Sunday, July 22, 2007

Bush Regime Can’t Make Up Its Mind on Pakistan

With us or agin’ us? I recall several years back in Bush’s speech on the War on Terror that if a country wasn’t with America on this, then they were “with the Terrorists”. Well a lot of water has gone under the bridge since that speech, and it would appear that not only is the vast majority of Americans “with the Terrorists” but also nearly every country in the world – I can’t speak for Rwanda, haven’t heard how they feel about the War.

But now, today I see two conflicting reports about Pakistan and I want to know which is the correct one. According to this White House publication, the US and Pakistan are BFF

“Pakistan: Three years ago, Pakistan was one of the few countries in the world that recognized the Taliban regime, and al-Qaida was active and recruiting in Pakistan without serious opposition. Yet the United States was not on good terms with Pakistan’s military and civilian leaders – the very people we would need to help shut down al-Qaida operations in that part of the world. Today, the United States and Pakistan are working closely in the fight against terror, and Pakistani forces are rounding up terrorists along their nation’s western border. President Musharraf is a friend of our country, who helped us capture Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the operational planner behind the 9/11 attacks. Today, because we are working with Pakistani leaders, Pakistan is an ally in the war on terror, and the American people are safer.”

Well this ally had some pretty harsh words today on the news that the United States could take action inside Pakistan. To this news, White House homeland security adviser Frances Townsend said "There are no tools off the table, and we use all our instruments of national power to be effective."

Basically it comes from a NIE by Mike McConnell, Bush’s National Security Advisor, the gist of it is found in this quote from McConnell:

“Instead of pushing Al Qaeda out, the people who live in these federally administered tribal areas [in Pakistan], they made a safe haven for training and recruiting. And so, in that period of time, Al Qaeda has been able to regain some of its momentum.”

A Pakistani official, Interior Minister Aftab Sherpao, was righteously pissed off at this.

“Our stance is that Osama bin Laden is not present in Pakistan. If anyone has the information he should give it to us, so that we can apprehend him.”

Chief military spokesman Major General Waheed Arshad chimed in as well:

“Pakistani forces are quite capable of conducting operation(s) against militants on their territory and only they have the authority to do so.”

So we have a curious friendship here, one that can be best summed up by an ancient Nigerian proverb

“Hold a true friend with both your hands”.

Why is this so applicable? Well, I have to add this little addendum to the end of the proverb to make it make some sense:

“…so he can’t stab you in the back.”

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