Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Pray! And Pray Well!

As I told you yesterday, watch Pakistan!
by Charlie Leck

The news out of Pakistan is not good. The Taliban is stronger than anyone expected and they are advancing rapidly through sections of Pakistan’s outer national ridges. The Taliban is taking control of community centers and setting up local governments. Then they move onward. Pakistan’s military is neither proving dependable nor well trained.

Now, remember, this is just the first battle for the heart and soul of the nation – for absolute control. And then remember, too, that Pakistan is one of the nuclear nations. It, we have been told for years, has atomic weapons.

For the Obama administration, the economic catastrophe has been a test; however, it doesn’t compare to the immensity of this problem.

Overnight, one of my readers, who has captured both the essence and the substance of the problem, wrote the following:

Charlie, after reading your blog about Pakistan/Afghanistan I just didn't know what to think or what to say... now, after watching a CNN interview with the Taliban leader, I now know what I think...I’m scared... we're sending 20k more troops and it's either too many or not enough, or both...Pakistan sits on nuclear bombs... they have a weak central government, they always outlast their enemies, they have no strong economy except opium poppies... What good will 20k U.S. military do?

We should be building schools and roads... we should be inventing an economy that can work in Pakistan and Afghanistan... we should be working with Islamic leaders throughout the middle east... throughout the world in building nations that work... that provide hope for kids through education and economy.... let's build Chryslers in Pakistan and Afghanistan... the American people elected Obama to be creative... let's be creative... I’ll stop fearing militant Islam if we work with them on building their future... it's what we should have been doing with the Palestinians and Israel for the last 20 years.

We have the intellects, the diplomats and the investors... let’s help guide the people who need our help, not try to beat them into submission.

Another 4 years of the same old answers could be the last 4 years... we could have a
nuclear war on our hands...Come on Charlie, keep writing... we read too slow!
(Fred, Denver, CO)
Yesterday, the President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, met privately with the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the situation in his country. He assured the Representatives that his nation will repel the Taliban from the areas that the terrorist organization recently seized. There were plenty of Congresspeople who heard him and did not feel so certain. Mr. Zardari did not get specific about his game plan.

Today, Mr. Zardari will meet with President Obama. Wouldn’t you like to be a mouse in the corner? Obama’s main concern will be securing those weapons and I wouldn’t be surprised if there isn’t talk of moving them out of the nation – promptly – if that is possible!

You can bet your bottom dollar that all our leaders in Washington are thinking of that nuclear stock pile that we allowed to remain in Pakistan. Now they’re wondering if we should have taken it out years ago. Nuclear weapons in the hands of terrorists is our absolute worst nightmare!

This “Room for Debate” feature in the NY Times presents a number of viewpoints on the question of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and just how safe they are. It’s worth reading. In that debate, Danielle Pletka, who is the Vice President of Foreign and Defense Police Studies at the American Enterprise Institute makes a bold statement about our foreign policy mistakes. The statement sounds like what Fred wrote above.

“What’s the nightmare scenario? This is it. We have another president in Washington who believes that if he only finds the right president (of Pakistan, Afghanistan, whatever), the situation on the ground will improve. Another president who believes that more troops equals better strategy. Another president who believes that nuclear weapons and the creeping domination of territory is something that can be managed by better diplomacy. Another president that has been persuaded, as Secretary Gates said today, that Saudi Arabia can help manage our problems.

“These problems aren’t going to be solved by having special envoys with better titles, or subcontracting American defense to Saudi Arabia. We need clear indications of long term American commitment to the region, training and equipping of the Pakistani military, and effectively integrated military and aid programs. And what of the billions that have already been spent?

“Like soldiers, money should not be obligated without a strategy. Neither Bush or Obama were interested in scrutinizing where U.S. aid goes and what it achieves, preferring to trumpet the mere expenditure as policy. Absent these changes, we are inviting our enemies to believe again in American weakness. And we know where that led the last time.” [Danielle Pletka]
Stay tuned. This is an extraordinary problem

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