Widad Hameed – retired high school teacher - over 70 - proud grandmother of seven:
(Are the Iraqi security forces capable of keeping the peace - or not?) "No, I do not believe that the Iraqi security forces are capable of handling the security. Over and over again they have proved that they are incapable, and violence is on the rise. I believe they lack the knowledge, the training and the will to stand up to the challenge.
(Will violence escalate when the USF pull out??) (Long pause..) "I am torn between two considerations answering this question. Firstly – I am strongly opposed to the presence of foreign troops on Iraqi sovereign soil – and therefore hope to see them leave as quickly as possible – This is on principle. But on the other hand, I am afraid of what might happen after they leave. I have no great faith in the abilities of the ISF and feel that the chaos in our political situation will be reflected upon the security scene as the politicians slug it out and violence will rise and the people will pay. As for the Americans – The chaos we are witnessing is a result of their failed plans, and I don't think there is anything they could do at this late date to make a difference. Had they wanted to achieve better results, they should have been more serious about training and arming the ISF – commanders and ranks alike – Seven years should have been long enough".
(Should the USF interfere if violence rose to unbearable levels?) "Though I hate to say it – But, yes, they should interfere. They have a moral duty to the citizens of Iraq. It was because of their intervention (the occupation) that security has disappeared from our lives. The chaos now present in Iraq is their doing – and they must protect us from the dangers that they brought with them when they invaded Iraq. They must protect us from al Qaida, the militias and the political violence. It is their moral duty.
(What more should they have done before the next phase??) "Do you know that a very large number of soldiers manning checkpoints have had no training at all? Do you know that? I have asked many of them as we pass checkpoints. One of them told me that they took his name and address, gave him a uniform and machine-gun and told him to report for duty. Is this what the Americans promised? Never mind promised – Is this what they say they have achieved? No – they say they have trained and armed a security force that is capable of handling the security – and they lie! Either they don't know how to do this task – or they had no intention of producing a well trained and equipped force. It is either one or the other, because we don't have a well trained, well armed security force. I am not a professional – but I think, in seven years, they could have done a better job were they so minded. And now they are pulling out, leaving us to live in the chaos they created".