I just caught this report on CNN. Personally, I find it alarming and want to put it out to the community for comment.
Quick transcription below the fold.
Via CNN (transcribed live from my DVR):
BLITZER: Other important news we're following right now - Pakistan's new Supreme Court, hand-picked, by the way, by the embattled General Pervez Musharraf is clearing the way for him to serve another five year term. The justices have dismissed all the legal challenges against Mushharaf who has promised to step down from the military before a new swearing in.
Meanwhile, we're picking up word of possible - repeat possible new plans for the US military to play a new role in Pakistan, even putting American forces on the ground there. That hasn't happened yet. Our Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr is now joining us live with more. What are you picking up from your sources, Barbara?
STARR: Wolf, it's all still very classified [Ed. note: apparently not], but sources here are confirming there are discussions about the US military getting much more involved in Pakistan.
US military officials confirm to CNN that the secretive US Special Operations Command is considering plans to train and possibly arm Pakistan's Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force of more than 60,000 troops fighting in the remote northwest tribal region against Al Qaeda. It comes as the US is pressuring Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to maintain his war against the militants.
PAKISTAN ARMY'S MAJ. GEN. WAHEED ARSHAD: The Army means business. The government means business. So I think everybody now realizes and understands that the operations are going to take the situation to its logical conclusion.
STARR: The US already plans to spend $150 million in the tribal region. It could involve sending US Army trainers into hostile areas. This week, local villagers began fleeing as fighting between Pakistan's armed forces and militants grew.
Pentagon officials acknowledge the strategy sounds a lot like Iraq, where US training for Sunni tribes has improved security in Al Anbar Province. But skeptics warn that in Pakistan's frontier region the tribes are against all outside authority. Any US involvement will be deeply resented.
When asked if Musharraf still could be effective against terrorism, Defense Secretary Gates declined a strong endorsement.
GATES: Well I'm not going to make a call like that. I would say, though, that his ability to lead - to continue to be a partner in the war on terror very much depends on how developments unfold over the next few weeks in Pakistan.
STARR: Wolf, make no mistake - at the Pentagon, there already is planning for the post-Musharraf era, just in case.
BLITZER: All right. Contingency planning. What a nightmare scenario all of that brings.
I'd say that the nightmare scenario was outlined best by Benjamin Franklin:
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. "
I have no idea as to the protocol for such a decision. In other words, does the Iraq AUMF allow for this out-of-control, certifiably insane Administration to dedicate US troops to yet another country in the region? How can anyone possible believe that following a functionally identical strategy to that of Iraq could yield better results? I personally believe that because of Iraq, this particular strategy is that much worse in terms of our overall perception in the region and, therefore, our ability to lessen the possibility of future acts of terrorism at home and abroad.
I'd welcome thoughts from those in the community with military knowledge and knowledge of the Middle East.