Rather than seeking to stabilize Pakistan, General David Petraeus has been irresponsibly lighting matches with his shortsighted use of Special Forces and drone strikes
by Fred Branfman
EXCERPT 1: But rather than seeking to stabilize Pakistan, General David Petraeus has, incredibly, been irresponsibly lighting matches through his shortsighted and relentless effort to secure Afghanistan by using U.S. forces and drone strikes, and pressuring the Pakistani Army to attack Taliban “sanctuaries” in Pakistan’s northwest provinces. Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to London for the past 16 years and a pillar of the Establishment, has recently stated that U.S. drone and gunship attacks in Pakistan have “set the country on fire” and threatened that such acts could eventually lead to attacks on U.S. personnel in Pakistan. Petraeus has disastrously miscalculated. The more “progress” he tries to show in Afghanistan, the more he weakens the U.S. position in far more important Pakistan.
EXCERPT 2: The single most important — yet surprisingly ignored — revelation of Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, is that Petraeus and the Obama team never discussed how their strategy for attacking Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan was weakening the Pakistani state. Woodward also makes clear that it is Petraeus, not Obama, who is driving U.S. policy in “Af-Pak.” CIA Director Leon Panetta declared that “no Democratic president can go against military advice, especially if he asked for it. So just do it. Do what they say,” according to the book. Petraeus’ power derives from America’s unconscious need for a military hero and his perceived and overblown success in Iraq. But this perception has blinded normally sensible observers to his disastrous performance in Pakistan since becoming Centcom commander in October 2008.
Tip of the Hat to John Steiner via E-Mail.
Phi Beta Iota: the author has pulled together a number of linked references and this is a useful article narrowly focused. He missed the larger picture, the fact that Obama has no strategy and no brain trust (the emphasis being on brains in touch with reality). Obama will get his Wall Street reward on his present course, but he is neither leading nor serving the nation with his ideologically passive-aggressive incoherence across the board–nothing serious on all ten threats to humanity, nothing serious on all twelve core policies, an intelligence community that is pathologically expensive and ineffective, and a Pentagon that is so out of control as to be a cancer on the public blood, treasure, and spirit. these are all good people trapped in a bad system–they desperately need a “wake-up call” and we are not sure that is achievable at this point.