A nuclear mushroom cloud explosion, taken in 1945.
It may seem unimaginable – but could a conflict between Pakistan and the U.S. lead to nuclear war? (Photo Credit: CC BY-SA/Thomas Williams/Flickr)

Recently, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen testified before Congress that Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), which has supposedly been an ally to the U.S., has actually supported terrorist actions by al-Qaeda and the Haqqani syndicate. In light of this, some media sources believe that the U.S. should be prepared for war against Pakistan.

‘Pakistan is the enemy,’ writes Hitchens

The writing is on the wall, suggests Christopher Hitchens in Slate. Pakistani intelligence is known to have aided the Taliban and provided refuge for Osama bin Laden during his final days in Abbottabad. The New York reports that a 2007 ambush on American and Afghan soldiers in a Pakistani border town was a “complex, calculated assault” arranged by Pakistani military. Various border skirmishes involving “unknown assailants” are believed to have been ISI-backed Taliban militants, but exact details remain classified.

Apparently, some officials want to sweep this under the rug. From the Times:

“At first, the meeting to resolve the border dispute seemed a success. … Then, as the Americans and Afghans prepared to leave, the Pakistanis opened fire without warning. The assault involved multiple gunmen, Pakistani intelligence agents and military officers, and an attempt to kidnap or draw away the senior American and Afghan officials.”

Various U.S. military officials familiar with Pakistan note that border attacks have tended to follow a pattern: retaliation for accidental U.S. attacks upon Pakistanis.

“(They made) a point to the Americans that they could not be pushed around,” said an unnamed former U.S. military officer who served in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Plausible deniability of acts of war

Understandably, Pakistan has officially denied any ties to al-Qaida and the Haqqani syndicate, as such relations would violate the nation’s sovereignty. Hitchens attacks these claims, wondering what possible motivation Mullen would have to lie, considering that U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta was seated next to him as he gave his testimony to Congress. The ISI has made the U.S. government look like “fools and suckers” who cannot defend their own troops and civilian staff and encampments.

If Pakistani intelligence can be linked to the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan would be in violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1368, which was approved on Sept. 12, 2001. Resolution 1368 states that anyone found to be “supporting or harboring the perpetrators, organizers and sponsors of these acts will be held accountable.” Resolution 1368 is unambiguous, and as Hitchens believes, Pakistan has violated it, in attacks on the Indian embassy in Kabul in 2008, in Pakistan border attacks and on 9/11. The fact a  war has not already occurred can likely be attributed to the fact that Pakistan is known to supply various countries with nuclear material.

‘War of words’ between Pakistan, US


Gawker: http://gawker.com/5844318/you-should-probably-start-preparing-for-war-with-pakistan

New York Times: http://nyti.ms/pkL0H0

Politico: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0911/64515.html

Slate: http://www.slate.com/id/2304641/

The Telegraph: http://tgr.ph/ocAVVm

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