“To the gates of Hell”: NOT!

The Pakistani ISI is working hand-in-glove with terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. And we should ask Pakistani permission before going after bin Laden? I don’t think so.

It’s no surprise that the ISI (the Pakistani spy service and secret police agency) is helping the Taliban/al-Qaeda side of the war in Afghanistan.

Not only does this illustrate the folly of cultivating Musharraf and his friends in the army and security service as a bulwark against terrorism, it makes hash of the idea that we should ask the Pakistani government’s permission before going after al-Qaeda leaders now holed up in the tribal regions of Pakistan. Asking Pakistan &#8212 even if there were a snowball’s chance of the answer being”yes” &#8212 means asking the ISI, and thus warning the targets.

This is clearly the case where it’s going to be easier to get forgiveness than permission.

The contrast between McCain and Obama couldn’t be stronger. McCain wants to make Pakistan a safe haven for the organizers of the largest mass murder in American history. Though he said he’d pursue bin Laden “to the gates of Hell,” apparently that’s true only if those gates aren’t on Pakistani soil. Obama wants to bring the murderers to justice.

Obama should be happy to have that debate.

Footnote I see Glenn Reynolds is also unsurprised. I wonder what he thinks of his candidate’s rather limp position on the issue? But I also note that Glenn has faith that McCain won’t support the “contraception-is-abortion” regs now being drafted by BushCo, though McCain can’t work up the nerve to reject them. Wishful thinking is a powerful thing.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com