'Pakistan on the edge'

When it rains, it pours:

A growing al Qaida-backed insurgency, combined with the Pakistani army's reluctance to launch an all-out crackdown, political infighting and energy and food shortages are plunging America's key ally in the war on terror deeper into turmoil and violence, says a soon-to-be completed U.S. intelligence assessment.

A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as "very bad." Another official called the draft "very bleak," and said it describes Pakistan as being "on the edge."

The first official summarized the estimate's conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: "no money, no energy, no government."

Six U.S. officials who helped draft or are aware of the document's findings confirmed them to McClatchy on the condition of anonymity because NIEs are top secret and are restricted to the president, senior officials and members of Congress. An NIE's conclusions reflect the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The NIE on Pakistan, along with others being prepared on Afghanistan and Iraq, will underpin a "strategic assessment" of the situation that Army Gen. David Petraeus, who's about to take command of all U.S. forces in the region, has requested. The aim of the assessment - seven years after the U.S. sent troops into Afghanistan - is to determine whether a U.S. presence in the region can be effective and if so what U.S. strategy should be.

No way to shield Afghanistan from this storm. If Pakistan falls to the terrorists, things will become very dicey, very quickly in Afghanistan. No doubt any government sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaeda would throw open the borders and allow fighters to infliltrate with ease.

Would we let this happen? Would we allow Pakistan with its nukes to fall into the hands of terrorists?

Bush, I am certain, would not. But Obama? Even he must see that danger to the region and to us if such an event were to occur. And unless he is so wedded to the idea that everyone in the world has got to like us, we will go in.

The problem is, what's next after that? Well, we can't just leave and hope that the Pakis do the right thing. There would be occupation. There would be nation building. There would be the drive for democracy.

Sound familiar? This is all stuff that Obama and his friends opposed in Iraq. But since it would be a Democrat doing the occupying, a Democrat doing the nation building, and a Democrat trying to bring democracy to Pakistan, things would be just peachy with the press, the left, and everyone else who thinks that going into Iraq in the first place was a mistake.

Can it get that bad in Pakistan? The Pakistanis themselves now say that two vital regions - Swat and the area around Peshawar - are already in al-Qaeda's hands. The whole government is rotten to the core so it won't take much to push it over.

Then what? Same thing that happened in Afghanistan. A coalition of conservative fundamentalist parties take over and we have the nightmare scenario come true.

I want to say I'm confident Obama would do something if worse came to worse, but we just don't know, do we?

That's the question mark voters seem to not want to have answered.




When it rains, it pours:

A growing al Qaida-backed insurgency, combined with the Pakistani army's reluctance to launch an all-out crackdown, political infighting and energy and food shortages are plunging America's key ally in the war on terror deeper into turmoil and violence, says a soon-to-be completed U.S. intelligence assessment.

A U.S. official who participated in drafting the top secret National Intelligence Estimate said it portrays the situation in Pakistan as "very bad." Another official called the draft "very bleak," and said it describes Pakistan as being "on the edge."

The first official summarized the estimate's conclusions about the state of Pakistan as: "no money, no energy, no government."

Six U.S. officials who helped draft or are aware of the document's findings confirmed them to McClatchy on the condition of anonymity because NIEs are top secret and are restricted to the president, senior officials and members of Congress. An NIE's conclusions reflect the consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies.

The NIE on Pakistan, along with others being prepared on Afghanistan and Iraq, will underpin a "strategic assessment" of the situation that Army Gen. David Petraeus, who's about to take command of all U.S. forces in the region, has requested. The aim of the assessment - seven years after the U.S. sent troops into Afghanistan - is to determine whether a U.S. presence in the region can be effective and if so what U.S. strategy should be.

No way to shield Afghanistan from this storm. If Pakistan falls to the terrorists, things will become very dicey, very quickly in Afghanistan. No doubt any government sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaeda would throw open the borders and allow fighters to infliltrate with ease.

Would we let this happen? Would we allow Pakistan with its nukes to fall into the hands of terrorists?

Bush, I am certain, would not. But Obama? Even he must see that danger to the region and to us if such an event were to occur. And unless he is so wedded to the idea that everyone in the world has got to like us, we will go in.

The problem is, what's next after that? Well, we can't just leave and hope that the Pakis do the right thing. There would be occupation. There would be nation building. There would be the drive for democracy.

Sound familiar? This is all stuff that Obama and his friends opposed in Iraq. But since it would be a Democrat doing the occupying, a Democrat doing the nation building, and a Democrat trying to bring democracy to Pakistan, things would be just peachy with the press, the left, and everyone else who thinks that going into Iraq in the first place was a mistake.

Can it get that bad in Pakistan? The Pakistanis themselves now say that two vital regions - Swat and the area around Peshawar - are already in al-Qaeda's hands. The whole government is rotten to the core so it won't take much to push it over.

Then what? Same thing that happened in Afghanistan. A coalition of conservative fundamentalist parties take over and we have the nightmare scenario come true.

I want to say I'm confident Obama would do something if worse came to worse, but we just don't know, do we?

That's the question mark voters seem to not want to have answered.