Sunday, January 06, 2008

Arrogance And Lack Of Judgement: The Democrats `Debate' Pakistan

There was an absolutely stunning exchange tonight at the Democrat debate concerning Pakistan.

Senator Hillary Clinton made the astounding proposal for `joint supervision' over Pakistan's nuclear arsenal by the US and the British.

"So far as we know right now, the nuclear technology is considered secure, but there isn’t any guarantee, especially given the political turmoil going on inside Pakistan,” she said.

If elected president, the senator said, "I would try to get Musharraf to share the security responsibility of the nuclear weapons with a delegation from the United States and, perhaps, Great Britain, so that there is some fail-safe.".

And what if the Pakistanis tell you that this is an intolerable infringement of their sovereignty and their national defense and that you should go pound sand, senator? What then? And exactly how are these remarks, which were major news in Pakistan supposed to help Musharraf stabilize an already volatile situation?

The other Democrats, believe it or not are even worse on this topic.

Senator Obama restated his earlier claim that he would take military action in Pakistan even if the Pakistani government opposed it.

“Back in August, I said we should work with the Pakistani government, first of all to encourage democracy in Pakistan so you’ve got a legitimate government that we’re working with, and secondly that we have to press them to do more to take on Al Qaida in their territory,” he explained. “What I said was, if they could not or would not do so, and we had actionable intelligence, then I would strike.”

Yes, I do remember the Obama plan for Pakistan.

The Senator spoke of conditioning aid to the Musharraf regime on recognizable progress against the Taliban and al-Qaeda...a good idea, but let's never mind that Congress already passed this into law already, long before Obama thought to mention it.

If the Pakistanis aren't sufficiently cooperative, the senator said he wants to send two brigades into Pakistan to take out our enemies, and ask the Europeans for troops to go in with us in support of this invasion.

Or to translate that into military terms, Senator Obama wants to invade an area roughly the size of Texas with about 6,000 men in an area with some of the highest mountains and the ruggedest terrain on earth, to fight against a country armed with tactical nukes. And as I mentioned at the time, I'm curious about precisely which European nations Senator Obama is considering hitting up for those extra combat troops..especially when most of those same European nations won't even allow their troops in Afghanistan to be used in combat.

It's highly interesting to me that Senator Obama talks out of one side of his mouth about encouraging democracy in Pakistan and fighting al-Qaeda there and then talks out of the other side of his mouth about being unwilling to support democracy in Iraq by fighting al-Qaeda there and wanting to pull our troops out as soon as possible.

Senator Bill Richardson, who supposedly has what passes for a foreign policy background wants regime change in Pakistan and calls for Musharraf to be overthrown.

“Here is an example of a country, a potentially failed nation-state with nuclear weapons,” he said. “We had a situation where (Musarraf) has not gone after Al Qaeda in his own country, despite the fact that we’ve given him $11 billion ... He’s basically said that he is the supreme dictator. So we have the worst of all worlds. What I would specifically do as president is I would ask Musharraf to step aside.”

As if Musharraf is waiting for marching orders from Bill Richardson!

Aside from the stounding arrogance these views show, this is an exibition of a serious lack of judgement.

We have Musharraf, who for better or worse is a US ally being undermined by the presidential candidates of one of our major parties threatening to attack him, seize control of a prime military asset and/or work to push him out of office.

President Musharraf is in the middle of an incredibly difficult high wire act, trying to stabilize his country and keep it out of the hands of the radical Islamists while at the same time trying to move the country towards better relations with the US, in spite of some his conservative establishment allies who say the US is not to be trusted and that Pakistan should move closer to the Islamist bloc.

A performance like this, which made the headlines all over Pakistan is highly unhelpful, to say the least.Not that it appeared to have mattered to the candidates.


Anonymous said...

Freedom Figher

I could not agree more!! As always an excellent analysis. Just when I thouhgt the Democrats could not get any dumber they get even dumber than I thought posssible.

A joint US British operation to secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons. This is ridiculous. Pakistan would likely act just as you suggest. They would view this as an intolerable infringement on their soverignty.

Don't the Democrats and their media lackeys remind us every day about how Bush is an imperialist and about how evil imperialism is? Well whose the imperialist now? A suggestion of a joint US/ British force to guard Pakistan's nuclear weapons, sounds like the Democrats are the imperialists now. Sounds lkie the Democrats are a bit hypocritiical here.

Not only are the Democrats hypocritical, a joint US/British operation to guard Pakistan's nuclear weapons is probably inadvisable. First of all, we probably don't even know where they are. To be blunt I'm sure the Pakistani military does not trust the US government with such information. Even if they did, revealing the location of these weapons to US officials is risky. There is a very real possibility that the location of these weapons would be leaked to the media or Jihad sympathizers within the American government would pass this information on to Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups operating in Pakistan.

Even if we assume the US can be fully trusted, Musharaf's people are probably much better suited for this task. They will be more familliar with who the threats are, they can blend in better with the local populace, and they are probably going to be more motivated. Having Americans or British guard these weapons is probably not advisable. They would stick out like sore thumbs cluing in the Jihadists to the exact location of the weapons.

Perhaps Musharaf cannot be trusted. Perhaps we should consider regime change at some point. If it came to that, Obama's plan for the invation force would be laughable, if this were not such a serious matter.

What does seem clear is Musharaf has taken an enormous risk to even be nominally allied with us. I think a case could be made that he is under compensated by the US for what he has done. Clearly what he does not need right now is to have irresponisble American officials running off their mouths and undermining him right now.

In makings statements about foreign policy or formulating foreign policy positions, American leaders need to ask themselves if the policies they are advocating are likely to help or hinder our Jihadists enemies. Advocating the over throw of Musharaf would only help the Jihadists position.

With the kind of stupidity shoun by US leaders over the past few years, it is breathtakingly amazing that the United States has managed to survive at all. I attribute this good fortune soley to divine intervention.

I propse a new movie. This movie will be a sequel to the movie "Dumb and Dumber." This movie will star the Republicans as "dumb" and the Denocrats as "dumber." Of coruse the Republicans may do or say somehting even dumber than these Democrat candidates for President did. In this case we will alter the casting roles and put the Republicans will play the part of "dumber" to the Democrats "dumb."

Anonymous said...

Ultimately the war in Afghanistan cannot be won unless something is done about the safe havens that Al Qaeda and other terrorists have in Pakistan. Ultimately a military invasion of Pakistan may be the only way to defeat this enemy. If a President Obama, President Clinton, or even a President Bush were to suggest this course of action, I would not be diamterically opposed to it.

With this in mind we must be very clear on a number of factors. These are not limited to but as follows: what it would mean if we were to lose the war against Islamic terrorists, if we were to lose can defeat be mitigated in any way, how difficult an invasion of Pakistan would be, and how many troops it would require.

Freedom Fighter does an excellent job of describing the daunting challenges Pakistan's terrain poses. Also, these are some of the toughest fighters on earth. What is now the Taliban is the same group who defeated the mighty Soviet Union. Today's Taliban matches up much better against the Americans than their founders did against the Soviet forces. In other words, the American and allied forces pose far fewer challenges than the Russians did. Given this reality, the American forces have really done a pretty amazing job to date. I'm especially proud of our forces when we consider the fact that many of our NATO allies have been unwilling to fight.

Also, we must understand that Islamic Jihadists the likew of which we are currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan pose a far greater threat to the United States than Nazi Germany or Imperial Japan ever did or likely ever could have. Now, what would it take for a military invasion of Pakistan to be successful?

First of all, far more troops will be needed than Obama has suggested. We will need about 6,000 x 500 troops or 3,000,000. These men will need to be trained to fight in the terrain that is Pakistan and Afghanistan. This is not like the desert war fare or even the urban war fare we are used to in Iraq. Getting these troops up to speed to handle this will take some time. Obviously we are going to need a draft. The current size of the armed forces are inadequate for a military invasion of Pakistan. Also, when we invade Pakistan, the entire Arab world will explode in rage against us. The anti-Americanism that is present there now will be minor compared to the anti-Americanism that will be present after a US invasion of Pakistan. As suc, we will need vastly more troops to secure things like the oil fields throughout the middle east, shipping lanes such as the strait of Hormuz, and undoubtly a number of other things I have not even thought about. To do these things will likely require about
6,000,000 more troops. So far, we are up to 9,000,000 troops needed. Also, what about Iran? This commitment to Pakistan will free up Iran for even more dastardly deeds. We will ultimately need to do something about Iran. This will require another 3,000,000 or so troops. So far we are up to 12,000,000 troops needed to do the job against Islamic terrorists properly.

How will China and Russia respond when their Jihadists allies in Pakistan come under attack. Also, as mentioned earlier, the Iranians will want to join in on the fray. This means Iran will have to be engaged militarily. In all likelyhood, this will draw Russia and China into the war, even if the invasion of Pakistan does not.

During WWII the US fielded a military of about 12,000,000 troops, so I have been told. The US can probably currently fiedl about 30,000,000 troops if it fully mobilizes for war. The Western Europeans can probably field about 60,000,000 troops. Austrailla and Japan can probably add about another 10,000,000 troops. So far we are up to about 100,000,000 troops for our side.

The Chinese can field about 250,000,000 troops. The Russians can field about 30,000,000 troops and the Arabs can field about 120,000,000 troops. Our side will be outnumbered but we likely do still have a technological edge. Unfortunately the Russians have eroded that edge in recent years.

Also, I think we can count on the Israelis to fight along side us. The key here will be FINALLY allowing the Israelis to fight and not acting to undermine them. When the defense of Israel is undermined. the defense of the entire free world is undermined.

Every thing outlined here may not happen. The point is leaders need to think very carefully about what they do and the stakes need to be clearly explained to the people. Even if the war can remain limited to Pakistan, this is very tough terrain against very tough fighting forces. It would likely be the most difficult war we have ever fought.

Politicans and other leaders need to think carelfully about the policies thay suggest and the ones they implement. The notion that you are going to invade Pakistan with 6,000 troops is laughable. The Pakistani Jihadists and teh Pakistani military are probably laughing at that one. Clearly this policy suggestion that Mr. Obama put forth was not well thought out.

Perhaps we can do something about the sanctuaries for terrorists in Pakistan without invading Pakistan but the time grows short to decide if we are going to confront this problem. If we are not going to confront it and stop it, we will lose the war. If planned properly, defeat can be mitigated. In order to mitigate defeat we should, secure our borders, place a moratorium on immigration from Muslim countries, closely monitor the mosques, build more refineries, and fully develop our own oil and gas reserves. If we do all of this, we can probably mitigate defeat. Simply withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan without doing the other things will be an unmitigated disaster for America. It would end the US as a major power and would probably place the survival of the country in grave danger. Even if we choose to fight on in Iraq and Afghanistan, we should do the other things suggested. It makes little sense to fight Islamic terrorists in the Middle East while leaving the front door wide open and not screening who comes in.

Fritz J. said...

Very well said. I am left wondering why none of the Democrats running are willing to act like adults when it comes to foreign policy. Are they that afraid of the nutroots?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...I was under the impression that al-Qaida was all but gone in Iraq. And they never amounted to much more than highly publicized suicide bombings anyway, most of the violence was actually sectarian.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Y'all,
Poster, thanks for the kind words.

My point here is that at this point in time Musharraf is a US ally and probably the most pro-US leader we could hope for.

To undermine him strictly for partisan political purposes is amazingly poor judgement.

As far as invading Pakistan, it could be done successfully, but would take at least 100-150,000 troops according to one of my old pals in the 10th Mountain, who made remarks about Obama's plan that I'll politely translate as suggesting he seek mental help.

Hi Fritz I think the fear of MoveOn and the nutroots is part of it. The other part is that whatthey're essentially selling to the electorate ( especially Mrs. Clinton) is a return to the vacation from history we had in the 1990's.

I think we've seen where that led.

Hi Nazar al-Qaeda is on the ropes in Iraq at this time, but look for an attempt at resurgance (see my analysis of Osama's last tape below).

That wasn't always the case. Anbar and other locales were virtually taken over by al-Qaeda until they overplayed their hand by abusing the locals, who are now fighting with us. A lot of the `sectarian violence' you speak of was started by al-Qaeda's demolition of the Golden Mosque, and the excuse behing the formation of th eShiite militias was to protect Shiites from al-Qaeda, staring with the al-Qaeda massacre of Shiite pilgrims en route to Karbala three years or so ago.

No less a personage than Osama bin-Laden and Ayman Zawahiri referred to Iraq numerous times as their major front in the jihad against the west. When you think of what a peaceful, properous democratic Iraq would mean in the region and realize that Osama and company are very cognizant of American public opinion and th eway the dinosaur media works, it's easy to see why.

All Best,

Anonymous said...

I think Obama's potential toward Pakistan is ridiculous, but I don't think he actually suggested using two brigades to invade Pakistan if Musharraf doesn't make any strides in combating terrorist groups in Pakistan. According to the speech you linked to in your original post on Obama's plan for Pakistan, he says he would send two additional brigades to Afghanistan, not Pakistan.

"As President, I would deploy at least two additional brigades to Afghanistan to re-enforce our counter-terrorism operations and support NATO's efforts against the Taliban."

On Pakistan, he says "If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will," which is still ridiculous in and of itself.

FF, do you have a link to another source where Obama proposes using two brigades to invade Pakistan? I would love it if this were true, because this would solidify Obama's lack of foreign policy expertise.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hi Jon,
If you read the speech in context, and look at the fact that he's talking about invading Pakistan right after announcing he wants to send an additional two brigades to the theater , his meaning's obvious.

Considering that our troops in Afghanistan have their hands full now with the numbers they have(largely because several of our NATO allies refuse to allow their troops to fight in a combat role), the reference to two additnal brigads in this context are obviously the forces intended to invade Pakistan if Musharraf doesn't do what Obama wants.

Is there any other place in the theater that additional forces could come from, without severely shortchanging our troops in Afghanistan?

Do a google search. I'm hardly alone with this interpertation of Obama's naive proposal.

All Best,