When It Comes to Pakistan, We Just Can’t Handle the Truth

BY Glen Tschirgi
12 years, 11 months ago

Here is yet another example of the now infamous double-game being played by Pakistan, our so-called ally in the war against Islamic fundamentalism:

Twice in the last few weeks, US intelligence officials have provided the Pakistanis with the coordinates of bomb factories in the rugged tribal region of Waziristan, on the Afghan border — only to see the info leak to the enemy, who evacuated the sites before the Pakistani military arrived.


Incoming Defense Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Pakistan Friday to discuss “rebuilding” the Pakistan-US relationship, and reportedly confronted his hosts with the evidence that they’d tipped off the Taliban about the bomb sites.

This is just getting tiresome beyond words.

Is it even worth keeping score any longer?  Why does the U.S. continue to allow the Pakistanis to get away with this kind of thing?

There is only one reason I can find: we just can’t face the consequences of putting the screws to Pakistan.

The Obama Administration is afraid that even a hint or threat of even reduced aid will push the Pakistanis over the edge and into the arms of the Islamofascists.   Which is to say that Pakistan would openly embrace the terrorists rather than just discreetly.

As the Captain pointed out years ago, if the U.S. had any strategic sense, it would have developed alternative logistical routes to Afghanistan that did not depend upon Pakistan.   As it is, we are precariously reliant upon the Pakistanis keeping the land route open for the bulk of supplies coming into Afghanistan.

Other than having to find a new route to keep the campaign supplied, the other consequence of denying aid to Pakistan would be the loss of what little presence Pakistan still allows to CIA operatives who help to track down and target terrorists inside Pakistan.  Is this limited capability so vitally important that we are willing to fund a government that actively works against us as much as it does with us?  Given the increasing restrictions placed on operations within Pakistan, it is doubtful that the gains at this point are worth the losses.   Would a drone strike from a CIA base in Pakistan really have much of an effect on the Afghan Campaign?   If the death of Bin Laden made no impact, what would?

Then there is the benefit of clarity.   Having Pakistan as a declared enemy in the Afghan Campaign would certainly not be welcome, but at least the U.S. could take actions in the porous border areas that it cannot with an “ally” that acts like an enemy.   Clarity can be a wonderful thing.   Ambiguity in this regard has left us in strategic knots, knowing where the Taliban are getting re-supplied and trained but unable to effectively do anything about it.

Finally, the U.S. may have far more to gain by cutting Pakistan loose and allying closely with India.  As it is, the U.S. must temper its cooperation and policies with India due to Pakistani sensitivities.   If Pakistan is determined to act like a rogue state, then the U.S. is far better off developing closer ties to India, not only in regard to Afghanistan (where India could become a major player and partner) but also as a strategic counterweight to China and Russia.

It is high time for Pakistan to decide whether it belongs to civilization or to the barbarians.  By the same token, it is high time that the U.S. faced up to the hard truth:  Pakistan, for whatever reason, is not willing to remove the terror bases from their territory and must be treated accordingly.


  1. On June 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm, Bashy Quraishy said:

    Dear Glenn
    Although, I am used to reading lots of anti-Pakistan propaganda in your blog on regular basis, sometimes, you undo yourself with pathetic proclamations and boasts. This is obvious from your latest posting: When It Comes to Pakistan, We Just Can’t Handle the Truth.
    It shows how little insight you have in to world affairs or Pakistan –USA relations.
    You said; “Is it even worth keeping score any longer? Why does the U.S. continue to allow the Pakistanis to get away with this kind of thing?
    Has it ever accrued to you and the Americans in general that Pakistan is 7th largest country in the world, with almost a million strong army and an atomic power. Do not tell me that a country, which could not defeat a bunch of illiterate Taliban, would dare to entangle with Pakistan. USA knows very well that without Pakistan’s help, USA will get shit on its face.
    Then you state; “If Pakistan is determined to act like a rogue state”. I am laughing. Just because Pakistan does not want to play USA dirty game, then it is a rough state. Afghanistan is our neighbour. We have to live with them. Besides, 30 million Pakistanis are Pashtun who are related top Afghan Pushtuns. Why should Pakistan be enemy with its own population for a couple of dollars. Does it make sense to you. I hope so. War against Taleban is USA war and not Pakistan’s problem. If you think that by threatening Pakistan with money or cut off aid, please do. I am sure that it would do much better with your lousy aid. Pakistan has always managed and it will.
    Then you come up with an argument, which is normally fit for ignorant: U.S. may have far more to gain by cutting Pakistan loose and allying closely with India.
    Can you tell me how India would help to solve the Afghan problem without Pakistan’s consent? Please enlighten me!
    Your statement; “It is high time for Pakistan to decide whether it belongs to civilization or to the barbarians”, shows more about your frame of mind than a reality. Pakistan has 5000 years old civilization, while USA is only 250 years old. Do the math. Calling Taleban who are fighting for their country are not barbarians. Remember, Afghans destroyed USSR and if USA does not get out quickly, it will be kicked out too. You decide, what you wish.
    Why the way, I dislike Taleban more than you do but USA is not better than Taleban when it comes to torture, killings and barbarism.
    Kind regards

  2. On June 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    This (Bashy) is one of the more incoherent, inconsistent, emotional rants I have heard recently. Actually, Glen was measured in his words. He didn’t say enemy of the U.S., but of the Afghan campaign. And he didn’t advocate attacking Pakistan (if you read carefully, you’ll see that I lampooned Ron Paul’s warning that we would actually try to occupy Pakistan), but developing closer ties with India. This is a very sensible approach.

    Normally I remove comments like yours because it makes the web site look amateurish. But just occasionally, the comedic value is worth the risk.

  3. On June 14, 2011 at 3:03 pm, Herschel Smith said:



    A senior Pakistani official said on Saturday that Pakistan was not suspicious that the bomb makers had disappeared, because “extremist groups often move locations.” But then he added that “now that the U.S. side has drawn our attention to the possibility of the Taliban being tipped off between the day the intelligence was shared and the day of our military action, we will work on finding out what happened.”

    Thus continues the Kabuki dance.

  4. On June 15, 2011 at 5:28 am, bb said:

    The fact is that Pakistan is very busy looking for thouse in the army who helped capture Bin Laden. YES, you have read it right. It seems that the problem was not that they had the most wanted terrorist in their frontdoor of a huge military base but that he was found.


    Meanwhile I find no news about investigating who helped Bin Laden hid, who tipped the taliban or how many terrorist are infiltrated in the army, navy, ISI, rangers and policemen.

    It seems that it is not only a Pakistan war but also a war in which they are helping the taliban. And it is affecting ordinary people in Pakistan and Afghanistan

  5. On June 15, 2011 at 6:42 am, Glen Tschirgi said:

    Thank you, Bashy, for the comments.

    I honestly could not have designed or dreamed up a better illustration of the duplicity of Pakistan than what is revealed in your comments.

    The main point of the post was not to advocate for an attack on Pakistan (as Herschel noted above) but to stop funding this charade that calls Pakistan an ally and recognize the truth: Pakistan is playing a double game that is dangerous and detrimental to U.S. interests.

    Your attitude about the war against the Taliban (and you comment that “USA is not better than Taleban when it comes to torture, killings and barbarism.”) underscores perfectly the incompatibility with Pakistan. I hope that your view is not commonplace in Pakistan, but, given the sympathetic treatment that Al Qaeda and Taliban receive there, who knows?

    All in all, Bashy, I feel badly for you and your country (as I presume from your remarks that you are Pakistani). The drawing of the Durand Line that divides Pashtuns from each other across a border was a bad idea and worse in practice as we can see now. If Pakistan does not see the grave threat to its existence from the cancerous terrorists it willingly hosts and coddles on its own territory, then it is only a matter of time until Pakistan falls under the lash of Islamic fundamentalists.

  6. On June 15, 2011 at 10:57 am, Warbucks said:

    Mangled in to Bashy’s litany of frustrations seems to be a truth surrounding the world’s possibly most isolated people, the millions of Pastu with a living history of 5000 years. They are the evolutionary mountain-niche people that have held an unshakable faith in their isolation. The mountains have always defeated all they perceive as disruptive to their ways. They even perceive the current incurrsion of Taliban as a transitory aberration to their own set of long term survival rules. As such the Islamic radicals are their uninvited temporary guests, a pact that my change. 

    While the outside world see them as “taking sides” they themselves weigh these choices more in terms of oriental patience to return to balance over time back to pure self reliance. The resources required to change their perspective of themselves have always exceed the need to deploy them.

    The nearest example that comes to mind as to how to change a culture this entrenched is China’s repopulating Tibet with immigrant ethnic Chinese, a plan that may only succeed with communism coming face to face with it’s dreaded nemeses the undying inner spirituality of man to be spiritually free. The mountains have never failed the Pastu.   

    The other greatest vulnerability of the Pastu are their expansion outside their isolated mountain enclaves. “How You Going To Keep Them Down On The Farm After They See Paris?” Answer: They can’t. The women are apt to marry non-Pastu, the men take jobs outside their culture and dilute the wisdom of their elders. Their enclave is seen be Pakistan as a limited spiritual guide star who’s cultural influence decrease like gravity inversely to the square of its distance.

    We Americans are learning that we keep score up to a time line of “Mission Accomplished”, but much of the rest of the world keeps score for the second half of the game as well.

    Many of use start leaving the game early realizing that a longer term perspective needs to be created that keeps our own cultural values in place (liberty, personal freedoms, democratic values, perhaps our economic exceptioalism) and from that we will retreat to our own enclaves not driven by the dictates of Big Business and its sole God of New World Order.

  7. On June 15, 2011 at 3:24 pm, Bashy Quraishy said:

    Dear Herschel
    First of all, thanks for responding my comments. I understand that when one starts a blog to discuss sensitive issues and articulate strong opinions about other countries, cultures and people, then one has to be large enough to expect and accept rebuttals. It comes under freedom of expression.
    Captains Journal has a right to express its views and I have equal right to tell you that you do not have any reality sense. If you do not want to bring critical comments, then what is the whole idea of having a blog. I did not abuse you, used vulgar language or shoot from the hip. If my comments seemed amateurish to you, then what do think, your blog writings looks to people, you insult continuously.

    Dear Glen
    My comments to your posting are a mere expression of the feeling of majority of Pakistanis. I am a Danish citizen and work with human rights. I read a lot of blogs and newspapers to know, what is happening around the world. I have also relatives in Pakistan and India. What I have tried to convey to you is that Pakistan is a huge country and not a banana republic, which USA can dictate. As you well know that every country has its geo-political interests and nations act accordingly. Pakistan and USA do not see eye to eye on the whole issue of War on terror. Is it not amazing that Pakistan never had a problem with terrorism until USA attacked Afghanistan? So what do you want the Pakistanis to think about the horrible acts of killings, suicide bombings and attacks everywhere? Pakistanis are asking; Why should they suffer for something, they did not start? I am sure that you are aware, how the whole Taliban movement started, who funded it and who used it against USSR.
    Pakistan does see the problem of extremism and terrorism. It is suffering from it. Even Americans confess that Pakistan has lost more men – civilian and military – material and property than all the NATO and USA troops combined and yet, USA is pressuring Pakistan to do more. If USA with all its power cannot defeat Taleban in Afghanistan, then how do you think, Pakistan can do.
    If you knew Pakistan well, you would know that Taleban ot its associates would never be allowed to succeed let alone take over Pakistan. Pakistanis are very peaceful people but they do not like to be dictated. I am sure that USA and Pakistan can help each other to defeat Taleban by supporting and sharing and not accusing.
    Kind regards

  8. On June 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Yes, I do have the right under the U.S. constitution to say what I please. You would have that right as well if you were a U.S. citizen, but you don’t have the right to issue those comments on my web site. That’s a privilege that I grant.

  9. On June 15, 2011 at 6:28 pm, Bashy Quraishy said:

    Dear Herschel
    You are ducking the issue of USA arrogance towards other nations, especially my former homeland – Pakistan.But let us deal with you granting me the previlege of commenting on your web. Please go on my web site and see, who I am before you start acting like the mighty emperor.

    As a bloger, you need to have the courage to stand the criticism. It appears that you only want to have one-way communication based on your limited worldview. This is also, what is wrong with USA, which has not realised that no one likes the Elephant in the China attitude of USA. For your information, I travel all over the world. It is the same opinion all over. If you are happy with that, good luck but do not kid yourself. Be sure USA days of unlimited power are numbered. Besides, it is world’s most indebted nation. You are living on other nations grace, especially the Arabs and China. Do not forget that.
    So my suggestion to you would be: Be balanced and neutral even if you are conservative bloger.
    Kind regards

  10. On June 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm, Jean said:

    Bashy Quraishy,

    The “Taliban” are succeeding in Pakistan, just look around and count the bodies. Keep in mind that when the Taliban fled Afghanistan in 2001-02, they were welcomed by their Pashtu brothers, whom they promptly removed from power with out due process or vote. How many Pashtu’s have been murdered by Pashtu’s in the last ten years in the FATA. You mentioned your Danish heritage; please talk to your family about their WWII experiences and the danger of ignoring fanatical regimes or who liberated them from the yoke of tyranny. You will never lack for work in your progressive country. But don’t count on us to provide you the freedom to express your views. You can no longer stand behind our shield wall. Go forth and enlighten the masses in FATA.

  11. On June 15, 2011 at 8:21 pm, TS Alfabet said:

    This is very interesting (once you weed out the name-calling).

    Bashy seems to have a chip on his shoulder for Pakistani pride.

    But this blog post does not touch on Pakistani pride, just their duplicity. And to that end, Bashy seems altogether silent. The thrust of the post is the refusal of U.S. officials to re-consider the enormous amount of aid given to Pakistan when Pakistan tolerates and shelters known terrorists.

    It’s refreshing to hear Bashy so clearly state the Pakistani mindset towards terror, namely: we didn’t start the fire so why should we care if your house burns down? (Except, of course, the Pakistanis can’t seem to notice that the hot ash and cinders are falling on their thatched roof). That’s right, Bashy, Pakistan has not played any role in furthering the reach of Islamic terrorists, except for those vast swaths of territory that the terrorists have been allowed to occupy and train in for the last 10 years. Except for the safe havens and refitting areas that the Taliban use in Pakistan before infiltrating back into Afghanistan to attack Americans and Afghans. Yes, I suppose it was the U.S. who caused all the problems for Pakistan in 2001. Prior to that, everything was just peachy for Pakistan, eh?

    Sorry, Bashy, the old “American arrogance” line won’t wash. The U.S. has bent over backwards to keep civilian casualties down in both Afghan and Pakistan; has put itself under the thumb of an Afghan government that seems more interested in how to embezzle aid meant for ordinary Afghans than prevailing over a 5th Century religious mindset; has spent its precious blood and treasure trying to make a better life for Afghans while Pakistan cynically uses the Taliban as their cats paw to keep influence over their poor neighbor, Afghanistan; has not claimed any of the spoils of war that historically have always been the right of the victor but instead done everything possible to rebuild infrastructure the U.S. didn’t ruin and repair (in Iraq for instance) oil exporting capabilities that the U.S. pays full price for and has not gotten *any* preference in the oil development contracts; has time and time again intervened on behalf of weak countries being oppressed by stronger neighbors regardless of religion or even political affinity.

    So, go ahead and soak in the tub of envy. If it makes you feel better to trash the nation that has done more good in the world than any other and gotten far less in return than any other, have at it. But it is awfully strange how so many Pakistanis want to emigrate to the U.S.

  12. On June 18, 2011 at 1:29 pm, Bashy Quraishy said:

    Dear TS Alfabet
    Thanks fro your comment on my last posting.
    Since your argumentation is sober, I would certainly answer some of the points, you have raised.
    You say that; Pakistan has played a role in furthering the reach of Islamic terrorists and gave away the vast swaths of territory that the terrorists have been allowed to occupy and train in for the last 10 years.
    If you look at the map of Pakistan and Afghanistan closely then you will see that Pashtun tribes have been living in that area – one calls Tribal belt – for more than 7 thousands years. They have never allowed anyone to govern them since Alexander’s time. It is not Pakistan, which has given these tribes any area but it is their own homeland. Pakistan until 2001 did not interfere in those areas for the simple reason of avoiding confrontation. Those tribes, which live in Pakistani side of the undeclared Durand Line, are Pakistani citizens and on the Afghan side, their nationality. Besides this legal identity, tribes on the both sides have a common ethnicity, language, culture and religion. These people are furiously independent and do not want to change their customs. We can agree with it or not, but this is the situation.
    Calling these tribes as Islamic terrorists tells me how little, you and other Americans know about the world. I understand this lack of information because USA is a long way from the rest of the world and has a media, which is very populist and nationalist.
    The “ vast swaths of territory”, as you mention, is nothing more than an isolated small area, which is less than 1% of Pakistan’s territory.
    Pakistani mindset towards terrorism is based on facts. The day, USA will leave Afghanistan, there will be peace. Pakistan is a neighbour to Afghanistan and it has to live with them. I hope that you remember, that it was USA, which quickly left after USSR was destroyed by the same “Islamic terrorists”, your country once called Mujahideens (Freedom fighters), supplied them money and stinger missiles. Now the same Taleban are called terrorists, because they refuse to allow USA and NATO to bomb them. History is recorded. You did start the fire in eighties and then again in 2001 by attacking Afghanistan, which did not attack USA on 9/11. Now Pakistan is suffering because of USA’s geo-political end games and now that USA will leave soon. Pakistan does care if anyone’s house burns but I am sure that Pakistan will not allow USA to drag it in the fire of hell. I am happy that USA is negotiating with Taleban (Time Magazine. 17.06.2011).
    As far as USA not claiming any of the spoils of war that historically have always been the right of the victor but instead done everything possible to rebuild infrastructure. USA may have done that for Europe through Marshal Plan and Japan with economical aid. No one denies that. But that noble USA is long disappeared. Germany and Japan had nothing to give back. On the contrary, USA has taken control of Iraqi oilfields, distributed the construction contracts to American companies, and is eying the 2 trillion dollars minerals in Afghanistan and 1 trillion in Pakistan and now Libya. The list is long. There are also plans for Iran. Henry Kissinger once said; If Arabs ever threaten our way of living, we shall just occupy their oil fields. By the way, you should know that Saudi Arabia paid 67 billion dollars, which USA spent on first Gulf Way during Bush senior’s time.
    I would suggest that you read the farewell speech of President Eisenhower in 1961 about the future of USA military plans. He was no leftwinger, but a former general and conservative Republican. His farewell message to America was a simple warning against the “disastrous rise of misplaced power” of a military-industrial complex with “unwarranted influence on government”. A burgeoning defence establishment, backed by large corporate interests, would one day employ so many people as to corrupt the political system. (His original draft even referred to a “military-industrial-congressional complex”.) This lobby, said Eisenhower, could become so huge as to “endanger our liberties and democratic processes”.
    Kind regards

  13. On June 19, 2011 at 9:55 am, TS Alfabet said:

    Your arguments simply do not stand up to scrutiny, Bashy.

    You can’t have it both ways with regard to the FATA. The total area is over 10,000 square miles. that size is bigger than entire states in the U.S. so, it is no small area of land. You want to use the excuse that the FATA has never, really been controlled by Pakistan so Pakistan should not be responsible for the terrorists who shelter and train there. On the other hand, you would, no doubt, object to any incursion by U.S. forces into the FATA as a violation of Pakistani sovereignty.

    Well. Which is it? If Pakistan wants to claim sovereignty over the FATA, then it is fully responsible for the terrorists that thrive there. It is Pakistan’s responsibility to root them out. But Pakistan does not do so. As a result, I am correct in charging Pakistan with harboring the terrorists.

    Your notion that there will be “peace” the day that US forces leave Afghanistan is pure fantasy. The only thing that will happen is that things will revert back to pre-2001 status where the Islamists control Afghanistan and have that much more room to train for attacks against the West. That will not be “peace” in any real sense of the word. Perhaps this situation is more to Pakistan’s liking, but Pakistan will have to take the consequences when terrorists carry off their next big attack planned and orchestrated from FATA or re-conquered Afghanistan.

    Your idea that the Islamists are called “terrorists” simply because they refuse to let themselves be bombed etc… is ridiculous. The U.S. helped the Afghans to fight a Soviet occupation of Afghanistan to keep a communist government in power. The Afghans fought against the Soviet military. Afghanistan in 1979 was not an official host country for Islamist terrorists as it was in 2001. Your statement that Afghanistan did not attack the U.S. on 9/11 is completely fatuous: a country that gladly hosts the perpetrators and facilitates the planning and commission of a crime is no less responsible than those who carried it out. Iran, for example, is clearly responsible for the heinous deeds of Sadr’s forces in Iraq, for Hezbollah in Lebanon and for Hamas in Gaza (not to mention the crimes of Assad in Syria).

    You can argue, of course, that the Islamists are in the right and are fighting for a just cause. The Germans and Japanese certainly believed in their cause in WWII. That, at least, is an honest argument. And we could have an honest debate about whether Islamofascism is a force for good or evil. But don’t try this nonsense about the Taliban not attacking the U.S. or that “peace” in Afghanistan and Pakistan would fall like manna from heaven if only the U.S. would just leave.

    And please get your facts straight. The U.S. did not and has not taken control over any oilfields. I wish that it had. That would have been just compensation for the billions of dollars spent by the U.S. to get rid of the dictator Saddam and give the peoples of Iraq freedom from a bloody regime. Check the facts. The Iraqis have been giving contracts to every oil company out there EXCEPT the U.S. The Chinese, French, British… not the U.S. The U.S. has poured billions of dollars into countries all over the world since the end of WWII, so don’t try this nonsense about the U.S. no longer being noble or generous. There isn’t a single country on earth that comes anywhere close to giving its blood and treasure to benefit other countries like the U.S. Every natural disaster, wherever it happens on the globe, the U.S. is there first with enormous amounts of humanitarian aid. The U.S. provides huge amounts of funding to alleviate hunger, disease and poverty all over the world. And Eisenhower? Please. Just because an outgoing president warns about the excesses of cooperation between government and industry does not make it so. And that was 1950. Are you really hanging your argument on something that was over 50 years ago?

    As much as you complain about Herschel or others dodging your questions, you never seem to address the only, real question related to the post: is Pakistan being duplicitous in its support of the Islamists or isn’t it? Shouldn’t Pakistan decide that it is either against them or with them and then act accordingly? And if Pakistan decides (as it has every right to do) that it will support the Islamists, then shouldn’t the U.S. cut off the billions in aid to Pakistan and treat them as allies of terror?

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You are currently reading "When It Comes to Pakistan, We Just Can’t Handle the Truth", entry #7101 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Afghanistan,Islamic Facism,Logistics,Pakistan and was published June 14th, 2011 by Glen Tschirgi.

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