Martin C. Evans

Can we train police in Iraq and Afghanistan?

In Uncategorized on December 5, 2009 at 11:44 pm

By more than doubling U.S. troops in Afghanistan since he took office and promising to continue operations in Iraq beyond next summer, it can fairly be said America’s two wars are the property of President Barack Obama.

The president appears to be betting that American troops can train enough police and Army personnel in the two countries so that stability can flourish there.

He will have his work cut out for him.

A March, 2008 review by The Council on Foreign Relations, titled The Preparedness of Iraqi Security Forces said after four years of U.S. efforts to rebuild the Iraqi police and military “Broken promises, sectarian infiltration, and the inability to track trained personnel and equipment have slowed the rebuilding effort.”

“As the U.S. enters its sixth year of war in Iraq, some experts are questioning whether Iraqi security forces will ever be ready to take the place of U.S. forces,” the report said.

The surge implemented by former president Bush appears to have helped stabilize Iraq since the report’s release. But what happens there after American troops begin to leave remains to be seen.

Meanwhile, the situation in Afghanistan is in many ways worse, as recounted today in an article in The Christian Science Monitor.

The country is a patchwork of ethic groups that are more loyal to themselves than to any national government.

Meanwhile, efforts to build the sense of national unity essential to a successful security force are hampered by a literacy rate that the CIA Factbook says is below 50 percent among men, and by a corruption-riddled economy so weak that about 13 percent of Afghanistan’s GDP comes from the illicit heroin-producing opium trade.

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