Now, after five years of futile efforts by the Pakistani government, they’ve signed a deal in which they promise to walk away if the Taliban behave themselves. It is a Pakistani surrender. They got beat, and now they are walking away. But Waziristan — Talibanistan — is still legally under Pakistani sovereignty. So any US military action there will be a violation of same. And any tacit acquiescence by Pakistan’s military dictator, General Perfez Musharaf, would most likely bring down the general’s government. In other words, Al Qaeda and the Taliban have traded Afghanistan for Waziristan, and in the process gained a huge advantage: we dare not attack them there for fear of bringing Musharraf down.
Why are so we worried about General Musharraf? Because the Pakistanis have at least 15, and perhaps as many as 100, nuclear warheads. These aren’t maybe-in-five-years nukes, these are right now, tested, mounted-on-functional-missiles nukes. That single fact alone (and other factors as well) means we have to tread carefully in Pakistan because we cannot be sure that Musharraf’s replacement would be an improvment, and it’s quite likely we’d get something worse. Maybe a lot worse. Maybe about as bad as you can get.
Our goal was to deny Al Qaeda a safe haven in the near east. If this deal is what it looks like, we appear to have failed. If this deal is what it looks like, we aren’t even back at square one: we’re wishing that we could get back to square one. In fact, if this deal is what it looks like, we just lost a war.
See also: "One of the hardest parts of my job is to connect Iraq to the war on terror." - GWB to Katie Kouric 2006-09-06
Game over, man.