"Come on, give us a hug. We're still pals, right?
...you know the rest.
The top two American intelligence officials traveled secretly to Pakistan early this month to press President Pervez Musharraf to allow the Central Intelligence Agency greater latitude to operate in the tribal territories where Al Qaeda, the Taliban and other militant groups are all active, according to several officials who have been briefed on the visit.
But in the unannounced meetings on Jan. 9 with the two American officials — Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director — Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand any American combat presence in Pakistan, either through unilateral covert C.I.A. missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces.I'm confused. I thought Mushy was our Number One BFF against the Evil Doers®!
Instead, Pakistan and the United States are discussing a series of other joint efforts, including increasing the number and scope of missions by armed Predator surveillance aircraft over the tribal areas, and identifying ways that the United States can speed information about people suspected of being militants to Pakistani security forces, officials said.It's almost as if Mushy, concerned about his own ass, doesn't want to put forth full effort in hunting down Al Qaeda and their leader, Captain What's-His-Name. It's a good thing our President doesn't think like that because he's fighting to the finish!
In Washington, however, the Bush administration has said that fighting terrorists, chiefly Al Qaeda, is the primary purpose of the $10 billion in American aid that has been sent to Pakistan, mostly for reimbursements for the cost of patrolling the tribal areas. President Bush has often praised Mr. Musharraf for fighting terrorism, pointing out that Al Qaeda has tried to kill the Pakistani leader. But White House officials were silent when Mr. Musharraf said this week that his efforts were focused on the Taliban, and that the main problem the United States faced was in Afghanistan, not Pakistan."I'll take your money, but I won't plow your driveway."
Last Tuesday, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, Lt. Gen. Dell L. Dailey, echoed some of those concerns, telling reporters that there were gaps in what the United States knew about the threat in the tribal areas. “We don’t have enough information about what’s going on there,” said General Dailey, who retired from the Army with extensive experience in military Special Operations. “Not on Al Qaeda. Not on foreign fighters. Not on the Taliban.”Too bad we were never close to nabbing Captain-What's-His-Name before. All this back door wheeling-and-dealing could've been avoided. C'est la vie.
In dealing with the American requests, Mr. Musharraf is conducting a delicate balancing act. American officials contend that now, more than ever, he recognizes the need to step up the battle against extremists who are seeking to topple his government. But he also believes that if American forces are discovered operating in Pakistan, the backlash will be more than he can control, especially because the Taliban and Al Qaeda are trying to cast him as a pawn of Washington.Honestly, can you blame the guy? We've seen all too well the inevitable, grisly demise of poodles upon the world stage. Why resort to eating the dry dog food when you can have the fancy kind? There's real meat in there!