Sunday, January 22, 2006

Children of a Lesser God

I've frequently referred to the current regime as "The Gang Who Can't Shoot Straight." Sometimes, however, they actually do shoot straight, but at the wrong target, and that's what they did in Pakistan last week. In their haste to knock off Ayman al Zawahiri, Osama bin Ladin's 'second in command,' they missed him, but managed to wipe out a whole bunch of innocent civilians. The Pakastani tribespeople directly affected by this butchery took to the streets and protested this atrocity, as well they should have. An editorial in The Nation (Pakistan) also made it clear that such unilateral attacks by the US on Pakistan is not acceptable.

It was the right decision to summon US Ambassador Ryan Crocker to lodge a formal protest over the recent missile attack in the Bajaur Agency by the US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan, which killed 18 and injured more than a dozen tribesmen. reports quoted an official as saying that information about Dr Al-Zawahiri’s presence in the area was an intelligence botch-up.

The so-called protests lodged with the US, the second in the last one week, are unlikely to assuage the angry tribesmen, thousands of whom staged a demonstration in Bajaur on Saturday [January 15, 2006] in protest against the missile attack, ransacking shops and offices of two foreign-funded NGOs. They cannot trust any official assurance when innocent people, including woman and children, are constantly being killed by air strikes from across the border. The repeated incursions into our territory indicate that the US-led coalition forces have no regard for our sovereignty.

Those in authority should not ignore the fact that despite our active cooperation in the so-called War on Terror we do not enjoy the confidence of our western allies. The US and its European allies are least bothered about the angry backlash, the latest being the countrywide protests on Sunday, which the Pakistan government is facing for acting as a frontline state. Yet our government is still reluctant to review its use of the military option both in Balochistan and the troubled tribal areas when the world at large is not ready to acknowledge our effort to purge the region of extremism. In whose cause are Pakistanis being killed? Mr Shaukat Aziz should use his forthcoming visit to the White House to voice these concerns at the highest level.
[Emphasis added]

Without the cooperation of Pakistan, the war in Afghanistan would not have been possible. To get that cooperation, the US did everything it could to prop up the current government which itself has been struggling to maintain power in the face of serious challenges from conservative religious leaders. What the US regime does not feel compelled to do is treat this ally with the respect it surely is entitled to by virtue of it being a sovereign state. After all, we are not at war with Pakistan.

That doesn't seem to matter to the Emperor in Chief and his minions, nor does the killing of innocent civilians. I don't recall seeing any apologies from our government to the Pakistanis for this war crime, nor do I anticipate seeing any. After all, these are Pakistanis. They are a different color and they worship a different god. As a result, it is becoming more likely that President Musharraf, our good buddy, will be deposed, probably violently, by a force who will have nothing to do with the US.

Way to go, George.


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