Train in Vain

Spencer Ackerman notes an expanded US training mission in Pakistan. I always get queasy when people start talking about training missions. In part, because that’s how we slipped down the slope in Vietnam. But more broadly, there often seems to be a lack of conceptual clarity around what we’re doing and why.

Thinking about the conflict between the Pakistan military and the Taliban, for example, how plausible does it strike you that the main issue is that the military isn’t well-trained? The Taliban didn’t have benefit of external training assistance? You could imagine scenarios in which a lack of training on the US-favored side of a conflict really was that side’s important problem but it doesn’t seem to me that the shoe fits in this case.