If Pakistan's most powerful spy agency indeed did help terrorists in Afghanistan mount attacks against Americans, including one in which 77 U.S. troops were wounded, it is time for a soul-searching reappraisal of policy toward the two-faced nation.
But war? No.
Last week Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI helped terrorists in Afghanistan plan and execute attacks against U.S. targets.
On Sunday, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., told an interviewer this country should consider military action against Pakistan if it continues to support terrorist attacks. "They're killing American soldiers. If they continue to embrace terrorism as a part of their national strategy, we're going to have to put all options on the table, including defending our troops," Graham said.
Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said such action would have "wide bipartisan support" in Congress.
Clearly, tensions between the two countries are growing. Pakistan called its foreign minister, who had been visiting the United States, home for consultations during the weekend.
But full-scale war against Pakistan is out of the question. For one thing, Pakistan has nuclear weapons and might use them against an invasion force.
For another, the United States simply does not have enough armed forces available to begin another war.
And finally, the American people are fed up with the stalemate in Afghanistan - and would not likely support major new hostilities in Pakistan.
That brings up another concern about hostilities with Pakistan, which borders Afghanistan. Thus far, Pakistani support of al-Qaida, the Taliban and other terrorists has been covert. Ramping up military action against Pakistan could bring that country's troops flooding into Afghanistan to take on U.S. forces directly.
All this is speculation, of course. No one can say precisely what would happen if open war broke out between the United States and Pakistan. Still, the possibilities are not good - and simply must be taken into account before determining a course of action