AP photo / Capt. Allie Weiskopf Chase, U.S. Army, HO
Two members of a local “CLC” man a checkpoint in Haswah, Iraq, last Oct. 18.
Here’s an interesting idea for dampening insurgent violence in Iraq: Pay the would-be troublemakers to temporarily join America’s side and watch the surge success reports roll in. That’s the tactic the U.S. military has employed with some 70,000 former insurgents, according to this NPR report.
“Petraeus seems to have concluded that it was essential to cut deals with the Sunni insurgents if he was going to succeed in reducing U.S. casualties,” Macgregor says.
The military now calls those “deals” the Concerned Local Citizens program or simply, CLCs.
It’s a somewhat abstract euphemism. The CLC program turns groups of former insurgents, including fighters for al-Qaida in Iraq, into paid, temporary allies of the U.S. military.
McCaffrey just got back from a five-day trip to Iraq where, he says, he “went to a couple of these CLCs, you know, five awkward-looking guys with their own AKs standing at a road junction with two magazines of ammunition—and they’re there as early warning to protect their families in that village. I think that that’s good.”
Creating a New Force
Some 70,000 former insurgents are now being paid $10 a day by the U.S. military. It costs about a quarter billion dollars a year.