“President Obama has correctly refocused American attention on Afghanistan and Pakistan, the real front in the war on terror. But the recent surge in bombings is an alarming reminder of all of the unfinished business from President Bush’s unnecessary war in Iraq.”
Unfinished business, eh? The entire NY Times editorial from which this is quoted sounds like an excuse wrapped up in a subterfuge.
“The problem isn’t Mr. Obama’s order to end America’s longest-running war. It is the failure of Iraq’s Shiite-led government to make the political changes that are the only chance for holding the country together.”
But no one is going to hold Iraq together. It goes on to suggest that there may be a Shiite-Sunni-Kurd Coalition government in the works. Just who are you kidding? Fortunately, there are no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. That much we know.
However, there are plenty floating around Pakistan, and this is the reason why Mr Obama has “correctly refocused” the military there. (And weren’t we not saying “war on terror” anymore?)
“President Obama said last week that he remained confident that keeping the country’s nuclear infrastructure secure was the top priority of Pakistan’s armed forces.… the United States does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located, and its concerns have intensified in the last two weeks since the Taliban entered Buner, a district 60 miles from the capital. The spread of the insurgency has left American officials less willing to accept blanket assurances from Pakistan that the weapons are safe.
“But Pakistani officials have continued to deflect American requests for more details about the location and security of the country’s nuclear sites, the officials said. Some of the Pakistani reluctance, they said, stemmed from longstanding concern that the United States might be tempted to seize or destroy Pakistan’s arsenal if the insurgency appeared about to engulf areas near Pakistan’s nuclear sites.”
The latest president of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, widowed husband of Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated last December, has almost no control over the Taliban, and not much more over their army. “…there have been only limited, poorly-coordinated attempts to re-engage with communities devastated by armed operations against the Taliban. As a result the Army and government authorities have sheepishly ended up signing peace deals with the Taliban over the past four years. They have all consistently broken down, the Taliban using the lull in hostilities to regroup and rearm. The most recent peace deal, over the Swat valley, is on the verge of collapse owing to continued Taliban operations in neighbouring areas.” “Mr. Zardari heads the country’s National Command Authority, the mix of political, military and intelligence leaders responsible for its arsenal of 60 to 100 nuclear weapons. But in reality, his command and control over the weapons are considered tenuous at best…”
What will be done? The disgraceful abdication of Iraq to the forces of chaos gives me a pretty good idea of what would happen if it weren’t for the one thing needful, chasing down the nukes. The Pakistani people – most especially those women Laura Bush was supposedly so concerned about – are only the latest victims of 9/11.
It is not enough to “correctly refocus” on the indigenous militaries that remain in Afghanistan and Pakistan (or a shambolic “government” in Iraq). Whether it was the fault of the wretched Dubya or is the responsibility of Mr Obama, treating the people of these countries like collateral damage in the war-for-oil is why the U.S. is estranged and powerless against an enemy of well-armed and committed mass-murderers.
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