The “Long War” Moves to Pakistan

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The Long War, formerly known as The War on Terror, is moving on to Pakistan. The Bush Administration has been warned, apparently to little avail, as it appears Bush wants to ratchet up his war, perhaps for political reasons, as we move toward the presidential election.

Gareth Porter, writing in Asia Times Online, tells us that the Bush Administration has been warned by The National Intelligence Council (NIC), that the launching of commando raids by US troops into Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province region carries a high risk of further destabilizing the Pakistani military and government.

For those unfamiliar with the NIC, additional information is available on their website linked above:

The NIC is a center of strategic thinking within the US Government, reporting to the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and providing the President and senior policymakers with analyses of foreign policy issues that have been reviewed and coordinated throughout the Intelligence Community.

Our work ranges from brief analyses of current issues to “over the horizon” estimates of broader trends at work in the world.

Territorial Sovereignty is defined as “the exclusive right of a state to exercise its powers within the boundaries of its territory”. Pakistan has pledged it will defend its territorial sovereignty.

On 3 September US special operations forces based in Afghanistan carried out a helicopter-borne ground raid by commandos in South Waziristan (in Pakistan) which reportedly killed 19 people, most of whom were women and children. According to both the Washington Post and the New York Times, as per Porter’s article, top officials indicated this was only the beginning of wider campaign of raids against al-Qaeda and Taliban targets in the frontier area of Pakistan.

There were differing reports on how many people were killed. The provincial governor claimed 20 civilians, including women and children, died. Army and intelligence officials, as well as residents, said 15 people were killed.

Habib Khan Wazir, an area resident, said he heard helicopters, then an exchange of gunfire.

“Later, I saw 15 bodies inside and outside two homes. They had been shot in the head,” Wazir said by phone. He claimed all the dead were civilians.

Cleveland.com

Pakistan has condemned the raid and the Pakistani Foreign Ministry called the strike “a gross violation of Pakistan’s territory” and that it could “undermine the very basis of cooperation and may fuel the fire of hatred and violence that we are trying to extinguish.”

Former DIA officer, Patrick Lang, for the Middle East at the Defense Intelligence Agency, said he understands that the intelligence community issued a “pretty clear warning” against the commando raid. “They said, in effect, if you want to see the Pakistani government collapse, go right ahead,” …this according to Porter’s article.

There have already been four attacks this month inside Pakistan either by US drones or by US special forces. Thus it is clear that the US has already opened up a war theater in Pakistan.

Asia Times notes that the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier has moved into the Persian Gulf and that it is part of a new task force, separate from the USS Abraham Lincoln, which will allow the US to increase air sorties in the South Asian war theater.

Pakistan, under president-elect Asif Ali Zardari, is on board with the US’s war strategy, but, to the surprise of Islamabad and with potentially devastating consequences for Pakistan, the US has trained its guns on the “good” Taliban based in Pakistan with deep connections to the Pakistani establishment.

In Monday’s drone attack, several missiles were fired at an Islamic madrassa (seminary) and the house of powerful Taliban commander Jalaluddin Haqqani in Dandi Darpa Khail in the North Waziristan tribal area near the border with Afghanistan.

Jalaluddin, the spiritual leader of the Haqqani network and legendary figure in the Afghan mujahideen in the fight against the Soviets in the 1980s, and his son, Sirajuddin, the operational head of the most powerful component of the present Afghan resistance, had left the area. Most of those killed were woman and children from the families of the Haqqanis.

That the US set its sights on the Haqqanis is perplexing, and – given the failed outcome – indicates that it struck with inadequate, if any, input from Pakistan.

And so it goes. The killing continues. There are few on the US political scene who will object, in fact most voice support for taking the war to Pakistan.

As for me, this is a continuing re-run. There are no limits to American arrogance and ignorance in a never sated lust for power and global dominance. The bullying, the death and destruction will continue indefinitely because there is no one, and no organized group of people, with the power, the influence, the courage and the willingness to stop it.

We will have our long war and most Americans will barely notice.

23 comments

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    • srkp23 on September 10, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    Thank you for posting this, TS Traveler.

    The political situation in Pakistan is far from stable. Nawaz Sharif withdrew his party from the coalition government, but he says that for the time being, the PML (N) will not try and take down the PPP. For the time being. The issue of the reinstatement of the judges sacked by Musharraf remains a sticking point as does the question of Kashmiri self-determination.

    The long war concept is most depressing, especially since even our “transformational” candidate Obama subscribes to it.

  1. Robert Gates say “decades — there’s no exit strategy”. Some neocons have said that it’s a “generational war”. McCain says a hundred years …

    Enemies, enemies — enemies everywhere. More bombs, more missiles. We’re going to re-shape the world. Kill, kill, kill…

    Give us your oil, give us your resources, give us your markets, give us your cheap labor.

    What a congress. What a president. What a country.

    • pfiore8 on September 10, 2008 at 6:28 pm

    eXactly to destabilize the region and perhaps provoke an attack on us before the election. i don’t put anything past these horrible and depraved people.

    it has long been my view that they have intentionally allowed policies that would destabilize our country and the world at large. it’s hard to control a society with a vibrant middle class, i’m thinking. and they’ve done a brilliant job of confusing the global community as to just who the terrorists are. watch the show “the border” if you want to spit up some blood.

    the uproariously funny thing is i’m sure these boys think they are immune to the consequences. they are so arrogant (their true blind and weak spot) that they are not able to see how exposed they have become. not even to Nancy hahahahahaha Pelosi, god forbid. but the law of nature.

    that law always prevails. George Bush or no George Bush.

  2. There was an interview with Obama and sadly he was pumping up the ‘real war’ the one in Afghanistan. Holy shit 8 freakin years and all we get is Bomb, bomb, bomb. Commander in chief has replaced the presidency. btw Oliuver North was the reliable journalist who was embedded and backed up the orginal Pentagon denial of civilian deaths. Good essay, thank you. It’s hard to say thanks for this essay but the truth is better then the bamboozle.

    • Valtin on September 12, 2008 at 7:26 am

    or ability to stop them are the working people in arms, with their own leaders, and acting under their own banner.

    The death throes of capitalist imperialism, if it doesn’t destroy civilization itself, will engender by necessity the rebirth of the communist movement. The latter will be stronger, better armed with experience and self-knowledge, having learned from the disastrous lessons of Stalinism, Maoism, socialism in one country, etc.

    We have no other option but to take up again the socialist/communist banner.

    “Socialism or barbarism” was how Rosa Luxemborg the alternatives facing humanity in the years of World War I. She did not forsee completely that barbarism would come in both capitalist and socialist varieties. But only one of these movements is capable of representing the forward trend in history. The other promises only endless nationalist war, and imperial striving for dominance of one nation or national group over another.

    By the way, you say most Americans will barely notice the “long war.” I think there’s some truth in that. But the “long war” is not an airy theme or even a bad or sick policy. It is a costly dismantling of the “homeland” economy, leading to the disintegration of the society. Most American will not only notice, they will demand action. Then it will be once again fascism vs. socialism/communism.

    This tirade may surprise some of you here. But no one who knows history can be honest with themselves and not see another way out. If the left cannot learn from the past, however, if the left degenerates into bureaucratic and despotic party dictatorship, then we are doomed.

    • Diane G on September 12, 2008 at 3:32 pm

    already spoke for me on this one, but thank you for this essay and the fine discussion thereafter!

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