Friday, March 27, 2009

More on what the US has stepped into in Afpak

The NYT's Carlotta Gall reports on how the Pakistan and Afghan Taliban have coalesced - and her report includes one of those pictures worth a 1000 words, of throngs milling at a funeral for a person killed by a US Predator attack.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan today, as the NYT also reports, a mosque located about 12 miles from the northwestern city of Peshawar, on the main road between Pakistan and Afghanistan (i.e., the main supply route for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan), was hit by a suicide bomber, with at least 48 killed. Once again, the US is served notice that the Pakistani army may not be up to the job of securing the region, or the route. And when you factor in the fact that elements of the ISI, Pakistan's military intelligence service, have long been in cahoots with the Taliban . . . .

Mr. Obama now has his own "long" war, and the goal that he has set is going to require long and large commitment that will be hideously expensive in lives and treasure. And I don't mean just US lives. A ramped-up military effort that entails continued - or expanded - use of drones and airstrikes is going to produce a lot more "collateral damage" - innocent villagers wasted by US munitions. That in turn produces angry people intent on avenging those deaths - on the persons of US soldiers and marines; and it also produces images (which can be flashed worldwide almost instantaneously) of more Muslims killed by Americans, at huge expense to whatever hopes Obama has of recultivating the US's image abroad, especially in Muslim countries.

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