Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Did the ISI murder a Pakistani reporter? Plus, blog comment of the day: When a U.S. diplomat took charge at the embassy

The New York Times reports that the ISI ordered the recent murder of a Pakistani journalist. (As a former Washington Post reporter, it chafes me a bit to admit it, but the Times seems to me to have been doing a really good job lately on Pakistan and on foreign coverage in general. I hope ...

whitehouse.gov
whitehouse.gov
whitehouse.gov

The New York Times reports that the ISI ordered the recent murder of a Pakistani journalist. (As a former Washington Post reporter, it chafes me a bit to admit it, but the Times seems to me to have been doing a really good job lately on Pakistan and on foreign coverage in general. I hope they keep it up under the Abramson regime -- Jill is a former colleague and a terrific journalist but she lacks foreign experience.)

And here is an interesting memory of the early '80s in Pakistan.

By "Kriegsakademie"
Best Defense department of politco-military affairs

The New York Times reports that the ISI ordered the recent murder of a Pakistani journalist. (As a former Washington Post reporter, it chafes me a bit to admit it, but the Times seems to me to have been doing a really good job lately on Pakistan and on foreign coverage in general. I hope they keep it up under the Abramson regime — Jill is a former colleague and a terrific journalist but she lacks foreign experience.)

And here is an interesting memory of the early ’80s in Pakistan.

By "Kriegsakademie"
Best Defense department of politco-military affairs

Many, many years I was serving in Islamabad when Deane Hinton arrived as the new ambassador. Pakistani provincial elections were scheduled about three weeks after his arrival.

At the first country team meeting Deane distributed sheets of paper with all the political parties in Pakistan and all the provinces. Everyone on the country team was given five minutes to write down their predictions of the percentage of the vote each party would get in each province and then hand it to the ambassador in a signed and sealed envelope.

On the morning after the election results came out, we came to country team meeting to find all the name plates in "the bubble" re-arranged and re-titled. The Ag attaché was now listed as the DCM (he had done the best prediction), I was listed as Pol Couns (2nd best) etc. The actual Political Counselor was 2nd to last and the Defense Attaché (an Army Intel guy and FAO) was dead last.

That was one of many wake-up calls from Hinton that he expected his team to get out and know what was going on in Pakistan.

Younger staff generally enjoyed the challenge, senior staff generally resented it.

Amb Hinton’s little game nicely captured the lack of local knowledge that it the theme of this discussion.

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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