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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama bin Laden visits Davy Jones Locker

The special operations group that liquidated Osama bin Laden have performed their assigned duties with professionalism and expertise.  Are there questions?  Certainly there will be numerous questions; some of those questions shall never be answered.

But the big questions I have heard in the last few days revolve around the Government of Pakistan and could they have possibly been aware of Osama bin Laden's presence in their country.  Let us consider a few items of information that may help facilitate the pathway of inductive reasoning.

Pakistan, as we all know, is a nuclear power with a military that measures in excess of a million, probably close to 1.5 million when counting an active force, reserves, and paramilitary forces.  Pakistan is also a nuclear power, it maintains a military designed to withstand an attack from India, the country they see as their primary threat.  This, of course, makes sense when one considers the wars they have already fought and the state of high tension that constantly remains between the two countries.

The bulletin of Atomic Scientists estimated that Pakistan has between 70 and 90 nuclear warheads and this seems in balance with public estimates of Indian nuclear warheads in the range of 60-100.  These warheads are both low and high yield designs, in other words, some are designed to be delivered on short or intermediate range rockets while others are designed for aircraft delivery.  What isn't stated very often is that Indian nuclear facilities exempt from IAEA safeguards have the capacity to produce approximately 280 nuclear weapons annually.  One must presume Pakistan is interested in maintaining similar capacity.  To that extent, Pakistan has acquired nuclear research facility designs from China and have developed multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRV) designs. 

Numerous agencies concerned about the proliferation of nuclear weapons have repeatedly provided unclassified information from various government sources relative to Pakistan's substantial nuclear abilities and their complex relationships with numerous governments to arrange for all the components required to attain first strike nuclear capability and supplement that with a second retaliatory strike capacity.

By now you should be gathering the picture of a country that has invested heavily in military infrastructure, nuclear weaponry, advanced weapons technologies, and a capacity to conduct, if required, a conventional or nuclear war with another country.  Presumably India would be at the top of their list.  Needless to say, Pakistan has a substantial air defense capability in order to protect all of their infrastructure. 

In short, there is simply no way multiple helicopters (or even one for that matter) could fly into Pakistan, within striking distance of the capital and then proceed to land a few blocks from the Kakul Military Officers School.  This would be roughly the equivalent of flying across Quebec and Ontario to land down the street from the Royal Military College in Kingston without being detected, execute a raid, and quietly leave without Ottawa knowing.  Not even the most illogical person could possibly fathom how such a raid could take place without the knowledge and consent of top military officials of Pakistan.

Many people have expressed concerns that the war on terror has been complicated by the apparance that Pakistan has been willing to allow Taliban and other insurgent groups to slip in and out of Afghanistan, seeking refuge in Pakistan after conducting military raids.  Even Hillary Clinton, when speaking about Pakistan, expressed her frustration one year ago stating, "I believe that somewhere in this government are people who know where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is".

Coincidentally, just last month, Central Intelligence Agency Chief Leon Panetta and Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, of Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) recently met at the CIA headquarters, just outside of Washington in the lovely quasi rural setting of Langley, Virginia.  At some point during the tour, there was even the opportunity to have a chat with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen aboard an aircraft carrier.

Here's where the inductive reasoning comes in.... has the war on terror taken a new shift?  Have officials in the government of Pakistan come under pressure to cooperate in the enterprise of crushing al Queda and other militant groups instead of harboring them and providing them with safe haven?

How on Earth can a logical person, given of nothing more than just a smattering of facts, believe any possible explanation for how bin Laden lived in a massive compound down the street from the very heart of Pakistan Military Officers College in a city with three Army brigades and within a two hour drive of Islamabad for months on end without the knowledge of senior military intelligence and government officials. 

In fact, the area is considered to be a secure zone.  People are not allowed to move and live in such proximity to the Pakistan Military Officers University without first undergoing security checks.  It would be a stretch to suggest that Osama bin Laden did not have the blessing of top government officials in Pakistan. 

Of this one thing I am certain, we will never know what leverage was used to arrange the liquidation of Osama bin Laden.  Obviously, it was not money alone, there has been plenty of that bestowed upon Pakistan.  I wonder if there was a deal made to protect somebody from their own errors.  Could Osama bin Laden have been traded in a high stakes poker game in the intelligence community.  If that is the case, there would probably be only about a dozen people in the chain who would ever know the details.  And I can assure you, not one of them will ever tell the story.  Like many other great stories that would make for great spy novels... this will vanish like Osama bin Laden did... all the way down to Davy Jones Locker. 

1 comment:

  1. Gordon, Very well put. I agree that there was obviously some level of cooperation on this issue. However, the Government of Pakistan is still walking a tightrope here. Public opinion is dead set against the US and what we are doing in Afghanistan. I see this as political posturing to appease the "home front". Secretly there is much cooperation, but in public...they will continue to castigate the US. Hell, I would if I were in their position. People tend to forget why, how and who started the Taliban. It was a "home grown" movement that the ISI took out of the conservative religious schools and turned them loose on the USSR in Afghanistan. They also have quite a few problems with the Taliban in their own country because of the corruption in the Pakistan legal, judicial and political systems.