"LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: So, the basic problem in Afghanistan -- there are many -- one of them is that we're working in a country that's really been devastated by 30 years of war. So the human capital really isn't there.
In Iraq, the soldiers knew how to read. They didn't know how to fight. In Afghanistan, the soldiers know how to fight, but not how to read. And, unfortunately, it's harder teaching people to read than it is to teach them to fight.
So, we're struggling with basic human infrastructure problems. The other big problem is that we really took our eye off the ball in Afghanistan for so many years while we were focused on Iraq.
And we have been playing catch-up ball for the last couple of years.
And so as you rush to build a force in a very short period of time, some bad apples slip through.
And we're seeing some of that. We're also seeing continually cultural connection problems, so,
Americans, even after 10 years working in this country, burning Korans, American Marines desecrating Taliban corpses. And that sort of cultural conflict and tension does erupt into violence in this kind of society.
MARGARET WARNER: Is there any -- you mentioned the Iraq war. Is there any precedent for an occupation force, a force like the United States, training up such a huge indigenous force so quickly in modern warfare?
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: We tried to do similar things in Iraq, actually.
After quite cleverly disbanding the Iraqi force, we decided that that was a bad idea and decided to rebuild it. General David Petraeus worked hard in that effort to rebuild an Iraqi force, but he was working from a much larger force that had previously existed, a much better trained force.
MARGARET WARNER: And, as you said, they could read.
LT. COL. JOHN NAGL: And they could already read." Newshour
"And they could already read." Yeah? So what? Does Nagl think that these Afghans are killing our men because they cannot read? I was training 3rd world soldiers when Nagl was in diapers. Our " manual" was the same warmed over colonial anti-revolution doctrine that Nagl worships. It sounds better in French. Their training never had anything to do with literacy. "Reading" has little to do with basic soldiering, very little.
The Newhour in its headline manages to make it seem that LIEUTENANT COLONEL Nagl commanded the training of the Afghan army. The Afghan "hands" here can tell us if that is true or if it is true that he trained some smaller number. The false prophets of the COIN revelation included a number of people who had limited real experience of counter-revolutionary warfare but possessed a burning desire to write a book about what had been "shown" them on "the mountain." Another man like that is Kilcullen who was a LIEUTENANT COLONEL in the Australian Army. His real world experience seems to have been one year as the commander of a support COMPANY in East Timor. The rest of the time he was some sort of analyst. And then he wrote a book? No, no, there were several articles.
Nagl says that if only we have patience and stay committed to the COIN mission in Afghanistan for another 10 years, then all will be well. Perhaps if he had worked for imperial Britain in the mid-nineteenth century that might have been possible. IMO we will be largely out of Afghanistan by the end 0f 2013. That withdrawal will end Nagl's fantasy.
One must ask - what does the Newshour think it is doing? pl