Thursday, January 30, 2014

Military Intelligence

The Afghan army can't fight or read? Seriously?

So what?

According to one Bloomberg News story, more than half the [Afghan security] force's members will probably still be illiterate after a $200 million literacy program.

In a country where only one-third of the population, and just slightly more than one-tenth of military recruits, can read or write, building a literate army was going to be a tall order.

The article headline says the army can't fight. But the editors apparently don't know that the security forces are the army and the national police--not just the army.

And while the security forces will have to evolve to rely more on part-time locals because the large national force is too much for Afghanistan to afford in the long run, in the short run we need to provide the aid to keep this force fighting.

Let me explain this top secret concept that might address the problem: You expand the ground forces to win the war. And when you win, you reduce the ground forces to a level you can afford and still provide security.

I know. This is why you read this blog. Deep stuff like that.

And Afghan troops are fighting. According to the ISAF general in charge of all international forces over there, the Afghan security forces win 95% of the firefights with the Taliban:

I can tell you that there was probably somewhere in the range of 3,000 to 4,000 firefights in this past fighting season, if you will. And of those, several thousands of firefights the Afghan security forces probably lost somewhere between 100 and 150 maybe.

So bottom line is, in 95-plus percent of the tactical firefights, tactical engagements that the Afghan security forces fought in, they clearly held their ground and defeated the attacks from the enemy.

So the notion that the Afghan "army" can't fight is ridiculous.

And then we get to the reading part. In a country where the article says a third of the population and a tenth of military recruits are literate, we aim for half of the force to be literate.

But that hasn't stopped the security forces from winning 95% of the fights.

Obviously, the Taliban have lose 95% of the firefights. What is their literacy rate, one wonders? Is there a Taliban literacy program?

The Afghan security forces have to defeat Afghan Taliban--not American troops.

Stop looking for reasons to declare defeat and come home with a clear conscience.

And let's address the stunning lack of knowledge in our press corps about military matters.

I dream that one day there will be special programs that will train future journalists to be competent at their trade. I might call them "journalism schools." We should look into that. Otherwise we have a press corps that can't read history and can't write.

I know. I'm a visionary.