In the Arena

Hold the Hyperbole

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The Huffington Post is touting a new, nonexistent U.S. war in Pakistan, based on the deaths of three Americans in a roadside bomb in Lower Dir the other day. The three were training the Northwest Frontier Corps–an outfit formerly known for marching about in parades wearing neat costumes, but which now aspires to become an effective indigenous security force. The decision to invite Americans to help train the Frontier Corps was made by the Pakistani military, which jealously preserves its jurisdiction, and forbids U.S. participation on the ground in its country. This is not a usurpation of Pakistani sovereignty or a new U.S. war. The bomb was a discrete tragedy.

The only exceptions to the Pakistani Army’s complete exclusion of U.S. forces on Pakistani turf are the drone attacks on Taliban and Al Qaeda positions, which are launched with Pakistani approval and help in targeting, and a small force of U.S. contractors, who are providing security for the U.S. diplomats and aid workers on the ground…plus these Frontier Force trainers. (There are also, undoubtedly, covert U.S. intelligence operators in Pakistan, as there are in most countries in the region.)

But any implication that we’re opening a new front in Pakistan seems an exaggeration.