Over the last week or so we have had some very good discussion back and forth with Jerjes about the situation in Pakistan and the FATA Region. I hope that he is able to hop on and read this, and let me know what he thinks. I hope all is well with you my friend. Many of you have commented or emailed me asking questions, and this is just the world according to Bryan, but this is what I honestly think needs to happen.
First and foremost, unilateral action by us across the border is not a long term fix to the problem. Yes, if there is a high value target sitting right there playing the you cant get me game, I'm fully in support of a raid to grab him, especially if there is no Pakistan Military forces in the area. Let's just think about this for a second, if Osama Bin Laden was right there, a mile away, would you say, no, lets not get him. Of course not, its in both nation's interest to capture him. The same goes for his first tier deputies.
Secondly, the question remains, during these air strikes, when civilian casualties are claimed, how many of these were actually insurgents in their normal clothes? They dont wear uniforms like an actual military force does. How many were claimed to be civilians by other insurgents themselves since the reporting from this area is far from "fair and balanced?" How much of this is a concerted information operation campaign to sway people to their side?
I'm not saying that it hasn't happened, but first reports many times are wrong, and people need to realize that, and wait for all the facts to come out. Within the military we go to extraneous lengths to limit or reduce civilian casualties and or collateral damage to zero. Sometimes it unfortunately doesn't work, and trust me it pains us to the very core of our being when it does occur. But, do not take every report at face value, wait for all the facts to come out.
With that being said, a comprehensive plan needs to be achieved between the US / ISAF, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. There needs to be a set rules of engagement / policy, and strategy on going forward that all partners are completely bought into. The right of "hot pursuit" needs to be clearly articulated as do the duties of each side for policing its border. There also needs to be defined allocated force ratios for areas, that work in concert with one another on both sides of the border.
The government of Pakistan also needs to think very carefully about two items. The first is the ISI. It has long been rumored to be directly aiding the insurgent elements, most notably the Taliban. Now, from news reports I have seen over the last few months, there seems to be irrefutable evidence that this is the case. Pakistan needs to deal with this issue. The ISI is cultivating groups that in truth are just as much a danger to the sovereign government of Pakistan as they are to Afghanistan and the world in general.
The second part is that Pakistan needs to acknowledge that this is a regional problem that includes them. Lately there has been rhetoric from Pakistan stating that this is an Afghan problem and they must deal with it. That Pakistan saw no issues, and it was an internal domestic Afghan issue. That is simply not the case, and before any worth-while ways are made forward in this area, this opinion must be changed, and changed publicly.
I hope that many of the diplomatic overtures that seem to be ongoing currently, are going in this direction. I've worked with the Pakistani Military and known many Pakistan Citizen's over the years. They are a great country. But this is something that we must all work together on. It can not be something that is done one week, but not the next. It needs to be a comprehensive long term plan, that will bring these extremist elements to their knees once and for all.
God Bless America
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