Though officials were quick to point out that it had not yet been formally approved, top US commanders are pressing the Obama Administration to allow the massive escalation of ground raids against Pakistan’s tribal areas, turning what has been a secret (albeit poorly kept) war into an extremely overt one.
Previous ground raids into Pakistan have sparked massive outcry in the nation and have done major damage to the Zardari government, which is seem almost universally as a US puppet. If indeed the Obama Administration makes invasions of Pakistani soil a “routine” part of their policy, one can only imagine the deleterious effect it will have on the already struggling Pakistani government.
But for officials, it seems like escalation is the only path available. Despite the public (and absurd) claims of progress the situation in Afghanistan is getting dramatically worse, and the popular sentiment among top commanders, at least so far as can be gleaned from leaked reports, is that the Pakistani tribal areas are the source of all their problems.
Which is ironic, because Pakistan’s military sees southern Afghanistan, itself scarcely controlled by NATO’s occupation forces, as the chief reason its constant invasions of the tribal areas never amount to much. With neither side willing to consider anything else, escalation has become the default response to all failure, which in the disastrous Afghan War happens an awful lot.
With US officials suddenly talking about 2014 as the “end” of the war it seems that a massive escalation and a whole new front for combat would be seriously hypocritical. This does not, however, preclude the administration from rubber stamping the plan, as it has virtually every other plan that came out of the military involving escalation.