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Tuesday, August 14

The Haqqani Network and Washington: "No choice" thinking about Pakistan continues to get Americans killed

Notice something odd about the wording in the last paragraph of this report?
Obama Signs Law On Haqqani Network
RFE/RL
August 13, 2012

U.S. President Barack Obama has signed into law the Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act of 2012. Under the law, which Obama signed on August 10, the secretary of state will have one month to report on whether the Haqqani Network should be categorized as a terrorist organization.

The Haqqani Network, which operates on both sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, has been accused of carrying out numerous attacks against U.S. interests in Afghanistan.

The United States has already applied sanctions to some key Haqqani Network leaders, but has so far resisted designating the entire network as a foreign terrorist organization, despite calls from both houses of the U.S. Congress to do so.
Actually, there are two odd things: Describing the Haqqanis' murder of American troops as "attacks on U.S. interests," and evading mention of the U.S. Department of State by using the term "the United States" when alluding to resistance to designating the Haqqani Network a foreign terrorist organization.

Such oddities abound in American news reports that pertain to the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. Why? Because the American news media, and the American government and its military, are unwilling to squarely confront the fact that U.S. policy toward Pakistan has consistently encouraged Pakistan's military to support the killing of Americans in Afghanistan.

Why? Why are they so unwilling to confront the fact? Because the American government wants things from Pakistan's government, and it considers these things to be of higher value than the lives of American soldiers.

When called out on this, they say they have no choice, and ask, 'What would have us do? Invade Pakistan?' Before invasion, why not try simpler means to convey that they find the killing of American troops intolerable? Means such as refusing dinner invitations from Pakistani dignitaries, not helping U.S. firms do business in Pakistan, not praising Pakistan's military for its sacrifices, not expressing sympathy for Pakistan's problems, and so on.

There are many measures short of invasion that the White House, Congress, State Department, and Pentagon could take to convey to Pakistan's government that it won't enable the killing of American troops. And because such measures aren't taken or consistently applied, Pakistan's military has contempt for the American government and its military.

One can't blame them for the contempt. Pakistan's military and civilian government would never give aid to another military it knew was killing Pakistani troops. It wouldn't accept dinner invitations from such a military or the country's civilian regime. It wouldn't do all the other things that the U.S. government does to convey that stopping the unnecessary killings of Americans is not the top priority.

In July the New York Times Editorial Board penned a stinging rebuke of Pakistan ( Crippled, Chaotic Pakistan) but came up with this rationalization:
Some in Congress want to designate the Haqqanis as a terrorist organization. That would be unwise because such a move could lead to Pakistan’s being designated a terrorist state subject to sanctions and make cooperation even harder. The United States has no choice but to try to work with Pakistan, including the army, when it can.
If you tell me that's typical of the lefty Times -- it's also the rationalization the State Department has used to stave off designating the Haqqanis a terrorist network.

And a few months ago the hawkish Republican John Bolton expressed the same sentiments on FNC's Greta Van Susteren show. In one breath he decried the Pakistani government's complicity in the killing of American troops; in the next breath he said the U.S. had no choice but to continue U.S. aid to the country because "we" don't want Pakistan's nuclear arsenal to fall into the hands of terrorists.

But Bolton and his straw man are standing in a long line of American enablers. The only rationalization I've not yet heard for the U.S. continuing to signal to Pakistan that it tolerates the killing of American troops is, 'The dog ate my notes.'


Comments:
Pundita,

Whatever, you say about Bush Jr. He did one good thing after 9/11..he read the riot act to Pakistani army which quickly fell in line for the fear of "being bombed to stone age"...but after some time the pakistani army thought about their total submission and realized that their country is just a few years away from stone age anyways and so began grooming haqqani network and the double games....and the state department filled with the cold war strategists still cannot realize the futility of supporting and giving freebies to pakistan
 
The State Dept doesn't care if a million Americans die Pundita.

Pundita our government by and large has our elites general antipathy and contempt for Americans. Until you understand that antipathy is far beyond the Campus nothing will make sense to you.

Actual Cold Warriors - I quite remember them and would have been one had the wall not gone down 6 mos after Commissioning - would never tolerate this sort of nonsense.

Except in the State Dept. Nothing much changed.
 
B - Pundita knows all and understands all. Now I must run and hide from the Puffy Head Minders.
 
Our national security apparatus' insistence on thinking of the world in terms of blocs (against Iran, Russia, potentially China) hurts us in this fluid and multipolar world.

Our insistence on working through the Saudi/Pakistan/Gulf Sunni alliance has led to some of our current problems (obviously) and led to a "two front" cold conflict for Israel. Apparently, Israeli decision makers are so focused on Iran, they forgot that threats can be multiple. Sadly, their decision makers are as myopic and think as badly as our own.

As to B Doran's point, recently, Madeleine Albright had an oped about the UN in Foreign Policy. She made an offhand, flippant remark about Americans being uninterested in multisyllabic words within the oped. Rather inappropriate for someone of her stature.

I know, I know, many in DC are like that....
 
Actually, the real Cold Warriers were some of the biggest water carriers for some of the most troublesome regimes today. At least, those that lived to see the fall of the Berlin Wall and to set up the following international order.

The old Cold Warriers, who were amazing against the Soviet Union, became to fond of their proxies and protected them after the end of the Soviet regime. I'm sorry, but there is no other way to put things.
 
They're gone Pundita...

Our proxies would not have pulled this crap with any administration thru Papa Bush.
 
Oops sorry meant Madhu...
 
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