Captain Ed reports on problems with the NATO mission in Afghanistan:
It took months of wrangling to persuade other NATO members to agree to supply troops. But one senior officer described the efforts of coalition partners as “shambolic”, accusing the Dutch government of demanding United States military protection for its troops before agreeing to send them.
Another officer accused the Germans of a complete failure in their mission to rebuild the country’s police force. He said German forces had trained little more than 200 officers in four years, and when the new police force was deployed in Kabul, they had promptly disappeared. “In many ways, Afghanistan is in a worse position now, four years on from the war there, than Iraq is,” he said.
Remember how a certain craggy Massachusetts Senator thought that European troops were the solution to our problems in Iraq?
This situation isn’t surprising. With the exception of the UK, Europe has virtually no military projection capabilities. They have no military airlift capability to provide logistical support in a place like Afghanistan. European troops don’t anything close to the level of training that US troops have, and even Wesley Clark found that European military commanders were shamefully incompetent and pissant political concerns were constantly hampering operations. Europe simply doesn’t have the requisite level of experience to fight a modern war. They don’t have the training, equipment, or leadership, and few if any European governments wish to provide the funding to develop any of those three. With the exception of the UK, the idea of a EU rapid reaction force might as well be the Keystone Kops.
Until Europe can carry its own weight in terms of military power and logistics, the idea that European participation in peacekeeping operations beyond that of Great Britain is necessary or even helpful is simply untrue. To borrow a quote from Jed Babbin, taking Europe to war with you is like taking an accordion hunting – all you’ve added is a bunch of noisy baggage.
Perhaps once we’ve taught the Iraqis how to have a decently functioning military we can do the same for the EU…