the question is, are Iraqi forces up to the task?

Michael Ware reports from Baghdad with some answers to that question and a reminder of what past experience with the Iraqis has taught us -- Michael.

MICHAEL WARE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the answer to both questions, whether the security forces are up to the task and what experience has actually taught us here on the ground, is the same. It's truly a mixed bag.

I've personally been in combat with some Iraqi units, particularly from the army, that can definitely hold their own. They've had a lot of time with American forces. But most of these units are Kurdish, from the Kurdish Peshmerga militia.

But by and large, within the Iraqi security apparatus it's a very different story. As the national security adviser said of the Iraqi cabinet, the same could be said of much of the security forces. They answer more to their political and sectarian bosses than they do to their military commanders.

We see entire national police brigades pulled off line under the suspicion of corruption and involvement in sectarian death squads. We've seen Iraqi units on the battlefield that have not shown the mettle that is required of them to stand in the face of al Qaeda onslaughts. We've seen other units where more men are on vacation than are actually on duty, where men are on the rosters who don't actually exist, and where units which have been asked to be deployed to other troublesome parts of the country have refused to leave their home bases.

So the Iraqi security forces that General Abizaid and other American commanders and war planners are placing their faith in certainly do not seem to be apparent here on the ground -- Lou.

DOBBS: Michael Ware reporting from Baghdad.