Sunday, October 4, 2015

training foreign forces

I'm increasingly concerned that America's plans for training foreign forces are flawed and inadequate for the countries and armies we want to help. A New York Times article today offers more details of widespread problems and with special attention to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria.

American-trained forces face different problems in each place, some of which are out of the United States’ control. But what many of them have in common, American military and counterterrorism officials say, is poor leadership, a lack of will and the need to function in the face of intractable political problems with little support. Without their American advisers, many local forces have repeatedly shown an inability to fight.
We can't solve those local political problems, but maybe they should caution our efforts and expectations.

I wonder if the locals' "will to fight" is related to trying to make them like U.S. forces in ways that are unsustainable -- air cover, medical evacuations, robust logistics, intelligence capabilities, redundant communications.

The Times story also has discouraging news about Iraq.
The reality is that Iraq’s Shiite majority seems to be settling in to a divided Iraq and increasingly questioning whether it is worth shedding Shiite blood in areas like Anbar Province or Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, which the Islamic State captured in June 2014. The battle against the Islamic State is no longer the national priority it was a year ago, when the militants threatened Baghdad and the Shiite-majority south.
Maybe Iraq is settling into the tripartite division once advocated by people like Joe Biden.

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