Why the Crazy Iranian Plot to Pay Mexicans To Kill the Saudi Ambassador Isn’t So Implausible.

A wartime lexicon.
Oct. 24 2011 7:08 AM

What Will They Think of Next?

Why the crazy Iranian plot to pay Mexicans to kill the Saudi ambassador isn’t so implausible.

(Continued from Page 1)

The phenomenon—of governments keeping special departments for criminal activity—is not confined to Iran. In the Financial Times, Mansoor Ijaz recently revealed the existence of “Section S” of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. The purpose of this office, sometimes known as “S-Wing,” is to maintain relations to the Taliban and Haqqani network, writes Ijaz, a Pakistani-American who once negotiated with Sudan for the Clinton administration. Shortly after the killing of Osama Bin Laden in May, he was approached by a representative of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, seeking a meeting with the White House. At this meeting Pakistan, having hitherto denied the existence of Section S, would offer to shut it down in return for concessions! It was by this means among others that Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was able to determine that the ISI was shopping on both sides of the Afghan street, and that the United States was helping finance the murder and sabotage of its own troops and allies.

Again, it is the sheer absence of embarrassment that takes the breath away. We have been betraying you, and now wish to be further bribed to stop doing so. (Didn’t Flaubert have a banker who was so corrupt that he would willingly have paid for the pleasure of selling himself?)

Advertisement

I notice that reporting of Pakistani double-dealing has improved since Zardari came clean in this way. We can even read first-hand accounts of Pakistani shelling of American and Afghan forces, launched directly across the border in broad daylight. We also have the impossibly arrogant Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayhani, Pakistan’s uniformed satrap, saying that he will need to keep the Haqqani network armed and on his official payroll even as coalition forces try to mount an orderly handover and withdrawal.

Finally, since mentioning Bernard-Henri Levy’s celebrated timeline of Pakistani perfidy from May 2005 I have received several requests to make it easier to find. It can be read here. It is the record of an extraordinarily successful effort to deceive Congress, and to manipulate American aid and strategy, over a distressingly long period of time. Again, the principal method was the horse-trading in Taliban and al-Qaida figures against whom Islamabad only claimed to be fighting.

There is a common lesson in all these examples: Never assume that the totalitarian or terrorist enemy is smart enough to conceal his traces. Indeed, don’t always assume that he is even interested in doing so. The utter nerve of it is often part of the strategy in the first place.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 2:08 PM Home Depot’s Former Head of Security Had a Legacy of Sabotage
  Life
Outward
Sept. 23 2014 1:57 PM Would A Second Sarkozy Presidency End Marriage Equality in France?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 2:32 PM Politico Asks: Why Is Gabby Giffords So “Ruthless” on Gun Control?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 2:31 PM 3 Simpsons Showrunners Reflect on New Fans and the “Classic Era” Myth
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 1:50 PM Oh, the Futility! Frogs Try to Catch Worms Off of an iPhone Video.
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 23 2014 1:38 PM Why Is Fall Red in America but Yellow in Europe? A possible explanation, 35 million years in the making.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.