Pakistani poll: What we need is a lot more democracy -- and shari'a

Exhibit A in why the new Biggest Problem in the World admits no easy solutions, no matter what your candidate of choice may tell you on the stump. The good news? Majorities support democracy and madrassa reform and oppose “Talibanization.” The bad news? 64% think Musharraf’s attack on the Red Mosque this summer — ground zero for jihad in the capital city of Islamabad, mind you — was a mistake. Then there’s this:

fata.png

fata2.png

fata3.png

The Times went page one with a mini-bombshell yesterday about fears within the U.S. government that the threat to Pakistani stability from jihadis was so grave that the U.S. might have to step up its CIA and Special Ops presence in the tribal areas. To what end, though? Even assuming you could get close enough to Bin Laden or Zawahiri to bump them off, the numbers in those polls mean it’s likely to do Musharraf as much harm as good. (No wonder he continues to insist publicly that U.S. troops aren’t welcome.) It’s not a question of top AQ leaders hiding out anymore, if it ever was; it’s a question of whole tribes of Taliban guerrillas enlisted in the jihad against the Pakistani government. Small teams of hunter-killer Special Forces aren’t going to do much to thin their ranks.

Which isn’t to suggest that they couldn’t do some good while in the neighborhood.

If you want a reality check, skip down to page 24 of the PDF and see how Pakistanis rank the various threats confronting them. Exit question quotation, which isn’t at all related to this subject:

About every three days, unknown to most Americans, an elite team of federal scientists hits the streets in the fight against nuclear terrorism…

The teams would first attempt to disable a bomb’s electrical firing system and then quickly transfer the weapon to the Nevada desert. There, the bomb would be lowered into the G Tunnel, a 5,000-foot-deep shaft, where a crew of scientists and FBI agents would attempt to disassemble the device behind steel blast doors, logging any evidence…

Vahid Majidi, a nuclear weapons chemist and head of the FBI Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate, seemed more confident. Asked how good his chances would be to find a nuclear bomb in Manhattan with 24 hours’ warning, he said, “Quite reasonable.”