Small Wars Journal

$10 Billion and Getting Worse

Been on two road trips and missed getting an early jump on Dave Kilcullen's testimony before the House Armed Services Committee concerning the situation in Pakistan. They dragged Dave out of our wargame last week to testify and I saw him off as he headed from our pristine suburban Maryland locale to the Hill -- but such is life - and our loss was a gain for Congressional SA on a worsening problem.

Anyway, kudos to Ex (also at the wargame) at Abu Muqawama for the link and for a bulletized summary of the "lowlights of the Pakistani Army's recent history". I have to agree - Studying the past few years, one could arrive at the conclusion that Pakistan's army is epically incompetent. One could similarly arrive at the conclusion that Pakistan's army is competent -- but fighting for the other side. Either way -- not much to cheer about.

Here is Dave's "bottom line" from his testimony:

The United States Government has spent $10 billion dollars supporting Pakistan since 9/11, and in that time we have seen a dramatically worsening situation across the whole country. More of the same will not help, and indeed may make the situation worse. I fully support the benchmarks in the bill and would like to see an even greater emphasis on rule of law, policing and civilian administration, with even greater conditionality and stringency placed on continued assistance to the Pakistani military, unless and until it demonstrates a genuine commitment to cease supporting the enemy and begin following the direction of its own elected civilian government.

Rather than continuing to pretend that Pakistan is a weak but —ally against extremism, we need to recognize that while some elements in Pakistan -- some elected civilian political leaders, the majority of the Pakistani people, many tribal and community leaders and some appointed administrative officials -- are genuinely committed to the fight against extremism, substantial parts of the Pakistani security establishment are complicit with the enemy, whether through incompetence, intimidation or ill intent. Our approach in assisting Pakistan should be to strengthen our friends and limit the power of our enemies, while helping Pakistan stabilize itself and govern its people responsibly and humanely. Increasing assistance to the police -- making the police, in effect, the premier counterinsurgency force -- while channeling all military support through civilian authorities and ensuring greater accountability and conditionality on military assistance, is the correct approach. We are way past prevention in 2009, and need to focus on stopping the rot and stabilizing the situation in 2009-2010, then rolling back extremism and militancy thereafter.