March 23, 2005

Pakistan Watch

Remember how Pakistan was to inexorably implode the moment a U.S. soldier touched down within 100 miles of the volatile NWFP? It didn't, of course, during the Afghan campaign. Next Pakistan was going to blow up because of Bush's reckless misadventure in Mesopotamia. But again, that's just not how things have turned out. Dumb luck (again!), doubtless.

Posted by Gregory at March 23, 2005 05:36 AM | TrackBack (10)

It would be helpful if you could provide links to anyone credible making the two claims you reference. Thanks.

Posted by: SomeCallMeTim at March 23, 2005 06:06 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hey thanks for pulling me out!

It gets lonely, sometimes.

Posted by: Straw Man at March 23, 2005 09:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Yeah, I think there's a bit of straw being torched here. I mean, it wasn't any one camp that was concerned about the internal dynamic in Pakistan given our operation in that neck of the woods.

Wasn't that one of the reasons the Bush team decided against cross border pursuits and extensive activity in the tribal areas? I'm not saying they were wrong mind you, but you can't have it both ways Mr. Djerejian. Your points would be stronger if you didn't rush to such gotchas.

Posted by: Eric Martin at March 23, 2005 07:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

i surely remember that the possibility of destabilizing friendly states was raised as reason not to go into Iraq. And I THINK pakistan was mentioned. But one doesnt get anywhere by googling on say, Pakistan, Iraq, instability. Needle in a haystack. Really, I suppose someone will need to create a database of what all significant players on both sides said, if we're gonna play gotcha.

I'll trade you one destabilized Pakistan, and one decline of international law, for 10 iraqis with flowers, two cakewalks.

Posted by: liberalhawk at March 23, 2005 10:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I dunno LH, you're asking for quotes from the VP, the Sec of Def, and Wolfie, and in return we offer some anonymous and amorphous voices on the Left? (and the Right I might add, as I argued above it was also the Bush administration that was concerned about events in Pakistan).

No sale, but I'm willing to negotiate....

Posted by: Eric Martin at March 24, 2005 01:25 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Stability? What the hell is it, and why should we want it?

It's my belief that most liberals/leftists are still operating under cold war assumptions, let's keep our eyes on the prize and not blow up the world. A good way to operate back then, stability was no doubt a massive plus and liberals/leftists acted as a break on stupid adventures that threatened to escalate to nuclear war.

Liberals/Leftists cling to stability now, and "international law" in the belief that it protects us. Manifestly it does not. International Law did nothing to stop 9/11, indeed it hampered any effort to prevent it, since the US was limited in what it could do in response to Al Qaeda's escalating attacks. International Law and concern for "Stability" prevented a number of attempts to kill Bin Laden and other senior Al Qaeda members.

The way the post Cold War game is played, stability and international law are net losers for the US. We lose our ability to act decisively to kill key decision makers and logistical people, and thus greatly limit (though not eliminate) the amount of damage Al Qaeda and organizations like it can do to us. Nations run by tyrants and oligarchs that now face instability or even removal by the US have powerful incentives to cooperate against terrorists, where none existed before. Getting rid of Saddam, and the ease in which it was done (though not the occupation) DID concentrate the minds wonderfully of those who were hostile to us. We have the ability to overthrow people, and showed we will use it.

Short of physically occupying Pakistan, this is probably the best we can do. An object lesson for the Pakistani military that they too could suffer this fate if a nuke or two found it's way to bin Laden.

We don't live in a cold war world anymore, our security is best achieved by showing folks there are real consequences from something like 9/11.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at March 24, 2005 04:43 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


I agree with a lot of what you are saying, but a caveat that may not need saying (not that that has ever kept me from saying anything) is that instability if it is to be useful (and I agree with you that it is) needs to progress in manageable amounts. I am almost tempted to say that instability needs to proceed in an orderly and measured fashion just to see Eric and Praktike pile on:) But I think we all can get my drift.

Eric and other non-non-credible critics,

As for complaining about Greg's gotcha moment, who says he was talking about people you guys would consider credible? The non-credible are everywhere, look at me! I sure remember the talk, I am glad to know they were all non-credible. I didn't want to bother finding out who all said this, but now I want to spend several hours looking up every person who brought it up and send it to Liberals against Terrorism as people who from now on are officially certified as non-credible and whose opinions are now to be at all times fully discounted. I say this by the way while heartily acknowledging that Eric is right that such talk came from across the spectrum and that every thinking individual had to fear destabilizing Pakistan was a possibility if handled poorly. Luckily (dumb luckily?) I guess it wasn't, and Eric describes many of the measures the administration took to avoid such consequences.

However, in defense of Greg I failed to notice him claim that all such talk came from one side of the aisle (In fact though I am not sure they said anything directly on point at the time, the general thrust of Pat Buchanan’s and the wacko “claim they are libertarians” at Lew Rockwell’s site and certainly made the general argument, and since I am sure all of us would like to do so anyway, lets just skip the due diligence and put them on the non-credible list at LaT right now.) So maybe Eric, your point might be a little better if you didn’t assume that Greg is taking potshots at people you respect. Also, while I do agree the administration was not unmindful of what the risks in Pakistan might be, Greg was addressing the “Pakistan was to inexorably implode” crowd, not those who merely felt that the situation in Pakistan required a deft hand and a watchful eye. Still, it is refreshing to hear you acknowledge that Bush (or his underlings) at least here must have had both such rare qualities on this issue if no other.

Outside of that I thank you for the important service you provide of smearing butter all over that triumphalist perch we invasion supporters keep trying to shimmy to the top of.

Posted by: Lance at March 24, 2005 04:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

your resident greaser of the pole....

Posted by: Eric Martin at March 24, 2005 08:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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