Body Count’s in the House
So, keeping up on the Pakistani military’s offensive against the Taliban, there’s this:
The government claimed 700 insurgents had died and the Taliban were on the run.
And good for that. But how does that statistic sound compared to this one:
The United Nations said 360,600 refugees had fled Swat and neighboring Dir and Buner districts since operations began last week. That number is on top of some 500,000 people displaced by past offensives — a major humanitarian challenge for the weak government that could test public support for the offensive. Most of the refugees are staying with friends and relatives or in rented accommodation.
Gen. David Petraeus went on Fox News yesterday to say that the Pakistanis understand that in a counterinsurgency, the violent confrontation with an insurgency is the smaller part of the effort. Where’s the evidence for that? Where’s the Pakistani military and government’s “whole of government” — Petraeus’ words — plans for dealing with displaced persons and providing continuity of government services, to say nothing of how to reestablish credible governance in Swat and Buner and Lower Din? For that matter, why does the Obama administration’s touted Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capabilities Fund establish a funding stream for purely military equipment like helicopters and night-vision goggles? Yes, the House and Senate Pakistan bills provide for civilian-government aid. But doesn’t the military-only focus of the new fund tacitly support the bifurcation of civilian and military aspects of counterinsurgency at a time when the Pakistan government is barely experienced with either?