After reading this infuriatingly inaccurate column by Simon Jenkins, I felt compelled to write him an email:
"Of 113 paid-up battalions, the Americans regard just one as reliable in a firefight,"Not that I think it will help or anything...
I don't know if you're being deliberately mendacious or are merely ignorant of the truth, but either way this is an unconscionable misstatement of fact and I will be demanding your paper issue a retraction and correction.
The number of battalions regarded as "reliable in a firefight" numbers 117, perhaps 80,000 troops, and 37 are operating independently or taking the lead in operations every day. The number you refer to is the number capable of operations totally independent of coalition forces, with no logistical or combat support (such as air support) whatsoever, not the number "reliable in a firefight."
In the hope you are merely ignorant, allow me to educate you with work from a real journalist:
Level Number of Battalions at Level Definition of Level
1 1 Units are completely independent; Units do not require air, armor, artillery, logistical support (supplies).
2 36 (estimate) Units are capable of independent operations, requires some level of logistical or heavy weapons support.
3 about 80 (estimate) Units are capable conducting combat operations alongside Coalition forces.
4 Undefined Units currently in training, not in combat
Kindly be more careful in the future, and avoid libelling our troops' efforts in training Iraqis to defend their democracy.