FLYSWATTERS….Back in the pre-9/11 era, when al-Qaeda first seriously emerged on our military radar screens, our options were limited. Pinpoint covert strikes on their camps in Afghanistan (George Bush’s “flyswatters”) were unlikely to work, but at the same time a full-scale invasion of Afghanistan had no hope of gaining public support without the casus belli of a serious attack. Today, with the news that al-Qaeda has largely regrouped and is working unmolested out of Pakistan, Spencer Ackerman suggests we’re right back where we started:
After the invasion of Afghanistan, we find ourselves in a comparable situation to the unhappy 1998-2001 era. Invading Pakistan isn’t politically tenable, nor, quite possibly, militarily sustainable beyond a few months. Indeed, Pakistan has opted to return to its pre-9/11 strategy of brokering truces with tribal leaders in Waziristan instead of harassing them militarily. If anything is to be done, it’s to be done with a flyswatter — something likely to remain obscured if al-Qaeda Prime pulls off another attack and an American political consensus demands an invasion of, say, Syria or Iran in its anger.
Noted without any particular comment. Just food for thought.