July 1, 2009
RAND Corporation, RAND Corporation
The United States has spent some $12 billion trying to help Pakistan save itself. Unfortunately, Washington has lavished most of the aid on the Pakistan army. It is time to reconsider that decision and focus instead on improving the country's police force.
There are many reasons why the army can't fix what ails the nation. First, sustained use of the army against its own citizens goes against the grain. A number of Pakistani officers have told me that they did not join the army to kill Pakistanis; they joined to kill Indians. Officers themselves debate whether the army can successfully oust the militants, and even if it can, whether it could hold the area for long. The army's past and recent track record in clearing and holding territory is not encouraging.