Obama, CIA destabilizing Pakistan with expanding war

(9AM EST – promoted by Nightprowlkitty)

  A generation ago Lyndon Johnson’s secret CIA war in Laos caused liberals to take to the streets in justified moral outrage. That morality, idealism, and liberal values have been replaced by bland pragmatism that threatens to allow another military and political catastrophe.

  The standoff began three days ago when a pair of Apache helicopters attacked a border post inside Pakistan, killing three soldiers.

 But a change of direction may ultimately place a great strain on relations with Pakistan and prove counterproductive, according to retired general Talat Masood.

  “These attacks are very serious for Pakistan. It goes to show [coalition forces] are expanding their zone of conflict and violating Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty,” he says.

  “This war against militants is not just a question of using force – you have to get the whole country to support you. You should not alienate the people in such a way which can be very harmful,” he says, adding that such strikes have the power to “destabilize” Pakistan.

 The lesson from the wars in south-east Asia was that bombing unstable countries has unintended and disastrous consequences. It appears we are determined to learn that lesson all over again.

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 The first thing the Pakistan government did was close the border to NATO supply trucks entering Afghanistan.

 On Saturday, some 150 trucks piled up near the border crossing at Torkham, waiting for the post to reopen. The truck drivers said they were worried, as militants are known to attack the supply line on a fairly regular basis.

 Truck drivers are wise to be worried, as just a few days ago militants burned three dozen fuel trucks near the border. Around 80% of NATO’s supplies in Afghanistan come through the Pakistan border.

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  Instead of forcing NATO to reconsider their strategy, two more attacks were launched the very next day as the CIA continues to escalate their secret war in Pakistan.

  In recent months, the military has loaned Predator and Reaper drones to the Central Intelligence Agency to give the agency more firepower to target and bombard militants on the Afghan border.

  The additional drones helped the CIA escalate the number of strikes in Pakistan in September. The agency averaged five strikes a week in September, up from an average of two to three per week. The Pentagon and CIA have ramped up their purchases of drones, but they aren’t being built fast enough to meet the rapid rise in demand.

  This backhand to the face of the Pakistan government is forcing them into a corner. The war of words has also escalated.

 Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani has warned that the Pakistan will explore every available option if NATO does not apologize for violation of its territory.

 The increase in bombings of Pakistan started under the Bush Administration in the summer of 2008 when President Pervez Musharraf lost power to Asif Ali Zardari, a policy that the Obama Administration has continued. Obama has authorized 122 strikes so far in his administration, double the number during Bush’s eight years in office.

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   The Pakistan people that live near the border have been suffering and been killed by NATO incursions for nearly a decade. This has naturally led to a great deal of hostility towards the American forces.

 The poll found that nearly nine out of every 10 people oppose U.S. military operations in the region. This view is intensely held. While only one in 10 FATA residents think suicide attacks are justified against the Pakistani military and police, almost six in 10 believe these attacks are justified against the U.S. military.

 It’s awfully hard to win a war against insurgents when you’ve alienated the entire populace.

  That isn’t the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that wars are hard to contain once they’ve spread over a border.

 Wars have a way of spreading. The chaos of violence is not containable. This is what’s happening in Pakistan on account of a war that President Obama didn’t really want to fight in the first place. NATO can’t win this war. Afghanistan can’t win it. But Pakistan sure can lose it.

 Unlike what conservatives imagine, America has not been fighting a war against terrorism within our borders. Pakistan has.

  Pakistan suffers from near weekly terrorist attacks and break-away regions. Their security forces have almost a free hand in both supporting and opposing terrorist groups operating near their borders.

  The last thing they need is the CIA pushing a war across their borders, directly into one of their most volatile regions. There are elements in the Pakistan military that won’t stand for it.

 Meanwhile, the army and the ISI appear once again on the brink of a coup d’├ętat to oust Pakistan’s corrupt and discredited civilian government and either install a military dictator or rule from behind the scenes. There are various scenarios, including the installation of Nawaz Sharif, the rival politician who is much closer to the Pakistani military than the current President Ali Asif Zardari, and who also maintains better relations with the Taliban and with Saudi Arabia, Pakistan’s key Arab ally. It’s an internal political crisis in Pakistan that’s been building ever since the 2008 ouster of the previous military dictator, Pervez Musharraf, and it was drastically exacerbated by the floods that devastated the country. (Musharraf, incidentally, announced today in London that he’s forming a political party. Reports AP: “Musharraf says the only way to tackle Pakistan’s ailing economy and its political infighting-problems exacerbated by recent floods-is to further bolster the army’s role.”)

  An Pakistani army officer told the Washington Post that the US action represents a direct challenge to Pakistan’s sovereignty and is a case of “attacking the Pakistani army.” Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Rehman Malik, said: “We will have to see if we are allies or enemies.”

  David Ignatius, who’s in Pakistan, held an interview with a senior ISI official. Writing in the Post, Ignatius quotes the ISI officer’s response to the killing of the soldiers: “Pakistan is not a walkover country. I will stand in the way of the convoys myself.”

Deja Vu

 Shortly after taking office in 1969, President Nixon initiated Operation Menu – the bombing of Cambodia. It was designed to damage the ability of North Vietnam to wage war in South Vietnam.

  What it actually did was destabilize the Cambodian government by delegitimizing it, while killing well over half a million innocent civilians. Prince Norodom Sihanouk remained quiet during the decimation of much of his country, but that wasn’t good enough for America. We demanded that Cambodia take military action against the Vietnamese forces.

 In March of 1970, even while American bombs were raining down on Cambodia, the CIA sponsored a military coup. It was led by General Lon Nol, a man with a long record of crushing peasant rebellions. Protests to the coup were put down with extremely brutality. The coup was followed with a military ground invasion that started without even an effort to alert the Cambodian government beforehand.

 The result of all this killing and brutality was a strengthening of the extremists – the Khmer Rouge.

 If America had simply left Cambodia alone, more than a million Cambodians would not have died. We don’t face a Khmer Rouge today, but we do face the prospect of a destabilized, nuclear armed government. We face being at war in a nation of 140 million people who don’t like us.

  Isn’t it long past time we stopped allowing the CIA to set our foreign policy?

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    • gjohnsit on October 3, 2010 at 03:56
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    • banger on October 3, 2010 at 15:57

    My guess is that the answer is yes. In fact we have to assume it is. Not that the U.S. in Afghanistan has a single policy. It is clear that the military has one policy, the Intel people have several and the President has still another and so on down the line. But, the players that count are the JCS and the various duchies within CIA (it is no longer “central” nor intelligent). I believe their policy is to expand the war into Pakistan and destabilize it sufficiently so that it breaks up because that appears to be the case. There is no rational reason to go into Pakistan–the “war” (it isn’t a war but a low-level colonial insurgency) has to be “won” as every intelligent commentator understands in-country by providing the Afghan people with a reasonable government that, more or less, works.

    Well it’s clear that no one that counts believes the war can be won–Karzai is a corrupt figure-head at best and “democracy” is, again, as anyone intelligent enough to count all their fingers and toes simply a PR exercise for U.S. domestic consumption.

    This war is meant to keep the U.S. military in the region indefinately as an occupying force to let India, Russian and China understand that the Empire means business. The pressure on Pakistan pleases India, obviously (this is never talked about in the U.S. press) which will become the most important U.S. ally in the world. This war  has nothing whatsoever to do with Al-qaida or the Taliban. The U.S. largely created Al-qaida and supported the Taliban by allowing Pakistan (then a close ally) to create it and the Saudis to fund it.

    Let me put it another way. We are in an Orwellian moment in every way. The conflict in Aghanistan is a fake war and, I would add, a largely staged war that enables the military/intelligence/energy/industrial/contractor world to keep taking in money from the U.S. Treasure through fair or fowl means (they take money legally and illegally and they don’t fucking care as long as its green). The interests of this sector are imperial and global in scope. They are in conflict sometimes but mainly in alliance with the FIRE sector (finance, insurance and real estate) and the great political drama involves conflict between these two forces.  I don’t want to oversimplify because all those sectors are not united–it’s just useful to understand that those two communities are the source of power in this society. The MSM and the PR industry (they are the same) are industries that service these forces and play the edges and angles for their own power. Politicians are largely irrelevant to this drama other than being, in part, part of the PR industry.

  1. is alive and well. This really puts a damper on my enthusiasm. I cannot believe that we have been bamboozled to this degree. I am now an official CT believer nothing is what it seems and it makes our political system a complete and utter farce. The Bush doctrine is functioning and moving on. No wonder they kept Gates. Terrorists are US. Will the Democratic loyalists defend and support this? Are tea bagger scarier then the CIA and our own militant military insanely intent on setting the world on fire and killing people who are in their way?  I know it’s overworked to say Orwellian but this really is.

    Straight from Emmanuel Goldstein’s book. The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, chapters 1 and 3. Ignorance is strength and war is peace. Double think…

    ” . . . but by the exercise of doublethink he also satisfies himself that reality is not violated . . . To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. ”

    Hence the Party’s perpetuity: “for the secret of rulership is to combine a belief in one’s own infallibility with the power to learn from past mistakes . . . The prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity”.      

  2. Just because it’s across the Atlantic doesn’t mean much to me in the grand scheme of things. We’re the last frontier of the great intellectual Westard Expansion begun way before the Greek City States. And this intellectual Westward Expansion has always clung to the sword. The mythology calls it “progress”, but a “progress” that never concerns itself with the unfortunate victims (or even the earth itself) trampled under its feet. Its thinking is bound and gagged in its own eschatology.

    If the current affairs in the world, orchestrated to an overwhelming  extent by the United States, is considered intentional, then I think we have to describe this phenomena as reflecting  severe delusional statecraft, portending a madness that has visited our Western History many times. How we’ve arrived at this precipice is anybody’s guess, but I have to consider avarice, lust and  privilege (packaged in modern antiseptic symbolism) high up on the list of likely culprits.

    If it is not intentional, nothing changes, and we’re still stuck with trying to figure out the nature of the human condition and how to carry on….if carrying on is even contemplated in our present state? Wouldn’t that be ironic? It would seem against nature.  

  3. for this generation and the next. Meanwhile the well-connected profit handsomely. I see where Blackwater / Xe now has 34 front companies and that is only the very tip top of the MIC iceberg.

    Anyone or any country who dares oppose the actions of the US military is a potential target, branded as a terrorist. Our policies and actions serve to create more enemies which we then use to justify continuation of this absurd “war on terror”. We have a positive feedback loop here and lots of folks are cheering it on.

    On we go, deeper into the quagmire. Blood and money expended.

    Propaganda full of hubris and hypocrisy is served up to us at home by the war cheerleaders and parroted by their followers. Too few see the bullshit.

    What a racket.

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