True, that fact alone isn’t shocking. But the details are newsworthy. “Amid U.S. Policy Disputes, Qaeda Grows in Pakistan,” by Mark Mazzetti and David Rohde for the New York Times, June 30:
WASHINGTON “” Late last year, top Bush administration officials decided to take a step they had long resisted. They drafted a secret plan to make it easier for the Pentagon’s Special Operations forces to launch missions into the snow-capped mountains of Pakistan to capture or kill top leaders of Al Qaeda.
Intelligence reports for more than a year had been streaming in about Osama bin Laden’s terrorism network rebuilding in the Pakistani tribal areas, a problem that had been exacerbated by years of missteps in Washington and the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, sharp policy disagreements, and turf battles between American counterterrorism agencies.
The new plan, outlined in a highly classified Pentagon order, was intended to eliminate some of those battles. And it was meant to pave a smoother path into the tribal areas for American commandos, who for years have bristled at what they see as Washington’s risk-averse attitude toward Special Operations missions inside Pakistan. They also argue that catching Mr. bin Laden will come only by capturing some of his senior lieutenants alive.
Of course, catching “Mr.” bin Laden will not destroy the jihadist ideology or even stop al-Qaeda; he’s a trophy. But the larger issue is that jihadists have a base of operations in a country that is supposed to be our “friend and ally,” and they continue to plan attacks around the world while our officials bicker in conference rooms.
But more than six months later, the Special Operations forces are still waiting for the green light. The plan has been held up in Washington by the very disagreements it was meant to eliminate. A senior Defense Department official said there was “mounting frustration” in the Pentagon at the continued delay….