When are we going to decide that the price for "help" from our erstwhile friends the Paks is too high for the miserable returns?
Hmm. Let's see. They allow Uncle Binnie to hold up in Hey Abbotabad for freaking YEARs. And, we know the ISI has been double dealing, using terror as an instrument of their foreign policy, playing chummy with us at the same time they are palling around with the Haqqani network, while issuing Captain Louis Renault denials, and now we have Admiral Mullen being more blunt public and straightforward about the ISI than is usual for careful diplomatic folks. Just carefully read the wording in this story, and let it sink in.
The Obama administration put its fragile alliance with Pakistan on the line Thursday, accusing the country's intelligence service of aiding a militant group considered responsible for a string of attacks, including last week's assault on the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.
U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen accused Pakistan's intelligence agency of having ties to the militant Haqqani network, responsible for the attack on the U.S. embassy in Afghanistan. The charge came during congressional testimony in which Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the militant Haqqani network "acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency," its main spy service.
Adm. Mullen has led previous U.S. efforts to improve U.S.-Pakistani relations, adding weight to his allegation that attacks such as the one at the U.S. Embassy and the nearby North Atlantic Treaty Organization headquarters were carried out "with ISI support."
Military officials said later there was no evidence that the ISI actually directed that attack, but that it has provided strategic support to the Haqqanis.
In addition to the embassy attack, Adm. Mullen said Haqqani operatives had planned a series of attacks with ISI support, including a truck bomb attack Sept. 11 in Wardak province and a June 28 assault on Kabul's Inter-Continental Hotel.
The Haqqani network was also one of the groups U.S. officials said was responsible for the 2009 attack on a CIA base in Afghanistan's Khost province that killed seven agency employees in one of the biggest losses of life in the agency's history.
"We simply cannot allow these kinds of terrorists to be able to go into Afghanistan, attack our forces, and then return to Pakistan for safe haven and not face any kind of pressure from the Pakistanis for that to stop," Mr. Panetta said.
Now one can quibble over strategic v tactical support, but the fact of the matter is, we have tolerated this because we think the counter-terror support we receive from Pakistan, such as it is, is sufficiently valuable to offset the (there is no other way to put this) egregious insult to U.S. honor that is the ISI aiding people who we and Pakistan are damn well aware are going to kill our people, and who have been doing so with basic impunity for years.
Adm. Mullen said support for extremist groups, including the Haqqani network and anti-Indian terror organization Lashkar-e-Taiba, was part of the Pakistani government's policy and served Islamabad's interests.
"The support of terrorism is part of their national strategy," Adm. Mullen said. "And that has to fundamentally shift."
Damn straight it does. And, also as obviously, if we continue to feed the beast, blithely continuing to give Pakistan aid, despite the obvious treachery and double dealing, NOTHING will change. They know that. We know that. Hell, even yellow dog knows it.
So, are we sending a clear signal as concerns the lucre? No. Not really.
The burgeoning dispute threatens to further divide the two governments. On Wednesday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a measure that would tie $1 billion in military aid to Pakistan to Islamabad's cooperation on U.S. efforts against the Haqqanis.
Adm. Mullen, in his prepared testimony, said Pakistan itself could face sanctions over its support of the Haqqanis and other militant groups. The White House has already frozen more than $800 million in security assistance for Pakistan.
"Could" and "Would" doesn't equate to "will". The "tying" of aid to cooperation against the Haqqanis requires some sort of metric. Can there be any reliable metric? Can there be a metric that is a significant improvement over taking the Pakistani's word for it? Probably not. So, actual measures must be taken. We need to cut them off. They need something more than a gradual weening.
Possibilities ain't actualities. We need to move beyond would and could.