March 2007


Right after the election in October 2006 I wrote in this very space**“Pakistan is restive; Pakistan has given sanctuary to the Taliban; President Musharraf, tenuously holding power by his finger-tips, barely escaped two assassination attempts, and Pakistan possesses a nuclear arsenal. Looking ahead we must have armed forces sufficient to maintain Afghanistan, sustain Pakistan, fight in several countries, perhaps on several continents, and, if the unthinkable becomes reality, to maintain order at home. Thus we will need a draft, increased taxes, war bonds   as well as other unpopular items that will challenge the patriotism of the newly elected. Will the new team be gutsy and forthright enough to take this program to their constituents, or will they simply ride out the present situation, hoping to get reelected in 2008 and thereafter?


Nothing has changed. It’s all still true. This was underscored by Vice President Cheney’s recent visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan accompanied by assertions that Cheney was there to “lay down the law” to Musharraf”, to warn him  “if you can’t control your country we’ll cut your funding”. What a charade, what a manipulation putting Cheney’s words into the mouths of the babes of the media. What nonsense! We are in no position to “lay down the law” to anybody. In all probability Cheney was there to find out how perilous the perch from which Musharraf ruled Pakistan? How responsive the Pakistanis to radical Islam, how restive the Mullahs and what was the nature of their messages in the mosques. If subverted by Al Qaeda-Taliban could he effectively counter; if attacked how much help might he need from “others”, if assassinated who would take his place?  And  Musharraf  may well have pointed out that if our army had stayed in Afghanistan after President Karzoi was installed instead of wandering aimlessly into Iraq that Pakistan would be safe instead of vulnerable; that the Taliban might not at this time be dwelling in the Pakistani sanctuary of Waziristan and in conjunction with Al Qaeda,  Hopefully VP Cheney was not muscling President Karzoi to stop the poppy production in Afghanistan because you can’t confiscate  one’s livelihood and expect them to remain amiable.


 According to media reports Al Qaeda camps are revived in order to train jihadists to infiltrate London. Does that sound reasonable? Would Osama Bin Laden and  Ayman Al Zawahiri  be satisfied with dynamite in London or even New York if instead they could gain control or controlling influence in Pakistan with its legal world accepted atomic arsenal replete with missiles?   Why should Al Qaeda involve itself with petty stuff like Iraq when with a little patience it can have the whole enchilada?  After all, 12 years passed between the first and last attack on the World Trade Center.  They have time.


Is our Navy in the Persian Gulf in order to attack Iran? Probably not.  More likely our Navy is in the Persian Gulf ready to go to the adjacent Gulf of Oman to get access to the southern underbelly of Pakistan—just in case.


 Why worry about Iran, at least several years away from even one nuclear device when Al Qaeda overnight might acquire the arsenal ready made and legal?  


if Musharraf gets into trouble the United States and its “allies” must strike. The navy is there. How about the army and marines?  Well for starters, they must be extricated from Iraq, and bolstered by a military draft. I have to believe that our administration and military are thinking that far ahead. Has it occurred to anyone that Iran might want its own nuclear stuff, not to attack us but as a counterpoise to Pakistan and India. In this world of shadows nothing is exactly as it might seem.


If Al Qaeda makes a move in Pakistan Iran would be a very helpful ally. We might have to eat crow and, as we did with North Korea remove Iran from the Axis of Evil. So why not make nice to Iran? How come Al Qaeda and the Taliban were not included in the “Axis of Evil”?


Ooops,  suddenly we are making nice to Iran. What’s going on?


*In 1944 a physics professor lectured  that a cube of sugar held enough energy to float an ocean liner to Europe “but that energy will never be released in our lifetime”. About the same time very smart college classmate told me that the United States was making an Atom Bomb. I asked how  he knew that. Because, he said, all references to atomic energy have dropped out of the scientific literature.


 Currently no one is talking about  Pakistan’s atomic arsenal. Silence may be golden because it is revealing. I incline to believe the silent story, the story that is not being told.

 **Return to first paragraph.