October 22, 2011

Don't trust Musharraf

Mr. Bruce Riedel, ex-CIA, has almost redeemed himself in my eyes as an American partiot. Perhaps, the sheer enormity of the guilt in which we have funded the terrorist army of Pakistan which then turned around and killed Americans, Mr. Riedel has, over the past few weeks, written scathing articles on Pakistan. Welcome home Mr. Riedel! In this article, Mr. Riedel squarely is asking for Musharraf to "be held accountable." Two years ago, Musharraf was in town hosted/feted by a local Pak-Am physician, our Senators couldn't get inside those doors fast enough even though for the past ten years I have tried to lay bare Musharraf's treachery to my legislators/news media. If General Musharraf was waterboarded in 2004-2005, Osama and the "war on terror" would have ended years ago. Instead we went after inconsequential foot-soldiers!

In the first sentence I used the word almost because Mr. Riedel has yet to cross a key milestone. In another article he used the word "contain" in reference to Pakistan. The day he uses "defeat," in reference to Pakistan, that would be the day of his redemption. Likewise for all American legislators/GOTUS who are currently embedded with Pakistan and are enablers of terrorist attacks on Americans. Recall how Powell until last December (2010) was making a case for more, more, more, more military hardware for the Pakistan military while PakMil was directing more, more, more attacks on Americans. BTW, why is Powell not advocating "past is past" policy to his successor Hillary Clinton/CIA/GOUTS when she is reading the riot act to Kiyani.


Don’t Trust Musharraf

Oct 22, 2011 12:00 AM EDT
With Pakistan in the news following Hillary Clinton’s visit, Bruce Riedel argues that we can’t forget to hold Musharraf accountable for bin Laden.
Former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf should be held accountable for his role in the search for Osama bin Laden who for some three years was hiding within earshot of the country's premier military academy while Musharraf led the country and its army. Whether clueless (his answer) or complicit about bin Laden's hideout, Musharraf failed to bring justice to the world's most-wanted man for years. We should press him for answers about his ineptitude, not look to him for answers about his country's future.
Musharraf is regularly hosted by American think tanks and the media and asked his views on his country's future. This is normal in America. He can't go home of course because of numerous pending court cases involving his presidency, which ended in disgrace in 2008 after the murder of his rival Benazir Bhutto.
In 2001, Musharraf promised President George Bush Pakistan's help in bringing bin Laden and the rest of al Qaeda to justice. Some al Qaeda operatives like Khalid Sheik Mohammed were caught, but the big fish, bin Laden, his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Taliban leader Mullah Omar, were able to hide out in Pakistan throughout Musharraf's era. Zawahiri and Omar are still hiding out in Pakistan.
Sometime in 2005 or 2006 bin Laden moved into a house in Abbottabad. An al Qaeda operative, a Pakistani who had grown up in Kuwait, served as his messenger to the outside world from this hideout. Named for a 19th-century British army officer, Abbottabad is an army town. Three regiments are based there, Pakistan's first military dictator Ayub Khan was born there and it is home to the Kakul military academy, Pakistan's West Point.

The commandant at Kakul when bin Laden settled into his lair was one of Musharraf's closest aides, General Nadeem Taj. Taj had accompanied Musharraf on an official visit to Sri Lanka in 1999. On the flight home Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif fired Musharraf as army commander. Taj helped orchestrate the coup that ousted Sharif and put Musharraf in power. Taj, as commandant in Kakul, should have been well informed on all security issues in Abbottabad and keeping his boss in the loop. We should also bear in mind Musharraf's past when he pontificates for think tanks. In his chatty memoirs published in 2006, Musharraf says the army was looking for al Qaeda leaders in Abbottabad, so it was on their screen. He has also said he used to jog past the house bin Laden was hiding in. In 2007 Musharraf gave up his uniform after the Pakistani people demanded a return to democracy. General Kayani took his place as army chief. Taj became director general of the Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), replacing Kayani and thus had the top intelligence command for the hunt for bin Laden. Within a year, the Bush administration demanded Taj be removed because the ISI was warning al Qaeda terrorists in advance about drone strikes, and had helped the Taliban blow up India's embassy in Kabul. He was promoted to be a corps commander, one of the dozen or so top generals who run the country. A few weeks later, 10 Pakistani terrorists attacked the city of Mumbai, killing dozens including six Americans. We now know the ISI had helped train them and pick their targets. President Obama wisely decided we could not tell Kayani that we had tracked bin Laden to Abbottabad. He could not be trusted. Nor can we trust Musharraf. Americans and Pakistanis have every reason to ask Musharraf and his fellow generals hard questions about what they knew and when they knew it. We should also bear in mind Musharraf's past when he pontificates for think tanks. Maybe his advice is a bit tarnished.
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Bruce Riedel, a former longtime CIA officer, is a senior fellow in the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution. At President Obama’s request, he chaired the strategic review of policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. He is author of the book Deadly Embrace: Pakistan, America and the Future of the Global Jihad and The Search for Al Qaeda: Its Leadership, Ideology and Future.

For inquiries, please contact The Daily Beast at editorial@thedailybeast.com.

Reggie Sinha

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