"A sobering read from another lost front." - Kirkus Reviews
"What happens when you drop an experienced American cop in the middle of a war zone — with very little preparation or support — to train Iraqi police? Under the Gun in Iraq
tells you in high fidelity detail about this vital aspect of U.S. efforts to build a nation."
BRYAN VILA, Ph.D.“One moment, I was standing there with my buddies unloading a truck. The next moment, my ears picked up the distinct ‘pssst’ sound homing in on us…. “Hit the ground!” someone yelled. “Right behind the first mortar was a second, then a third, then a fourth. They each slammed into the earth with an enormous impact. The ground shook. The eight-story building above us shuddered, and we all covered our heads when the windows blew out. “As I lay there with glass and debris raining down on me, all I could think was, ‘Holy shit, what did I get myself into?’”
Professor at Washington State University, former Marine,
Los Angeles police officer and cross-cultural police trainer
President Bush is fond of saying, “When Iraq can stand up, America can stand down.” A large part of “standing up” is having a well-trained police force in place to maintain peace and order.
Why is it taking so long to put a solid police force together? How prepared are the Iraqis to carry out their duties? What pitfalls are Americans facing as they try to get Iraqi police up to speed?
In this book Robert Cole—a retired California police officer hired by DynCorp as an international police trainer—presents a vivid account of the challenges of training the Iraqis to handle their own security. In blunt, everyday language, Cole gives the reader an unusually candid and often hair-raising glimpse into reality at the street level as he and his colleagues navigate the dangerous sectors of Baghdad, Tikrit, and Kirkuk, dodging explosions and bullets aimed at them by young, Iraqi, wannabe heroes.
Cole describes situations not shown in the media that fly in the face of the party line from Washington: men in their sixties being hired as policemen, Iraqi detectives who extract information from people by ramming toothpicks under their fingernails, officers suggesting that the best way to subdue potential suspects who flee is by shooting them in the back, police hunkered down in their barracks who refuse to patrol neighborhoods for fear of violence, an enemy that easily blends into a population armed to the teeth with loaded AK-47s, and the routine frustrations of cultural and language barriers to communication.
In sharp contrast to the usual bromides about staying the course, Under the Gun in Iraq
paints a brutally realistic picture of the bleak, perilous road ahead. This is essential reading for all Americans seeking an honest understanding of the dire situation in Iraq.
Book Binding: Hardcover
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Robert Cole was a police officer for over 25 years. He retired from the force in East Palo Alto, California, where he was one of the commanders that helped bring the city back from its status as the murder capital of the United States. Cole recently finished almost two years in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Haiti. He served a one-year tour of duty working for DynCorp as an international police trainer in Iraq and will be redeployed for another in 2008.
Jan Hogan (Las Vegas, NV) is an award-winning staff writer for Stephens Media who writes for View newspapers and has published numerous articles in AAA’s Motorland (now Via), Law & Order, and other publications. She is currently writing her next book on dyslexia.