For the past 30 years Pakistan has been playing a crazy game with radical terrorists. They feel that they need these Islamic groups to help them fight against India, and in particular to keep Afghanistan from being taken over by a government that would be friendly to India and thereby surround them with enemies. So their intelligence service has been deeply involved with the Taliban and many similar groups; some people say that the Taliban are actually a Pakistani creation. But Pakistan also covets the support of the U.S., so from time to time they carry out purges of these terrorist groups, arresting a few dozen and handing some international criminals over to the Americans. After the U.S. drove them out of Afghanistan, the Taliban grew so strong in western Pakistan that the government felt obliged to wage a small war against them, to prevent those areas from becoming completely independent. These conflicts are very controversial in Pakistan, since many Pakistanis prefer the Taliban to their own hopelessly corrupt government.
Yesterday's massacre at the school in Peshawar is just the latest horror to emerge from Pakistan's embrace of violent fanatics that it only partially controls. The policy is deranged; India poses no real threat to Pakistan, but the Taliban manifestly do. More, the huge secret infrastructure set up by the military and the intelligence services subverts the Pakistani government at every turn, so that the civilian leaders don't really control key parts of their own country. It is a perfect illustration of what happens to a country that puts its trust in secrecy, violence and lies rather than openness and peace. Let the slaughtered children bear witness: this is the poison fruit of embracing terror as policy, and outsourcing a nation's defense to half-mad fanatics. Other countries should take note.