Josh Rushing and cameraman George Azar with
members of the Iraqi Second Infantry Division and
US soldiers from the Boondock Saints
The Bush administration often repeats the phrase "When they stand up, we'll stand down".

And in an effort to speed up the process, the US army is training teams of soldiers to embed into the very Iraqi army they once defeated.

Al Jazeera's Josh Rushing follows one such team through training at Fort Riley, Kansas - where the soldiers are supposed to learn culture and language skills to help them "lead from behind" in their new assignment - to Al Hatra, Iraq to find out how training compares to reality.

Iraq: The Way Out? asks:

How can an army - constitutionally forbidden to operate domestically, such as the US army - train another army to fight, not against foreign enemies in distant lands, but against fellow countrymen, co-religionists, and, even, tribesmen in their own homeland?

An Iraqi child soldier who enlisted at 14. His ID
card still shows his baby picture
Can the Iraqi army be transformed into a non-sectarian, professional fighting force devoted to the nation as a whole and not just to a region or village or sect?

Does this method of embedding a few American soldiers - a transition team - into an Iraqi battalion make sense?

In Iraq, Josh Rushing finds the American soldiers not exactly embedded with the Iraqis who live in shocking conditions compared to their trainers; an Iraqi army with strong regional and tribal ties; and even child soldiers hardly taller than the AK-47s they are employed to wield.

He also uncovers a vantage point of war from within the Iraqi army's own ranks, far from the din of the daily slaughter in Baghdad, that may very well confound today's conventional view of Iraq in flames.

This film aired Friday 01 June 2007.

Watch Part One here:

Watch Part Two here:


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