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The path through Pakistan to a shorter war on terror

In the 'epicenter of terrorism,' democracy will benefit from an ease in US military pressure.

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Few doubt that the war against terrorism will be a long one. In fact, it is one that may never be entirely "won" or lost: At some point the US may have to accept low levels of ongoing violence.

And while we can debate whether Pakistan is the "epicenter of terrorism," as Adm. Mike Mullen stated earlier this month, it is clear that the border area between Pakistan and Afghanistan is a haven for members of terrorist groups that wish to do great harm to the United States.

What should we do about it? The US will need to ease military pressure in the short term to see benefits in the region long term.

America's idea of a solution is primarily a military one. Of the approximately $10 billion that the US has provided to Pakistan since Sept. 11, over 80 percent of it has gone to the military.

The Pakistan debate among strategists here in the US is about terrorism and security, and whether the Pakistani military, intelligence services, and government are doing enough. The pressure is on thick: When the first lady visited Afghanistan, for example, she visited the military and, as with Secretary Gates on his trips to Europe, urged our allies to provide more troops.

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