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International Brotherhood Of Terrorists, Local 911

As the fallout from the killing of Osama Bin Laden continues, I've been following things in Pakistan. Their response was rather predictable -- first, protests about the violation of their sovereignty; then, a flurry of denials (with Bin Laden where he was, it seems that they were either grossly incompetent or in cahoots with him, neither of which is a palatable alternative), and now a bit of kicking back at the US by exposing the identity of our CIA station chief in their country.

As Ace notes, this is the kind of shit that gets people killed.

As this has all unfolded, it seemed hauntingly familiar to me. No, not in severity or potential for death, but in general tone and theme. But I couldn't place it until I heard one discussion on the radio on the matter.

Someone was discussing Pakistan's near-legendary corruption,and the $25 million reward for Bin Laden. The argument was, why the hell wouldn't one of those Pakistanis who knew Bin Laden was there turn him in for the money?

The answer was simple. We give Pakistan a couple of billion every year in foreign aid. A large part of that is based on their helping us in fighting the terrorists, including the hunt for Bin Laden -- which Obama made Job One. When we got Bin Laden, there went one part of the immediacy of the fight. And if things start getting more stable, then the urgency of that aid could be threatened. And compared to a couple of billion every year, year in and year out, makes that one-shot $25 million look like chump change. Keeping Bin Laden alive and away from the US makes a hell of a lot of financial sense.

That's when it clicked in my head. That kind of reasoning reminded me of listening to Howie Carr, the Boston columnist/talk show host/author/gadfly who seriously dislikes unions, especially public sector ones. One of his recurring themes is how big public projects never seem to get done on time, they drag on and on and on. And the refrain he attributes to the unions who collect their pay for the life of the project seems to describe Pakistan's motive to a T:

"Don't kill the job!"

That was why Pakistan might be inclined to hide and protect (possibly in protective custody) Bin Laden: the regular flow of cash from the US, partially earmarked to finding him.

And in that context, Pakistan's retaliating by exposing our CIA station chief also fits in. Unions are known for playing hardball when it comes to putting their interests ahead of everything -- even the good of their members, the safety of their members, or the survival of the employer.

No, I'm not calling unions terrorists, nor (even worse) am I saying that terrorists are just like unions. But I am saying that there are some interesting parallels between the two groups' attitudes and beliefs and conduct. And that we just might be able to apply what we know about dealing with unions to working with Pakistan.

Pakistan is in a very powerful position. As long as we are invested in Afghanistan, we need Pakistan's good will and cooperation to keep that mission tenable -- the vast majority of our support goes through Pakistan. If they get too cranky with us, they can choke off that support and bring our Afghan operations to a crashing halt.

Further (and this one can never be underestimated), Pakistan is a nuclear power. They have nuclear weapons. Not a lot, and not very well designed or built, but nukes nonetheless -- and those can make some very big messes should they be used.

On the other hand, Pakistan is riding its own tiger with regards to Islamists within its own borders. Those guys have pretty much taken over the ISI, Pakistan's intelligence service, and hold a great deal of sway in the country. And they really need the US' aid -- and good will -- to stay afloat.

So they need us, and we need them. We don't have to like each other, but we do need to recognize that reality.

The obvious solution is to appeal to their instincts for self-interest and self-preservation. Currently, the radicals have a more persuasive argument -- piss off the US too much, and we aren't likely to kill them. But the radicals will -- and have been.

What we need to do is lift a notion from "The Godfather" -- "keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." We need to spell out to them, quietly, that we can screw them over far more thoroughly than the radicals can -- just chat with Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein. Oh, that's right, you can't -- they're dead. They crossed us, and we got them.

In the meantime, we understand that they need to assert their independence every now and then. We're big boys, we can take the occasional kick or two. But pulling shit like putting the life of our CIA Station Chief at risk -- that's going a bit too far, and needs to be curtailed.

If that means we need to kick them back, such as Ace's suggestion that we expose some of the dirty little secrets we have on some key figures in the Pakistani government, then we do so. Or some other ways that harms their government, but not in a fatal way -- just enough to remind them who's the big guy, and who's the little guy.


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Comments (6)

Time and past time to remov... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves:

Time and past time to remove all the Federal, State, and Local laws which favor unions over non-unionized competitors.

As regards Pakistan and the ISI, do they really want to get into a pissing contest with the United States? We could gut their nuclear deterrent and air defenses and then let India do the remainder of the deed.

I think the days when the U... (Below threshold)

I think the days when the U.S. would "slap around the little guy" is gone.

And you know, "slapping around" a country full of crooked politicians and extremists and terrorists which also has nuclear strike capability sounds pretty dumb on the surface, but if you think about it for a while it's not dumb, it's moronic.

Thanks for the laugh. Remind to not vote for whoever you endorse for President.

RichardW,If if wer... (Below threshold)
Rodney Graves Author Profile Page:


If if weren't for the fact that it would require us to pay attention to you, we'd be sure to carefully note your preferred candidate for any given office as a reliable contra-indicator of fitness for office.

All you have to do is look ... (Below threshold)

All you have to do is look at how long it takes to rebuild a mile stretch of highway in union controlled states such as mine here in IL.

They have been replacing a 1 mile stretch of interstate near me for going on 3 years now. If you check the IDOT information on interstate construction it says the construction started last year which is a total crock. They must be posting the starting of different stages.

It took 2.5 years for them to replace 2 lanes and add a lane on a 1/4 mi stretch coming into our subdivision. I wish I was backed up to that road (but glad I did not have to put up with the noise and dust) so I could have documented the length of time it took and the repeating of tasks that they did. Just when we thought they were done they had to tear up and replace a hundred yards of concrete in little sections.

I had a relative that helped build one of the Nuclear Power Plants here in IL as a member of the IBEW. The accounts of all the waste, the repeating of work and dragging out of the project, was astounding.

The bottom line is that when we replace our crumbling infrastructure we have to do it without the union’s money sucking ways of doing business.

For the record I respect what the linemen and construction workers do, but the gravy train has to come to an end if our country is to survive.

Jay, I have diffe... (Below threshold)


I have different take, you are seeing, the culmination of series of really bad diplomacy on both sides. Over last two years the CIA, state department, ISI ,Administration and Pakistani Military have been in gone from hope and change to an open fight.

BHO speeches in 2009 were taken negatively by Pakistani

However things have gotten worse the Pakistani people feels the use does not respect their sovereignty which lead to a Lawsuit named the CIA station chief

This all came to head with Raymond Davis, who washington said was not attached then was attached to the Embassy, who had diplomatic immunity or did not , BTW he was a CIA agent.

So when BHO demand that ISI release all the names of their top intelligence officers the ISI released ours which hey had already done in December so no big deal the world already knew it.

It sort of stupid to trash an agency publicly and then expect them to show you any respect.

It is obvious the ISI needs to be reformed. ! do not give them any trusted info? If you do give to them if you dump on the do not expect them to take it lying down, limit your exposure.

Countries are going to do what is in their own best interest and public opinion. We already told the world were leaving, and when we do the ISI and everyone else will need to deal with whatever is left behind. We paying them so they going to take whatever we give them and prepare for departure. Why be loyal to an ally that doesn't respect you, screws over it allies (Egypt & Israel) and publicly insults you.

Governments and counties are going to do what is best for in their own self interest. When another county criticizes them publicly they are going to react. Diplomacy is get them to do what we want by convincing them they want the same thing.
I a glad we got OBL and I liked the way we did it. However publicly State should have doing things in the background to soften the blow.

I know BHO treat our allies like they are Iran or NK.

"Countries are going to do ... (Below threshold)

"Countries are going to do what is in their own best interest and public opinion." Right. But what Pakistan views as it's national interest is the prevention of a situation where it has enemies on two fronts - India to the east and an Indian allied state, Afghanistan, to the west. This explains EVERYTHING about its support of the Taliban. It also explains why Pakistan will never leave Afghanistan alone and why it is trying to play off the U.S. to retain its "aid" while preventing the consolidation of an anti-Taliban - and potentially pro-Indian - government.

Most assuredly it uses U.S. funds to promote and protect the Taliban since aid funds are fungible. But if forced to choose between U.S. aid and the Taliban (with Chinese aid), it will undoubtedly choose the latter. Afghanistan has become an unwinnable war if we think we are going to establish a Western style democracy there. The "deal" with Pakistan must be that we will not interfere in their regional national security issues "siempre y cuando" the Pakistani's keep the Taliban from re-entering the GWOT. And we'll be back to wreck havoc if the agreement is not respected. Sorry, that's the best we're going to get out of the last 10 years.






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