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06 May 2011


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Seems me an awful lot of effort is being made to destablilize Pakistan even more than it is. Now we're demanding 'access' to bin Laden's widows. That's unseemly at best and profoundly stupid at worst. If we wanted to know what they know then we shouldn't have killed bin Laden outright. Dragging his women into it is shameful. What will the interrogators do if they refuse to speak? Threaten their children, waterboard them?

It's one thing to question the value of our relationship with Pakistan; I'm for getting out of the region entirely. But I don't see Pakistan as the villain in the piece, the way it is being played out in the press and by some politicians. Pakistani people have paid a tremendous price in these wars.

clifford kiracofe

Arguably, the fundamental policy mistake was the British partition of India and the creation of Pakistan as a so-called "Muslim State." Presumably London thought it was being clever with the divide and rule thing and latter day great games.

Washington's fundamental policy mistake was the Little Bush neoimperial/Great Game policy per Iraq and Afghanistan continued by Obama. The meter is still running on this policy which some estimate at over 3 trillion so far.

General William Odom called the Bush's Iraq War the greatest strategic mistake in US history. Americans will learn the hard way about major strategic mistakes. The ramifications of the Iraq/Afghanistan mistakes will haunt the US for decades to come. Economically, we may well not fully recover from them and thus we should expect a reduced standard of living.

Today, the world notes Pakistan is all but a failed state and is unquestionably a center of international terrorism. Some argue that Pakistan is guilty of state sponsored terrorism.

Some of us have been saying this for a decade now...

As I have said before at SST, Washington should drop its illusions about Pakistan and cooperate more closely with India, China, and Russia on regional issues.

Time for a new policy.

Such a new policy would allow a much reduced US presence in Afghanistan (and eventual exit) not to mention drastically reduced funding to Pakistan.

Col. Lang and TTG present a realistic military assessment which contributes to the justification for a new policy.

So will the Obama White House change policy? We shall see soon enough...


I do not know what Pakistan could do to reestablish trust with the American public

they could start by pointing out the hundreds of pakistani troops killed going after terrorists. people who sacrificed their lives not only to protect their interests but ours as well.

Byron Raum


Indeed, while the Pakistani people have played a terrible price in these wars, what price have the Pakistani elite paid in any of this? How much of our payments do you think go towards improving the lot of the Pakistani public, and how much do you think goes into Swiss bank accounts?

Dr Kiracofe,

If you might recall, Pakistan was originally intended as a secular state where all minorities might live without fear. We have Zia to thank for its transubstantiation into a mullah state, the devil's bargain he made with his fanatical Right Wing. Till then, all of Pakistan's leaders had been secular. And, of course, from the Wikipedia entry about Jinnah:
Islam and its idealism have taught us democracy. It has taught equality of man, justice and fairplay to everybody. We are the inheritors of these glorious traditions and are fully alive to our responsibilities and obligations as framers of the future constitution of Pakistan. In any case Pakistan is not going to be a theocratic State to be ruled by priests with a divine mission. We have many non-Muslims — Hindus, Christians, and Parsis — but they are all Pakistanis. They will enjoy the same rights and privileges as any other citizens and will play their rightful part in the affairs of Pakistan.

It's unfortunate how far some of his descendants have fallen.


William R. Cumming

So to respond to Basilik and others now that ISI has outed the CIA station chief!

It will be a logical step to document that ISI and UBL cooperation once documented and interests of AQ in the Islamic Bomb mean the USA and the political class should be called on Pakistan having adquate safety and surety of its nuclear arsenal. Time to step up the pace and abandoned Iraq and Afghanistan and go after the Islamic Bomb full scale and all countties not adding and assisting in this effort should be watched closely and carefully by USA for portents of their own nuclear programs. By the WAY of the BRIC's only Russia to my knowledge has congratulated USA on UBL compound raid. Apparently the INTEL take is humongous. Beyond USA capability to process in any kind of timely fashion. Over half the time in the compound spent on collection efforts.

William R. Cumming

Further response to BASILIK and his/her question is a reasonable one. Exrordinary Rendition applied to the US capture of terrorists and returning them to their home country for prosecution or whatever. I am advocating Pakistan turn over their top 10 collaborators with UBL directly to the USA to be tried here, as per the Eichman Trial in Israel. That seizure was long viewed as illegal but the trial was not. In personam jurisdiction as the lawyers like to say. US law does currently make criminal (perhaps too broadly) assisting and supporting terrorism against the USA from persons inside the USA (domestically residing whether or not citizens) or domiciled elsewhere. The exact legal status of that criminal prohibition will be determined only after SCOTUS formally rules on several cases now wending their way to that court this decade.


re: that ISI and UBL cooperation ... here's Larry Johnsson's take:

By January 2011 there was a high degree of confidence that Bin Laden was in the house (which was in essence a ISI “jail” for keeping tabs on UBL). We had also learned that key people in Saudi Arabia were sending Pakistan money to keep Osama out of sight and out of trouble. That’s why you haven’t seen any UBL spectaculars during the last five years. They had him in terrorist time-out.
If correct, that wouldn't exactly be collaboration. The picture is likely more nuanced than that those dastardly Pakis hid Bin Laden and collaborated with him against the US.

Patrick Lang


The problem with LJ's portrayal of this is that UBL had unhindered access to his organization throughout this period through the use of couriers and continued to give them guidance as he saw fit and not as the Saudis or Pakistanis saw fit. pl


Doh. That does create a different picture.


Col. Lang,

You're on the spot re LJ's portrayal.

The Paks want to "manage" the jihadi flamethrower such that they can keep it pointed at India and Afghanistan, with an occasional Pakistani collateral damage. But given that they have to maintain plausible deniability, they cannot be too sure that the UBLs and others are not straying from the line.

Plus, the raison d'etre of UBL is to attack the West (and the al Sauds) and sooner or later he was going to find a way to do that regardless of what his captors want.

Additionally, the Pakistani establishment has to use unofficial types to maintain this relationship but the unofficial intermediaries often end up converting to the UBL mindset instead of managing it.

You can use a couple of rabid pitbulls as a blackmail/rainy day tool but this cannot become your primary policy tool.

This is what happened with the Paks.

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