As the smoke clears and the body count grows in Mumbai, in one of the most brazen and chilling terrorist attacks we’ve seen in a long time, the truth about the region becomes crystal clear: Pakistan is a cancer on its neighbors. And the narrow focus of the attacks has also made it clear that Pakistan, allowing its extremists to operate unchecked, is also emerging as a greater threat to us.
It pains me to say that. I’ve been fortunate to know good men in the Pakistani government who seemed to seriously give a damn about their country, forced to constantly fight the negative headlines in an attempt to lure industry to the country and show the side of the nation that embraces Western ideals. But those guys were in Pervez Musharraf’s crew, and now there’s a new sheriff in town.
Not implying, of course, in the traditional Western sense that this new sheriff has brought law and order. The ouster of Musharraf, which became a hot topic in our presidential campaign season, was supposed to enthrall lovers of democracy everywhere. But what has Asif Ali Zardari done since coming to power? Those are questions best answered by India and Afghanistan.
Even Pakistani media were acknowledging that the highly orchestrated, well-armed and well-trained attacks, with fighters coming across the sea from Karachi, indicated the involvement of Lashkar-e-Taiba, whose mouthpiece denied involvement in the attacks and amusingly went so far as to “demand an international inquiry” to clear their, ahem, good name. The group is branded as a terrorist organization by Pakistan, yet operates out of Lahore and trains fighters in Pakistan’s share of Kashmir. And anyone who thinks that this week’s carnage is another plug for Kashmiri independence needs to remember that the targets were Americans, Britons, and Jews. That’s good ol’ fashioned Islamic terrorism. That’s an act of war.