While violence, gunfire, and war may be absolute Hell, a war against Al Qaeda's best friends is what many can agree to be "the good fight". The Pakistani military has been routing the militants and their allies in and around the Swat valley for weeks now since the Taliban broke the cease-fire(which many felt was a very generous offer). In the days since then, government-encouraged militias called lashkars(which we are funding) of local tribesmen have begun turning against the Taliban more and more with every news report of a suicide bombing targeting civilians who don't share the Taliban's hard-line beliefs.
The tide is turning against the Taliban in Pakistan, which offers us a fighting chance in Afghanistan. The Pakistani military is now even on the move against militants in a district neighboring Waziristan.
Never in my life did I think the Pakistani military would come as close to Waziristan as they have now. Much like the fighting in and around Swat, the new offensive in Bannu seems to be going in Pakistan's favor. The offensive there is blatantly being referred to as "collective punishment" against a specific tribe for having aided the Taliban, which conducted a mass-kidnapping there last week with safe-haven provided by the targeted-tribe.
The Pakistani people(not just plains-land Punjab) seem remarkably in agreement that the Taliban need to be stop. With increase cooperation continuing between the U.S. and Pakistani military, we are right now fighting the smartest possible war against terror. And while things across the border may not look great(see Pres. Karzai's drug-kingpin brother), it seems the Obama administration is getting things right in Pakistan.
The increasing-use of Predator and Reaper drones, which then-candidate Obama strongly advocated for in 2007, have taken the fight right to the heart of Al-Qaeda. A U.S. troop surge on the Afghani-side of the border will put pressure on the baddest-of-the-bad, while a Pakistani military offensive all around them on the Pakistani-side could very well be the pincer-move that traps them all.
Three cheers for President Barack Obama, special envoy Richard Holbrooke, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, General Petraeus, General McChrystal, and the men and women who are running this smart war against terror.