May 26, 2009

THE ONLY HARD PART IS GETTING THE PAKISTANIS TO FIGHT THEM SO WE DON'T HAVE TO...:

Reasons to be hopeful After years of failure, Pakistan's leaders are starting to expose the Taliban for what they are (Peter Preston, 5/24/09, guardian.co.uk)

It ought to be damnably difficult to defeat the Taliban, but it seems strangely easy. The Pakistani army moves in its heavy battalions and moves 1.7 million civilians out of Swat, and the Taliban make conventional stands in little enclaves and get blasted out of sight. It's the mistake they made as ­government army-in-residence in Afghanistan, lines of men formed in fatuous attack, ragged troops cut to ribbons by superior weapons and air assaults. When they come out into the open, they lose. And in a Swat Valley cleared of innocent bystanders, they are losing badly.

This tells us three interesting things. One is that Taliban tactics are pretty stupid, which means that their leaders are pretty stupid too. Another is that US alarm about zealot hordes seizing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is equally foolish. But a third element provides positive hope rather than familiar despair. We deceive and delude ourselves every time we write about the Taliban (or al-Qaida) as a coherent force under a single command.


...and, paradoxically, that requites that they be "winning."

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 26, 2009 7:08 AM
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