Friday, September 23, 2011

Cocky Leopard

The lion trainer knew he had a problem. When the big cats left the arena for their cages at the end of his act, the leopard developed the habit of reaching up and clawing the lion's leg. The leg was getting infected. While he pondered how to revise his act in the middle of the season, the lion reached down one day, ripped the leopard's head off, and sent it bouncing across the cage.

Pakistan, says Bruce Reidel, has become our leopard. The ISI and the generals think we are on the way out in Afghanistan, and have become ever bolder in their efforts to push us out.

Admiral Mullen's candid and stunning testimony that directly links Pakistan's intelligence service, ISI, to recent attacks on NATO forces and the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan puts America and Pakistan on a collision course.

Why are the ISI and the Pakistani Army making such risky moves? What is the calculation in the generals’ minds? Short answer is, they believe we are on the run in Afghanistan and they want to push us out faster. Mullen has been Pakistan's strongest advocate inside the White House situation room since President Obama took office in 2009. He prudently argued for patience and tolerance with the ISI's duplicity for years, rightly stressing Pakistan's critical importance on many vital issues like the nuclear-arms race, counterterrorism, and the Afghan war. This makes his remarks linking ISI to the Afghan Taliban's Haqqani network attacks on our forces this month all the more stunning. Mullen labeled the Haqqani Taliban a "veritable arm" and "proxy" of the ISI. Afghan sources have said the Taliban suicide team that attacked our embassy was in constant contact by cell phone with their masters back in Pakistan during the firefight...

As long as we are stuck in Afghanistan, it will be hard to rip the leopard's head off. Are their nuclear teeth a threat to the US yet? How hard would it be to pull them? Maybe it's time to stop fighting our imaginary enemies and go after the real ones.