Friday, September 19, 2008

Good cop, bad cop

As pointed out in our last post, one of the Bush administration's favorite tactics is to say one thing, and then either do another, or both say and do another.

After assurances that the US will 'respect Pakistani sovereignty' from CJCS Adm. Mullen, Gates comes out saying:
In an interview with the BBC, Secretary Gates insisted that the United States has the right to launch attacks across the border into Pakistan, and take whatever other actions its deems necessary to “protect our troops”. He refused to answer a question as to whether Pakistan’s government had authorized the strikes, but said he would prefer Pakistan tackle the militants itself. Prime Minister Raza Gilani said his government has warned the US about the attacks, and insists there can be no compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty.
And here is a novel reason for the cross -border attacks, and some of the backlash they might provoke:
CIA Director Michael Hayden said yesterday that the attacks into Pakistan are designed to “tickle” the militants and examine their responses, but the number of civilians killed in these strikes has alienated the US from what it has long considered among its most important partners in the region. In addition, a large tribe in South Waziristan announced that a jirga yesterday had decided they would take up arms against the Americans if the attacks continue, including attacking across the border into Afghanistan.
The Asia Times also has an interesting article about the new 'facts on the ground' in Pakistan/Afghanistan. As above, these actions seem to work to unite Pakistan, at least in the border regions, against US attacks:
Either way, the US incursions have unprecedented unity between local tribesmen, the Taliban and the rank-and-file Pakistani security forces deployed on the border regions. Tribal sources tell Asia Times Online that the next time American ground forces venture into Pakistan they will meet stiff opposition from these now-combined forces.
Pulling new forces into the war on the other side seems a strange way to proceed, but not so strange for Feckless Leader. Expanding a war without expanding the available forces sets the stage for another, larger disaster than the current Afghan situation. But with winter coming on, probably another administration will have to deal with it.


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