Thursday, September 06, 2007

Credibility Gaps

As the Gen Jones report comes out tomorrow, it is going to hammer the National Police, recommending their disbanding. Glad we impressed the 3 members of his commission that came and visited our Academy a couple of months ago.

This is a bit disheartening given I've spent my past 4 months working in training the National Police. But not unexpected. The National Police have been notorious, not without reason, for sectarian and militia influences.

I had the privilege of receiving visitors to the Academy today, and the American general and the Iraqi general had a very frank discussion in front of everyone in the room, including CNN representatives that later did a fairly challenging interview citing Jones' report. The American general asked the Iraqi National Police General for ideas to address the perception and reputation problems that the National Police have- while they do have problems, there are also successes, and the people of Iraq don't seem to note the successes, only the problems.

But the National Police are not the only group struggling with credibility gaps.

Experts Doubt Drop In Violence in Iraq
Military Statistics Called Into Question
By Karen DeYoung
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, September 6, 2007; Page A16

I think this is a Samuel Clemens quote: There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.

It appears to me the U.S. military could improve in its information operations- if folks don't buy your data, things are not going to go the way you'd like.

The complexities of the Iraqi experience are very hard to describe, and frankly, I still don't have any clear framework for "the best" way ahead. I do know, however, that most U.S. discussions in media, politics, and elsewhere both for and against various initiatives in Iraq seem to lack an appreciation of those complexities. And good numbers are very hard to come by.

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