9/11 Style Commission Needed to Review US Policy on Pakistan

by Scott Bates | May 9th, 2011 | |Subscribe

In a world full of national security challenges, none demands more urgent focus than the conundrum that is Pakistan. For at least a decade, Pakistan has consistently been one of the top three national security worries for the United States with issues ranging from being a center of nuclear proliferation to its inability to prevent its territory from serving as a sanctuary for the Taliban/Al Qaeda alliance launching attacks against US troops in Afghanistan.

The recent killing of Osama Bin Ladin revealed at best, a Pakistani regime either unwilling or unable to be an effective ally in our ongoing battle against Al Qaeda. Troubling questions need to be answered. What did Pakistani officials know about Bin Ladin’s presence and when did they know it? How effectively have Pakistani national security officials used $20 Billion in US aid to combat Al Qaeda and the Taliban? Why is the main debate in Pakistan today focusing on the US “violation” of their sovereignty in attacking Bin Ladin instead of on their own failure to find him? Is Pakistan worthy of the designation of major non-NATO ally and the steady stream of financial assistance provided by the American people?

To answer these questions and fashion a long term and sustainable approach to relations with Pakistan, Congress should authorize and the President should support the creation of a “Commission on US-Pakistan Relations”. Precedents are available for quickly moving forward with just such an effort. (more…)

Bin Laden and the Rocky Road to Islamabad

by Jessie Daniels | May 5th, 2011 | |Subscribe

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/packages/images/newsgraphics/2011/0502-capturing-bin-laden/compound/compound_01.jpg

Nearly ten years ago, on a clear blue morning in New York City, the beginning acts of the worst terrorist attack on American soil were set in motion.  The air filled with smoke, debris, and the endless sound of sirens as nearly 3,000 were killed.  This past Sunday, with night already descended on the city, the air instead filled with the sounds of crowds cheering upon hearing the news that Osama bin Laden, the man responsible for those attacks, had been killed.  As President Obama summed it up, “Justice has been done.”  The New York Post put it more bluntly:  “the son of a bitch is dead.”

The story behind the death of Osama bin Laden is exciting in itself:  a small team of Navy Seals conducts a daring 40-minute raid, gets the most wanted man in the world, and scores a major victory against al Qaeda.  But we should also be proud of the way our government worked for years, across administrations and agencies, to ultimately carry out this critical mission.  The intelligence community, though much maligned, tirelessly spent six years unraveling OBL’s courier network to track him down.  Once he was found, the military did its job with surgical precision.  And the President exhibited decisive leadership when given the opportunity to take OBL out, choosing, after careful deliberation, a riskier operation than others on the table to make sure the job was finally done. (more…)

All blog posts are independently produced by their authors and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of PSA. Across the Aisle serves as a bipartisan forum for productive discussion of national security and foreign affairs topics.