Wednesday, December 23, 2015

leavings of an unhappy bureaucrat

Greg Archetto has written an angry resignation letter regarding his service as a U.S. official in Yemen and Jordan. He was supposed to be expediting military equipment to help the forces in those countries deal with insurgent threats, but what he got from Washington wasn't what the locals needed.
For two years, I did this dance. Requests would come from the country for helicopters, cargo aircraft, vehicles, weapons, boats, ammunition, bombs, spare parts, and we would put together what we thought we could sell to Congress. It would go into a black hole that was the upper echelons of the Pentagon, State, and the White House, and disappear. For months, bigger bureaucrats than I would re-prioritize aid packages based on the crisis du jour as reported by our 24-hour news networks. Operational paralysis eventually gave way to aid packages that seldom resembled what we had initially submitted, frustrating the U.S personnel in the host country and the rest of us inside the beltway that actually had to execute the programs.
In 2014, he began working on programs for Jordan and "moderate" Syrians.
Soon after, interagency discussions began on arming “moderate” Syrian rebels, but this was a farce. A combination of intelligence reports, regional experience, and common sense made it evident that there was no way to reliably vet the folks we would be sending weapons to, nor keep track of what was sent. Further, the items that were being suggested would have limited battlefield utility against Assad’s superior forces.
He concluded:
It was obvious that what American political leadership was asking for was seen as an impossible task by the operators that had to execute the program.
He's blaming the Obama Administration, but also the Congress, for pushing equipment that provided jobs back home, regardless of its utility abroad.

I'm sure there's another side to this story, but it rings depressingly true of how hard it is to turn ideas in Washington into effective actions in the field.

No comments:

Post a Comment