Link Leads to Link, Leads to...
The Spectrum, April 24, 2009
Tad Trueblood has more than 20 years experience in the U.S. Air Force and the national security community. He lives in Santa Clara.
As I scanned favorite Web sites last week, I ran across a video segment on Small Wars Journal (I've mentioned them before.) It featured a discussion with counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen, one of the brains behind the successful "surge" strategy in Iraq. The subject was partly about Kilcullen's new book, "The Accidental Guerrilla" (I haven't read it yet, but will soon.)
During the segment, Kilcullen talks a lot about Pakistan and it's clear he's been thinking hard about it lately. This is a guy I place a lot of stock in. I've read much of his writing and actually sat across a table from him asking questions. So, when he says there's no solving Afghanistan without first making progress in Pakistan, I pay attention.
He also mentioned that one of the keys to stabilizing Pakistan will be building up its police forces, which by any measure are sub-standard. Billions of U.S. dollars have been spent on Pakistan's military, but the police are desperately undermanned and underfunded.
"Aha! Now there's a topic," I thought, and started Googling.
Within a couple of searches, I brought up a new report from the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, by Hassan Abbas, Ph.D., Tufts, entitled "Police and Law Enforcement Reform in Pakistan" dated this month. Based on the timing of Kilcullen's remarks, also in April, and the subject, it seemed obvious he'd already seen Abbas' study.
Clearly, I was onto something, so I started to read it. One link led to another though, and within minutes I discovered Hassan Abbas also manages an extensive blog, called "Watandost", featuring "inside news about Pakistan and its neighborhood."
Now a new trove of information and perspective was opening up. The blog's current lead article, by another author, is "The inevitability of defeat for the Taliban."
Hmmm, maybe that's even better.
The point is, now I've got a range of possibilities for interesting topics. David Kilcullen's new book, if I hurry and read it, or the role of police forces in counterinsurgency or the state of Pakistan's police or maybe this idea of the Taliban's "inevitable" defeat. They'd all be good for a column.
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