December 9th, 2011
06:10 PM ET

Blunt talk on Pakistan from U.S. military

By Charley Keyes

U.S. relations with Pakistan in the wake of last month's NATO attack on a border post are "a mess," America's highest-ranking officer said Friday.

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Martin Dempsey, dismissed Pakistani government claims that the attack was planned.

"What I can say, absolutely, and I can't imagine anyone in this room wouldn't believe me: We did not attack a border post, a Pakistan military border post, intentionally," Dempsey said in a speech in Washington. "If you think we did, I'd have to ask you in return, what in the world would we hope to gain by doing that? So I can say that categorically."

"They believe we did this intentionally in some way to either discredit them or goad them into further action," Dempsey said of the Pakistani motivation for making the claim.

The American general said that sometimes, the U.S. is a victim of its own success, with the world overestimating U.S. military capabilities in the midst of the confusion of war.

"The rest of the world sees us as completely all-knowing, all-seeing, completely precise," Dempsey said. "You know, look, warfare is really, when you really get down and touch it, it's just ugly, and it's messy, and it's unpredictable, and it's chaotic, and there's fog, and there's friction."

Dempsey said the U.S.-Pakistan relationship is strained, but the U.S. is giving it time.
"What we're trying to do is show some patience, asking them to show some patience, and then we'll try to get back in touch with each other and see if we can work through it," he said. "But yeah, it is a mess."

Dempsey's unusually strong words and undiplomatic language were echoed at the Pentagon by spokesman George Little.

"This incident was not, I repeat not, a deliberate attack on the Pakistani military by (the International Security Assistance Force)," Little said. "It is wrong to assert that."

And these strong comments are coming from American officials even before the conclusion of the formal investigation into what happened when 24 Pakistani soldiers were killed.

"We know enough at this point to say with certainty this was not an intentional attack on Pakistani forces," Little insisted. "The Pakistanis are our partners. It defies reason that we would attack them."

Little was asked whether Defense Secretary Leon Panetta would agree with Dempsey on U.S.-Pakistan relations.
"It certainly is in a rough patch. You can ask the secretary at some point what term he would use," he said. "But if 'mess' describes a very difficult time in the relationship, the answer is absolutely yes."

Despite the chill in the relationship, the U.S. continues to work in a reduced fashion with Pakistan at special border coordination posts that had been set up to avoid an attack like the deadly one November 25, even though Pakistan had reduced its manpower at the border coordination centers.

Little said those shared posts were still making a difference.

"There have been instances of cooperation since the recent incident," he said. "It is important that they be fully manned so that we avoid similar incidents in the future."

And Dempsey hinted that the U.S. is considering alternatives to supply U.S. troops in Afghanistan if Pakistan continues to block road access through two border crossings.

"We're adapting to some of the things they've done, you know, the closures of the ground lines of communications and so forth," he said. "We're assessing the cost of that. There is a cost."

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Filed under: Afghanistan • Military • NATO • Pakistan • Panetta • Panetta • Pentagon • Secretary of Defense
soundoff (72 Responses)
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  5. Saqib

    Everything bad happening in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan is because of American govt. Secondly, Pakistan is not getting American's money for free they are doing and American govt is paying them their price. So Pakistanis are not baggers. Lastly, America could have invested 1 trillion dollars in middle east to earn respect rather than going for war with them. Muslims are peace loving people. I believe that every person who respect/honor his family is a peace loving person. Nobody wants to fight especially a Muslim as they have families to support. In Pakistan women (culturally) don't go for jobs. Here one person is feeding the entire family and therefore they don't want war as this will increase their financial problems a lot. People all over the world are same as they have same needs. Wakeup, Muslims have been living on this planet for 1400 years they are not NEW.
    It's the government officials and businessmen who wants to control everything in this world from oil well to tap water. War against terrorism is another excuse to raise taxes in America, initiate armaments business deals so that commission can be earned by the govt officials, capturing natural resources rather than buying them, earning money from news channels advertisement and Hollywood movies and above all justifying "American Military" and its ongoing budget. I am an accountant and worked in a multinational company for 5 years and i know what business men do to justify budgets. As world was going to become a happy place they thought soon military budgets will decrease therefore they started a war without boundaries (scope). This war has a continuing nature and is in the best interest of ALL except common people.
    My uncle who was in Army and had stayed in China for 5 years on military assignment; told me that America wants to cut china's trade route by disintegrating Pakistan, capturing Afghanistan/giving it to India (in future), so that china cannot access middle eastern and European markets directly. Soon there will be only one route left through sea and this will increase its freight cost and therefore Chinese products become expensive to buy. What I want to say is that there are number of concerns for America and India to continue this war that is why they are investing so much money. Definitely not to catch few terrorists :).

    January 12, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Reply
  6. Bob

    Pakistan doesn't need any money from America, Its America which needs Pakistan's help in controlling Taliban. Pakistan made big mistake 30 years ago when they become involved in American war against communists, America and Arabs spent billions of dollars to train those Afghans refugees, they brainwashed them with holy war, After Soviet defeat these extremists who studied in Madarsa had no real life experience so were not able to settle in life, only thing they could do was fight and fight. You can not just exterminate entire generation on the basis of war on terror, the need is to educate the people and bring them back into the society.

    January 4, 2012 at 10:49 pm | Reply
  7. ranger 830

    Paki Army, Airforce, Closing the border yeah right!!!!! This I have to see!!!! They could not close a paper f-ing bag!!!!! go ahead close whatever you want! However this will change not a GD. thing except the cost of doing business!!!! See how long all those Paki truck drivers last without that American cash$$$$$$. Good Luck you beggers!

    December 20, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
  8. Loyaxxx

    Why such angry commotion among the Opinion Writers? Its the ENDGAME of Afghan War. With Northern Route thru
    Russia @ $1400/to-14days journey- about to be closed by angry Putin-compared to Pakistan $35/ton two days journey, America wants Pakistan only for respectable and fast retreat, unlike Vietnam in 1973 where GIs had to run to the trucks leaving their boots behind,
    And Soviets ran back selling their fur caps, Canteens and Jackets (I bought some in Peshawar-Pakistan when War was ending)...This "Blunt Talk" on Pakistan is in DC not in Islamabad. Bluntness is to Warmongers in Pentagon by Dumpsey to appease Pakistan to get the equipment and NATO troops safely. Soviets had a painful experience during 1989.
    Pashtun Mujahedins of the time now labelled as Talibans have strong affinity for boys..and they bloodied hundreds of
    Soviet young soldiers before releasing them..

    December 20, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
  9. TJ Havens

    He's a General! The media and press are so mediocre!

    December 17, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Reply
  10. wasim

    Chairman of Joint chiefs is not an Admiral , he is a General, get the ranks straight then write on the topic, thanks!

    December 12, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  11. JL


    December 12, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Reply
  12. Eddie

    We tend not to do so well when fighting a virtual enemy - communism, terrorism, war on drugs, that sort of thing. We're pretty good when the enemy is an actual country, though. I think we would breeze through Pakistan.

    December 12, 2011 at 6:25 am | Reply
  13. omar

    We Pakistanis luv Amerika. QWe luv iit zo much we want to move rthere em masse. I WULD likee to muv therrr two butt I cant cuz my wife tried to cook me lasst week and I amm burrrned now. Pleeze rite to me and eye will contaact U. Long leeve Amerikaaaaaaa.!!!

    December 12, 2011 at 3:14 am | Reply
    • Eddie

      Where did you learn Paklish?

      December 12, 2011 at 6:26 am | Reply
      • omar

        It is not Paklish. It is Hinglish.

        December 12, 2011 at 8:32 am |
  14. Ikram Khan

    After kicking the American out of Shamsi air base Pakistan is soon going to close its air space for the American and Nato forces......that will be real scrweing...Nato and America are desprate to bring back the realtion with Pakistan to the level which existed before Mohmamd incident.....whereas Pakistan is telling them that the relations will be based on revised conditions....take it or leave it.On the othere hand Pakistan is consolidating its realtion with all it nieghbors and regional players.

    December 12, 2011 at 12:00 am | Reply
    • Eddie

      China doesn't care about them. India wouldn't p on them if they were on fire. All Afghanistan knows how to do is kill their own people. Pakistan is like a loudmouth ghetto hoodlum waving a gun in the air, hoping to scare everyone.

      December 12, 2011 at 6:33 am | Reply
      • FromOtherSide

        Pakistan wants a real friend who does not carry out drone attacks on its civilian population. A country which does not kill its soldiers. A country which wants a stable Pakistan and Afghanistan. So USA is not a friend and China is a friend.

        December 12, 2011 at 8:36 am |
      • Brian H

        What kind of friend hides Bin Laden? So who is the betrayer here?

        December 13, 2011 at 10:31 pm |
    • Alex

      Imran Khan. your government puts a dog and a pony show on for you guys. the funny part is you buy it every single time. evacuated from one base and went to another. it will be three years before you people will find out about the new base. By that time you will be chanting "GO Zaradari go"

      December 15, 2011 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  15. Mark

    Pakistan should keep in mind this one fact..USA has no "friends", only client states kept impoverished and in misery and chaos in the selfish interests of the US. Any friend of the US has always been stabbed in the back, invaded and/or made to suffer as a puppet state. The CIA's job is to create civil conflict and terrorism to serve its governments' agenda..the "war on terror" is a false flag propaganda excuse for a long established plan which Cheney publicly mapped out before invade and subjugate Afghanistan and use it as a transit point for the oceans of Central Asian gas and oil to seaports (with an added bonus of Afghanistan holding one trillion dollars worth of valuable minerals beneath its deserts) In this plan, Pakistan with a puppet government was to serve as the last leg of this Cheney pipeline. That plan has now backfired since Pakistan has unraveled the american plan, that is by its correct first step of defending its borders and stopping all NATO transports. To guarantee its future, Pakistan must end its suicidal "alliance" with the US and refuse all bribes in their fake "war on terror". Pakistan has an air force that it can and should use against illegal child killing drones violating its sovereignty and is entirely within its rights to shoot those down as well. If Pakistan wants to survive as a nation, enjoy peace and prosperity and not suffer the fate of Libya or other NATO/US victims it should enter into military and trade pacts with friendly nations such as Russia and Turkey and rid the region of every last occupying US/NATO mercenary or contractor.

    December 11, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Reply
    • C.Brown

      Hey Mark you might want to first look up what countries are in NATO cause one of the "friends of Pakistan" you named is in NATO and that country is Turkey. You point about the U.S. not being friendly to our allies is also funny and kinda weird when your speaking about Pakistan a country that has Nukes because they can't get along with their neighbor/brothers in India while the U.S. has a good relationship with Mexico and Canada.

      December 12, 2011 at 11:25 am | Reply
  16. Luis

    Hello readers, I'm a recently returned soldier just wrapping up my first G.I.i bill semester of school. If you could please spare 45 seconds and fill out the survey I created below regarding gays in the military, I would appreciate it. God bless..

    December 11, 2011 at 4:04 am | Reply
  17. Tony

    Yeah this attack was not intentional and Osam,a was only running a test to see if the World trade center can take a plan, He meant no harm just an accident right?

    December 10, 2011 at 11:02 pm | Reply
    • Zoglet

      Dont you think the 9/11 defence for every error of judgement the USG makes is wearing a bit thin now?
      There has been reprisal and revenge andliterally hundreds of thousands killed. Its over, move on, return to humanity.

      December 12, 2011 at 12:12 am | Reply
    • C.Brown

      What would the U.S. gain by attacking a Paki military post? Why wouldn't we just bomb the presidential palace or take out an entire Paki regiment? Also how can you compare 9/11 to the bombing of a border post when the two events are so different that I can't find one thing they have in common?

      December 12, 2011 at 11:29 am | Reply
      • Tony

        How about one thing in common: People died!!!

        January 3, 2012 at 12:32 pm |
  18. John

    Pakistanis are the villians of the region, their terrorist loving population is creating hell for everybody in the world!

    December 10, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Reply
    • mattxx

      Yupp indeed..they are the EPICENTER of terrorism..I hope they self destruct

      December 11, 2011 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • FromOtherSide

      Pakistanis are not the villains of this region. They are not the ones who invaded Afghanistan and imposed a war on it, resulting in death of its civilian population. None of the so-called Hijackers of 9/11 attacks were Afghanis or Pakistanis, nevertheless the war was imposed on them against the wishes of this region's civilian population. At that time everybody was asking USA to do peace talks and not invade Afghanistan. Now that the whole country is devastated, USA wants to start negotiations. BTW why am I even wasting time with you people. If you people had some education, you would be taking part in Global Occupy Walls street movement.

      December 12, 2011 at 8:41 am | Reply
      • Brian H

        Pakistan created the Taliban. Who needs to be educated here?

        December 13, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
  19. 20th Stryker Soldier

    I believe our attack was to demonstrate to them what pussies the Pakistanis are. If they fight or retailiate, we will simply fuck their shit up. And I mean fucking kill em all. They fucking harbored Bin Laden for fucking crying the fuck out loud. Boots on the ground will show them their fucking ass. Go USA !!!!!

    December 10, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Reply
    • EatYouAlive

      The odds of this being an actual american posting this is 123 to 1. Fuck ya.

      December 10, 2011 at 6:45 pm | Reply
    • henry laycock

      I don't think that adding the word 'fucking' after each word does anything at all to improve your message. I suspect it doesn't even make you feel any better either.

      December 10, 2011 at 7:17 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      I agree , this fuckhead is most likely not an American but a cow shit eating Indian pretending to be American. After steeling all the American jobs through outsourcing now the indian shit wants U.S to fight their wars for them too. Somehow they think their skinny asses are more valuble than American blood.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Reply
      • Shahzad

        Hi Tony, Glad to see such response from an American, seems you all are not dumb some like u have brains to understand who is writing what and why! these Indians ( I call them Red Indians) thinks that u guys are licking their asses, you can see these bull shits in every where when there is a news about Pakistan. These fucking ass holes use your names to malign Pakistan. Wake up guys!!

        December 11, 2011 at 1:36 pm |
      • mattxx

        tony – you r a pakifck masquerding as a non-paki worth his scum talks are as indians say MADARCHOD..(right?) of alaaa

        December 11, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
    • Ikram Khan

      HAHAH.......First tell me what is the American success in Afghanistan after 10 years of war and trillion of dollars spended.....Afghans are living in stone age era but they didn't let the world super power to win the far as Pakistan is concerned it has nukes with advance delivery system and it also developed smart nukes..........would you like to try?

      December 11, 2011 at 4:26 am | Reply
  20. rk from US

    talkig to these [akis is like talking ot donkeys talk...only action...isolate pakistan..deport all paki nukes...that'll do

    December 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm | Reply
  21. Awabnavi

    That traitor Musharraf who is enjoying himself in the West should be hanged the minute he lands in Pakistan. It was he who led Pakistan into this mess by joining the US led "War on terror".

    December 10, 2011 at 9:39 am | Reply
    • max

      It was Pakistan that started this mess by inserting the Taliban in Afghanistan.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:29 am | Reply
      • max

        It was Pakistan that allows terrorists groups to operate in their country. It is Pakistan that organized the LET group to attack Mumbai. It is Pakistan that hid Usama Bin Ladin and continues to hide Mullah Omar, Zawahiri and aid the Taliban and Haqanni Netork. So who is an ally to the U.S.?

        December 10, 2011 at 10:36 am |
      • furhan

        yeah, ur so right, right?
        pakistan, only pakistan, inserted the taliban while the US was so against it, right?

        taliban is composed entirely of ethnic pashtun afghans, no pakistanis there. thus, how can u insert that which isn't ur own but is actually theirs?

        also, the US encouraged this kind of extremism, they really weren't that upset w/ the taliban being there. in fact, don't u remember in 1996, they were at one time considering building a pipeline through afghanistan w/ the taliban onboard?

        the US enemy was al qaeda, NOT the taliban, let's be quite honest there. b/c once u add the taliban in the list, then u gotta add the 5 other groups fighting the US, haqqanis and whatnot, and b4 u know it, ur fighting a lot more people than u initially intended. at that point, bin laden starts looking right when he argues, "america is at war w/ islam"

        of course, bin laden is a low life who did deserve his fate, that should have pretty much been it for the war on terror, and come on back. now its essentially a war on culture, trying to force the afghan people to live like westerners, which aside from being ethnocentric, is quite unrealistic...

        December 10, 2011 at 12:01 pm |
      • Max

        Max is short for Maxi Pad

        December 10, 2011 at 12:08 pm |
      • Zeus

        Trure Matt. But remember, its the US that funded the Paki's to insert Taliban in Afghanistan to fight their proxy war against the Russians !!

        December 12, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Ashraf

      We need to look into future, recognize realities and learn from our past mistakes.
      Afghanistan and Pakistan are neighbors. USA and ISAF will leave just like USSR but we shall be living together. Both USSR and NATO have contributed immensely to destruction of Afghanistan. In this process Pakistan has also suffered badly. Blaming each other for Talibans or Alqaida is not the right approach. In this game everyone is guilty (USA, Pakistan, Afghanistan). Its time both the countries come together and resolve their common problems in a civilized manner.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:53 am | Reply
      • Uknowme

        true that

        December 10, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
      • mattxx

        yeah sure you camel fking araba

        December 11, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • reality

      Under Musharraf Pakistan progressed a lot , but after Zardari came into power he sold the Pakistan to western fascists for money, Its opposition of Musharraf who should be hanged.

      January 4, 2012 at 10:39 pm | Reply
  22. Faisal

    Who needs an enemy when u have friend like US who snubs you with knife on ur back. I think there is limit for patience to bowl out and time has come where we need to put Pakistan and its peoples first..We cant fight and kill our own peoples who have no stake to any good cause in this world..Authorities need put Pakistan and its peoples the center of attraction and say Good bye to this sooooo called Alliance/partnership

    December 10, 2011 at 8:10 am | Reply
    • max

      Knife in the back? Your top ranking general admitted to helping the Taliban. Your troops on the border are constantly shelling ISAF troops and Afghanistan towns. Pakistan is the one riding the fence pointing a knife at the U.S. while taking aid from us.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:40 am | Reply
      • Ashraf

        Both US and Pakistan blame each other for exactly same offence. This is in fact a poor reflection of the leadership on both sides that is incapable of resolving issues. Unless that happens you and me will look very foolish blaming and counter-blaming each other. Political issues are resolved at political levels not though blogs.

        December 10, 2011 at 11:44 am |
      • Max

        NATO should have bombed India. Damn, it stinks there

        December 10, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  23. Dr bakro chod

    How much blood money Paki wants? In pro$titution every service has a price tag.

    December 10, 2011 at 3:11 am | Reply
    • Ashraf

      You are wrong my friend. Your big money could not save you in Vietnam, Iraq and now in Afghanistan. Lets respect each other and tolerate opposing views.
      Please keep your money with you for your own people. Do not waste it on senseless wars.

      December 10, 2011 at 8:47 am | Reply
      • Dr bakro chod

        You missed my point. I want to sell my Indian wife and sisters to Paki men. Plzzzzzzz

        December 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
      • EatYouAlive

        I love the internet some days.

        December 10, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
  24. Ashraf

    It seems Pakistan has decided to realign the relationship with US/ISAF on mutually agreeable terms. The US arrogance is out of place. It had worked so far but probably no more. You cannot be ungrateful to Pakistanis for what all it has done and keep them blaming, at the same time expect Pakistan to be generous.
    Obama refuses to even release a condolence video message while US military is insisting the attack of 26 November was an accident even before the investigation. This has undermined inquiry even before its outcome is published.
    It appears this situation is going to get lot worse in coming days unless some coo-heads in the State Dept take control from Pentagon and CIA.

    December 10, 2011 at 2:51 am | Reply
  25. Ikram Khan

    HAHAHA ....the attack was not intentional and continued to happen for two hours.

    December 10, 2011 at 1:35 am | Reply
    • max

      The outposts were shooting at ISAF troops across the border into Afghanistan. They got what was coming to them.

      December 10, 2011 at 10:32 am | Reply
      • Max

        I suck big donkey dick

        December 10, 2011 at 12:06 pm |
  26. Brent

    The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Martin Dempsey? Get simple facts straight...He is wearing an Army uniform, the new Chairman is not an Adm...he is a General.

    December 9, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Reply
  27. Marc

    Hey Charley I would NOT characterize this as blunt talk. It is more like confused, dazed and incoherent.
    These Pentagon types should wait till the Pakistanis close their airspace to US and begin firing at them drones. After all their neighbors are doing it. (Iranians). For those of us who watch such events. Pakistan airforce practised a mock closing of it southern airspace for a short period. I think that was for Panetta's benefit.
    US and by that I mean Panetta's boss has to come up with some real smart solution to wriggle out of this. I understand he is reading "Descent Into chaos" a book two years toooo late.

    December 9, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Reply
    • Charley

      You my friend are a huge prick

      December 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm | Reply

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