Police Academy 8: Iraqi Edition

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Yikes. AMERICAblog finds a startling comparison: it takes seven days of training to become a Starbucks barista. It takes just eight to become an Iraqi cop.

Well, not exactly a cop. A backup cop, part of an Anbar “provincial security force.” You see, there aren’t enough police academies in which to train police recruits properly, so the thousands of extra men who seek the uniform head out to dusty back lots with U.S. Marines and run obstacles courses for little over a week. When they’re done, they keep the uniform and gun, do security operations occasionally, and wait until they get called for real police training.

Now this may come as a surprise, but this rigorous process isn’t exactly inspiring confidence or creating a trustworthy police force. The governor of the province in which this is occurring says the police are unreliable and operate with their own agendas. Prime Minister Maliki is complaining that the Americans are artificially inflating the Iraqi police corps. Even American forces can see we’re just arming random people, and possibly creating bigger problems than the ones we hope to solve.

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Democracy and journalism are in crisis mode—and have been for a while. So how about doing something different?

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And this is the first time we’re asking you to support the new organization we’re building. In “Less Dreading, More Doing,” we lay it all out for you: why we merged, how we’re stronger together, why we’re optimistic about the work ahead, and why we need to raise the First $500,000 in online donations by June 22.

It won’t be easy. There are many exciting new things to share with you, but spoiler: Wiggle room in our budget is not among them. We can’t afford missing these goals. We need this to be a big one. Falling flat would be utterly devastating right now.

A First $500,000 donation of $500, $50, or $5 would mean the world to us—a signal that you believe in the power of independent investigative reporting like we do. And whether you can pitch in or not, we have a free Strengthen Journalism sticker for you so you can help us spread the word and make the most of this huge moment.

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