I was driving on the Washington, DC beltway on my way to work for the Defense Intelligence Agency around 0500 on the morning of 13 December 2001. NPR reported on the terrorist attack in the Indian Parliament. By 0430 the next day I had the draft “Indian Military Retaliatory Options” product out for review. After reading the final, the secretaries of State and Defense (Powell and Rumsfeld) requested weekly updates from DIA. Both nuclear powers had fully mobilized for war. As New Delhi in particular – and the rest of the world in general – suspected, Pakistan was later proven to have supported the Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists.
Pakistan; dwarfed by India’s population, economy, technology, and military; yet posturing as the “South Asian Israel” (militarily strong) and not afraid to “prick the Tiger’s (India’s) tail”; has a long history of using radical groups as proxy warriors. When caught inside India they are terrorists. On the way to crossing the border from Pakistan they are freedom fighters. Asymmetric, and economical, warfare. 2008, Mumbai, six terrorists: 164 dead, 308 wounded. Any year, Kashmir, tens of terrorists: hundreds of casualties.
This Faustian relationship has bitten Pakistan. The monsters, once created, cannot be controlled. Pakistan backed the Taliban in Afghanistan starting in the late 1990s in order to gain influence across their border. On 16 December 2014, six Tehrik-I-Taliban killed 141 people in a Pakistan Army Public School using automatic weapons and grenades. One hundred thirty-two were military dependent children as young as eight years old. Radio intercepts disclosed final communications among the killers: “I’m out of ammunition. We should use our last grenades on ourselves near the children.” The most respected organization in Pakistan is their Army.
Why do we care? These people have dark skins and live far away! Well, evil has sold Faustian bargains here as well. Evangelicals supported Trump for a conservative Supreme Court appointment and relaxation of restrictions on partisan activity by tax exempt non-profits. Yet there is no support for “the ends justify the means” rationale in the teachings of Christ. He never compromised His principles. Many voters supported Trump for time travel back to the early 1950s. Others for his promises of economical health care for all, a plan to defeat ISIS in 30 days, building a wall to keep out criminals crossing from Mexico and have Mexico pay for it, global warming is a hoax, prosecuting his opponent, more international respect for the United States – but I exhaust words, fantasies, patience, and Xanax.
For those who enthusiastically supported Trump – you’re not listening, no matter what happens or what anyone says. You were sold on the deal by the deal-maker himself. For those who held their noses and voted for him for whatever reason, who knew what risk they were taking and did so anyway, do your own assessment of the results. For those who stand for progress, do not give up hope. Let this time be the wake-up call for reality, freedom, learning, and commitment to the United States.
I was assigned to draft DIA input to the Department of State regarding whether or not Pakistan was a state sponsor of terrorism. A few days later I was reassigned across the Potomac to the Pentagon. I never had the chance to finish the draft but it wasn’t looking too good for Pakistan. It’s not looking too good right now for the United States. I hope we have sense enough to learn from this experience and choose more wisely than Pakistan whom to support.