Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Friday, July 11, 2008

Toothpaste-Tube Terrorism

Squeeze them out of Iraq, and they squirt into Afghanistan and Pakistan tribal areas. What's clear is that the Bush-McCain mantra of "fight them there [Iraq] so we don't have to fight them here" has turned out to be an oversimplification of the war on terror the US will be fighting through the next Administration and beyond.

This week, A US Marines commander reported his troops have killed 400 insurgents in southern Afghanistan since late April, and visiting Congressmen were told the Bush administration is "recalibrating operations in the region because of a 40 percent increase in violent attacks against US-led forces in Afghanistan that have pushed US casualties for the month of June beyond the monthly toll in Iraq."

Today's New York Times adds, "The swelling forces of Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in Pakistan’s border region pose a grave threat to American and NATO troops in Afghanistan...More than a thousand Pakistanis have been killed in terrorist attacks in the past year, mostly in the border areas where radical Islamic fighters are strongest."

After being bilked out of $7 billion in military aid with no security gains to show for it by Pervez Musharraf, our post-Bush policy for Pakistan may be starting with proposed legislation by Senators Joseph Biden and Richard Lugar to provide up to $15 billion in aid over the next 10 years for economic development, health and education and strengthen the civilian government "to regain control over a military that has too often been a law unto itself and intelligence services that seem far more loyal to the extremists than their own government."

In any case, the new tenant of the White House next January will have to rethink the war on terror by bringing in the best brains available as opposed to the Bush-Cheney we-know-best approach that took four years to discover the man who wrote the book on counterinsurgency, Gen. David Petraeus, might have something useful to offer in Iraq.

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