The non-partisan General Accounting Office issued a report today that concluded that U.S. has not met its security goals in Pakistan’s tribal region. Because of this al-Qaeda has regained its attack capability. The report also found that the Bush administration has no security plan for this region.
The GAO report found that, “The United States has not met its national security goals to destroy the terrorist threat and close the safe haven in the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas), despite more than $10.5 billion in U.S. support to Pakistan since 2002.”
On the topic of al-Qaeda the report said, “Notwithstanding State’s report to Congress, we found broad agreement that al Qaeda had established a safe haven in the FATA and reconstituted its attack capability. In particular, the unclassified versions of the 2007 NIE and 2008 Annual Threat Assessment states that al Qaeda has regenerated its attack capability and secured a safe haven in Pakistan’s FATA. These conclusions are supported by a broad array of sources, including Defense, State, and senior U.S. embassy officials in Pakistan.”
On the Bush administration’s lack of a plan for the region, “However, neither the National Security Council (NSC), NCTC, nor other executive branch departments have developed a comprehensive plan that includes all elements of national power—diplomatic, military, intelligence, development assistance, economic, and law enforcement support—called for by the various national security strategies and Congress.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that the report confirms that Bush’s endless commitment to Iraq is hurting the nation elsewhere. “This nonpartisan report confirms what we have long warned: the Bush Administration’s limitless commitment of our limited resources to the war in Iraq has compromised our focus in the region that is home to Al Qaeda and where Osama bin Laden is believed to be at large six-and-a-half years after the 9/11 attacks. While violence and the drug trade have surged in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s security remains fragile, we are distracted by an endless civil war in Iraq.”
It boggles my mind that anyone could vote for John McCain after seeing what a foreign policy disaster the Iraq war has caused. Because of the Bush administration’s blind spot towards everything that isn’t Iraq, the Taliban and al-Qaeda are still alive and well.
This election goes beyond the idea of change of change. The question is really do we want to carry the mistakes of the past and present forward into the future.
The GAO Report: