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Pakistan Army: The Fog of War Argument Won’t Do

Since the recent killing of Pakistani soldiers by NATO, the Pakistani political leadership and Pakistani people have entered a sort of crisis overdrive mode.

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Thankfully, this time the people and politicians are not just railing about the US and NATO. Quite a few hard questions are also being asked of the Pakistan army senior leadership, the kinds of questions that should always be posed to military leaders in a living democracy.

One question that has now become a sort of proverbial albatross around the army’s neck is this: “Why did the army not mobilize Pakistan airforce to support the ground troops who were under attack? An apt question, I must say, of an organization that takes the lion’s share of Pakistan’s meager GDP every year.

The answer, says the army, “we were confused!”

Yes, seriously this is the answer being provided by the army leadership. According to an AP report published also by Dawn:

A Pakistani military statement on Friday said the response could have been more ”effective” if the airforce had been called in, but this was not possible because of a ”breakdown of communication” and confusion at ”various levels” within the organisation.

So basically, this is a roundabout way of saying that we were so inept that even when our troops were dying, we failed miserably in coordinating any countermeasures at the highest levels of military leadership. There is a pattern to this argument and it also has its own history: Kargil, OBL raid, and now this tragic event. So the senior leadership cannot admit that they COULD not aid their troops while they were being killed because their internal communication systems, somehow failed. But the same leaders had functioning communication systems to literally  “PLEAD” to NATO to stop killing their soldiers. So, is PLEADING the highest level of military strategy our over indulged generals can come up with?

The communications failure argument is fallacious on many accounts. First of all there are layered forms of communications available. There is a whole, well-funded, Joint Chiefs of Staff headquarters with the sole job of coordinating interservice communication. If they failed, how many of them are willing to resign for letting down their troops?

On tactical level, such breakdown is not possible. Her  is how it goes: a post is under attack; the post commander informs the battalion headquarters (they have both wireless and field telephones to do so); the battalion headquarters launches its own countermeasures and also informs the Brigade Headquarters; then to Divisional and Corp headquarters. It should have not taken more than fifteen minutes for the news to reach the General headquarters, Director general Military Operations. From there, it is a question of reaching out to the airforce. Now if the DG military Operations was busy “pleading” to NATO, someone else could have contacted the airforce and asked them to, at least, pose a challenge to the attackers in support of their troops. Of course, I am not suggesting that the Pakistan Airforce should have launched a counterstrike, but their presence in the area could have sent a message to NATO: A message that they were bombing a Pakistani post.

So, please do not insult the sacrifice of your soldiers. Do not tell us that you lost your “communication” when they needed you the most. This defense of your ineptitude certainly is not very reassuring to your troops and makes you look pathetically stupid and unprofessional. And know that this country belongs to its people and you are nothing more than the servants of your people: they pay for your privilege by sacrificing their own future. The people deserve an answer worthy of the trust they have placed in you: stop acting like bad politicians and answer our questions like good soldiers and servants of your nation.

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For Pakistani Military a Hard Choice: Complicity or Incompetence

Soon after the US “invasion” of Abbottabad and elimination of Osama bin Laden, Pakistan army has been caught with its proverbial, heavy-booted foot in the mouth. Were they a part of the Operation? Nobody knows! So, if this was a solo US mission then what were our overfed intelligence agencies doing for the last ten years? How could they miss a fortified mansion right next to the Pakistan Military Academy. I mean it is a fortress; look at it:

 

So, let us believe for a moment that they missed it: it happens some times. But how could they have missed it for ten years? weren’t they looking for him all this time?

Even more pathetic is the excuses being offered for not having detected TWO ATTACK HELICOPTERS flying over Pakistani territory for over an hour to reach their target. So, they cannot find a target in their own country and also do not have the capacity to ascertain the presence of two foreign helicopters flying across their territory.

So, here is the million dollar question: Are they simply incompetent? Or yet another: Were they hiding OBL? And yet another: were they part of the operation but are too afraid to make it public.

I guess it is time some hard questions are asked of our generals. What have they been doing with the money that our nation has sacrificed for them by selling our children’s future and what have they been doing with the money given to them by the US? I mean how much money does it take to have a competent intelligence agency that can either find the most wanted man in the world or can, at least, track two “hostile” helicopters flying over their territory.

I am not sure if they were complicit with the US or OBL, but of their incompetence I have become quite certain.

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