Does any question exist as to why NATO decided to fire back after taking fire, knowing the sensitivity and blowback from such an action? Is it a presidential-level decision or a battlefield commander decision? Even if it's a battlefield commander decision such authority comes from the president, who is aware of NATO operations right along the border and the potential of skirmishes. So what's our role here?
Anyway, as the dustup continues some folks are highlighting a confidential memo that was presumably delivered from the Pakistani civilian government through Mansour Ijaz to General Jones to Admiral Mullen about 10 days after the bin Laden raid, which shines some light on perhaps why the Pak army might have fired in the first place:
1. President of Pakistan will order an independent inquiry into the allegations that Pakistan harbored and offered assistance to UBL and other senior Qaeda operatives. The White House can suggest names of independent investigators to populate the panel, along the lines of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, for example.
2. The inquiry will be accountable and independent, and result in findings of tangible value to the US government and the American people that identify with exacting detail those elements responsible for harboring and aiding UBL inside and close to the inner ring of influence in Pakistan’s Government (civilian, intelligence directorates and military). It is certain that the UBL Commission will result in immediate termination of active service officers in the appropriate government offices and agencies found responsible for complicity in assisting UBL.
3. The new national security team will implement a policy of either handing over those left in the leadership of Al Qaeda or other affiliated terrorist groups who are still on Pakistani soil, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani, or giving US military forces a “green light” to conduct the necessary operations to capture or kill them on Pakistani soil. This “carte blanche” guarantee is not without political risks, but should demonstrate the new group’s commitment to rooting out bad elements on our soil. This commitment has the backing of the top echelon on the civilian side of our house, and we will insure necessary collateral support.
4. One of the great fears of the military-intelligence establishment is that with your stealth capabilities to enter and exit Pakistani airspace at will, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are now legitimate targets. The new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the Pakistani government – initially civilian but eventually all three power centers – to develop an acceptable framework of discipline for the nuclear program. This effort was begun under the previous military regime, with acceptable results. We are prepared to reactivate those ideas and build on them in a way that brings Pakistan’s nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime.
5. The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.
6. We are prepared to cooperate fully under the new national security team’s guidance with the Indian government on bringing all perpetrators of Pakistani origin to account for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whether outside government or inside any part of the government, including its intelligence agencies. This includes handing over those against whom sufficient evidence exists of guilt to the Indian security services.In other words--and this could be way off base coming from an internet yahoo--in the midst of turmoil between the civilian and military forces perhaps the generals ordered their army to fire on NATO in an effort to create outrage amongst the population to support a military coup. The letter itself seems to be a coup attempt by the civilians to defang the ISI and military leaders who held UBL under house arrest for political benefit. Ah yes, such is the state of our top ally in the fight against extremism. In the past money has always managed to heal these bitter rifts but this will be a true test of our dollar diplomacy. Dollars to donuts the money wins again--and perhaps that's why average Americans will remain tuned out.