Bush's Reliable "He Looked Me in the Eye" Test

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Bush's Reliable "He Looked Me in the Eye" Test

I rarely agree with commentator Tony Blankley, but I concur with his assessment of the recent truce that the Pakistani government reached with pro-Taliban tribal groups on the country's northwestern frontier. In this column, Blankley writes:
Three weeks ago, Pakistan signed the terms of the Waziristan Accord .... It was, effectively, the terms of surrender by Pakistan to the Taliban and al Qaeda, which dominate North Waziristan.
According to Blankley, intelligence sources assert that the agreement declares that the Pakistani military will "not operate in or monitor actions in the region" and allows Taliban supporters to "set up a Mujahideen council to administer the region ..."

The impact of the Waziristan accord is already being felt in Afghanistan. According to the Associated Press:
A U.S. military official said [Sept. 27] that American troops on Afghanistan's eastern border have seen a threefold increase in attacks since a recent truce between Pakistani troops and pro-Taliban tribesmen that was supposed to have stopped cross-border raids by the militants.
In his column, Blankley notes that the Taliban insurgency could be strengthened because
... according to intelligence sources, Pakistan is negotiating similar terms with agencies in the Khyber, Tank, Dera Ismail Kahn and Bajaur regions of western Pakistan.

If those negotiations are realized, the Taliban and al Qaeda will essentially have their own country again. With Waziristan they already have an excellent base of operations against our forces in Afghanistan.
Not surprisingly, Blankley treats the Bush administration with kid gloves. He writes that "no later than the State of the Union Address, [President Bush] must explain how [the Pakistani truce] changes things and what he is going to do about it."

Blankley doesn't mention that last week Bush totally shrugged off the significance of Pakistan's Waziristan truce.

What is it that makes Bush feel confident about the wisdom of the truce? In Bush's own words:
When [President Musharraf] looks me in the eye and says, the tribal deal is intended to reject the Talibanization of the people, and that there won't be a Taliban and won't be al-Qaida, I believe him, you know?
If Clinton happened to be president and offered a naive and ridiculous explanation like that, Blankley would have skewered him and called for his impeachment.

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