Tight Writting that Hooks Me

It’s always a bit of a thrill when I read something outside of my area of interest that is so well written I’m drawn into a new mindset.

One example of where this happened recently was this post (excerpted) at Abu Muqawama

Oh, the Glories of the Pakistani Army

I have been reading through David Kilcullen’s testimony to House Armed Services Committee on COIN in Pakistan (.pdf). 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. The evidence for both theses is strong. Some lowlights of the Pakistani Army’s recent history, provided from Kilcullen’s testimony last Thursday:

- Numerous incidents in which Pakistani military or Frontier Corps posts have allegedly fired on US forces inside Afghanistan, preventing them from chasing Taliban who were withdrawing from Afghanistan into Pakistan, and allowing the Taliban to escape back to their sanctuaries in Pakistan.

- Several incidents of Taliban allegedly setting up firing positions for mortars or rockets, either next to or in clear view of Pakistani military bases on the frontier, without interference from the Pakistani army.

- Ongoing relationships between militants, terrorists and members of the Pakistani military and intelligence service, which were acknowledged by senior Pakistani officials in interviews with the New York Times in March 2009.

Just to remind you, we have provided nearly $10 billion to the Pakistani military since 11 September 2001. You would, incredibly, have been better off putting that money in the stock market.

So to review, either a) the Pakistani military is incompetent or b) it is fighting for the other side. And if the later is true, then either the Pakistani government has a) lost control over its military and intelligence services or b) it is not the valued ally we keep saying it is.

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