Pakistan Meltdown Offers Bush More Opportunities To Create Crisis
US raids on Taleban and al-Qaeda targets in Pakistani territory have caused outrage in Pakistan. And that has added to the loathing that some people there have long felt for the way that the US conducts itself on the world stage, as Owen Bennett-Jones discovers.
Many Pakistanis resent what they see as heavy-handed US tactics
“I would rather live in the dark ages under the Taleban than be subservient to any foreign power.”
At least 60 people, including some foreigners, were killed and about 120 injured in a suicide attack at a luxury hotel in the high security zone around the parliament building here Saturday, even as the country’s ruling elite, including the president and the three service chiefs, were attending an Iftar dinner at the Prime Minister House barely a kilometre away.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has said he will not allow Pakistan’s territory to be violated by terrorists or foreign powers fighting them.
A war that can be won is a valuable asset for a presidential candidate. It spreads hope and wards off vote-numbing despair on the campaign trail. For Barack Obama, the winnable war is Afghanistan. John McCain makes the same claim for Iraq.
Each candidate arrives at his differing assessment through political calculation as much as battlefield analysis. That is inevitable in modern politics. Each must engage in a certain amount of image projection — that is, make-believe — on conflicts they do not yet control as they fight toward Election Day.
The indisputable point is this: The political and military campaigns being waged simultaneously in and by the United States intersect in the ungoverned badlands of the greater Middle East. The candidate who most convincingly argues that he knows how to adapt and focus the uneven military effort to eliminate the threat posed by jihadist terrorists will have an important advantage.
That contest is still to be won as well. McCain has recently made progress in selling his vision as security has improved in Iraq and worsened in Afghanistan. But events in the Afghan theater are moving in Obama’s direction — thanks largely and unwittingly to the Bush administration.
A new Bush strategy for Pakistan has also emerged since the July 23 meeting and the Aug. 18 resignation of President Pervez Musharraf, whom Bush protected as America’s best bet even as Musharraf failed to gain control over border areas used as sanctuary by al-Qaeda and the Taliban to destabilize Afghanistan.
It is not clear whether this change is “better late than never” or “too little too late.” But it does validate Obama’s bold assertion earlier in the campaign that he would act unilaterally inside Pakistan’s border areas if it improved U.S. security. This is what Bush is now doing.
The replacement of Musharraf by an unsteady civilian government, which has scant control over Pakistan’s army and unreliable intelligence services, has led to an increase both in U.S. raids on the tribal areas and, more important, in publicity about U.S. willingness to conduct such raids, which have occurred episodically if secretly since 2002.
The idea is to pressure the civilian authorities — through public visits by U.S. commanders, well-publicized Predator missions and U.S. boots on the ground — to crack down on the sanctuaries themselves or risk even greater turmoil there. Such pressure on Musharraf earlier might have made him deliver much more.
The attack on the U.S. Embassy in Yemen last week is a sign that al-Qaeda & Co. will try to vote in this election as well. The jihadists remind Americans that Bush’s successor, whoever he is, will inherit a war to fight, and to win, in reality as well as in speeches.
Here’s what’s really at stake in this election, for America and the world. When the first presidential election debate takes place, one week from today, is focussed on foreign policy, will Obama or McCain echo any of these ten myths on national security? Ask Sherle Schwenninger and Katrina vanden Heuvel.
Here’s what is really at stake for the United States and the world.
The Iraq War is a testament to the great damage a foreign policy based on myths, lies and distortions can do to our nation’s security and well-being. As the election draws near, a new set of myths and fallacies as misleading as those that led the Senate to support George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq have become embedded in our foreign policy discourse. Many of them are being perpetuated by the very same political forces that peddled the myth of mushroom clouds coming from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Others are the product of muddled thinking on the part of both Republicans and Democrats. [Full Story]
… In the meantime, as the Bush-man humans accuse Russia of having invaded Georgia of the Caucasus, the Bush-man himself secretly approved orders in July that for the first time would allow U.S. Special Operation Forces to carry out ground assaults inside Pakistan without the approval of the Pakistani government, which is supposed to be closely fighting with the U.S. against terrorism. We wonder who will be next? And in all this crisis in the kindergarten, we wonder who is dealing with saving the planet from global warming? Perhaps the first grade?
These headlines indicate this administration, is orchestrating calamities to influence US Presidential elections. This is a serious allegation, I know. But, if you look at the history of this administration and it’s use of crisis distractions, the pattern of deception is glaring. During these distractions, Bush sneaks an Executive Order, permits constitutional violations, and covers up his criminal wrongdoings from getting the voting public’s attention. Transparency has been gone for eight long years. The American Taxpayer has paid dearly to be deceived. Where do you think the funding for all this disaster is coming from? Much of it is coming from China, sure, but the rest comes from our own pockets. Tax cuts are moot, no matter which political party provides them. Our pockets are empty, so, who is REALLY bailing out his corporate ‘buddy’ speculators? Three guesses. Did the ‘FED’ have more money than we were told? Or, are our most precious programs being robbed? Social Security, Medicare, Medicade, Veteran’s Benefits, Workers Compensation, Road, Bridge, Pipeline, Water, Electric Infrastructure are all hurting. We wring our hands in frustration, moan and sob, but, do we have the capability to see where this is all coming from? NO! The curtain of deception is too thick. We just have to make do with the disinformation that is fed to us. Paris Hilton extravaganza and ‘Dancing With The Stars’ and ‘American Idol’ are the prefered distractions, but natural disasters are more politically useful. We are instructed to ignore headlines from around the world, they are all biased, of course, OH, and they hate American Freedom, too. This rhetoric is bought and paid for by you and me, whether we like it or not. I fear that another Republican Administration will try and throw me into Guantanamo, just for speaking out. The US Constitution is a sad memory, I wonder if it will be banned from schools, like evolution …