Morning Report: 2009-03-30

Lahore, Pakistan attacks. Animesh Roul at CTB:

Almost a month after the attack on Sri Lankan cricketers, Lahore city experienced another major Terrorist strike. On Monday, March 30, at least five grenade blasts reportedly took place inside a police training center in Manawan, Lahore and at the same time, around 25 armed terrorists stormed the center, taking around 500 inmates hostage.

According to reports, terrorists wearing police uniforms and carrying loads of arms and ammunition have entered into the police center, firing and lobbing grenades indiscriminately. While the fatality figure is likely to increase, as per the latest media reports, 20 people have been killed and more than 50 others injured thus far.

According to Geo TV News, Pakistan Army and paramilitary already taken position around the police training center and a gun battle is undergoing now. The injured policemen have been evacuated from training facility.

The terrorists tactics and the fidayeen style operation suggests Lashkar e Taiba (LeT)’s and Jaish-e-Muhammad's (JeM) hand in the siege. However, involvement of foreign Jihadists (there are plenty: Uzbeks and Afghans), Taliban and Al Qaeda elements can’t be ruled out.

Gates "might consider" shooting down a missile headed for Hawaii. Via LGF, this breathtaking statement from Defense Secretary Robert Gates:

Appearing on “FOX News Sunday,” Gates said North Korea “probably will” fire the missile, prompting host Chris Wallace to ask: “And there’s nothing we can do about it?”

“No,” Gates answered, adding, “I would say we’re not prepared to do anything about it.”

Last week, Admiral Timothy Keating, commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, said the U.S. is “fully prepared” to shoot down the missile. But Gates said such a response is unlikely.

“I think if we had an aberrant missile, one that was headed for Hawaii, that looked like it was headed for Hawaii or something like that, we might consider it,” Gates said. “But I don’t think we have any plans to do anything like that at this point.”

I feel better already. Well, it's a good thing Hawaii has never been, you know, attacked or anything like that.

Obama on Don't Ask Don't Tell: It depends on what the meaning of "yes" is. Seems the President has got quite a lot going on these days, and as much as he'd like to, he's just not quite ready to abolish the long-standing anti-gay military policy known as "Don't ask, don't tell." Fox:

A change to the controversial "don't ask, don't tell" policy toward gays in the military will be delayed despite promises by the Obama administration to overturn the rule, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday.

"The president and I feel like we've got a lot on our plates right now and let's push that one down the road a little bit," Gates told "FOX News Sunday."

In January, President Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, was asked whether his boss would overturn "don't ask, don't tell.” Gibbs' reply -- videotaped for YouTube -- was unequivocal.

"You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer much. But it's 'Yes,'" Gibbs said.

That was then, this is now.

Belmont Club on Obama and AfPak. The Belmont Club:

Taken in toto the BBC article leaves the reader with the distinct suggestion that while the US military will loyally carry out the instructions of the Commander in Chief, they do not repose a great deal of confidence in the willingness of Pakistani intelligence agencies to lift their end of the load. In fact, the BBC article has quotes which stop just short of suggesting that parts of the ISI are in league with the enemy.

General David Petraeus, head of the US Central Command, spoke of cases “in the fairly recent past” where the ISI appeared to have warned militants that their positions had been discovered.

Given this difficulty, a successful campaign in Afghanistan/Pakistan will require either a) the reform of the ISI so that it becomes a more suitable partner for the enterprise or; b) there is some kind of operational insurance to ensure the task can be carried out in the event the ISI falls down on the job, a kind of Plan B in case things miscarry.

That BBC article is here.

Commentary. Abe Greenwald at Commentary magazine on the limits of "leadership by example":

"I will not let anyone tell me that we must spend more money,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The sentiment was echoed by French and Spanish statesmen. As the Times of London points out, “The assault by European Union leaders also represents a defeat for President Barack Obama, who is desperate for other big economies to copy his $800 billion stimulus plan.” ...

Taking personalities out of the equation, what indicates a higher degree of American arrogance: a president who understands the need to “go it alone” because he knows that other countries will sometimes cling to their own agendas no matter what, or a president who assumes that the rest of the world will follow America’s example because we are simply worth following?