July 27, 2009

Kilcullen vs Canadians

David Kilcullen, earlier this month:

We are looking at ten years at least in Afghanistan, and that is the best case scenario and at least half of that will be pretty major combat. This is the commitment needed, and this is what people in America and Britain should be told, and they should be told that there will be a cost involved.

Canadians may not have been told, per se, but they've already made their choice, it seems.

Posted by BruceR at 03:33 PM

ANP: the issue

Josh Foust asks, what's wrong with the ANP?

Tim from FRI answers, so now I don't have to:

The Afghan police are not just ineffective – they are despised by rural people who will take the hard tyranny of the Taliban over being preyed upon by the police. This article puts the blame for Afghanistan’s dysfunctional police force on the Germans but that is BS. The Department of State has spent over 10 BILLION on their cookie cutter law enforcement training program which I have written about before. There is only one way to get the police to perform and that is to live with them, mentor them daily, and make them perform. Mentor teams who live on FOB’s and commute to the job become targets because their routine is fixed and predictable. The civilian contractors who work out of the gigantic regional training centers are essential worthless [sic] inflicting death by PowerPoint on their students. What can they teach an Afghan cop about being an Afghan cop? Afghanistan cops are functioning as a paramilitary organization and are trained, armed and deployed as such. But some, perhaps a great many have retained the thuggish ways of warlord sponsored foot soldiers and that is obviously not too good.

Emphasis is emphatically mine. See also "K" from the Embedded in Afghanistan blog. (His latest assessment of the ANA he's currently mentoring is also worth reading, and entirely consistent with personal experience.)

Posted by BruceR at 12:42 PM

Monday squibs

**I still think it's possible to legitimately object to the arrest of H.L. Gates, irrespective of the fellow's race. People who do anything other than condemn the arresting of someone purely for speech criticizing security officials inside his own home are neither libertarian nor conservative, no matter what they might think they are. Obama had centuries of American and Western tradition behind him when he said the cops acted "stupidly." The lining up of people like Althouse, Steyn, Reynolds, Hanson, etc., to criticize him, rather than the cops in this case, is dismaying, if unsurprising. They really have no idea which way is up, any more. Sullivan has it right.

**I actually think Toronto and its mayor handled the hopefully soon-to-be-ended garbage strike quite well, all in all. I confess I am not particularly opposed to privatized garbage collection any more, though, should that opportunity ever arise.

**Andrew Exum is back and blogging up a storm. This is a worthwhile post. I'm frankly not sure how we can get to his necessary success-condition, that being an Afghan government that is not "weak or illegitimate," so long as we are paying 90% of the government's bills. Anything we do to try to make them more accountable for our funding (for instance, detention-sector reform) will necessarily risk making them look weak. But if we stay hands-off, there is no pressure to improve. And if we pull the funds, they collapse.

If Afghanistan were a country with a potential economic base even remotely commensurate with our ambitions for it, in terms of army size and so on, there might still be an easy way out of this, but I'm not seeing one, yet.

Posted by BruceR at 09:39 AM