As much as I've written about the perfidious nature of Pakistan's overall behavior in this regard, I actually do believe that Musharraf himself is doing his level best to help us where he can. The problem is that he presides over a fractious, virulently anti-Western citizenry and worse, an army and intel service infested with Muslim extremists.
(And yes, don't think I disregard our own homegrown extremist elements in the military, the General Boykin loons, the wingnuts forcibly converting everyone at the Air Force Academy, etc. It's gotta stop, on both sides. But right now we're talking diplomatic triage, and our kooks at least haven't tried to assassinate their leader for not being responsive enough to their theology. Musharraf has narrowly survived two assassination attempts so far.)
And for the record, I don't think there's anything terribly controversial -- or even wrong -- about strongarming Pakistan to get them on the right side of this. They shouldn't have been enabling the Taliban scum in the first place, and they're goddamned lucky they were given a second chance, because they were up to their eyeballs in this. So frankly, that part of the equation doesn't bother me in the slightest. I would have expected us to lean on them. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster that that's all it came to.
Oh God, not another "he looked me in the eye and told me he loved me" moment. You'd think he'd have learned about that sort of fruity touchy-feely rhetoric after getting jilted by Pooty-Poot. But let's meet Mister Man halfway -- again, I can give Musharraf the benefit of the doubt and believe that he intends to resolve the issues in the tribal areas, but there are more reasons to doubt his ability to succeed than to mistake good intentions for even a partial success.
Now here's an interesting detail, which is inexplicably not fleshed out, even though it took two (2) professionally trained journamalists to slap this officially-sanctioned meeting recap together.
That's all the article has to say about Mahmood Ahmad's role in all this. It's an unacceptable and glaring omission of Ahmad's activities [link via Rigorous Intuition]. The entire timeline is well-sourced and damning, but here are a couple of choice excerpts:
So we have pre-existing fundamentalist ties between the Taliban and the leaders of the coup that installed Musharraf, especially one Mahmood Ahmad, who is practically Patient Zero for this bout of diplomatic Ebola. That seems pretty interesting. If I were a professional journamalist, I would probably want to do some digging and connect some dots, provide even a minimum of background as to what sort of character Ahmad is.
So, since the Washington Post apparently does not see fit to flesh out exactly who Mahmood Ahmad is and what he represents in this ongoing saga, we vituperative, foul-mouthed bloggers will have to it for them. Again. Can't wait for the next round of stoic midwestern harrumphing from Dean Wormer about the failure of "extremists" on "both sides", and how the "resurgent" "independents" will set things aright. Give me a fucking break.
Oh, and if you're wondering just how poor ol' Mahmood ended up, well, you'll be plenty happy to know that he landed on his feet with a little help from his friends, and a little selective blindness from us.
As they say, oil's well that ends well.
I think it would be interesting if for once, the media did their fucking jobs and made a small effort to inform the American people about the decisions and policies being made in their names with their money. I think Americans would be interested to know the backstory behind Musharraf's not-terribly-outrageous claim, that it was conveyed from a recently-disgraced lackey who has longstanding ties to South Asian intel agencies, through a Pakistani intel director who breakfasted with two of our intel bigwigs at the very moment the World Trade Center towers came crashing down, and who was quietly fired just three weeks later, only to resurface two years later in a euphemistically- titled government sinecure. I think if the American people were informed of those facts as often as they hear about celebrities diddling each other and (gasp!) having children, fergodsake, they might be able to process just how much their own government, and by association the supposedly free press, is withholding from them.
Then again, maybe that's what the media's job really is to begin with, at this point, to conceal, rather than reveal. That explains a lot.