I'm receiving a good deal of mail from readers pushing back against Pakistani Ambassador Husain Haqqani's assertion -- made in this space earlier today -- that his country's authorities did not know Bin Laden's location, and that Americans should understand this, because our law enforcement officials frequently have difficulty locating criminal suspects, including such figures as Boston's Whitey Bulger, and various Mafia figures in Brooklyn. Here is one such letter:
Very nice excuse-making on the ambassador's part, but really, does he expect Americans to believe this official government story? Bin Laden was the most wanted man in the world, he wasn't a Mafioso from Brooklyn. Doesn't this incident mean we can finally say out loud what is true, that Pakistan is an enemy of the U.S., and then we can proceed to deal with them based on this fact?
I'll deal with this last question first: No, we cannot say out loud that Pakistan is our enemy, because it isn't our enemy. There are forces within the fractious Pakistani governing structure that are pro-Taliban, and even some, one assumes, that are actively, or at least passively, pro-al Qaeda. But Pakistan is also fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban in many parts of the country's tribal areas, and Pakistani soldiers are losing their lives in this fight. And are we really going to call Pakistan an enemy? What do you do after you make that declaration? Go to war with a nuclear-armed country of almost 200 million people?
Even if it were true that Pakistan is our enemy, we have no means to deal with it as an enemy. My thought has always been to try to bring Pakistan closer to us; to help its economy, its health care and education system (whose collapse helped lead to the rise of the madrasa system in the first place). I'm not Pollyannish about this, but it's the only thing that will mitigate Pakistan's ability to do real damage to us. I also know what happens when we abandon Pakistan, as we did in the early '90s: You wind up with madrasas and resentment and radicalism and all sorts of other unhappy things.