July 08, 2004

This is TNR-Worthy?

Is Marty Peretz minding the store?

My BS detector is going off--big time.

Actually, it's flat out booming.

"The last ten days of July deadline has been given repeatedly by visitors to Islamabad and during [ul-Haq's] meetings in Washington." Says McCormack: "I'm aware of no such comment." But according to this ISI official, a White House aide told ul-Haq last spring that "it would be best if the arrest or killing of [any] HVT were announced on twenty-six, twenty-seven, or twenty-eight July"--the first three days of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

Come again?

Can anyone seriously, without blushing, buy this stuff?

I mean, why wait until the Convention?

I'm surprised they didn't instruct Musharraf and Co. to spring UBL the day Kerry picked Edwards!

Then this:

But Powell conspicuously did not commit the United States to selling F-16s to Pakistan, which it desperately wants in order to tilt the regional balance of power against India. And the Pakistanis fear that, if they don't produce an HVT, they won't get the planes.

"Conspicuously"? What a laugh!

Pakistan (Musharraf aside) has been hankering for F-16s for years.

Check this story out:

In December of 1988, Pakistan ordered 11 additional F-16A/B Block 15 OCU (Operational Capability Upgrade) aircraft, and in September of 1989, plans were announced for Pakistan to acquire 60 more F-16A/Bs. A down payment of $685 M was received, and work on the planes began.

The F-16 deal got unwound because Pakistan got itself involved in a controversy with the United States over its suspected nuclear weapons capability.

It's been a major item on the bilateral agenda between Washington and Islamabad for decades now.

And, apart from the now moot nuclear capability issue, India, you know, has had some thoughts on all this too.

Check out this PakNews story from 9/11/02 for more background.

So that's just a year after 9/11.

Was the reason we weren't approving the F-16 sales then simply because UBL hadn't been handed-over in cuffs to CIA agents by the ISI?

Of course not.

Here's about a year later when Belgium was hankering to do a third country sale of F-16s to Pakistan and we were telling Brussels to cool it?

Hey, they were just holding this carrot in reserve again!

Dastardly UBL hadn't yet been handed over.

Then this:

Equally, they fear that, if they don't deliver, either Bush or a prospective Kerry administration would turn its attention to the apparent role of Pakistan's security establishment in facilitating Khan's illicit proliferation network. One Pakistani general recently in Washington confided in a journalist, "If we don't find these guys by the election, they are going to stick this whole nuclear mess up our asshole."

Ah, this wouldn't be such a whopper without some recycled Sy Hersh.

Who is this unnamed ISI official who works under ISI director, Lieutenant General Ehsan ul-Haq--Mssrs. Judis, Ackerman and Ansari? (All three sources, of course, are anonymous. TNR, perhaps a bit insecure on this point, clues us in as to why: "Under Pakistan's Official Secrets Act, an official leaking information to the press can be imprisoned for up to ten years") [ed. note: Heh, you think?]

Anyway, this ISI official (ostensibly a General, Colonel--we aren't told?), he of the so colorful language, kind of sounds like Robert Duvall in the Great Santini.

I suspect his credibility is, at very best, highly debatable.

You know, these are such damning charges, when you really stop and think about it.

It's despicable to insinuate POTUS would purposefully calibrate the ideal dates by which to haul UBL to justice--a man responsible for the deaths of thousands of Americans-- simply to fit electoral demands.

Especially as, while he's still at large (assuming he's a) still alive and b) exerts some command and control over al-Q), he can contribute to the killing of more U.S. citizens.

As we all recall, of course, the Democratic Georgetown drawing-rooms are all atitter with such talk (think Madeline Albright and Co.) of an October (sorry, late July!) surprise.

I expect such chit-chat after Gin & Tonic No. 3 chez Madeline.

But it's still a canard that's deeply offensive.

So one should be very careful peddling it around outside of the cocktail parlors, in print, especially in top-tier publications.

And, I've got to say, I think three excellent journalists have let their partisan nature, in the heat of an election year, get the better of them on this story.

Not TNR's proudest day, in my view. Not by a long shot.

I mean, at the very least, even if they think their sources are of the utmost reliability--couldn't Ackerman and Judis mention the long history of the U.S. having real issues allowing the Pakistanis to get F--16s?

You know, just to put things in some perspective?

But why should they?

Painting the Bushies in sinister, cynical Mooreian colors might tilt a few more votes to the good guys, right?

Such pieces, heavy on speculation and anonymous sources; light on facts--well, they're really just for the good of the country!

Chill out, already!

UPDATE: I gotta say, it's nice to have commenters watching your back like this and this.

Thanks guys.

Posted by Gregory Djerejian at July 8, 2004 02:56 PM
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