PAKISTAN EXPOSED – If Osama and Al-Qaeda are ISI, Then What?

The discovery of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan’s most secure stronghold at Abbottabad, just 800 yards from Pakistan’s West Point is clear and convincing evidence that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terrorism against America. There is no other reasonable explanation.

We already knew Pakistan is what we feared a nuclear-armed Iran would be — a nuclear-armed, terrorist supporting, state. Just ask India about Mumbai and the Lashkar-e-Taiba. Now we know that Pakistan is attacking us too. Al Qaeda is the operational arm of Pakistani intelligence (ISI) attacking us just as Lashkar-e-Taiba is its operational arm attacking India.

There are no good options with Pakistan, just greater or lesser degrees of bad ones. Given its possession of nuclear weapons, there is little we can safely do to deter Pakistani terrorism against us. Nothing short of actually destroying the nuclear-armed Pakistani state, and the rapid, forcible, seizure of its nuclear weapons, will protect America from Pakistani terrorism – they’ll build more nukes if we allow the Pakistani state to survive.

Destruction of the Pakistani state and prompt seizure of its nuclear weapons are well within America’s power, particularly if we ruthlessly use some of our own tactical nuclear weapons in the process of seizing Pakistan’s. Securing Pakistan’s nukes quickly — to keep them from being used on American cities by Pakistani agents aka terrorists funded by Pakistani intelligence — is an important enough objective to merit the use of our tactical nuclear weapons.

Our second major problem here is that Pakistan’s people and culture are almost totally infected by Islamist Jihadist hatred of us, unlike Iraq and Iran. We liberated Iraq from tyranny, while the Iranian people loathe their Shiite Islamist tyranny. Pakistan is larger than Iraq and Iran combined, and far beyond our ability to subdue, let alone occupy. Our destruction of the Pakistani state would create a vast, hideously dangerous, and totally unrestrained failed state base for overt terrorism against us. The single thing they wouldn’t be able to use against us after we leave are nuclear weapons, which only an organized government can (so far) manufacture.

The only way to keep Pakistan from subsequently becoming a far more dangerous terrorist base than Afghanistan ever was would require the physical destruction of its people with strategic nuclear weapons. We won’t have the will do so…until we are again hit at home with more biological weapons, or with nukes.

Our world is now on the verge of Richard “Wretchard” Fernandez’s “Three Conjectures.”

29 thoughts on “PAKISTAN EXPOSED – If Osama and Al-Qaeda are ISI, Then What?”

  1. I tried to elucidate some of the problems yesterday.

    1. I believe that Trent is correct. The further implication is that we are engaged in the wrong war in Afghanistan.

    2. Our troops give the Pakistanis 130,000 hostages. All of their supplies come through Pakistan.

    3. The best I can come up with is to declare that the the death of Bin laden has completed our mission, and get our troops out of Afghanistan, ASAP. Tout Suite. Chop Chop. On the Double.

    4. I agree that we need to dis-nuclear arm Pakistan. But, we need to get our soldiers out first. We might be able structure the draw down to leave the elements in place for the attack on the nuclear bunkers, but it will be a high wire act.

    5. We do not have the appetite to do anything with Pakistan after a de-nuke attack. OTOH, there are plenty of Hindu revanchists in India, who would love to have the Punjab back.

    6. The nukes raise a tough question. Did the Chinese give them to the Pakis. I doubt that Pakistan has ever had the technical talent to build n-bombs. The are plenty of stories that the Chinese gave the technology for the bombs to the Pakistanis. But, I think it much more likely that the Chinese sold them whole bombs.

    7. The other message needs to be to Iran: “You are next.”

  2. Afghanistan is one phase of the war with Pakistan.

    Bin Laden’s death inside Pakistan means we don’t have to be nice anymore.

    We can pay bigger bribes to the ‘Stans and Russia for our Afghan logistics.

  3. I think it’s a big mistake to say that the Pakistani are “united” by anything, much less antipathy towards the US. One of the biggest mistakes Western make in thinking about non-Western nations is believing that just because we imposed the Western concept of “nation” or “country” on those places that therefore the people their have the same emotional commitment and loyalty to those concepts as do Westerners.

    Historically, Pakistan has been one of those countries defined more by the absence of other countries rather than by any kind of intrinsic internal cohesion. It is a mishmash of ethnic groups, clans and dynasties created solely by the fact that they majority Muslim instead of Hindu. They devote most of their time plotting against and attacking each other. Look at the Bangladesh war for independence for an example of how Pakistani treat each other when the gloves are off. Pakistani internal and external politics has more in common with the War of the Roses than any Western politics of the last 200 years.

    We’ve never been allied with something called Pakistan but rather with certain family-based groups within the country. Likewise, we’ve never been at war with Pakistan but just another set of family-based groups. Even within ethnic groups like the Pashtuns, you can find one clan bitterly at war with all non-muslims while the clan across the valley thinks the entire thing is silly.

    Pakistani government institutions, if we can be generous enough to call them that, are equally riven. The actual Western style org chart description of the institutions has absolutely no relevance to how things actually get done internal nor do they show the true lines of authority. Instead both authority and loyalty follow dynastic and clan lines with sub-ideology bringing up the rear.

    For a Western, used to how Western institutions functions, it seem impossible that everyone at the top of the institutions did not know that Bin Laden was hiding out so close to the heart of the institutions. However, if you ignore the existence of the institutions and look at the real organizational structure, then it becomes much more plausible. Competing dynastic groups don’t tell each other what they are doing.

    I think that most groups in Pakistan, especially those based in the urbanized low-lands, have been letting the Islamist run free as long as a means of directing their energies against outsiders. Now we need to make it clear that we will not tolerate this anymore. Either the groups that can interact with the modern world will gain a firm upper hand or we will do it for them.

    However, we go about this however, we need to never think of the conflict as being one between countries or nation states in the Western model. We need to think in terms of medieval dynastic politics and act accordingly.

  4. I wouldn’t do anything in Pakistan without coordination with India. They’ll be left to deal with whatever mess ensues next door and we should do whatever we can to make sure they buy into its creation. Doing so may lead to very interesting alternatives we have not considered. Instead Obumble has eroded the relationship Bush established. Very bad in the short run, recoverable in the long.

  5. I agree with all the comments but our first priority should be to get our troops out of Afghanistan. Pakistan is not a nation state in the sense we are familiar with in the west. It is a medieval society. The Pashtuns want a Pashtunistan including western Afghanistan. Obama has done harm to our relationship with India but that is part of his Islamophile mind-set. Getting rid of him will solve a lot of problems. Maybe his macho moment about bin Laden will allow him to make one good decision. Unfortunately, he campaigned that Afghanistan was the “good war” and that may be a barrier to good sense.

  6. Shannon,

    The only thing that unites the Muslim peoples of Pakistan is their hate for India.

    This means that Kashmir’s and other terrorist activities aimed at India are a prerequisite activity for any Pakistani power faction attempting to gain dominant power there. Our interfering in that fact is a on-going threat to Pakistani domestic stability, such as it is.

    The failing Pakistani state does not fit into Western ideas of what a state is and what a government of that state does. The Pakistani state is a vehicle by which the various Pakistani power factions/family-based groups extract resources from the Pakistani people and especially foreigners for their own purposes. It is the tool to vie for power and eliminate the other Pakistani factions.

    The Pakistani government, such as it is, exists primarily as a vehicle to deal with the outside world by keeping foreigners from invading and extracting money from gullible foreigners, primarily Westerners.

    The Pakistani Army, chief among the Pakistani power factions, knows how to share the wealth in a better, less corrupt manner than Pakistani civilian politicians (who are very corrupt and have sharing issues) and the Jihadi nuts (who are on a mission from God).

    This is why the Pakistani army periodically takes over the Pakistani state, then cede it back to the civilian politicians. It knows it can’t run everything and it needs civilian front men to get money from the West.

    India’s immediate problems and the WORLD’s stem from Pakistan. It is the Disneyland of jihad and India is their neighbor. Outside Afghanistan, the rest of the world is escaping the mayhem because India is both next door and a soft target. And Abbottabad showed that distance is no barrier to Pakistani supported terrorists.

    Pakistan does this because it can, and thanks to it’s nukes, the failed Pakistani state is safe to continue these policies. That isn’t “screwing the pooch,” “jumping the shark,” or “squeezing all the toothpaste out of the tube.” It is coldly rational from their point of view.

    America, like India, can do whatever it wants internally to stop its current terrorist problem, but Pakistan will continue to sponsor terror.

    There will always be some terrorist clique that one of the Pakistani state power factions will have built up to start the terrorism cycle all over again.

    India defeated the Punjab insurgency. Then Pakistan started Kashmir.

    Then India, for all practical purposes defeated the Kashmir insurgency, and reduced it to a trickle, with Israeli technical assistance.

    Pakistani terrorist then attacked soft targets inside India like Mumbai.

    What Abbottabad showed is the Pakistanis did that “attacking of soft targets” to America first, on 9/11/2001, as well.

    Now it is true America has some allies inside that failed state dealing with the more Islamist factions, but often times we cannot tell the Islamists from the “non-Islamist” because both our allies and the Islamists factions inside the Pakistani are Pakistani nationalists one and all. When it comes to Indian terrorism, there are indistinguishable.

    And once you support any Islamist terrorist group, you support Islamist terrorists attacking America.

    The truth we have to face is that there is no one there who can enforce peace over all the Pakistani factions, and turn ISI’s Islamist terrorists off, because Islamist hate — versus India or America — is the only thing that can rally popular support for the Pakistani State.

    As a result, the Islamist factions inside the Pakistani state have more deniability for terrorist operations than the Mullah’s of Iran. To be blunt, the Pakistanis were playing a game of “Moderate Iranian Mullah” with us…until we found and killed Usama Bin Laden

    Whatever their colorings, the members of the Pakistani state — civilian or military — are Pakistani nationalists. The only thing that unites the Pakistani people behind the state in any meaningful way is hate and right now war with India is its focal point.

    Every faction of the Pakistani state will use that card to stay in power domestically, whatever they are saying to the West. They will use our assistance from outside to count coup on other Pakistani state factions, but they all will lie to any and all outsiders about war and terrorism with India. They need it to much to maintain the Pakistani state in existence.

    And thier existance as a WMD armed, terrorist sponsoring, state is a threat to America.

    This takes us to another harsh geo-political reality I spoke to in my post. The best defense against nation-state sponsored terrorist attacks is preemption. Eliminate terrorist bases and state support by eliminating the supporting governments.

    Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened because America had the economy and the political will to both forge nuclear weapons and to use them to eliminate the threat. All it took was a Pearl Harbor to fatally enraging the American people.

    Our Islamic terrorist foes in Pakistan are seeking to provide the Indian people with that same motivation to eliminate the threat a’la “Pakistan Delenda Est.”

    And there is nothing America’s government can do to stop that.

    In fact, if recent Rasmussen polling on the Osama raid is to be believed, the American public is well on its way to “Pakistan Delenda Est” without India. Where the American people go, perforce, the American government will follow.

  7. I disagree that there are Pakistani nationalists. Few, if any, residents of Pakistan believe in Pakistan as a nation or as a country. Pakistan was founded on the concept of Islamic opposition to the secular India. They are Islamic first and hate India second. Those are the ONLY things which unite most Pakistanis.

    Arguments can be made about whether a majority of the residents of Pakistan are “for”, i.e,, in favor of, anything besides Islam. The one thing which is certain is that only a few at best are in favor of the concept of Pakistan as a nation. Shannon Love is quite correct in that. The place is medieval.

  8. I wonder about the real viability of Pak’s nukes. That they have run some tests is OK, but could they actually load up a missile with a nuclear warhead, shoot it at (insert target in India here) and have it work? Maybe someone with a little more knowledge in this realm could enlighten me a bit.

  9. Dan,

    Pakistan has had effective Chinese U-235 & plutonium implosion missile warhead designs for more than twenty years. Their ability to fabricate a missile warhead to the necessary tolerances is an issue, but aircraft-delivered gravity warheads, and terrorist nukes, won’t suffer such vibration and g forces.

  10. By aircraft delivered gravity warhead, do you mean a traditional bomb that you just drop on the area? If so, I wonder if India has any sort of anti aircraft defenses. I fear I may be hijacking this thread so please shut me down anyone if you think I am getting off track.

  11. Dan,

    Yes, an aircraft delivered gravity warhead is ye olde bombe dropped on their heads from above first used before World War One by those daring young men in their flying machines.

    India has air defenses but IMO those won’t protect India from Pakistani nukes delivered by Pakistani F-16’s. India has as much or more problems than Pakistan making modern military hardware work.

    This is enough of the off-thread stuff. The issue is protecting America, not India, from Pakistan’s state-sponsored terrorism.

  12. My guess would be that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were built and are maintained by the Chinese. That is good news in that the Chinese have some say in what will happen. That is bad news in that the Chinese are duplicitous and do not view themselves as our friends. We do have one weapon against the Chinese that could really hurt them, and that is the T$s we owe them. The debts would be cancelled if there were a real problem.

    I also think that we should and could blow the Pakistani Air Force to smithereens on our way out.

  13. Tom,

    Pakistani nationalism is like Canadian nationalism — with a lot more blood.

    The both know what they are against, not what they are for.

  14. Robert,

    There are 100 Pakistani nukes of one sort or another. A Fox article on that is in the post.

  15. Trent, please consider rewriting your response to Shannon Love as a full article here. It is that informative.

  16. Trent: 100 nukes or 20, it makes no difference. In the hands of those lunatics, it is too many. We need to do something about it. But, step one must be untangling ourselves from the tar baby (i.e. Afghanistan) so that the Pakis do not have hostages.

    I would favor doing something about the Pakistani arsenal, but we need the cooperation of Indian and the nihil obstat of China.

  17. @Robert, we actually know a lot about the Pakistani nuclear program, and it is not as you describe. It is a robust home grown program and it has exported, not imported, nuclear knowledge and expertise. North Korea’s nuclear weapons program has a heritage in Pakistan, for example. Read up on A Q Khan for more details. Imagining that China is simply giving them bombs is fantastically wrong and will lead to grossly incorrect conclusions on how to deal with the problem.

  18. Robin,

    The question here isn’t how the Pakistanis got their nuclear stockpile.

    It is what their terrorist puppets are going to do with them:

    Evidence at bin Laden’s home raises nuclear concerns
    Pakistani government links suspected

    Intelligence analysts are sifting through phone numbers and email addresses found at Osama bin Laden’s compound to determine potential links to Pakistani government and military officials while U.S. officials and analysts raise concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear materials.

    According to three U.S. intelligence officials, the race is on to identify what President Obama’s top counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan, has called bin Laden’s “support system” inside Pakistan. These sources sought anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to reporters.

    My concern now is that we cannot exclude the possibility that officers in the Pakistani military and the intelligence service were helping to harbor or aware of the location of bin Laden,” said Olli Heinonen, who served as the deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 2005 to 2010.

    “What is to say they would not help al Qaeda or other terrorist groups to gain access to sensitive nuclear materials such as highly enriched uranium and plutonium?”

    >Much snipped<


    “… WASHINGTON – The wealth of information pulled from Osama bin Laden’s compound has reinforced the belief that he played a strong role in planning and directing attacks by al-Qaida and its affiliates in Yemen and Somalia, senior U.S. officials said Friday.

    And the data further demonstrates to the U.S. that top al-Qaida commanders and other key insurgents are scattered throughout Pakistan, not just in the rugged border areas, and are being supported and given sanctuary by Pakistanis, a senior defense official said …”

    Trent correctly contends that Pakistan is a state sponsor of Al Qaeda and its terrorism against us.

    I.e., Pakistan is making war on America.

    The only question is when we fight back.

  20. I also feel that President Obama is not being given credit for making a VERY gutsy call here, and particularly one which has produced STRATEGIC political consequences.

    Exposure of Pakistani duplicity, and that it is making war on us, is far, far more important than merely killing Osama bin Laden. I can’t emphasize this enough.

    President Obama has made an historic, decisive, courageous and, in my opinion, ultimately successful strategic move in the war on terror.

  21. Tom H,

    I disagree. Pres. Obama did a right thing in killing Osama bin Laden.

    He didn’t do THE RIGHT THING.

    There are a lot of reasons for that, but the bigger pay off would have been OBL’s capture and long term intensive interrogation.

    Every strategic pay off WRT Pakistan would have been much bigger with the Sword of Damocles of a live OBL confession hanging over the heads of Pakistani officials.

    The President went for the low collateral damage kill instead.

    As he has done with other Al-Qaeda leaders.


    “John Yoo: ‘This Administration’ Really Doesn’t ‘Want to Capture al Qaeda Leaders'”

  22. Pakistan is not our friend:

    Pakistan breaches trust, names local CIA boss
    Chidanand Rajghatta, TNN | May 8, 2011, 01.13am IST

    In a sign of how bad ties are between the two countries, Pakistani media on Saturday once again publicly named the CIA station chief in Islamabad, a breach of both protocol and trust, that is bound to enrage Washington.

    A Pakistani TV channel and a newspaper considered mouthpieces of the country’s military said the ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha had met CIA station chief Mark Carlton to protest US incursion into Abbottabad to kill al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden. CIA station chiefs remain anonymous and unnamed in public although the host government is told.

    Earlier, the Obama administration had asked Pakistan to disclose names of its top intelligence operatives to determine whether they had contact with Osama or his agents.

    The truth be told, Pakistan already told the Islamists their bit o’ intelligence.

  23. Trent,

    I disagree. The fact that Osama was both protected by Pakisan, and allowed to operate Al Qaeda, is all the American people need to know.

    America’s will to win is THE decisive battlefield of any war involving us. President Obama just identified our real enemy in an irrefutable way.

    We can’t modify Pakistan’s behavior through blackmail or threats. We can only destroy Pakistan’s ability to harm us, however many of them we have to kill.

    Our behavior is what wins wars.

    President Obama has made a decisive move injecting strategic clarity into the picture.

  24. Tom,

    Every strong point you made about Obama and Pakistan is stronger with Osama Bin Laden alive and in American interrogators custody than dead.

    Pres. Obama took the low collateral damage (to his domestic political coalition) option here.

  25. “Pakistani nationalism is like Canadian nationalism — with a lot more blood.

    The both know what they are against, not what they are for.”

    As a Canadian I can say we know what we are for. You however are very confused.

  26. I’m sure we can cut a deal with India to partition Pakistan, or, rather, undo the partition of the Raj.

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