Murphy's Law: America Prepared For War With Pakistan


May 15, 2011: On May 2nd, the United States was prepared to go to war with Pakistan. The American raid on that day, which killed Osama bin Laden and seized a huge mass of al Qaeda data from his Pakistani hideout, was carried out without informing Pakistan beforehand. Although Pakistan had years earlier agreed that the U.S. could enter Pakistani territory in hot pursuit of terrorists fleeing Afghanistan, or to grab high ranking al Qaeda leaders, it was always assumed that the U.S. would let the Pakistani military know what was coming. But because the Pakistani government was full of bin Laden fans, the U.S. did not inform Pakistan about the raid until it was underway. Apparently, that message included a reminder that if the U.S. troops in the bin Laden compound were attacked by Pakistani forces, there would be instant, and far-reaching, consequences.

The extent of those consequences have since been pieced together, from unclassified information. By May 2nd, the U.S. had assembled a huge naval and air force in the region, that was pointed at Pakistan. This force would attack any Pakistani troops or warplanes that went after the U.S. forces in the bin Laden compound, or who might be able to do so. The U.S. had assembled three aircraft carriers, hundreds of air force aircraft in Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, and dozens of helicopters, and thousands of troops, in Afghanistan. Most of these troops didn't know what they were alerted for. Such alerts happen all the time, often for no reason (as far as the troops are concerned.) But this time, as word of the bin Laden raid got out, it became obvious (at least to those who know how these things work) that the alerts throughout the region were to prepare for the possible need to quickly get the American raiders out, and destroy any Pakistani forces that sought to interfere.

Not surprisingly, the Pakistanis did not interfere. In fact, local Pakistani forces surrounded the bin Laden compound and kept anyone from getting in, or out, by land. The Pakistanis did not enter the compound until the Americans had flown away, with bin Laden's body, and documents. Pakistan later complained about this violation of their territory. The complaints were somewhat muted by the need to answer embarrassing questions about why bin Laden and his family had been in this military town (home to the national military academy, over 10,000 troops and hundreds of high ranking retired officers) for six years without being noticed.

The Pakistani was apparently willing to help hide bin Laden, but not, on a large scale, die for him.



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