War on terror goes over the line

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The war on terror took a little noticed, but dangerous step over the line--literally--today when U.S. and Afghan forces launched a commando raid across the border in Pakistan. This could be the beginning of a treacherous escalation in the conflict.

Hot pursuits across national borders in the past, think Vietnam and Laos and Cambodia, had the effect of widening conflict and ultimately worked against U.S. strategic interests. This decision is fraught with peril and, one hopes, was not taken lightly.

Some dangers included inciting an already re-energized Taliban resistance and further destabilizing what has become an increasingly shaky nuclear power in a global high-tension zone. Pakistan, already reeling from the end of the Musharref era, finds itself pressed between the chaos engendered by the Taliban on one side and the political tinderbox of India's Kashmir region on the other. Adding any more fuel to this already volatile mix seems highly imprudent. 

It's too soon to assess all the ramifications of this border crossing. A lot will depend on whether or not this action was an isolated incident (unlikely) or heralds a tactical shift in the anti-Taliban campaign, how much the incursion may further inflame or thwart Islamic maximalists in the region,and how Pakistan's new leaders, eager to prove themselves before their aggrieved citizenry, respond.

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