Tom Ricks—who helpfully titled this exchange “The battalion commander debates the blogger”—has posted my response to LTC Flynn.
As to the meat of LTC Flynn’s response, he does not address my original point about the ALP, which was that expediency inspired him to what Paula described as avoiding the MOI vetting process in building out a local militia. From interviews I’ve since conducted with soldiers active in Kandahar, it is my understanding that this is a common practice-detail he could have provided, were his real concern contextualizing what happened, as his opening paragraph suggested — but that doesn’t address the fundamental problem: at the end of the day, you are side-stepping the government of Afghanistan. And, much more importantly, the reason the MOI wants to be involved is so that local shuras don’t use ALP cells as their personal militias — a problem based in the vetting process LTC Flynn still has not addressed (such as how one, as a foreigner, performs a background check in an area that doesn’t have paper records of its inhabitants).
Holy copy editor, batman! I should really think about my runons. Oh well. As an orator-blogger, I don’t need to care too much about my grammar, I suppose. Anyway, there’s a lot more to it, but I get the feeling this exchange is coming to a close. We’re approaching the point at which we’re talking past each other, and I don’t see how our differences of opinion can be addressed.
I’m fascinated by how Tom frames it: “saving lives” by “knocking down walls.” I don’t think that captures what has happened, or what I’m bringing up in protest. But you all be the judge of that.