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Saturday, January 21

Pakistan didn't punk America, Mr Goodman; Americans punked themselves

In 1986, CIA deputy director Robert Gates ordered the CIA’s directorate of intelligence to provide no intelligence on Pakistani nuclear activities to the Senate and House intelligence committees.

In his June 14, 2011 editorial for Consortium News How Pakistan Punked America retired U.S. intelligence analyst Melvin A. Goodman with 42 years of work experience (CIA, State, DoD, Army) does a good job of outlining some of the more outrageous situations in the U.S.-Pakistan relationship; that is, if you don't count his constant misapplication of the term "need" when referring to U.S. wants. But his outline points up the glaring flaw in his conclusion that Pakistan punked the United States.
[...] Since the start of the Cold War, the United States has needed support from the Islamabad government and, as a result, has ignored Pakistani perfidy.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the United States needed secret bases in Pakistan for U-2 reconnaissance flights over the Soviet Union and, therefore, disregarded Pakistani military dictatorships.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the United States needed logistical support for its secret opening to China and overlooked human rights violations in Pakistan.

In the 1980s, Pakistan served as a conduit for U.S. assistance to the anti-Soviet mujahedeen forces and, therefore, ignored Pakistan’s secret development of nuclear weapons.

For the past ten years, the United States has needed Pakistan as a conduit for supplies to U.S. military forces in Afghanistan as well as a base for CIA drone aircraft that are used against al-Qaeda elements in Pakistan. As a result, the Bush and Obama administrations have ignored Pakistan’s support for state terrorism.

U.S. unwillingness to challenge Pakistan’s nuclear ambitions allowed the proliferation of nuclear technology in the third world.

The CIA learned as early as 1979 that Pakistan was operating a clandestine uranium facility. President Jimmy Carter did not react to this intelligence and President Ronald Reagan asserted that “nuclear proliferation was none of our business.”

This foreshadowed a closer military relationship with Pakistan even when Pakistan’s military dictator, Gen. Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, ordered the hanging of the civilian president he had expelled from office, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and canceled elections.

From 1981 to the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan in 1989, the United States relied on Pakistan to bleed the Soviet occupation force in Afghanistan. During this period, the CIA continued to collect intelligence on Pakistan’s development of nuclear weapons, but the White House looked the other way.

In 1986, CIA deputy director Robert Gates ordered the CIA’s directorate of intelligence to provide no intelligence on Pakistani nuclear activities to the Senate and House intelligence committees. [For more on this topic, see Consortiumnews.com’s Reagan’s Bargain, Charlie Wilson’s War.]

Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush issued exemptions to Pakistan in order to circumvent the Pressler Amendment that required an end to military assistance for Pakistan’s crossing of the nuclear threshold.

A waiver from President Bush in 1989 permitted the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan although it was known that A.Q. Khan, the father of the Pakistani nuclear program, was supplying nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

In the past decade, there has been no country that has sponsored more state terrorism than Pakistan.

Radical Islamists in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate have been training and funding Islamic terrorist organizations for the past three decades, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba that conducted the December 2008 attack in Mumbai, India, as well as the Afghan Taliban, which seized the Afghan capital in 1994. The attack on a Pakistani naval base in Karachi late last month indicates that terrorist organizations have infiltrated the Pakistani military as well.

The full story of Osama bin Laden’s secret hideout in a military community close to the Pakistani capital may never be known, but it certainly begs serious questions about Pakistani cooperation with even al-Qaeda.
Pakistan continues to be one of the major recipients of U.S. largesse, receiving more than $20 billion in U.S. aid since the 9/11 attacks. Very little of that aid has gone to economic development that Pakistan so sorely needs; nor has it gone to battling terrorism and Islamic forces on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan.

Instead most of this money has gone to a Pakistani military force that is an obstacle to U.S. success in Afghanistan. We cannot end military support to Pakistan as long as we need its support in identifying the terrorists who have sanctuary there.
So what have in a few short paragraphs is a storyline for a black comedy that would rival Terry Southern's script for Dr Strangelove:

> Because the American government "needed" to take down the Soviet regime (which supported itself by selling oil and gas to Western European NATO countries throughout the Cold War) it was willing across successive U.S. presidential regimes to connive with a terror-sponsoring regime that was creating a nuclear weapons bazaar.

> Because the present and former U.S. presidential regimes have "needed" to take down al Qaeda, Americans have aided the same terror-sponsoring regime's murder and maiming of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

And the worthy Mr Goodman believes that this shows how Pakistan punked America? Somebody give that man a pair of glasses.

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Dear Pundita,
Thank you for this excellent piece on the deceit of the establishment. It is a pity that we have not been able to bring out (read publicize and make daily headlines) these lies by successive Administrations.

The chilling fact is that the US played a classic ‘greater good’ or better ‘my enemy’s enemy is my friend’. We do have a lot of blame to take with the short sightedness that has led us to this situation. But, history keeps repeating itself, as one can see in the attempts made to find a solution in Afghanistan that show signs of taking the same well-trodden path of the easy way out.

The compulsions of power play in Washington DC and also in many other capitals will force many to find a cheap compromise that serves the short term. Akin to the debate on bank bonuses, where unsuccessful attempts were made to discourage short-term gains, we will find ourselves crying ourselves hoarse in the desert.

Nevertheless, the cries in the desert will have to continue, if we do not want to end up relishing santoresquean nourishment for the rest of our lives.
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