NPR tells us more about America’s newest war, in Pakistan

The solution to a failing war is a wider war.  That’s logic!  No need for approval from Congress (the Consitution is just poetry).  Certainly no need to tell the American people (that political regime faded away while we were watching sit-coms).  However there is an election in November, which gives us an opportunity to arrest the slide into a dark new era.  {Hat tip to Erasmus}

Pakistan Raid Start Of Concerted Bid To Hit Al-Qaida“, NPR, 12 September 2008 — Excerpt:

NPR has learned that the raid by helicopter-borne U.S. Special Operations forces in Pakistan last week was not an isolated incident but part of a three-phase plan, approved by President Bush, to strike at Osama bin Laden and top al-Qaida leadership.

The plan calls for a much more aggressive military campaign, said one source, familiar with the presidential order, which gives the green light for the military to take part in the operations. The plan represents an 11th-hour effort to hammer al-Qaida until the Bush administration leaves office, two government officials told NPR.

“Definitely, the gloves have come off,” said a source who has been briefed on the plan. “This was only Phase 1 of three phases.”

Pentagon and White House officials have declined to discuss the new plan.

The intelligence community already had approval from the president to carry out operations inside Pakistan, which included attacks by Predator drones, which can carry 100-pound Hellfire missiles.  Additional authority came from the president just recently that allowed incursions by U.S. Special Operations forces, the source said.

A second source said that lawmakers on Capitol Hill were briefed on the new plan shortly before The New York Times broke the story this week about the Special Operations raid from Afghanistan into Pakistan. The source also said that CIA personnel from around the world were being pulled into the Afghan-Pakistan border area, an intelligence-community “surge” to go after bin Laden and other al-Qaida figures.

There was concern by some lawmakers about the political ramifications in Pakistan. The Pakistan government is offering some cooperation in halting the cross-border attacks by Islamist fighters from the tribal areas into Afghanistan. And Pakistan is a key logistics route for U.S. equipment heading into Afghanistan.

Please share your comments by posting below.  Please make them brief (250 words max), civil, and relevant to this post.  Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Other posts about our war in Afghanistan (and now Pakistan)

  1. Why are we are fighting in Afghanistan?, 9 April 2008 — A debate with Joshua Foust.

8 thoughts on “NPR tells us more about America’s newest war, in Pakistan

  1. Al Qaeda or the Taliban? The latter makes more sense strategically the former has a nice political ring to it.

    What would you propose, Fabius Maximus, a continuance of territorial clemency for the Taliban in western Pakistan? At best we can hope for limited Pakistani effort to control cross border raids, as we did under Musharaff. But bear in mind the Paki government will ultimately (and rightly from their perspective) act in a fashion that both soothes American interests (and keeps American cash flowing in) and maintains a semblance of domestic “harmony.” And so we’ll see a balancing act of military action and stern talk on one hand and diplomatic reasoning with tribal regions controlled by the Taliban on the other. Each situation will be dictated not by NATO and American strategic initiatives but by Pakistani political reasoning.

    Too little for so much, from where I stand. I’m not sure what victory in Afghanistan looks like but I can hardly imagine how not taking the battle to the enemy will be beneficial.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: Ah, the enemy. That answers all question, justifies all wars.

    What is your basis for determining that the Taliban is not only our enemy but a threat to the United States? I see evidence for neither of these things at this time.

  2. Cambodia. This is war with no borders, a nation following no laws; that would be US. It is a sad day, however these sorts of raids have been going on for some time, including raids into Iran using Blackwater.

  3. “The solution to a failing war is a wider war. That’s logic!”
    Yes, it is. And it often works. Surprised you don’t know that.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: (1) No, that is sarcasim.

    (2) As rebuttals go, that is extraordinarily weak — with not a single example.

    (3) Widening wars is a often-attempted but seldom successful measure. A long line history of examples, from Athens going to Syracuse, to the 20th C classics — Japan in WWII (from fighting China, expanded to fighting almost everybody), Germany’s two-front wars, the US expanding the Vietnam War into Cambodia.

    Successful wars are as a general rule (there are exceptions) tend to be focused affairs. Such as Bismarck’s wars for German unification.

  4. Taking the war overtly onto Pakistani soil is fraught with danger. At the best we antagonize the new, civilianish government and at worst, we polarize a country already riven by ethnic tensions and home to a clash between secularists, moderates and Salafists. What is the end game here? Does DoD and POTUS think they can do in Pakistan what they could not do in scenic Afghanistan? And if we wind up emasculating the new government by shooting up wedding parties in Pakistan and the government disintegrates into something like Iraq 2003-2007, what then?

    We absolutely cannot afford to collapse a nuclear-armed state, especially a state that is vital to the logistics train that supplies NATO forces in Afghanistan and one that sits next door to another regional nuclear power and long-time foe, India.

    Now we get this: “Pak army ordered to hit back US forces”
    (from http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=69186&sectionid=351020401). No, I don’t think the Pakistani army poses much of a direct threat to U.S. forces, but think of the ugly bag of 4GW tricks they can draw from if they decide they must act against the U.S. “aggressor” after a few more attacks on “sovereign” Pakistani soil?

    Anyone out there with a link to an DoD, State Department or Think Tank analyses on just how the U.S. could hope to shape events in a direction that benefits the U.S. long-term? Or are these guys inside the Beltway just winging it?
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    Fabius Maximus replies: I have a post up on this story, linking to the Pakistan News Agency article (which I suspect is a bit closer to the original than the Iranian Press TV).

    Pakistan warns America about their borders, and their sovereignty

  5. Let’s get real folks. “NPR has learned…” This phrase is very important. They were not stupid enough to claim they unearthed this.

    It is a plant. The administration is making a hard push to get John McCain elected. There is no strategic or other war fighting reason for this decision right now. They are going to try to coopt Obama’s arguement that the push should be in Afghanistan even if it means being tough on Pakistan. It may not even amount to a change in tactics, just a change in PR presentation. The Republicans need to make sure they look no less tough than Obama for their base voters. Its the same game they played in 2004. Hard to do in Iraq right now with it calming down, unless they want Iraq to blow up again. And they had to do it before Petreus arrived as commander of centcom because his shadow would overwhelm their little ploy. This won’t last 2 weeks in this shape. It will be reworked. But they’ll be able to claim they started the big push against AQ in Pakistan. Thats the advantage of doing everything in secret. You can take credit for whatever you want and hide everything else. I’m not even sure anyone has accurately described what last weeks raid consisted of. Or what its immediate purpose was.
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    Fabius Maximus replies: There seems to be a conflict in the opening lines of your two paragraphs. “Let’s get real folks.” and “It is a plant.”

    Perhaps you are correct, but this is just a guess. With zero evidence. Looking back on just this site’s comments are dozens of equally confident gueses — all wrong. All backed by plausible-sounding logic, but no evidence.

  6. FM, There will be no hard evidence just circumstantial evidence
    -USA Today 8/23/07 “AP: US gave troops O.K. to enter Pakistan.”
    Read the article nothings changed but the description of this raid.
    The article says the ok was given 4 years ago. And prior raids have occurred.
    -Raid was on Sept. 3rd- 12 days ago with no further activity. Doesn’t look like a very agressive posture to me.
    -Raid was 1 mile into Pak territory. If your going to pick a raid to spin pick one you can reverse on by saying “it was an error they didn’t realize they we’re in Pakistan”
    – Any prior actions that netted any substantial results such as predaetors killing AQ were acknowledged by Dept of Def. Where is their statement?
    -Early reports out of the field described it as a hot pursuit raid then somehow in D.C. it morphed into a new strategy.
    -Apparently they just shot the place up no document recovery, no captures, sounds like hot pursuit to me.
    -Google “Incursion into Pakistan” you’ll get several responses about prior raids and authorizations this raid is in line with.
    The only thing new is the White house is spinning it not denying it.

  7. Apparently Pakistan ain’t kidding about resisting American incursions:

    >US-led Incursion Into Pakistan Twarted

    Late Sunday night, a US-led coalition attempting to enter Pakistan had warning shots fired upon their helicopters after which after which they retreated. The incident occurred on the Afghanistan side of the border and claimed no casualties.

    A security official has said the shot were fired from Pakistani troops however. this contradicts a source in the Pakistan army which has confirmed the event, but denied any involvement by the Pakistani army.

    This comes as US drones have been repeatedly firing missiles into Pakistan killing dozens.

    Pakistan on Sunday announced that they would defend themselves against violations of its airspace by US troops stationed in Afghanistan.

  8. “Fabius Maximus replies: Ah, the enemy. That answers all question, justifies all wars.

    That too is sarcasm…

    “What is your basis for determining that the Taliban is not only our enemy but a threat to the United States? I see evidence for neither of these things at this time.”

    Ah. A word game. Fun. Okay, define “threat to the United States.” That’s a bit broad.

    As for enemy, well when two people are trying their best to kill one another I’m afraid I’m at a loss as to how enemy doesn’t apply from the perspective of either side. Perhaps belligerent would be more suitable?

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