Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | May 2, 2011

Tough planet: Waldo’s compound in Pakistani military neighborhood

The joke is already circulating that President Obama knew how to find Osama bin Laden’s compound because it’s near a golf course.

It’s also right next door to the Pakistani military academy, in a section of the city where many of the residents are senior military officers.  (H/t: Free Republic) The idea that bin Laden could possibly have been living there without the knowledge of the Pakistani military, much less the ISI (intelligence service), strains credulity to the breaking point.  These senior officers live with their families under the security that is necessary in a nation full of Islamist bomb-throwers.  They and their security forces know who’s in their neighborhood.  There are three other army training centers in Abbottabad as well.  The city is crawling with military.

Waldo's pigsty near military academy in Abbottabad


We might compare this to the US hiding an international war criminal in a walled estate a block from West Point, except that our security isn’t as thorough and suspiciously vigilant.

What this means, of course, is that we have known for some amount of time that Pakistanis were providing a compound for bin Laden.  We knew where he was and how to breach his compound.  (Marc Ambinder says the Navy SEALs were conducting dry-run missions at a replica compound in Virginia in early April.)  We couldn’t have had that knowledge without knowing his situation among the Pakistanis.

Indian media have put out several reports today that bin Laden was in an ISI safe house and the Pakistanis knew he was there.  But whatever the provenance of those reports, I’m not sure we really needed them.  The geography speaks for itself.

There has never been a good alternative to dealing with the Pakistanis as a nominal ally.  Their perfidy in this matter is something it’s hard to seek vengeance for.  It’s not something Republicans would handle better than Democrats, or vice versa.  I’ve had serious criticism for some of the Obama administration’s attitudes and methods in dealing with Pakistan, but pinning fault on him for this situation would be unfair.

What do we do?  We certainly don’t react in a way that would jeopardize the campaign in Afghanistan.  I’m hopeful that Obama won’t.  I’d like to think his administration could come up with a more constructive level of engagement with Pakistan, but that’s unlikely.  I suspect the administration will downplay the glaring evidence that senior Pakistanis not only knew where bin Laden was but had assigned him his address, and seek to move on.  It’s a tough planet.

J.E. Dyer blogs at Hot Air’s Green Room and Commentary’s “contentions.”  She writes a weekly column for Patheos.



  1. One way of dealing with the Pakistanis as nominal allies would have been to accidentally put a guided bomb into the house of the closest senior non certifiably friendly ISI guy immediately after our team was off the ground homebound and had identified Bin Laden to a reasonable certainly.

    • better use of the incident is to force them to turn over the other 20 top AQ guys ensconced in their country, sully…. and after that pull the plug on all the aid money

      • Bet they would be a lot quicker to do what you want if we first do something like what I suggested. When somebody plays you for a fool one time too many you first have to show them that you know what they’ve been doing and that you can be every bit as playful as them and perhaps even more playful.

        • don’t think that flat assassinating an ISI guy at home is gonna result in making them compliant, sully.

          they can be squeezed more than they can be intimidated.

  2. Pakistan is a very dysfunctional state. Many parts of a very confusing puzzle. The pieces change with the flow of the Pakistani street. One cannot see the complete picture because the pieces never fit together.
    India is the number one fear of the Pakistanis. Parts of their military and security apparatus will work with anyone that will help with the India “threat.” Indias’ enemy is our friend so to speak.
    Imagine working with “The Seven Faces of Eve” to plan and execute a comprehensive war on terror. And, they have Nukes.
    Folks, their interests are not the same as ours.

  3. There are other imminent issues with the Pakis. First, they have the wreckage of one of our stealth helicopters. There is probably a lot that could be learned to our disadvantage if it fell into the wrong hands, or if the Pakis decide to shop that information to our enemies. Second, we didn’t kill everyone at the compound. What is Pakistan doing with the survivors? Some may have information that we would find useful.

    It is possible that we have reliable contacts within ISI, and they will need to be protected. ISI probably is looking for a mole right now.

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