January 17, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Writing for Family Security Online, Lt. Col James Zumwalt [USMC, Ret.] makes the claim that without the active support of Pakistan, the U.S. will be unsuccessful in defeating the Afghan Taliban and hence see victory slip through its fingertips.
Zumwalt - like many knowledgeable observers - bemoans the loss of former Pak president Musharraf, who was far more dedicated to fighting the jihadis, than the current leader, Mr. Zardari, "But with the resignation of strongman Musharraf in August 2008 and his replacement by Asif Ali Zadari, the same military commitment to containing the militants in FATA was not there..." [see, For Want Of Pakistani Enlightenment Afghanistan Will Be Lost, http://www.familysecuritymatters.org/publications/id.8431/pub_detail.asp]
Actually, Lt. Col. Zumwalt might be painting a rosier picture than reality might suggest. While he seems to suggest that it is possible to find common ground between U.S. and Pakistani security interests, he fails to sufficiently factor in the mindset of most Pakistanis, including the country's leadership - this is a deeply fundamentalist, paranoid and expansionist Islamic society. Fact is, at base level Pakistan is doctrinally more in tune with the Taliban than it is with the West.
It is not for any lack of knowledge that the jihadi influence continues to permeate Pakistan's ISI security force and its military leadership. That level of devotion is a given and unremarkable given societal standards.
This is why we find all of the recent "full out" plans for rooting out the Taliban extremists less than ineffective - the words are there, but the heart is not similarly committed, especially when it seems to them that these actions are being forced on them by the West [i.e., the outside Christian world] and not internally dictated.
Zumwalt correctly notes the effectiveness of the drone campaign against Taliban/a-Qaeda leadership in the tribal areas, but this is simply not enough.
In the real world, it is really impossible for the Paks to root out the Taliban in the area bordering Afghanistan: first they really don't have sufficient motivation [hampered by their religious belief] and second, assuming the will, the military and intelligence is so riddled with jihadis that they will never take the sustained and proper action necessary.
So what to do?
If, as it seems, success in Afghanistan is dependent in large measure upon de-linking the Pak and Afghan Taliban, then that job will fall on the shoulders of U.S. forces. If the jihadi infrastructure in the tribal areas is the problem, no amount of drone attacks will possibly suffice for direct - not proxy - military action, actively and directly waging war on the jihadi bases and then holding that ground. Call this an invasion, call it a temporary incursion, call it what you will, Pakistan's world view is so dysfunctional vis-a-vis our interests, as to be hopeless at this point and barring adequate resolve by this administration - and the next and the next - Afghanistan will always be a festering sore, which no amount of foreign aid and military assistance can cure.
This is by no means a waving of the white flag, rather it is a call to a realistic pathway whereby to secure our security interests. At this point success in this conflict lacks only one [but evanescent] component - sufficient national will.
© 2011 PipeLineNews.org LLC. All rights reserved.