Seven years after the United States led the invasion of Afghanistan in search of al-Qaeda and to topple the Taliban government, US President George W Bush has added neighboring Pakistan to the list of countries that are "a major 'war on terror' battleground", while also announcing a "quiet surge" of troops into Afghanistan.
Pakistan, under president-elect Asif Ali Zardari, is on board with the US's war strategy, but, to the surprise of Islamabad and with potentially devastating consequences for Pakistan, the US has trained its guns on the "good" Taliban based in Pakistan with deep connections to the Pakistani establishment.
In looking at what the US is doing in Pakistan, the first words that hit me are the lines from the old Paul Simon song, "Don't know much about history..." And in the case of the US foreign policy makers, there is an insanely chilling ignorance about history, geography, religious movements, politics, and culture in South Asia.
Why do people become radicalized? Because of a lack of opportunities, no access to jobs or education, and consistently being marginalized and abused by the existing power structure.
Yes, we can continue to bomb from the air, and the US and NATO will probably keep doing this with - or without - the Pakistani government's approval. And aerial bombardment guarantees precisely two things: a lot of dead civilians and non-combatants, and the further radicalizing of those left standing away from US/NATO forces, and more toward the Pakistani Taliban.
At the end of the day, it is only inclusion - and not marginalization - of pro-Taliban factions which may ultimately stave off a potential civil war between the pro-Zardari factions and the pro-Taliban forces.
Of course, this approach would be logical on the part of the Pakistani government. Unfortunately, we understand, after these last very painful 8 years, that logic and this US administration have absolutely no relationship whatsoever.