At what point will Americans figure out that the prime rogue state on the planet right now - the one creating most trouble and terror by its actions - is not Iran or North Korea, but Pakistan? It isn't as if key allies - India, Afghanistan and Britain among them - haven't tried to give warnings. Iraq is a distraction from the main event.
Here's the NY Times today:
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Islamic militants are using a recent peace deal with the government to consolidate their hold in northern Pakistan, vastly expanding their training of suicide bombers and other recruits and fortifying alliances with Al Qaeda and foreign fighters, diplomats and intelligence officials from several nations say. The result, they say, is virtually a Taliban mini-state.And Matthew Yglesias gets it exactly right when he says:
...The militants, the officials say, are openly flouting the terms of the September accord in North Waziristan, under which they agreed to end cross-border help for the Taliban insurgency that revived in Afghanistan with new force this year.
The area is becoming a magnet for an influx of foreign fighters, who not only challenge government authority in the area, but are even wresting control from local tribes and spreading their influence to neighboring areas, according to several American and NATO officials and Pakistani and Afghan intelligence officials.
The sad factor of the matter is that if we haven't already passed the tipping point in the Afghanistan/Pakistan area, we will have very soon. In practice, by the time Bush is out of office and our troops our out of Iraq, I'm pretty sure it's going to be too late and we're going to need to reconcile ourselves to the fact that Taliban successor groups will have substantially re-entrenched themselves and there won't be very much we can do about it except just kind of hope they don't once again start playing host to terrorists plotting to attack America.Yet all the talk is about what to do about Pakistani "passivity" in doing something to break up the terror networks on their soil. There is no "passivity", it is quite deliberate. Wake up, America!
Update Can I just say that I think this is f-ing insane?
WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Online): Amidst the hoopla over the passage of a Bill to implement the Indo-US Civil Nuclear Deal, the Bush Administration has quietly announced the sale to Pakistan of military equipment worth over one billion dollars. The Defence Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA) has notified the US Congress of possible military sales to Pakistan of the E-2C Hawkeye 2000 Airborne Early Warning (AEW) suite and Associated Equipment and services for refurbishing modifying three excess P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft. The total value of this, if all options are exercised, could be as high as 855 million dollars. A routine claim has been made to Congress that this sale will not affect the military balance in the region, Zee news reported on Sunday. The DSCA also notified Congress of another possible military sale to Islamabad of tow 2A missiles and associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $185 million.The Pentagon are claiming that these sales of sophisticated airplanes and anti-tank missiles are to bolster Pakistan's fight against terrorists and drug-runners. Because we all know about the submarines, attack fighters and tanks Al Qaida and those drug runners have hidden away in their super-secret island base where Blowfeld...oh, wait, that's James Bond.
However, the Pakistani military will see exactly one possible target for advanced airborne command, antisubmarine and anti-armor technology. The armed forces of their neighbour India. Not to mention that they will pass along the details on any really juicy technology to their military ally, China. Both nations are currently engaged in massive military exercises together.
Consider too that much of that $1 billion pricetag will probably be footed by American taxpayers. The Bush administration gives over $300 million a year to Pakistan in military aid.
F-ing blind AND insane.