Why is it that when the -throw in your own euphemism here- hits the fan, one can always count on two things happening:
In the beginning, all parties involved find a penchant for euphemism, and then later when it just cannot be covered up, the blame game flares up.
Let me illustrate my point: take the case of the corrupt, ineffective, and disgraceful Afghan Police. It is a secret to no one that it is a miserable failure. It does not exist in much of the country, and where it does, civilians would rather not cross paths with the police. Let those of us who have the benefit of nom-de-plumes and hence are not subject to assorted political pressures have the fortitude to call it for what it is: a scandal.
Now, consider the new audit report just released by State Department’s Inspector Howard Krongard, a result of a months-long assessment of the state of the Afghan police: the “Interagency Assessment of Afghanistan Police Training and Readiness Program.”
I have yet to read this tall tale of scandals (97 pages) because I have not been able to locate it online despite my exhaustive investigative endeavours. However, from what can be gleaned from secondary sources, let’s parse some of the quotes from the report and employing the George Carlin methodology, let’s see how the high art of white-washing works:
According to the report, the current capabilities of the Afghan national police are “far from adequate.” Now doesn’t that strike you as a little bit suspect? We are talking about security for pete’s sake, not the amount of milk left in the fridge. The capabilities of the police (in providing security) is either adequate or inadequate, simple as that, a matter of life and death for many, and “far from adequate” simply does not cut it. What the report really should do is to state the obvious -in plain language: the police does not exist in many places, and where it does exist -in the words of Barnett Rubin in a recent testimony before the SFRC- it is “pervaded by corruption and lack basic skills, equipment and resources.”
Moving right along. The report says: “The US and international effort for standing up the ANP is not limitless; therefore, transitioning full responsibility and authority to the MoI needs greater emphasis.” Here we see the first rule of politics beautifully at work: when something start going down the drain, quickly dissociate yourself from it, or it will drag you down with it. Shove it onto other shoulders. The Afghan national police has thus far been the mandate of the international community in Afghanistan -and they have failed (more on the blame game later.) Now, the unsuspecting Ministry of Interior (itself riddled with corruption and incapacity) will be the bearer of this torch of shame and disgrace.
Which brings us to the next stage:blame games. The finger-pointing has already started. The report itself ostensibly delegates responsibility for some of the shortcomings, but so far, the harshest of rebukes is pointed at Germany, responsible for training the Afghan national police (it tried to accomplish this feat with a mere 41 German police officers doing the training.) Read “Germany Assialed for Training Afghan Police Poorly.”
Link to Interagency Assessment of Afghanistan Police Training and Readiness in PDF document format.