Petraeus Is a Failure -- Why Do We Pretend He's Been a Success?
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Observers have suggested that the U.S. attempt to gain control of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and remove them from the country, should the government be threatened. According to the Times, “As the insurgency of the Taliban and Al Qaeda spreads in Pakistan, senior American officials say they are increasingly concerned about new vulnerabilities for Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, including the potential for militants to snatch a weapon in transport or to insert sympathizers into laboratories or fuel-production facilities.”
Unfortunately, the U.S. is unable to gain control of the weapons, for the inconvenient reason that “the United States does not know where all of Pakistan’s nuclear sites are located. ... American officials have never been permitted to see how much of the [American] money [for nuclear safeguards] was spent, the facilities where the weapons are kept or even a tally of how many Pakistan has produced.”
In the event of the imminent collapse of the Pakistani government and nuclear weapons falling into extremist hands, what would the U.S. do? Invade and occupy Pakistan with hundreds of thousands of troops? That would probably require a reinstatement of the draft and possibly ignite an even wider war. Would we threaten an extremist government with our own nukes?
Preventing such nightmare scenarios should be America’s top priority, and reining in Gens. Petraeus and McChrystal is clearly necessary to doing so. Petraeus should be replaced and McChrystal’s nomination defeated if America is to have any serious hope of avoiding disaster in the Afghanistan-Pakistan theater.