In the New Duranty, Mark Mazzetti and David Rhode detail the infighting between CIA bureaus and lack of cooperation by Pakistan that has allowed Al-Qaeda to regroup.
WASHINGTON: Late last year, top Bush administration officials decided to take a step they had long resisted. They drafted a secret plan to authorize the Pentagon's Special Operations forces to launch missions into the snow-capped mountains of Pakistan to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda.
Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden's terror network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies.
The new plan, outlined in a highly classified Pentagon order, was designed to eliminate some of those battles. And it was meant to pave an easier path into the tribal areas for American commandos, who for years have bristled at what they see as Washington's risk-averse attitude toward Special Operations missions inside Pakistan. They also argue that catching Bin Laden will come only by capturing some of his senior lieutenants alive.
But more than six months later, the Special Operations forces are still waiting for the green light. The plan has been held up in Washington by the very disagreements it was meant to eliminate. A senior Defense Department official said there was "mounting frustration" in the Pentagon at the continued delay.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush committed the nation to a "war on terrorism" and made the destruction of Bin Laden's network the top priority of his presidency. But it is increasingly clear that the Bush administration will leave office with Al Qaeda having successfully relocated its base from Afghanistan to Pakistan's tribal areas, where it has rebuilt much of its ability to attack from the region and broadcast its messages to militants across the world...
I'm no apologist for the Bush Administration, far from it. And make no mistake, they have compounded mistakes with ever more egregious mistakes.
But what the Times will never acknowledge is that the inability to eradicate "extremism" in Dar al-Islam is not the responsibility of the Bush Administration, or any other dhimmi. Talibanism has not been eradicated, or even weakened, in Afghanistan and Pakistan (and Decapistan and HellHoleCrapistan and all the other 'stans) because it is not "Talibanism" we are resisting, it is Islam. It is a 1400 year old religion, the second largest religion in the world, practiced by over a billion people. Islam mandates the "extremist" behavior that the Taliban carry out in the name of their religion. We see equally despicable groups in Iran, India, Saudi Arabia, Philippines, Somalia, Russian Caucases, Malaysia, and elsewhere. A Taliban by any other name smells just as foul. They each have their own name, their own supposedly "nationalist struggle", but in fact they are all just Muslims, carrying out the unambiguous instructions of their Allah: to strive against the unbelievers wherever they find them.
The kufirs, today's kufirs specifically, have made many mistakes. But the only people responsible for the rise of Islam (and therefore Islamic violence and intolerance) are the people who practice it. We cannot continue turning a religious attack on all kufirs into a playground for partisan political skirmishes.
The Times should keep the focus where it belongs, though in the tradition of Walter Duranty, they will never allow it to go there in the first place.
And the $30 billion lavished on Pakistan since 9/11/2001? Economc aid, military aid, debt forgiveness, all intended to buy, or at least to rent for a long time, Pakistani cooperation?
Don't believe the press reports, dutifully repeating a sum about one-third that size, because once you add debt forgiveness and other amounts the government has carefully not counted. For more on this see the calculations made a year ago by the specialist on Pakistan Selig Harrison.