Steven Smith is a veteran of international policing missions in Bosnia and Serbia and is the lead instructor for the Administration of Justice program at Gavilan College, California.
He was also involved, until he quit, in the training program US General Keith Dayton supervised for Palestinian Authority policemen. I previously on this blog made fun of America's trusting nature of the ability of the Pals. to police themselves and to protect themselves and us from the Hamas and other terrorists out there (not to mention, okay, I will mention, the fact that Pal. policemen themselves kill Jews like the incident near Hebron last December).
To explain why he quit, he published an op-ed which I am reproducing almost in its entirely, otherwise the affect is diminished. After all, this anti-occupation site did so. I emphasized sections by using italics, so pay more attention to these elements.
Too little, too late
The first graduates of General Keith Dayton's Palestinian police-training program will soon hit the hard streets of the West Bank. Unfortunately, they will do so without the firearms, radios and first-aid equipment that they have been promised after graduating from a training program so fraught with problems that it can hardly be called a training program at all.
I was part of that program and watched as nearly a thousand young officers were being put through the motions of an effort that was dominated more by political pressure than by the need to produce well-trained graduates.
Designed by a U.S. contractor in Florida based on specifications written by Dayton and his staff, the plan of instruction calls for a 1,400-hour curriculum that includes human rights law, defensive tactics, first aid, urban and rural small-unit tactics, firearms, mounted- and foot-patrol techniques, crime scene investigations and more...
Unfortunately, when the American monitoring group that I was part of arrived in Jerusalem in January, just two weeks before training was scheduled to begin, not a page of curriculum was ready for our review and nothing had been translated into Arabic.
A Jordanian translation company that had been contracted to translate 300 pages of curriculum per day had to be dismissed...upon translation back to English we found the curriculum had utterly lost its meaning. For example the words "cover fire," a term to describe small-arms fire to pin down the enemy and allow movement, was translated as "extinguish a burning fire."
The site for the training is the Jordanian International Police Training Center, or JIPTIC, located outside of Amman...I watched as frustrated Jordanian instructors abandoned the unintelligible curriculum and improvised instruction inside overcrowded classrooms and gymnasiums. Instruction in defensive tactics for hundreds of students was taught with three practice batons, a few handcuffs, and dummy pistols that were actually novelty cigarette lighters. The students had none of the safety equipment normally associated with police work.
In the classrooms, I watched as students were taught radio communications without radios, driving and vehicle maintenance with no vehicles, foot-patrol tactics without weapons or radios, and mounted-patrol tactics without vehicles.
The spectacle of watching officers pretend they were in vehicles, or had radios or firearms was so ridiculous that it would have been funny were the stakes not so high.
Even when classes were well-delivered students seldom had notebooks, manuals or course handouts. Moreover, fully 10 percent of the students are functional illiterates.
...A State Department official told me that students would be tested at the conclusion of the course; another said that they would be given CD-roms at the end of the course that would contain course handouts. Both measures are too little too late since none of the students I knew even owned computers and an assessment at the end of a four-month course allows no time for remedial training.
Many of the Jordanian instructors were pressed into service and simply didn't have the expertise, equipment, or the time to provide good instruction...The firearms training failed to include failure drills, discretionary shooting, the use of cover and concealment and weapons cleaning. Only a few students demonstrated skill at assembling and disassembling their firearms...
The congressional investigators and journalists I saw were steered clear of any training that was substandard as well-rehearsed students put on demonstrations of police skills designed to impress laymen.
...I can only write these words because I resigned over what I saw as a failed program. Other staff members are kept silent by large paychecks and a promise that they will never work for the State Department again if they speak out.
If it is true that an army fights the way it has been trained, then the young men of the Palestinian security forces are in for a tough time...they return to the West Bank to face Hamas and other organized and well-armed political and criminal gangs ill-prepared and ill-equipped.
I have little confidence in their ability to replace the Israeli Defense Forces without significant retraining with proper equipment and instruction.
I ask all who read this to pass it along. Aggregate.
Pass this along to public-opinion makers and movers, to your elected officials and representatives. Use it to write letters-to-the-editor or op-eds. Your Rabbis and clergymen.
The lives of hundreds of thousands of Jews in the communities of YESHA as well as Israel, along with others including Arabs, tourists and even diplomats are being endangered if even only one-third of what you read above is true.
I'd like to thank Steve for getting this published.
And as for that American diplomat, I'd like to hear from you on this.