"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Panetta: "Reaching Limits of Patience" on Pakistan

Was critical of the appointment of Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense but that man has a spine of steel and may be one of the best choices for Defense Secretary in a long time.  He is very calculated in what he has to say but he leaves no doubt in anyone's minds that he is not the least bit happy with Pakistan and not afraid to say his patience is running out.  That is totally refreshing out of a Secretary of Defense.  Too often they sound like State Department people but Panetta in his short stint at the Department of Defense is putting his stamp on the agency.  Keep hearing that his word his golden so you know where you stand.

This is one more of example of our Secretary of Defense putting our soldiers and America first by going after the leadership in Pakistan for allowing the terrorists safe havens.  Reminds me of Dick Cheney when he was Sec Def who would also speak out.  SecDef Gates was a nice man by all accounts but he had a problem standing up and was not the best choice for the position IMHO.  My doubts about Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense have been washed away over his short tenure.  

The fact that Pakistan won't allow the NATO troops exiting Afghanistan to use their territory says all you need to know about Pakistan and why foreign aid to that Country needs sharply cut if they are not going to cooperate to end terrorism.  NATO was forced to find routes through three countries to the north which have signed agreements but are more expensive   Zero is a nice round number for foreign aid to Pakistan since we are  paying three countries for routes for NATO use.  Will be very happy to see our ground troops out of Afghanistan because with Pakistan as a safe haven for terrorists, they are sitting ducks.

Those drones needs to keep flying aimed at the terrorists in Pakistan and if the Pakistani Government doesn't like it then do something about rooting out the terrorists in the safe havens.  You have to wonder how much the terrorists are paying the Pakistani leadership for their safe havens in Pakistan.  
Panetta: ‘Reaching Limits of Patience’ 
The U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday that the U.S. is “reaching limits of patience as far as Pakistan is concerned.” During a trip to Kabul for talks with military leaders, Panetta said it is “difficult to achieve peace in Afghanistan as long as there is a safe haven for terrorists in Pakistan.” Panetta’s words are some of the strongest yet in the diplomatic tug-of-war with Pakistan, a country whose cooperation is considered vital in stabilizing Afghanistan. Pakistan’s parliament has been drawing up recommendations on how to proceed with Washington, although the U.S. has strongly condemned the country for sentencing a doctor who helped the CIA in the deadly raid that killed Osama bin Laden to 33 years in prison.

Excerpt from the Reuters article on Sec Def Panetta's visit to Pakistan and the region
Panetta also urged Pakistan to go after the Haqqani militant network, one of the United States' most feared enemies in Afghanistan, and said Washington would exert diplomatic pressure and take any other steps needed to protect its forces. 
"It is an increasing concern that safe havens exist and those like the Haqqanis make use of that to attack our forces," he said. 
"We are reaching the limits of our patience for that reason. It is extremely important for Pakistan to take action to prevent (giving) the Haqqanis safe havens, and for terrorists to use their country as a safety net to conduct attacks on our forces." 
Panetta, who left Kabul shortly afterwards, blamed the group for an attack last week on a U.S. base in the east in which several insurgents, including some wearing suicide vests, attacked it with rocket propelled grenades. 
The attack was foiled, but it underlined the challenge facing Western and Afghan forces in the east where insurgents take advantage of the steep, often forested terrain and the Pakistani border to launch attacks and then slip across the border. 
"What happened the other day in Salerno is an indication that they are going to continue to come at us and let me be clear anybody who attacks US soldiers is our enemy and we are going to take them on. We have got to be able to defend ourselves," he told U.S. troops earlier at Kabul airport. 
The comments came as Washington appears to be looking to other allies in the region for help in the face of Pakistan's foot-dragging. Panetta arrived in Kabul after a visit to India, Pakistan's old enemy, where he urged New Delhi to take a more active role in Afghanistan. 
NATO has signed an agreement with three countries to the north of Afghanistan for land routes as the U.S.-led alliance begins a withdrawal of its forces from the country next year. 
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said earlier this week the "reverse transit" deal was signed with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. 
Pakistan closed the shorter and cheaper routes through its territory last year to protest a cross-border NATO air attack that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Discussions to reopen the Pakistan routes have stalled. 
Other irritants in U.S.-Pakistan ties include drone attacks in the lawless areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border where several militant groups operate but seen by many Pakistanis as a violation of sovereignty. 
Washington says the attacks are crucial to rooting out militancy and four days ago, a U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan killed al Qaeda's second-ranking leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi. It was the biggest blow to the militant group since the killing of bin Laden.   
(Writing by Michael Georgy and Sanjeev Miglani; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan and Ed Lane)

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