November 21, 2004

High-Value Success!

Ah, for those of us who thought Perez Musharraf would be better off if he stopped using all that political capital to chase high-value al Qaeda targets—and paid more attention to a) nuclear proliferation and b) Kashmir—now have to face this sort of pronouncement:
Pakistan's military has been so effective in pressuring al-Qaida leaders hiding in the tribal region of western Pakistan that Osama bin Laden and his top deputies no longer are able to direct terrorist operations, a senior American commander said Thursday.

"They are living in the remotest areas of the world without any communications -- other than courier -- with the outside world or their people and unable to orchestrate or provide command and control over a terrorist network," said Lt. Gen. Lance Smith, deputy commander of Central Command.
Well, fair enough. Maybe the Bush plan is the best of all possible plans. At the same time, Lt. Gen. Lance Smith has been known to engage in premature exhilaration in the past, so who knows how effective Pakistan's Waziristan sting has been, really. The Pakistani army, too, has obvious incentives to claim success and prolong the hunt against al Qaeda. That's not to say anyone's lying, but reliable metrics are hard to find.
-- Brad Plumer 7:42 PM || ||