For no particular reason I think now is a good time to look to the near future of the war. Iraq, I think, is moving into the endgame: settling Baghdad and dealing with the militias and Iran. It will be messy, and much will depend on how well the Iraqi army performs and how deep their loyalty is to the idea of Iraq. I won't venture a prediction as to how that will work out, but I do think the focus of the Islamist threat will move back to Afghanistan as Al Qaeda regroups. More than Iran, I see Pakistan as the true center of the terrorist network: it has ports, some industry, nuclear weapons, a long uncontrolled border with Afghanistan, and a large population. It also has a history of supporting the Islamists that goes back to the time of Reagan. Let us not forget that the Taliban was a creation of the ISI. Pakistan's role is obscured by a history of being supported by the US and Musharraf's cooperation with us so far, but I think things are about to hot up over there.
Michael Yon thinks so too, based on his observation of the increasing terrorist activity in the region and the record poppy crop in the fields that will finance weapons and buy soldiers. I suggest now would be a good time to go read his recent dispatches at MichaelYon-Online. There you will also find a defense of MG John Batiste and his criticisms of Rumsfeld that might also serve as a warning that not *all* criticism is politically motivated or sour grapes. We are in a long war and it behooves us to occasionally step back and take a look at where we are going. We want to fight this war as smart as we can and part of that is asking guestions and sorting out the answers. The media hasn't been terribly helpful in this endeavor, too few reporters have the knowledge, patriotism, or integrity to help us find the way, but I think Michael Yon is one of those who does and we need to digest what he has to tell us and be prepared.
Saturday morning links
1 hour ago