Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Today in the NY Times, former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Affairs, Bing West wrote an Op-ed outlining his plan to save Afghanistan by circumventing Hamid Karzai and focusing on bringing governance to Afghanistan at the local level. Mr. West puts it out there that having a strong military actually running the country from behind the scenes may in fact be the best case scenario for Afghanistan. As he points out this would be situation like in Pakistan where instead of the country having a military, the military would have a country, but at least it would be more stable than the Afghanistan we find ourselves with today.

This argument is certainly interesting, and I do not argue with Mr. Bing that what we have now in Afghanistan is certainly not a democracy considering the blatant evidence that Hamid Karzai stole the election. However, his plan for a strong man government backed by the military has a very serious flaw. Bing West assumes that the Afghan National Army (ANA) is actually a capable force. While the ANA is rated higher than the Afghan National Police (ANP) in the sense that they aren't actually extorting locals or running drugs like the police. However, you have to think about who is actually joining the ANA. Afghan families and tribes are not going to let their best men leave their homes to support a government that they have no faith in. From what I have heard from U.S. troops who have gone on patrol with members of the ANA is that a lot of them are the "scrubs" of Afghan society.

My readers may find this short documentary clip of interest. Its a british video journalist who is on patrol with British and Afghan troops. As you can tell, the ANA shows no discipline and are in fact High in the middle of a firefight!

I leave you to draw your own conclusions about this.

And that's my fifty cents (inflation...)


Another Plan said...

Great. Obviously you are right, impossible...part of the panicky fantasies they keep coming up with.

Dave Reidy said...

Good points Jeremy. An additional concern I have is that bypassing Karzai and distributing funding locally is essentially attempting to out-maneuver the Afghans in Afghan politics. Does the West really believe that Karzai has no local allies and will be so easily outwitted?

homelesseus said...

The West believes all sorts of stupid things about the OTHER. We wouldn't be doing anything there if we didn't believe in our own superiority in all realms.

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