"We will have to see whether we are allies or enemies," said Pakistani Interior Minister Rehman Malik after a US/NATO manned air strike took out three Pakistani soldiers and wounded three others. If it isn’t clear to the Pakistani minister, it is crystal clear to the people of Pakistan, who live in fear of constant US drone attacks — and, now, open violations of their country’s sovereignty. Anti-American sentiment is at an all-time high, and the increasingly fragile government — which hangs by a very thin thread — is being rapidly undermined by US actions.
The attack was launched "in self-defense," according to the US military, but the Pakistanis weren’t appeased: they promptly cut off a vital supply route into Afghanistan. Slowly, but surely, the Obama administration is keeping one of the President’s more ominous campaign promises — that he would invade Pakistan, if necessary, to "win" the war in Afghanistan. Even John McCain found this a scary prospect, and denounced it as "dangerous" — and yet we hear nary a peep from the Democratic-controlled Congress, nor are any Republicans, including McCain, raising objections.
Yet this move toward an open confrontation with our Pakistani "allies" may be the most momentous development to date in our seemingly endless "war on terrorism," one that will plunge the entire region into a conflagration we can barely imagine. Today it is drone strikes, and occasional NATO manned incursions: tomorrow our armies will be marching on Islamabad, trying to unseat Islamic "radicals" on the verge of taking over the country.
Nuclear-armed Pakistan is the prize Osama bin Laden and his cohorts have to win in order to strike a major blow at the US — and we are doing our best to deliver it to him, gift-wrapped. The raids that resulted in the deaths of Pakistani soldiers are said to be somehow connected to vague intelligence reports of a "Mumbai-style" attack planned for somewhere in Europe: the Eiffel Tower was evacuated briefly the other day, and police presence at British landmarks and other sites in Germany was beefed up. But one wonders: if these plans are already in the execution stage, then how would an attack in Pakistan stop or deter them?
The answer is: it wouldn’t. But then again the entire rationale for occupying Afghanistan and destabilizing Pakistan — to eliminate the possibility of attacks on the West — has never been all that convincing. The 9/11 terrorist attacks were launched from Hamburg, Germany, and Hollywood, Florida, not Afghanistan or Pakistan. But then again, no one believes anything coming out of the mouths of US officials, including the officials themselves.
Justin Raimondo [send him mail] is editorial director of Antiwar.com and is the author of An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard and Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement.