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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 4, 2010 / 24 Menachem-Av 5770

Documents highlight Pakistan's shortcomings as a U.S. ally

By Michael Smerconish



http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | "Now those guys have been getting billions of dollars in foreign aid from our country and they have been playing us like a violin. Musharraf basically was not taking this stuff seriously and that's going to change when I'm president."

So I was told by then-Sen. Barack Obama on March 24, 2008. It was the first of four occasions I have had with him, each time focusing on the hunt for Osama bin Laden and U.S. relations with Pakistan.

The recent release of more than 90,000 documents by WikiLeaks begs the question of whether President Obama, like his predecessor, is also being played like a violin.

Twenty months into the Obama administration, and nearly nine years after 9-11, we have yet to bring to justice the two al-Qaida leaders responsible for killing of 3,000 innocent people. Officially, we maintain no military presence in the country where they are presumed to be hiding.

After the battle of Tora Bora in December 2001, the effort to kill Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri was headed by Gary Berntsen, who led an eight-man team of CIA and Delta Force operatives. He later told me that his requests for help to block al-Qaida's escape was denied.

"We wrote a message back to Washington ... that said, 'We need 600 to 800 Rangers. We need a battalion. ... We need to put them between where bin Laden is at this moment and the border of Pakistan. We don't want him to escape,'" Berntsen told me in 2006. Of course, bin Laden did escape.

It was a sign of things to come. Instead of following the al-Qaida leadership into Pakistan we stopped at the border. The Bush administration, at a staggering cost, outsourced the most important task in the wake of 9-11 to an unstable ally with questionable motives.

The WikiLeaks documents, which span January 2004 through December 2009, are the latest to paint that picture. One dispatch describes a meeting of militants where a former head of Pakistan's intelligence agency encouraged the fighters to "focus their operation inside of Afghanistan in exchange for the government of Pakistan's security forces turning a blind eye" to their presence in Pakistan. Another report accuses a member of the Pakistani intelligence community of running suicide attacks.

Instead of keeping our eye on those who caused 9-11, the United States invaded Iraq based on shoddy intelligence and to settle an old score. By the time U.S. soldiers arrived in Afghanistan in any significant number, al-Qaida was largely gone.

At least that is how I have seen it for several years. And during our March 2008 conversation, Sen. Obama agreed. He said then that the Iraq war was a distraction that had allowed al-Qaida to regroup and become stronger. "And we've got to do something about that because those guys have a safe haven there and they are still planning to do Americans harm and my job as commander-in-chief is going to be to protect Americans," Obama said.

When we spoke a month later he said: "When it comes to military aid, we shouldn't be propping up Pakistan's military when they're focused on a possible war with India and ignoring the very immediate and real threat of militants who are in their territories. And our aid has to be in some ways contingent on them making a serious effort."

On Oct. 9, 2008, Obama acknowledged that as the war in Iraq winds down, the U.S. would also have to "send a strong message to Pakistan that we can't tolerate safe havens for nin Laden, where he's training terrorists to kill Americans. We can't tolerate it. Now we need to work with Pakistan to dismantle those training camps and kill bin Laden. But if Pakistan is unwilling or unable to take Bin Laden out and we have him in our sights, we've got to do it."

When I interviewed former President Pervez Musharraf in January 2009 I aired my belief that under his leadership Pakistan had been less than committed to wiping out extremists within its borders.

"(T)he misunderstanding here is that when you disagree on tactics, people here start saying that we are double-dealing," Musharraf said. "No, we are not double-dealing. Double-dealing would be if ... we have agreed we are not going to do anything. If you don't disturb us, we will not disturb you. In other words, we are not after al-Qaida and Taliban. No sir, we are after them. Fifteen hundred of our soldiers have been killed and we have killed I don't know how many of them ...

"Strategically, we are against al-Qaida, against Taliban, any militancy, anybody carrying out suicide attacks within Pakistan. We want to hunt them down and kill them."

The WikiLeaks documents show that Pakistan was making some effort to fight terrorists, but they also confirm that Pakistan's intelligence agency was undermining U.S. efforts. In short, the United States was getting rolled throughout the Bush years, and at least until Obama announced his shift in strategy in December 2009.

To its credit, the current administration has dramatically increased the number of Predator drone strikes in Pakistan. A BBC analysis found that at least 87 drone attacks had been authorized in the first 18 months of Obama's presidency, compared with 25 such attacks during Bush's final year in office.

Pakistan's efforts had increased as well. When I last spoke to President Obama a year ago, he told me that the Pakistani army was "for the first time actually fighting in a very aggressive way and that's how we took out Baitullah Mehsud, the top Taliban leader in Pakistan who was also one of Bin Laden's key allies."

He said of al-Qaida, "We're eliminating their allies. It's making it more difficult for them to communicate, making it more difficult for them to operate safe havens, and over time what we hope to do is to flush them out."

But here we are, still at war in two countries where bin Laden and al-Zawahiri aren't. And we are paying the country where they are thought to be hiding, Pakistan, $1 billion a year to find them and their allies.

With what results? Last week, National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones called terrorist safe havens in Pakistan "a big question mark in terms of our success rate." Earlier this month, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she assumes "somebody in this (Pakistani) government ... does know where nin Laden is, and I'd like to know too."

The implication, of course, is that the United States still cannot find out for itself. And the Pakistanis have either stopped hunting Bin Laden and his henchmen or refuse to tell us their whereabouts.

That's not change. It's more of the same — an increasingly ill-defined mission for the brave service members fighting on the central front in the war against terrorism, and an ongoing injustice for the victims of Sept. 11, 2001.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

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Previously:


07/06/10 On taking back Sept. 11
06/29/10 Name elite corps to develop energy independence?
04/21/10 New account reinforces a serviceman's valor
03/11/10 Medical profession must police itself better
02/18/10 One-trick athletes
02/09/10 Active, retired law officers should be able to carry guns on planes to help stop terrorists
02/04/10 How to bring tech up to speed
01/28/10 Campaign donations must be fully and immediately disclosed online
01/07/10 The flying emperor still has no clothes, and no one is willing to say so
12/24/09 A law to mandate college football playoffs?
12/17/09 Cheney's abuse of freedom of speech
11/26/09 The true cost of freedom from anxiety
10/27/09 If GOP wants to win in 2012, it must reshape its primary process
10/08/09 It's time to get smarter on extended school day
09/03/09 What a summer of eulogizing flawed public figures reveals about society
08/12/09 It's time for cyclists and motorists to reconcile
08/05/09 Faces have changed, but vitriol remains
06/25/09 Fair comment or foul? Warm up the Muzzle Meter
06/08/09 Believability is key in crime-hoax villains
05/14/09 Did Hollywood inspire the meltdown men?
04/20/09 Let's give killers their due: Anonymity
03/12/09 Uninsured who can't afford medical care lose a lot more
02/06/09 My debate with Musharraf on hunt for bin Laden
01/29/09 Torture must remain an option
01/15/09 Making a case for suing Madoff
12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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