Bush Aides See Failure in Fight With Al Qaeda in Pakistan
By MARK MAZZETTI and DAVID E. SANGER
WASHINGTON, July 17 — President Bush’s top counterterrorism advisers acknowledged Tuesday that the strategy for fighting Osama bin Laden’s leadership of Al Qaeda in Pakistan had failed, as the White House released a grim new intelligence assessment that has forced the administration to consider more aggressive measures inside Pakistan.
The intelligence report, the most formal assessment since the Sept. 11 attacks about the terrorist threat facing the United States, concludes that the United States is losing ground on a number of fronts in the fight against Al Qaeda, and describes the terrorist organization as having significantly strengthened over the past two years.
In identifying the main reasons for Al Qaeda’s resurgence, intelligence officials and White House aides pointed the finger squarely at a hands-off approach toward the tribal areas by Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who last year brokered a cease-fire with tribal leaders in an effort to drain support for Islamic extremism in the region.
“It hasn’t worked for Pakistan,” said Frances Fragos Townsend, who heads the Homeland Security Council at the White House. “It hasn’t worked for the United States.”
YEAH. Who could have imagined it?
Let's remember that the Bush administration approach to Afghanistan after 9/11 was to insist the Taliban hand us everyone we demanded without regard for its own sovereignty, before we could count to three. That's not to suggest they would have cooperated eventually, if we'd asked nicer. It's to suggest that we might have used the time a reasonable appearance of diplomacy would have given us to allow international pressure to build on Musharraf, instead of kissing the ass of a military strongman with a tentative hold on his own people and control of one the world's three non-NPT-signator nuclear arsenals.
(Oh, right. I'm supposed to believe that Musharraf cooperated because Dick Armitage threatened to cut his nuts off. Not that I can't imagine him doing so. I just have to wonder what our answer to the response that "Thirty seconds after the first American bombs fall New Delhi glows in the dark" would have been. In the same way, I'm supposed to believe he "recently" made arrangements with Islamic extremists in the north. The answer is in that deal we made with India, reparations for whatever deal with made with Pakistan.)
I mean, it's not like we would have lost our chance to capture bin-Laden if we waited an extra week or two, now is it?