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.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.
"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.