For those who aren’t aware of such things, let me state something as clearly as possible:
The Empire is at war with Pakistan.
I’m aware that some people will find this statement, let’s say, controversial. But let's consider the situation from the Pakistani point of view:
You’re a nation with a hot war going on next door, between an increasingly frustrated imperialist occupation force (henceforth known as the “liberators”) and an increasingly effective resistance movement (henceforth called the “evildoers”). At the same time, you have a multitude of terrorist movements and rebel groups operating on your own territory, many of which were directly set up by these same “liberators” in the first place and some of which still work for them.
On top of everything, you have a government headed by an incredibly corrupt man with no political base, who owes his position entirely to his “acceptability” to the “liberators” and who is far more beholden to them than to the people of your nation.
You have the “liberators” bombing your nation on a round the clock basis from drones piloted by remote control by CIA war criminals sitting in bunkers on the other side of the earth, and killing people who routinely turn out to be innocent civilians.
You also have CIA men roaming your cities and randomly murdering citizens, and then being let off the hook owing to pressure brought on the same government by the “liberators”.
Tell me, if you were a Pakistani, what would you think except that your nation was at the receiving end of a war of aggression?
As most of us probably are aware, a few days ago there was a major attack by NATO aeroplanes and helicopters on two Pakistani military outposts, which ended in the death of two dozen soldiers and injuries to thirteen others. This outposts were three hundred metres inside Pakistani territory, and consisted of a series of permanent structures, well known to the “liberators” who attacked them. They still attacked them, for two hours, in two separate assaults. It was a most murky episode, with the NATO story shifting back and forth – from being an “error” to accidentally hitting the base while fighting evildoers, to being fired on from the base (the “self-defence” defence), the story keeps changing.
The Pakistani version, on the other hand, is remarkably constant – the soldiers were sleeping when they were attacked, they contacted the “liberators” to have the attack stopped, there were no “evildoers” in the area, and the whole thing was an act of deliberate aggression on the part of NATO.
Who should we believe?
I mean, here we have the world’s Great White Army of Liberation, whose commanders never, ever, lie about anything (remember all those WMDs they found under Iraq’s sands after the Iraqis welcomed them with flowers?) on one hand. On the other we have a despised Muslim nation which presumes to have its own nuclear arsenal (which it trundles around in vans, allegedly, in an effort to keep the bombs from being snatched by its “liberator” allies) and whose government is dependent on “liberator” assistance for survival. Whom should we believe, especially since one side keeps shifting its story and the other side sticks to what it’s been saying all along?
The Great White Army of Liberation, right? I thought so.
Well, actually, no.
There are only two possibilities. Let’s take them one by one:
1. Scenario Number One: The Pakistanis are lying. They knew that the attack would take place, and allowed it to go ahead, or provoked it into happening quite deliberately. They also had people ready to make calls to the “liberators” to ask them to stop attacking, knowing perfectly well that this would not happen.
The reason: They wanted a casus belli to spoil relations with the US, which they achieved by ordering the “liberators” to evacuate an air base being used to drone-bomb Pakistani territory and by stopping the NATO convoys that keep supplying the imperialist occupation forces in Afghanistan.
Supporting evidence: None, really, except anti-Pakistani/anti-Muslim sentiment and reluctance to believe anything the despised “Pakis” might say.
Counter-arguments: Absolutely the last thing the current, hyper-corrupt Pakistani government would want is a break with its only protector. “President” Asif Ali Zardari is someone who owes his position only to two things: his marriage into the Bhutto dynasty, and to his kowtowing to the Americans. He is someone so corrupt that when his late wife Benazir was Prime Minister of Pakistan, the people called him Mister Ten Per Cent because he would skim off ten per cent of every government contract. Nowadays he’s usually called Mister Fifty Per Cent or even Hundred Per Cent.
This same Zardari was recently in the news after a memo sent via his ambassador in Washington, Husain Haqqani, was leaked. In this memo, sent to US Admiral Michael Mullen, Haqqani (and therefore his political master and “close friend” Zardari) suggest that American support be given for the removal of the Pakistani Army Chief General Kayani, and the head of the intelligence apparatus, Lieutenant General Pasha, before they could “mount a coup”. Essentially, it was itself a demand for support for an internal coup to remove the threat of a takeover from the only forces which could prevent Pakistan from becoming a US colony. Haqqani was made the scapegoat and removed from his post as ambassador, but there’s little doubt who actually was responsible.
If American support vanishes, Zardari is – to use an indelicate word – screwed. Not just his position, but his very existence, will be rendered moot. He’s acutely aware that he might well end up hanging from a lamp post by his intestines – something he probably doesn’t want.
The Pakistani Army’s top brass wouldn’t want that to happen either. They want the American handouts to continue so that they can fund their own lavish lifestyles and their internal wars, which are quite distinct from the Empire’s wars – such as the war against separatists in the huge province of Balochistan, bordering Iran. Also, the current leadership would not want utter turmoil in the country, with a virtual civil war situation in the major cities and countryside. The armed forces, which were deliberately Islamicised during the 1980s by Washington’s favourite dictator, the murderous General Zia ul Haq, might split right down the middle and disintegrate.
Since neither the Pakistani government nor the military has anything to gain by antagonising the Americans – and they have been swallowing insults and worse for years in order not to antagonise the Americans – the idea that one or the other orchestrated this episode (for example, by ordering presumably suicidal soldiers to fire on the “liberators” from within their easily targeted hilltop bases) is silly.
In fact, the actual behaviour of the Pakistani government is highly indicative of their initial desperation to avoid a showdown even after the attack. Instead of ordering an immediate evacuation of the American base, they gave the Empire fifteen days to leave – obviously a cooling-off period in which to work out a face saving compromise. That there has been, at this writing, no such face saving compromise is hardly due either to the Pakistani government or to the Empire. That credit goes to the Pakistani people, who have emphatically had enough of their faces being rubbed in the dirt.
A compromise is no longer politically viable, as even Zardari realises. Most certainly, behind the scene negotiations would have started – but they will get nowhere unless the Empire backs down.
Scenario Number Two: The Empire committed yet another bloody blunder. By “blunder” in this case I don’t necessarily mean the attack was committed in error, though it might have been. The attack may have been deliberately carried out to “punish” the Pakistanis, or the commander of the NATO force involved may have been a man so incompetent that he could not distinguish an established and known border post from a Taliban party, and so bloodthirsty that he could not stop attacking even after being informed that he was bombing his own putative “ally”. It is possible that Taliban groups were actually in the vicinity, and did fire on the occupation forces, but the last thing that the Americans needed was to attack the Pakistani bases, whose existence they were most certainly aware of. Either way, the Empire has emphatically shot itself in the foot.
Supporting evidence: The constantly shifting statements of the “liberators”, which prove pretty conclusively that they have no real idea what happened.
Counter-arguments: None really. The icing on the bloody cake came from the statement of Messiah cum Nobel Peace Prizident Barack Obama refusing to apologise for the murders of the soldiers. It’s, I don’t know, as though he wants a reason to attack Pakistan. Saying that the Pakistani blockade of supply convoys to American troops in Afghanistan is directly threatening their safety, and is therefore a de facto declaration of war against the US, would be an excellent reason to order the invasion and occupation of that country.
It would be entirely in character for Obama, a war criminal and murderer whom no less a thinker than Noam Chomsky has declared to be worse than George W Bush. After all, Obama came to power openly calling Afghanistan the “good war”, and has spent the last years losing it. Attacking Pakistan might be the last throw of the dice; and the well-known absolute contempt in which the Empire holds Muslim peoples would mean that he would certainly underestimate the backlash. As they say, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” And now that Russia and China have blocked an attack on Syria, and with Iran probably too tough a nut to crack, Pakistan looks like a most attractive target.
A side note: I find the Indian reaction most interesting. The Indian government and media are quietly tiptoeing round the issue, apparently hoping it will all go away on its own. This is paralleled by the utter and deafening silence in India on Occupy Wall Street. It’s as though our dear leaders are, I don’t know, terrified of depicting the Americans as anything less than a force of angels and light. It’s as though they don’t want us thinking that the current condition of Pakistan stems from its supping with the Imperial devil and not using a long enough spoon.
But that couldn’t happen, could it? Our media and our government never, ever, lie to us, of course.
In all the politics playing around on the net and in the halls of power in Washington (not to talk of the halls of servitude in Islamabad) there’s hardly any real concern over the two dozen Pakistani soldiers murdered and the others injured, perhaps maimed for life. It’s as though they didn’t exist, or they were just pawns.
And pawns, as anyone who has played chess knows, are meant to be sacrificed.