Now the Commander in Chief and his administration are telling the whole world that they're considering a ridiculous and ill-fated move of sending a few thousand American troops into Pakistan to track and fight al-Qaeda and the revitalized Taliban. You can hear all the retired and active Joint Chiefs groaning over this just as Field Marshal von Paulus did when Hitler sacrificed his beloved 6th Army at Stalingrad for an equally worthless cause made of vapor and lies. The brass knows that it's just more military adventurism from an alcoholic pen-pusher's desk, but orders are orders. Today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates was asked by journalists who were paid to ask him about operations into Pakistan (they should ask about illegal ops into Iran, ongoing for over four-years, but they weren't paid to ask that question, and therefore didn't):
For several years the focus of U.S. concern about al-Qaida elements in Pakistan was their support for Taliban extremists who have received training in western Pakistan and then infiltrated into Afghanistan to foment violence. More recently, al-Qaida in Pakistan has posed more of a threat to the Pakistani government, seeking to destabilize the government of a nuclear-armed Muslim nation. ( 'US Willing to Send Troops to Pakistan,' AP, 01.24.2008)And yet, there really wasn't a lot of concern until ten-years-ago when Clinton and the State Department realized that they had created a monster. The executive branch and Congress might consider defunding the Pakistani intelligence community (ISI, or 'Inter-Services Intelligence') and President Mousharraf (looking strikingly similar to the late Sonny Bono), the very people who created al-Qaeda and the Taliban. ISI has a boss called the CIA, who has a boss called the State Department, who has a boss called the President of the United States (Cheney).
Back in the late-1990s, Pakistan was working towards destabilizing India through support of uprisings in the disputed state of Kashmir, and they were also meddling with the internal-affairs of Afghanistan. They would have gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids. Osama bin Laden and the Taliban were only too happy to oblige the Kashmiris' accommodations and camps to train in, with a wink and material support from Pakistani intelligence. Scooby-snacks for everyone:
The I.S.I.'s reliance on Mr. bin Laden's camps for training came to light in August 1998, when the United States launched a cruise missile attack against Al Qaeda terrorist camps near Khost, Afghanistan, in response to the bombings of two American Embassies in East Africa. The casualties included several members of a Kashmiri militant group supported by Pakistan who were believed to be training in the Qaeda camps, American officials said.Let's look at the first sentence 'Since the attacks on the World Trade Center...' . 'Since' is the key word here--meaning, until the attacks of 9/11, elements of the government of Pakistan supported the Taliban, knew of Osama bin Laden's support from them, and probably knew a whole lot more about Mousharraf than anyone wants to know. Where's the missing poker-player here? No, his last name isn't Foggo. The CIA's hand is in all of this, but that goes way back a million-years-ago during the fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, as well as the operations in the Balkans with Muslim extremists as the bag men (as seen in the pages of Soldier of Fortune). This is about American State Department policy.
Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, the Pakistani government, led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has turned against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in favor of the United States. One element in that shift was General Musharraf's decision to oust the chief of the intelligence service, Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed, who may have been reluctant to join an American-led coalition against the Taliban government that his organization helped bring to power. ('A NATION CHALLENGED: THE SPIES; Pakistani Intelligence Had Ties To Al Qaeda, U.S. Officials Say,' The New York Times, 10.29.2001)
Like the pirates-of-old, our own intelligence community has created a number of these extremist-groups and left them hanging once the short-term goals were met. Besides, if you run out of enemies as we did with the ending of the Cold War, you just create a few straw men. This material abandonment left the Islamic extremists feeling angry and betrayed as most employees do when they're laid-off, and the bills were piling-up. Once were privateers, later were pirates. Once were freedom fighters, now are terrorists. Justice denied, becomes something else...something toxic, something extremist. But enough about the dying neocon ideology...
The message from the White House is that the Pakistani government is doing a fine job fighting internal-threats (like Bhutto), but aren't, and therefore need help crushing the people who helped bring them to power (and anyone who might resist our influence in the region). The rub is that the logistics aren't there, and American troops are already stretched-too-thin in the Middle East. Added to this mix is the fact that a number of coalition allies are going to be gone during this year--take any troops from Afghanistan and Iraq and you begin to lose the tenuous control of each of the occupied nations. And somehow--according to the more paranoid elements on the internet--we can expect a military coup here in the U.S. any day now. Where are the troops to do this exactly? Everyone has an answer ('Blackwater'--get real), it's just that they're all wrong. The president has made it clear that no troops are leaving the region anytime soon, but we can assume that the last 'surge' was intended to allow for adventures into Taliban-controlled Pakistan. We've already been doing this for some time, so one could call these few-thousand troops counterinsurgency 'reinforcements.'
Taking troops from currently occupied nations can have a snowballing effect: insurgents move-in while American and other foreign troops are removed from certain areas of duty--and that's forgetting tensions between the Kurdish PKK and Turkey in the north. Then, there are the areas once kept stable by the British...who no-longer occupy those areas. Another problem posed by the presence of U.S. troops in Pakistan would be the reaction of nearby nations, like China, Russia, Turkey, and a number of former Soviet satellite-states like Azerbaijan (not to mention India--I played my 'Risk'). Is the Bush administration doing some of this as a threat to all of us to 'back-off'? It's a questions worthy of discussion. We have no reason to take this administration at its word on anything. The problem after that--if we all agree what they're doing is actually true--is what to do about it.
Is it all about Bush and Cheney? Of course it isn't, they always needed enablers in Congress and the courts. Not so long ago, someone wrote a very penetrating letter to The New York Times on our tendency towards military adventurism as a nation and a culture. That it's a sign of decline should be inescapable to anyone paying even a scant amount of attention:
As some observers have commented, the remarkable exercise of our sophisticated weaponry in the Persian Gulf created a high level of euphoria among our citizenry because it was a demonstration of power at a time when most people agree that our country is losing ground to foreign industrial and financial competition, and lacks the quality of education essential to halt this loss. This fits the picture painted by Mr. Kennedy.
It is far easier for our political leaders, many of whom rightly predicted that a war in the Persian Gulf would not achieve political stability and progress toward lasting peace and democracy for that region, to go along with the self-deception that the gulf war was a great success and to approve yet another Pentagon budget of close to $300 billion to buy still more advanced weaponry for unspecified needs.
('Does Military Adventurism Proclaim Our National Decline?' (op ed.), The New York Times, 07.28.1991)
That was in 1991, now nearly seventeen-years-ago when all of us who were against the war warned that another one almost exactly like it would come. We were wrong: this one is far-and-away worse, and under a president with the same first and last-name. We were close, very close in our predictions, and we hate to be right about any of it. Is the current President Bush threatening us all with chaos unleashed if we attempt to impeach him--that there will be consequences to pay? Are the president and vice president threatening Congress in classified meetings through phony intelligence threat estimates? What would surprise us anymore?
'Frederick S. Lightfoot, July 10, 1991' (The New York Times, July 29th, 1991):
'US Willing to Send Troops to Pakistan'-(AP, January 24th, 2008):