Friday, September 26, 2008

Mobius War

Waging war against the Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists who hide in Pakistan is going to be a problem:

Pakistani government spokesman Akram Shaheedi urged U.S.-led coalition forces "not to violate territorial sovereignty of Pakistan as it is counterproductive to the war on terror."

"It has been Pakistan's policy that we will not allow anyone to violate our sovereignty, and we will continue to defend our territorial sovereignty," he said Friday.

The clash occurred as new Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was in New York meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai was scheduled to meet with U.S. President George W. Bush on Friday.

Two American OH-58 reconnaissance helicopters, known as Kiowas, were on a routine patrol in the eastern province of Khost when they received small arms fire from the Pakistani border post, said Tech Sgt. Kevin Wallace, a U.S. military spokesman in Bagram. There was no damage to aircraft or crew, officials said.

So far, Pakistan has been unable to prevent their territory from being used as a sanctuary by our enemies. And Pakistan has been unwilling to ignore our increasing but still rare strikes into Pakistani territory to do the job ourselves.

And even if Pakistan didn't complain, our precision strikes that go after leadership can never do more than disrupt the enemy by forcing new leaders to step up. To suppress them we need to smother the area with security forces. And Pakistan's recent reactions to our minor strikes shows that we can't do much more.

The reason we can't do much more is that while the frontier areas of Pakistan across from Afghanistan are our front line, that same border region is our rear area that we rely on for supplies. That's right, we shoot in the same direction our supplies come from.

And given the state of Pakistani public opinion that seems to applaud Pakistani use of force against our forces if we cross the border in pursuit of terrorists, I don't think we can count on rational decisions by Pakistan's leaders to keep our supply lines open if we intrude into the tribal areas too much. No matter how much the Pakistanis know they need our military and economic help, losing that aid is a long-term problem. Losing the support of the Pakistani people is an immediate problem that could lose Paksitan's leaders their jobs or even lives.

So there you go, we have a mobius war that twists and turns back on itself. Our front line is our line of supply. That's the real distraction in the war on terror.