Monday, April 20, 2009

Pakistan: a realistic assessment

"A growing number of U.S. intelligence, defense and diplomatic officials have concluded that there's little hope of preventing nuclear-armed Pakistan from disintegrating into fiefdoms controlled by Islamist warlords and terrorists, posing a greater threat to the United States than Afghanistan's terrorist haven did before Sept. 11. ''It's a disaster in the making on the scale of the Iranian revolution,'' said a U.S. intelligence official with long experience in Pakistan who requested anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. Pakistan's fragmentation into warlord-run fiefdoms that host al Qaeda and other terrorist groups would have grave implications for the security of its nuclear arsenal; for the U.S.-led effort to pacify Afghanistan; and for the security of India, the nearby oil-rich Persian Gulf and Central Asia, the United States and its allies. . . . The experts that McClatchy Newspapers interviewed said their views aren't a worst-case scenario but a realistic expectation based on the militants' gains and the failure of Pakistan's civilian and military leadership to respond. ''The place is beyond redemption,'' said a Pentagon advisor who asked not to be further identified so he could speak freely."

If intelligence and defense experts agree that "the place is beyond redemption", how many U.S. lives and how much U.S. treasure will we expend to avoid the inevitable? Why is the administration increasing our involvement in the Af/Pak theatre of operation? If only we had elected the candidate who promised to end our wars in the Middle East . . .

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