Another deal with our good friends the Pakistanis:
Thousands of U.S. troops will be deployed in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan in return for Washington's support of President Pervez Musharraf's pardon of the Pakistani scientist who this month admitted leaking nuclear arms secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, investigative reporter Seymour Hersh wrote in the issue that goes on sale on Monday.
Full disclosure of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's activities would have exposed him as "the worst nuclear-arms proliferator in the world," an intelligence official is quoted as saying.
"It's a quid pro quo," according to a former senior intelligence official. "We're going to get our troops inside Pakistan in return for not forcing Musharraf to deal with Khan."
Musharraf has also offered other help in the hunt for bin Laden, accused of masterminding the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, according to the article.
"Musharraf told us, 'We've got guys inside. The people who provide fresh fruits and vegetables and herd the goats' for bin Laden and his al Qaeda followers," the intelligence official added.
One can only imagine what we offered as our part of the bargain. The last time a Republican president made a deal with Pakistan, we allowed them to make the Islam Bomb. And since they got it, we now know they are the number one nuclear proliferator in the world.
It's also interesting that Musharraf told our intelligence that he has people on the inside, providing material assistance to al Qaeda. How long has that been going on? Why hasn't bin Laden been arrested already? Why hasn't the U.S. been allowed to hunt bin Laden in Pakistan until this election year?
To understand what a dirty bit of business this is, you have to understand that not only did the United States turn a blind eye to Pakistan building the Islam bomb, but we provided them with the financial assistance without which they would not have been able to afford to. Not only that, but if Pakistan ever needs to deliver the Islam bomb, they'll be doing so in their F-16s, which, last time I checked, you can't get anywhere but right here in the United States.
The United States military and intelligence has had a long, cozy relationship with Pakistan. And Pakistan has had a long, cozy relationship with Islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan. Since the Russians were living in Kabul.
If the Pakistanis wanted to, and if the United States put the screws to them, they could have turned bin Laden over the day after al Qaeda fled the Tora Bora caves.
Why the wait? Why the delay? I won't even ask why the Delta operators and the 101st Airborne, who were begging to go into Tora Bora back in 2001, were held back in favor of using local warlords(I'm lying. Was it because the White House had already decided to go into Iraq and, therefore, insisted on an almost bloodless campaign in Afghanistan? One that would not dampen the American people's willingness to fight another war?). Why weren't Tenet and Rumsfeld in Pakistan in 2001, like they both recently were, turning the screws?
Did the White House not care? Or did they know that they could get bin Laden any time they wanted? Did they already have bin Laden? Did someone decide that nothing could top the Iranian hostage October surprise except for bringing bin Laden to the United States in chains during an election year?
I mean, why waste that kind of political capital in 2001 or 2002 when you're already polling in the 90 percent approval ratings?
Why not just keep him in your back pocket?
The capture of bin Laden is certain, if it hasn't already occurred. And I think this will be devestating to whoever is the Democratic candidate. If bin Laden has not already been captured, the Bush people will surely see the kind of approval surge Bush saw when Saddam was captured. And very few people will ask how this was accomplished or why it was delayed.
And even if it can be shown that bin Laden had been captured long ago, or could have been, the Bush administration will simply say that they either did not reveal his capture earlier or did not try to capture him earlier because such action would have interferred with ongoing investigations into al Qaeda. Bush may even try to portray himself as willing to suffer politically, keeping a secret of his success, taking potshots from Democrats, in order to further the interests of America.
Bush, himself, may even show up again on Meet the Press, revealing how hard it was for him to be accused of not pursuing bin Laden, how it hurt him personally, how difficult it was to not reveal, in the face of these unfair attacks, that bin Laden was already in captivity. But he, selfless George W., was willing to take these slings and arrows, if it meant America would be safer.
Cynical? Skeptical? Conspiracist? Maybe.
But why did bin Laden drop out of every speech given by the Preznit since 2002? Why, with such a politically damaging issue, was so little attention paid to Afghanistan? Why wasn't Tenet or Rumsfeld in Pakistan any earlier? Why were we continually told that the capture of bin Laden wasn't that important?
I don't know. I don't think bin Laden was captured. I just think that he was in a place where he could always be captured. I think he was or is either under constant surveilance or house arrest in Pakistan and the considerations of the families of 9/11 and the open wounds of our American psyche take a second place to political considerations with this administration.