Seymour Hersh Heralds Doom in Pakistan–Run Away, Run Away

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Sy Hersh is back in town and he’s brought to his party a whopper of a piece of news.

Pakistan is in trouble. Yes we all know that.  Beset by political instability and a growing militant insurgency creeping in from its Northwestern tribal regions, the crown hangs heavy on President Asif Ali Zardari’s head.  Just today, another car bomb ripped through a busy market intersection in a town close to Peshawar in northwestern Pakistan; 34 innocent civilians are dead.  100 or more are wounded.  On Sunday, near Peshawar, a suicide bomber claimed the lives of 12 people including the target of the attack, a mayor of a town who had switched allegiances and had raised a militia to fight against the Taliban.

But wait, there’s more.  The 60 to 80 nuclear warheads Pakistan allegedly possesses are  spread around the country and are looked after by the Pakistani military. Unfortunately, writing for The New Yorker Hersh reports that since the 1980’s a growing number of Army officers have adopted Islamist beliefs, and have begun to profess fealty to a Islamic Caliphate.   Whether or not the Pakistani government can keep the Taliban at bay, Hersh argues, the point may be moot: the Taliban have infiltrated the Pakistani Army and there’s a genuine fear in the U.S. government that mutiny at any one of these facilities will hand the Taliban a real warhead and, perhaps, even worse, a workable nuclear weapon.

We’ve put together contingency plans and are working with the Pakistani government; Admiral Mullen is in contact with General Kayani.  However the plan is essentially that if some genuine event takes place, then teams ready and waiting will support and secure the nuclear storage facilities. We are all friends, after all.

Unfortunately, for U.S interests and the non-proliferation regime, the U.S. does not have friendly standing with the Pakistani government, Pakistani military or the Pakistani population.    Uh-oh.  The Pakistani military is lying to U.S. leaders and analysts: in the piece, at least one general admits as much.  They do not want their nuclear arsenal to be subject to U.S. security and inspection.  Pakistani leaders fear that the U.S, aligned with India, wants to decapitate Pakistan’s nuclear capability.

No one needs to marshal game theory to explicate the problem that stands before us.  The Watchmen think the Guardians are their enemies.  Who, now, can watch the Watchmen?

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~ by Faheem Haider on November 10, 2009.

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