Sunday, May 15

Lara Logan interviews Amrullah Saleh about Pakistan for 60 Minutes tonight, and Sen. John Kerry's hiccup about Pakistan's regime

The interview will air on the CBS television network at 7:00 PM Eastern Time. Senator John Kerry's plane will have already landed in Pakistan by the time the show begins; he will deliver a supposedly "tough" message, according to the Wall Street Journal: "Cooperate more in uprooting terrorists in Pakistan or face losing vital aid."

From this part of the report I have no idea what Kerry considers to be tough:
During his visit to Islamabad, Mr. Kerry is expected to press Pakistani officials to clamp down harder on militant sanctuaries along the Afghanistan border routinely used to stage attacks on U.S. forces.

Mr. Kerry, who took a short trip to the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, said there was "some evidence of Pakistan government knowledge" of militant cross-border attacks that was "very disturbing." Even so, he said he hoped to avoid a counter-productive, "recriminatory, finger-pointing" argument in Islamabad.

"For the moment, I think we want to be both hopeful and optimistic that we can work our way through this, get over this hiccup and find a positive path forward," said Mr. Kerry.
Hiccup? Americans are getting blown up and shot to pieces by forces working for Pakistan's military, and this is a hiccup?

Why would Kerry convey in public to the Pakistani regime that he viewed its atrocities against U.S. and other NATO troops and Osama bin Laden's residence in a Pakistani garrison town as a hiccup?

But if Kerry wanted to avoid a "recriminatory finger-pointing" argument, why did he blab to reporters about how he intended to deliver a tough message in Islamabad? Why didn't he just deliver the message? Why instead did he guarantee that Pakistan's leaders would get nasty with him in order to save face, when he announced to the world he was going to shove them around?

I also don't understand the reasoning of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R.-Mich.). He told Lara Logan, in the same 60 Minute show that airs tonight, that he now believes al-Qaeda's number-two, Ayman al-Zawahir, has been hiding in Pakistan. And this:
Congressman Rogers says the U.S. has known for years that the Taliban's leaders are living inside Pakistan. "It was one of those, I think, arranged trade offs for other bits of cooperation," says Rogers.

"[The U.S.] knew [Pakistani military] weren't being aggressive there," he says, but did arrest hundreds of terrorists in other places in Pakistan.

Asked whether he thought Pakistan was a good ally of the U.S., the chairman of the committee that oversees U.S. intelligence agencies says, "I would say Pakistan is an ally. There are challenges, there's serious challenges there and 'ally' may be too strong a word," Rogers tells Logan.

Rogers says he knows the Pakistanis have disclosed U.S. operations and held back information, but believes the killing of bin Laden may lead to more cooperation.[...]
What is the sense of ruminating in public about cooperation from the Pakistani military? What is the reason for conjecture in a public forum, which hands advantages to Pakistan's leaders? Why speak in public, unless one is certain and until an objective related war to has been gained in negotiations with the Pakistani regime?

Amrullah Saleh, on the other hand, is certain about what he learned when he headed Afghanistan's security agency and thus when he speaks in public his words have clarity and force:
Pakistan has harbored America's enemies for years, says Saleh. "The senior Taliban leaders, we would learn about their locations every day," he tells Logan. He was even able to get their telephone numbers, which were traced to the Pakistani city of Quetta. The leaders there are known as the Quetta Shura.

Did the U.S. ever move against them? "Not against Quetta Shura, never," says Saleh. While American soldiers fought against an endless stream of enemy fighters staged in Pakistan, their leaders remained protected in Quetta, Saleh says.


Anonymous said...

Think darlink about what "action" against Pakistan would mean.

Which doesn't mean it' shouldn't happen, but understand what it does.

Pundita said...

You have nicely articulated the false dilemma that has gotten so many Americans maimed and killed. It is not an either-or situation and never was, but trying to get this across to Washington may well prove to be impossible.