Just A Quick Thing To Think About Before We Start Blaming Pakistan
It's pretty hard to believe the Pakistani government knew nothing about Bin Laden's whereabouts, given he was living next to their equivalent of West Point. But before we start questioning U.S. aid to Pakistan, lets draw on a little bit of history here.
U.S. aid was responsible for pushing the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Ironically, some of this money went to Osama Bin Laden, then a young, anti-Soviet jihadist.
Then, the U.S. pulled its aid to Afghanistan. Since the Soviets were defeated, the U.S. mission was deemed complete.
What was left behind was a war-torn, battered country with fractured leadership. Into the void stepped the Taliban. We know what that led to.
There are, no doubt, corrupt elements inside Pakistan. It's the chief reason why Obama approved the special ops mission inside Pakistan's borders without letting the Pakistani government know about it first. It's been well-established that the Pakistani intelligence agency and the government are as leaky as the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant.
But the reality is, the leakiness of the Pakistani Intelligence community exists because of its reliance on double agents and actual terrorists for information. They operate by letting the little fish go in hopes of catching the big fish. They operate effectively by gaining the trust of real terrorists-- which can sometimes mean leaking information that helps the bad guys.
And then, there's the most obvious challenge the Pakistanti government and their intelligence forces face. A good percentage of the people living in their country don't care much for America, and don't care much for a secular Pakistani government. Imagine if America let Iranian troops carry out operations in Boston, Massachusetts because some guy responsible for terrorism in Tehran was allegedly hiding somewhere near Fenway. You think Americans would be like, "Yeah, sure!"?
The Pakistani government has a tenuous hold on power. And maintaining that hold means presenting a certain face towards its populace. It must not look like a weak, subservient sidekick to American ambitions.
Ironically, the only way they can maintain that powerful facade is to fund themselves with U.S. aid. Their people cannot afford higher taxes without rioting and bringing down the government. As such, if the police, soldiers, and intelligence community are to be paid money to fight terrorism, they must be paid with funds acquired elsewhere. Like from the American government.
Without these funds, the security structure of Pakistan is left to fall apart. And instead of merely hiding out in Pakistan, terrorists begin operating there-- on a level they've never been able to before. The Pakistani government is overthrown-- and in its place, a group much like the Taliban institutes Sharia law. Bin Laden's dream--of an orthodox Islamic terrorist state-- becomes a reality.
Did the Pakistani intelligence services know where Bin Laden was? Well, here's West Point. Do you know who lives in every single one of those structures? Every one? Anyone live in the neighborhood want to take a shot? And keep in mind, this is America, where we're very nosy about our neighbors. I can think of about 20 buildings in my neighborhood in New Jersey which seem mighty odd.
Much has been said about Osama's mansion sticking out... but the area is actually very populated with mansions. Many have security. Osama's house may have seemed odd... but it had been there before most of the mansions in the area were built there. For all many neighbors knew, it could have been a intelligence services installation. It's not like they would have seen people walking around wearing "I'm With Osama" t-shirts while installing vinyl siding.
Yes, it was close to the Pakistani "West Point," but that may have been the precise reason Bin Laden chose it. Where was a place in Pakistan that would provide the U.S. with a more difficult target: on the western border, rife with terrorist activity, or a place where Pakistan's military leadership is trained? Which one would be the place the Americans would be less likely to look-- and more hesitant to bomb without Pakistani permission? The proximity does not suggest that the entire Pakistani government was involved in some elaborate Bin Laden protection scheme. Rather, it suggests that Bin Laden was worried about isolating himself in a place that would be exposed to an American air strike.
So lets cool our jets a bit. Bin Laden is dead. Let's celebrate. And hope that our government doesn't make any rash decisions that may lead to the birth of Bin Laden's successor.