Matthew 24:6 - - "And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet."
The "Swine Flu" (a.k.a. "Swindled Flu") amongst other issues here at home has dominated the news, making it likely that many of you aren't aware of the serious situation in Pakistan. Then again, knowing how informed the Look Up Fellowship community is, I'm sure many of you already know the score.
I hope so because we would be wise to keep our eye on Pakistan. Simply put, the Taliban has been engaged in a bloody conflict with the Pakistani military; one that is not only escalating, but showing signs of becoming a major foreign crisis.
Why? The Taliban forces are now only 50 miles away from the capital city Islamabad. Why should we care? Pakistan has an arsenal of nukes so the concern is that terrorists - - you know, those guys and gals who want to annihilate us and our allies - - could very well get their hands on that stockpile very soon.
Just how important is it for Pakistan to remain stable and in control of the chaos that's growing in their neck of the woods? Well, according to this sobering report from a January 2009 New York Times piece, "In the second nuclear age, what happens or fails to happen in Kidwai’s modest compound may prove far more likely to save or lose an American city than the billions of dollars the United States spends each year maintaining a nuclear arsenal that will almost certainly never be used, or the thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars we have spent in Iraq and Afghanistan to close down sanctuaries for terrorists."
In December 2008 in Washington, members of the federally appointed bipartisan Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism made it clear that for sheer scariness, nothing could compete with what they had heard in a series of high-level intelligence briefings about the dangers of Pakistan’s nuclear technology going awry.
"When you map W.M.D. and terrorism, all roads intersect in Pakistan," Graham Allison, a Harvard professor and a leading nuclear expert on the commission stated. "The nuclear security of the arsenal is now a lot better than it was. But the unknown variable here is the future of Pakistan itself, because it’s not hard to envision a situation in which the state’s authority falls apart and you’re not sure who’s in control of the weapons, the nuclear labs, the materials."
However, as with all things in this "Age of Deception: End Times Edition," there are conflicting reports regarding the severity of such a scenario finding its fulfillment in the real-world.
Khalid Kidwai keeps the country’s nuclear keys. He oversees a security structure intended to protect Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal from outsiders - - Islamic militants, Qaeda scientists, Indian saboteurs and those American commando teams that Pakistanis imagine are waiting just over the horizon in Afghanistan, ready to seize their nuclear treasure if a national meltdown seems imminent. For Kidwai, there is something both tiresome and deeply suspicious about the constant stream of warnings out of Washington that Pakistan is the epicenter of a post-cold-war Armageddon. “This is all overblown rhetoric,” Kidwai has said.
Even if the country’s leadership were to be incapacitated, he insisted, Pakistan’s protections are so strong that the arsenal could never slip from the hands of the country’s National Command Authority, a mix of hardened generals (including Kidwai) and newly elected politicians. Kidwai has spent the past 5 years making the same case to American officials: just because a savvy metallurgist named Abdul Qadeer Khan, a national hero for his role in turning Pakistan into a nuclear-weapons power, managed to smuggle nuclear secrets and materials to the likes of Iran, North Korea, and Libya for profit in the 1980s and 1990s, it doesn’t mean that such a horrendous breach of security could happen again.
"Please grant to Pakistan that if we can make nuclear weapons and the delivery systems," Kidwai said, "we can also make them safe. Our security systems are foolproof."
This current U.S. administration seemed to echo that sentiment. President Obama said the other night that he's confident Pakistan's nuclear arsenal will not fall into the hands of enemies or terrorists because that country's army understands how dangerous that would be, but there's confusion from this American citizen because his stated policy position keeps changing every which way the winds blows.
Again, I know this is the "Age of Deception: End Times Edition," but which is it Mr. President? "Foolproof" is most likely not the word Obama would use to describe the status of Pakistan’s nuclear safety following the briefings he has been receiving since November 2008, which is when J. Michael McConnell, the Director of National Intelligence, showed up in Chicago to give the President-Elect at the time his first full presidential daily brief.
For obvious reasons, neither Obama nor McConnell will talk about the contents of those highly classified briefings. But interviews over the past year with senior intelligence officials and with nuclear experts in Washington and South Asia and at the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna provide strong indications of what Obama has probably heard.
After more than 4 years, no one in Washington has a clear sense of whether the small, covert American program to help Pakistan secure its weapons and laboratories is actually working. Kidwai has been happy to take the cash and send in progress reports, but auditors from Washington have been rebuffed whenever they have asked to see how, exactly, the money was being spent.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary, in a classic example of "politics-as-usual," President Obama downplayed this burgeoning threat the other night, even though he showered us with several reasons during the Presidential Debates as to why the situation in Pakistan - - errr, excuse me, I mean "Pah-kee-stahn" according to him - - was of grave concern to the U.S., all American citizens, and the rest of the world community.
"I'm confident that we can make sure that Pakistan's nuclear arsenal is secure. Primarily, initially, because the Pakistani army, I think, recognizes the hazards of those weapons falling into the wrong hands."
He made these comments despite the fact that the Taliban forces are threatening a critical U.S. ally in the region that possesses as many as 100 nuclear weapons. No, not centrifuges and yellow-cake, but the real deal.
Right. Sure. We're supposed to buy this? Is it too much to ask my elected representatives to simply tell it like it is? We're adults. We can take the cold, hard truth. People need to know how big a deal this really is before they wake up one morning to images on their TV screens of an American city or two having been wiped out by a terrorist nuke.
Let me just make sure I have this right. So, now that an international nuclear/terrorist crisis is emerging, he no longer thinks there's anything to be concerned about? So, in other words, when the terrorists WERE NOT ATTACKING AND GETTING CLOSE TO GETTING THEIR HANDS ON REAL NUCLEAR WEAPONS THAT COULD BE USED AGAINST US AND OUR ALLIES the situation was dire, but now that they're attacking it's all puppy dogs and ice cream?
So, which is it? Does President Obama recognize this as a real threat? If so, is he prepared to act accordingly? What would be the response if Pakistan fell into the control of the Taliban giving them nuclear weapons to use as they see fit? Does Obama no longer view this as a serious issue? If so, why? What has changed since being elected President and especially with terrorist forces on the march?
Just as Kidwai fears, every few months someone in Washington - - either at the Pentagon, or the Energy Department, or on the campus of the National Defense University - - runs a simulation of how the United States should respond if a terrorist group infiltrates the Pakistani nuclear program or manages to take over one or two of its weapons.
In these exercises, everyone plays to type: the State Department urges negotiations, while the Joint Special Operations Command loads its soldiers and nuclear teams into airplanes. The results of these simulations are highly classified, for fear of tipping off the Pakistanis about what the United States knows and doesn’t know about the location of the country’s weapons. But most of these war games conclude in a sea of ambiguity, with the participants who are playing top officials in Islamabad and Washington unable to get a clear picture of what happened and, if something is missing, the Pakistanis unwilling to admit it.
As one frequent participant in these tabletop exercises put it, “Most of them don’t end well.” Back in Washington, military and nuclear experts admit that the bottom line is that if a real-life crisis broke out, it is unlikely that anyone would be able to assure an American President, with confidence, that he knew where all of Pakistan’s weapons were - - or that none were in the hands of Islamic extremists. "It’s worse than that," one participant in the simulations said. "We can’t even certify exactly how many weapons the Pakistanis have - - which makes it difficult to sound convincing that there’s nothing to worry about."
How grave is the current situation? One insider said, "Only one of those countries has a hundred nuclear weapons." For Al Qaeda and the other Islamists, he went on to say, "this is the home game." He paused, before offering up the next thought: For anyone trying to keep a nuclear weapon from going off in the United States, it’s our home game, too.
What we have here is more proof that we're witnessing the prophesied end times. Not only do we have the fulfillment of the "wars and rumors of wars" prediction, but also unmistakable spiritual deception in the form of "politics-as-usual" courtesy of the Democrats and Republicans, or two sides of the same coin.
***UPDATE: Looks like our President does understand the real danger here after all...***
(RESEARCH: Obama’s Worst Pakistan Nightmare by David E. Sanger of the NY Times)
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