"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with
power to endanger the public liberty." - - - - John Adams

Monday, October 5, 2015

Billions From U.S. Fail to Sustain Foreign Forces

The Fall of Saigon
Evacuation of CIA station personnel by Air America on the rooftop
of 22 Gia Long Street in Saigon on April 29, 1975.

American "Training" Really Sucks
Since the 1930s the U.S. arms and train armies only to see them collapse in the face of an enemy.

(New York Times)  -  With alarming frequency in recent years, thousands of American-trained security forces in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia have collapsed, stalled or defected, calling into question the effectiveness of the tens of billions of dollars spent by the United States on foreign military training programs, as well as a central tenet of the Obama administration’s approach to combating insurgencies.

The setbacks have been most pronounced in three countries that present the administration with some of its biggest challenges. The Pentagon-trained army and police in Iraq’s Anbar Province, the heartland of the Islamic State militant group, have barely engaged its forces, while several thousand American-backed government forces and militiamen in Afghanistan’s Kunduz Province were forced to retreat last week when attacked by several hundred Taliban fighters. And in Syria, a $500 million Defense Department program to train local rebels to fight the Islamic State has produced only a handful of soldiers.

American-trained forces face different problems in each place, some of which are out of the United States’ control. But what many of them have in common, American military and counterterrorism officials say, is poor leadership, a lack of will and the need to function in the face of intractable political problems with little support. Without their American advisers, many local forces have repeatedly shown an inability to fight.

“Our track record at building security forces over the past 15 years is miserable,” said Karl W. Eikenberry, a former military commander and United States ambassador in Afghanistan.

The American military has trained soldiers in scores of countries for decades. But after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, that mission jumped in ambition and scale, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the ultimate goal was to replace the large American armies deployed there.

The push to rebuild the Iraqi Army that the United States disbanded after the 2003 invasion had largely succeeded by the time American troops withdrew eight years later. But that $25 billion effort quickly crumbled after the Americans left, when the politicization of the army leadership under Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki eroded the military’s effectiveness at all levels, American officials said.

In Afghanistan, basic training typically included marksmanship, ambush drills and other counterterrorism skills. Before they could begin that, most new Afghan recruits also needed time-consuming literacy training so they could read the serial numbers on their weapons, or lessons on proper hygiene to prevent illnesses that would reduce their effectiveness in combat. Still, there were notable successes: Afghan special forces trained and advised by their American counterparts proved to be especially capable fighters.

  • In northwest Africa, the United States has spent more than $600 million to combat Islamist militancy, with training programs stretching from Morocco to Chad. American officials once heralded Mali’s military as an exemplary partner. But in 2012, battle-hardened Islamist fighters returned from combat in Libya to rout the military, including units trained by United States Special Forces. That defeat, followed by a coup led by an American-trained officer, Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo, astounded and embarrassed American commanders. French, United Nations and European Union forces now carry out training and security missions in Mali.

  • In Yemen, American-trained troops and counterterrorism forces largely disbanded when Houthi rebels overran the capital last year and forced the government into exile. The United States is now relying largely on a Saudi-led air campaign that has caused more than 1,000 civilian casualties.

  • More recently in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the military campaigns against the Taliban and the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, have made little headway. After acknowledging that only four or five American-trained Syrian rebels were actually in the fight there, Pentagon officials said last week that they were suspending the movement of new recruits from Syria to Turkey and Jordan for training. The program suffered from a shortage of recruits willing to fight the Islamic State instead of the army of President Bashar al-Assad, a problem Mr. Obama noted at a news conference on Friday.

Read More . . . .

The American "trained" Filipino army lasted a just a few weeks when Imperial Japanese troops attacked.
American Training and other Failures
Any honest historian has to wonder about the quality of American military training.

World War II  -  “Give me ten thousand Filipino soldiers and I will conquer the world,” said General Douglas MacArthur in typical American bravado.  The problem is the U.S. "trained" and armed Filipino Army collapsed in a matter of weeks.

Korean War  -  The U.S. "trained" and armed South Korean Army also collapsed in a matter of weeks running for the coast at the far southern tip of the nation.

Vietnam War  -  The U.S. "trained" and armed South Vietnamese Army also collapsed in the face of renewed Communist attacks.  In this case Gerald Ford and the Democrat Congress helped the Communists along be refusing to resupply the South Vietnamese.

ISIS - Iraq War  -  Years and years of U.S. "training" and billions in spending saw an almost instant collapse of the Iraqi Army once it faced a real enemy.

NEXT: Afghanistan  -  Coming soon, yet another U.S. "trained" and armed army will face an enemy with resolve.  Will the Afghans stand against committed Islamists or will there be wholesale desertion to the the Taliban?  

Time will tell on Afghanistan, but history says we may have to welcome the coming Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. 

American Terrorism - When in doubt shoot the lawful soldiers representing
your king in the back from behind trees.

Guerrilla Warfare
It fascinates me to watch the endless parade of nearly useless U.S. generals. In war after war these "leaders" never grasp the sheer military power of people's revolutions, insurgencies and guerrilla warfare.
Since it is their profession one would think that the generals might vaguely be aware of the American Revolution, the Mexican war against France, the Algerian war or Vietnam but noooo . . . We just keep repeating the mistakes of the past.  The only "winners" of these wars are the coffin makers and arms manufacturers.

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