Sunday, January 15, 2006

US Intelligence screws the pooch again ... 
...And hits a house apparently full of women and children, but with no Al Qaeda.

The U.S. should diplomatically get out in front of this one, and publicly apologize to the people of Pakistan. It's the right thing to do, and to fail to do so will not serve us well. The support of the people in that particular reason of Pakistan is important to the tactical success of the fight against Al Qaeda locally. If we catch Zawahari or Bin Ladin, it will be because one of those people betray them. I can't imagine that either of them would stay in Afghanistan, where US troops have free reign, when Al Qaeda sympathizers have infested the Pakistani security forces, and AQ has a good shot at getting tipped off if a Pakistani raid is in the offing.

The United States should be cautious here, I think. If I were Al Qaeda, I would start to flood the zone with false reports of Bin Ladin and al Zawahiri, in an effort to provoke US blunders in the region, thus keeping up the political momentum they have going for themselves.

The U.S., I'm confident, is cognizant of the possibility that Al Qaeda will select this course of action, and take action to investigate the background and ties of its informants extra carefully - so that intelligence can be vetted, but also so that every time Al Qaeda does send someone to give a false report, they risk further exposing part of their network.

Publicly turning over one or two people who give false reports to the Pakistani security service as potential Al Qaeda saboteurs may go a long way towards improving the reliability of reports and lending discipline to our own network of informants.

Granted, you do decrease the chances of following up on a truthful report - and you do wind up releasing some of the pressure on the Al Qaeda leadership, which in turn makes it easier for them to coordinate a counterattack. But the US can hardly afford a string of three or four similar incidents like this one, which is Al Qaeda's best hope at severing the U.S. - Pakistan alliance.

I should be careful not to overstate the point, though: I don't think the Musharraf-U.S. alliance is nearly as shaky as it appears in the news. As long as Musharraf remains in power, James Taylor's still on center stage. That is to say, we've got a friend. He knows where his falafel is fried. He has to say some things for public consumption, of course. And so would we.

The US, I hope, is taking some steps to hedge its bets. We have an awful lot of U.S. policy depending on the actuarial chances of one man.

Splash, out


Yep, it's quite likely we were either set up for the PR debacle, used for someone else's vendetta, or both.
We may both be wrong. REUTERS (no less) is reporting there WAS a terrorist meeting to which Zawahri was invited and that seven of his ilk may have been killed, even though he was a no-show.

Exactly, I am NOT calling this a pooch screw, although I am somewhat surprised they didn't get eyes on the guy going into the building. Quite obviously the Predator was overhead. If we kill 18 people who are willing to eat dinner with a scumbag like Zawahri (and who he trusts enough to eat dinner with) I think we can put that in the WIN column.

"If you allow Zawahri into your home, you do so at your own risk" - I am FINE with sending that message.

Also check this out:


Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, reported that al-Zawahiri was known to visit the Bajur region on occasion because his wife and children live there.

[Hope we have a Predator permanently watching them.]

Quoting Pakistani intelligence sources, the newspaper said two clerics wanted for harbouring militants had also been invited to the dinner and that one of them, Maulvi Liaqat, returned after the raid to bury the bodies of seven "foreign nationals" killed by the missiles.

[I’m guessing their presence wasn’t entirely innocent!]
Good discussion here:

You're always so eager to believe the "mainstream" media, Jason.

Turns out, the house contained several terrorists:

By RIAZ KHAN, Associated Press Writer

Jan 17, 2005

PESHAWAR, Pakistan - Pakistani provincial authorities said Tuesday four or five foreign terrorists were killed in the purported U.S. missile strike that has severely strained relations with this Muslim nation...


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