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November 11, 2007

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If I were in charge of one of Pakistan's neighbors, I'd be trying to get a little chat with the WH, to explain that my military and political advisers very nervous at the thought of Pakistan's nukes being in the hands of (a) terrorists (as in al-Qaeda), or (b) enemies, and would they please get off their *sses and actually lookat the results of their policies , before that whole area of the world glows in the dark.

EW said:

In other words, Sanger makes it clear that public assurances that Pakistan's nukes are safe are presented against a background policy in which the White House has dictated that "this problem will not be discussed in public."

"No sense in scaring the 'Merican public with nuclear bomb stuff about our Islamic BFFs. We be plenty happy to scare the 'Merican public about OBL's nuclear bomb threats, but Mush and his pals are our buddies."

"...because BushCo has seen fit to put Cheney in charge of its Pakistan policy...."

Shrub doesn't do much besides bicycle and go to bed at 9 pm. Cheney is in charge of Pakistan policy because Cheney is in charge. Period.

It's hard to avoid the conclusion that Cheney is using Pakistan as a trial run for more of Cheney's fantasies. Just as he used Iraq. Pakistan, of course, is an independent actor. but it receives substantial (and wholly unaccounted for) funding and training from the US treasury and US personnel.

Musharraf mocks the public Bush personna and rationales for his "antiterror" policies. But Musharraf seems to hold closely to the Cheney methodology in practice, if with more abandon allowed by having more power relative to his opposition and his people. As with Cheney's Iraq "policy", he doesn't give much thought to what could happen or what to do if things go wrong. WTF is right.

Pakistan is far more problematic and troubling than Iran or even Iraq. Allowing it to remain Cheney's private plaything, as if it were some anatomically correct blow-up doll, is dangerous to the world. His paranoia and his lack of realism or competence about things Iraqi make that clear.

Of course, Messrs. Reid and Pelosi can be counted for to reign in an incautious, unsuccessful, incompetent White House team. Can't they.

Either the Pakistani military is shot through with Islamisists or their sympathizers, or they are not much of a military. They ran home after a few brushes with the Taliban and other fighters in the territories, and complained about their losses, instead of avenging themselves. As far as I can see, they are good at beating up their own citizens, and at stealing the money, but not so good at winning wars or even skirmishes with lightly armed guerrillas.

Re: Talking in public....

Seems that it is way more important to assert publically (again) that a Canadian engineer who spent a year being tortured in a Syrian jail for no good reason at all is the real threat to the world's security.

More seriously, if Ms. Bhutto were to prevail, would this be a stabilizing or destabilizing development (clearly the folks floating stuff to Mr. Sanger et al., would like us to think otherwise).

.

If Cheney ,who is in charge, plays this out right, this could be the chain of events that allows Bush and Company to declare a state of emergency, martial law, and a suspension of any future elections. This problem will not be discussed in public! Thats it, I`m putting all my money in Blackwater stock.

Effectively, the U.S. is bogged down in Iraq. Brilliant strategy.

More Plames.

The Canadian got paid like 11 million for his CSIS trip.

Nukes aren't the problem with Bhutto, the bombings she's arranging for her 'freedom' and deaths at rallies are.

Of course they can't discuss this publicly, because if they did they would lose the plausible deniability ("who could have imagined...") refrain they whip out every time they screw something up. And God knows you wouldn't want a healthy debate on public policy related to a seriously complicated and potentially very dangerous situation, because you might actually discover a sane and reasonable approach to deal with the crisis.

No, like the old adage says, "it's better for BushCo to keep their mouths shut and be thought fools, then to open their mouths and remove all doubt". Imbeciles.

>>>>

Of course junior already was responsible for a major intelligence F*-up in Pakistan a few years back when he was so desperate to force "good" news out that Cheney had the folks compromise a major information source. Since every major media outlet was already kissing his ass then (as now), and thus it was totally gratuitous, it struck me as one of the most treasonous acts by a WH resident I have ever witnessed.

Shades of Ms. Plame, eh, since there too these same jackasses apparently whacked out some major CIA efforts related to deterring the spread of nuclear weapons technology.

So much for fighting terrorism. Those republicans are really something.

Want more terrorism? Vote republican!

I assume the plan to secure the Paki nukes is: Two Stealth bombers fueled up at Diego Garcia.

And that's it. Remember a while back during the India-Pakistan tussle that included each side putting their nukes on a hair trigger, the administration leaked stuff about Marines ready to drop on the nuke sites, etc.? We haven't heard a peep about troops ready to secure the nukes or whatever so I assume they've just reprogrammed a couple of big nukes for the Paki sites and that's that. If Pakistan melts down, all it will take is semi-credible reports that the nukes are in danger and Whamo! the whole place will get Cheneyed.

I doubt it's Diego Garcia. I presume with the free hand Bush gave India that India's nukes are the Plan B. Not that I find that reassuring, but Musharraf and Bhutto don't strike me as people who can be trusted to deliver anything.

The lame way their military gets trapped by warlords and trades hostages tells me that arsenal is only slightly safer than our seaports.

Marcie

Please watche the bullshit session this am on Morning Joe and how now supposedly since Armitage admits that he was the one that talked to Novack that Rove is exhonerated. OMG it was ridiculus. Especially since MSNBC own reporter (can't think of the name) has done an absolutely great report on the players.

I think you need to contact the center for responsive journalism and start a lawsuit throught the FCC about lieing to the american public about proven events.

The longstanding nuclear powers (US, Russia, PRC, etc) all took many years to establish reliable command-and-control over their weapons. This means the chain-of-command protocols, and hardware mechanisms (e.g. PALs in the US), to prevent unauthorized use. One issue in new nuclear states (like say, Pakistan, or the DPRK) is that they have to work these out, on their own, and generally not without a few bumps. One thing the US could be doing right now to secure Pakistani nukes is supplying the Pakistani military with some variant of a PAL system.

Also, even if there is a robust mechanism in Pakistan for preventing unauthorized detonation of the weapons, the uranium pit could probably be extracted intact. If two or three such pits could be obtained, it would probably not be so hard to re-weaponize them. I've never seen much discussion of this possibility. It would take some people who knew what they were doing, but it wouldn't take Einsteins.

armscontrolwonk wrote a post back in August when there were a couple of stories floating about on securing Pakistani weapons, including the Hersh article Watching the Warheads.

O/T -- Neil, thanks for the gameday links, I have now seen a purple cow ;) But I am curious what does "Ephs" have to do with Purple Cows?

Andrew -- I think the real issue here is that the US, Russia, and PRC all had stable governments which allowed them to develop their control systems. The problem we have with Pakistan is an unstable government with a significant presence of extremists poised to take control if they can. I'm not sure there is a command and control system in the world that is not vulnerable to extremists launching nuclear weapons once such extremists gain control of the government. This is just as true of BushCo's first use threats as it is of Pakistan's extremists.

After, I saw it too. That's been Joe's line forever and I have to believe he's been called on it but so far he just won't give it up.

phred--

If the extremists become the government, you're absolutely right--it doesn't matter what c&c system you've got, since they're then in command. What I'm trying to get at is that it's not even clear that Pakistan is safe against the possibility of freelancers inside the military, or safe against a period (maybe as little as a few hours or days) of chaos.

Thanks Andrew, now I see what you were saying.

If *we* lose track of a half dozen of our own nuked-out missiles for 36 hours... unsecured... unaccounted for... with 50 years of experience at handling dangerous toys, then how can we expect an unstable regieme that bounces from coup to coup to keep absolute control and watchful eyes on its arsenal?

Did Musharraf have to declare martial law right now? No. The Court hadn't handed down its decision yet. Even if the decision had gone against his holding both the Generalship and the Presidency, he could have wiggled around it. Using the US as an example, he could have pressured the parliamentarians to put up a law saying that the President was a civilian Commander-in-Chief, thus he'd still maintain control of the government and have more military power.

I detect Cheney's hand in this. It makes Rice look even weaker and it lays another flagstone in our path towards some excuse for officially invading yet another country.

Meanwhile, if I were a ruler of a neighboring country, I wouldn't waste breath talking to the US or money buying overpriced arms. I'd be securing my borders so that if Pakistan got invaded, any occupiers wouldn't keep rolling the way the Germans rolled through Europe.

BTW, I wonder who is going to buy Hitler's globe?

ding ding ding ding

we have a winnah

If *we* lose track of a half dozen of our own nuked-out missiles for 36 hours... unsecured... unaccounted for... with 50 years of experience at handling dangerous toys, then how can we expect an unstable regieme that bounces from coup to coup to keep absolute control and watchful eyes on its arsenal?

this crowd is usually sharper than this

21 comments before anybody mentions that the presnit has no fucking clue where America's bombs are at any given moment

hauksdottir, you get an "A"

the rest of you ???

back to the salt mines you potzers

ducking and running with an evil smile on my face ...

Move it!

A little nonsense now and then is cherished by the wisest men.

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