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Ante Up

There’s a really interesting article in my local paper, originally in the LA Times called, “Pakistan’s Chips in a Shady Game”. This guy points out that every time Pakistan could gain from producing an al Qaeda operative, it’s done so.

It is as if the Pakistani powers that be have had, ever since Al Qaeda's retreat from Afghanistan and their withdrawal into Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, a precise idea of where the chiefs of Al Qaeda could be found. It is as if Pakistan's formidable intelligence service, the ISI, had not only localized but kept these public enemies of the U.S. — and theoretically of Pakistan — under observation, handy for periodic culling.

It is as if these people were bargaining chips, with the Pakistanis drawing from their reserves of terrorists and cashing them in one by one, depending on the needs of their relationship with the great American "friend."

I think this guy's absolutely correct. He rattles off a long list of captures and rewards, and points out, "before giving asylum to the Taliban, the Pakistanis invented them, ruled Afghanistan through them and, in the space of 20 years, contributed no fewer than 200,000 recruits to the international jihad."

There's no doubt in my mind that the Pakistani ISI, if not Musharraf himself, knows where bin Laden is hiding. And there's no doubt these guys are actually trading terrorists for favors. I blogged here on one such incident where, in return for the Bush administration's consideration of allowing nuclear-capable F-16 sales to Pakistan, Musharraf announced a high-level terrorist capture during the Democratic convention last July. Those F-16s are on the way to Islamabad now.

I've got a poll up on my site that absolutely amazes me. Almost 2/3's of respondents do not believe we should drag bin Laden's ass out of Pakistan. That's just crazy! Why not? Going after bin Laden - and whoever is harboring him in Pakistan - is a far more credible and just use of our armed forces than invading Iraq ever was.

The Taliban hid bin Laden in Afghanistan, and paid the price for it. Now bin Laden is hiding out in Pakistan, and we're paying them. That's just wacked.

Posted by American Pundit at May 18, 2005 10:47 AM