Letter: a staggering lack of understanding

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Editor, the Gauntlet,

Your opinion article on the current "invasion" of Pakistan ["Insane invasion," Cam Cotton-O'Brien, Sept.18, Gauntlet] betrays a staggering lack of understanding of the current conflict. The guerilla fighters that fought the Russians in the '80s were financed with U.S. money, but that money was funneled through Pakistan's security service, the ISI. Their involvement in the conflict continues, they play a large role in arming and training many of the fighters that cross the Pakistani border and cause havoc and mayhem in Afghanistan. It essentially amounts to state sponsored terrorism. U.S. forces are engaged in conflict inside Pakistani borders because the Pakistani government refuses to acknowledge any wrongdoing or take any steps to halt their actions. You note that a democratic government has recently replaced Musharraf's dictatorship and that they should be given time to tackle such issues. Perhaps, but their hold on any sort of power in the country is tenuous at best, if the military dislikes any of their proposals they simply will not be allowed to proceed. The real power in the country has had ample time to tackle such problems and they have not, leaving the U.S. little choice. Extremists in Pakistan will certainly use such events to fuel their fires of hatred but inaction would produce a worse result ­-- destabilizing Afghanistan further and, if Pakistan's ISI has its way, the return of a fundamentalist government. That in essence is why the U.S. has undertaken such missions.

Kneejerk anti-Americanism and references towards Cambodia (a couple helicopter raids to shoot up guerrilla training camps is not going to create a genocide in Pakistan) have no place in a discussion surrounding a very complicated situation.





The American operations in Pakistan have resulted in the Pakistani leadership issuing a standing order to shoot American soldiers crossing the border. Inaction would produce a worse result?