5 Reasons Why We Won't Invade Pakistan

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The rumors of war have already begun. With the Pakistani government seeming to cower before the advance of the Taliban, there are mutterings that the U.S. might have to invade Pakistan. This isn’t news to Barack Obama. He warned in 2007 that he would unilaterally send U.S. troops into Pakistan if the government didn’t clamp down on the Taliban.

It seemed like empty talk from a candidate desperate to convince voters that he could be tough on terror. But let’s hope it was just talk. Because invading Pakistan would be a really, really bad idea. Here are five reasons why it would be a Bungle in Baluchistan:

Reason  1: If they don’t like us in Afghanistan, why would their cousins like us any better in Pakistan?

Reason 2: Invading Pakistan would be like the teaser on an adjustable-rate mortgage. Cheap at first, and then the monthly bill goes way, way up.  Occupying Northwest Pakistan along the Afghan border would vastly expand the Afghan theater of operations. Occupy all of Pakistan? Not a chance. Even if they welcomed us with flowers and kisses, that’s 165 million people to govern in a nation that barely functions in the best of times. Surgical strikes using special forces and aircraft would only be pinpricks of temporary effect. And if U.S. forces aren’t going to stay in Pakistan, then what’s the point? The insurgents will follow the Golden Rule of Insurgency: Lay low until the enemy leaves.

Reason 3: We’re already fighting two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. U.S. ground force are overstretched and worn-out. Britain is contributing about as much it can, and the rest of NATO is pretty much useless. Withdrawal from Iraq will free up troops, but this assumes that withdrawal will be smooth and on schedule, with no other crises in the Middle East or elsewhere that will drain our resources.

Reason 4: The American people aren’t in the mood for another war.  Barack Obama doesn’t want to go down in history as a wartime president.

Reason 5:  Pakistan has nukes. This really, really sucks. It’s even worse than North Korea, because say what you want about Kim Jong-il, at least you know the finger on the button belongs to a strong leader. The reason why nations like Pakistan and Iran  develop nukes is their belief that no one would dare invade a nuclear-armed power. How badly do we want to test this theory? And even if U.S. special forces and aircraft could capture or destroy Pakistani nuclear bombs, we could never be sure that every bomb or bit of nuclear material had been neutralized. Maybe they would hand them to the Taliban. Maybe they would nuke India just to settle old scores.

But can you see the really scary part here? All of this is rational thinking. Yup. If we’re rational, we won’t invade Pakistan. Now excuse me while I bang my head against the desk.

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5 Responses to 5 Reasons Why We Won't Invade Pakistan

  1. Brian In NYC says:

    I agree that an “invasion” of Pakistan is a bad idea and unlikely to happen. That being said I do think we’ll see more surgical strikes and drone style missions in the future.

    I do take exception to your statement regarding nukes and Kim Jong-il. Sure he’s a strong leader but he’s crazy mofo. NK nuclear efforts are directed at the West, Pakistan’s nukes are about an arms race with India, and from what I’ve read pretty well controlled by the army.

    • Michael Peck says:

      North Korea may be insane – or maybe they act insane to pysch us out. But you can’t imagine terrorists or disgruntled officers stealing a nuke in the Dear Leader’s people’s paradise. When it comes to nukes, strong states are preferable to failed states.

  2. Kevin says:

    Great article. It’s laughable and ludicrous for anyone to even think that the US would consider invading. I agree especially with Reason 3. Our military with the Iraq and Afghan wars is strained to the brink with soldiers serving upwards of 4-5 tours. Also considering our commitments elsewhere..(Korea, Bosnia, etc) the US literally has no man power for a Pakistani “liberation.” The only way I can see this as feasible is if the US congress reenacted the draft which is highly unlikely.

    Also considering the state of the US economy another trillion dollar + war is probably not the best idea.

    • Michael Peck says:

      Thanks, Kevin. I’m not so much worried about a U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. I am more concerned about America getting sucked into a quagmire. We send in a commando team to assassinate a Taliban leader in northwest Pakistan, the commandos get ambushed, we send in air support, a pilot gets shot down, we have to send in another team to rescue the pilot, etc. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t attack the Taliban in Pakistan. But I hope we don’t take a bunch of small steps, and then discover we’ve plunged over a precipice.

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