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A R EGUL.AR A NT IDOTE TO TH E t.tA 1M STREA
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Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto, The War Against Pakistan
By Fatima Bhutto Posted on December 9, 2010, Printed on May 24, 2011 http://www.tomdispatch.comlblog/175329/
[Note for TomDispatch Readers: Thankyoufor the contributions that have been flowing in! I wish I could personally write each of you, but instead let me offer a collective bow to you all. Your donations truly matter. As the holiday season approaches, any of you still looking for the perfect gift -- for yourself or a friend -should go immediately to the TomDispatch "Donate Now" page and check out our book offers. Every contribution you make will ensure that TomDispatch sfuture is that much brighter. (On a personal note, why not consider giving a copy of my new book, The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's, to a friend? Think of it as the perfect, action-packed gift for a holiday season of endless war.) By the way, on today s topic, Washington s Pakistan, remember to regularly check Jeremy Scahills blog over at the Nation magazine website. Author of the bestselling book Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Scahill has been ahead of the game on every breaking scandal in our expanding war in Pakistan. And while you're at it, check out Timothy MacBain s new TomCast audio interview in which Fatima Bhutto discusses the unequal U.S.-Pakistani relationship by clicking here or, to download it to your iPod, here.] I mean, you couldn't make this stuffup. In fact, if! were to offer a conspiracy theory to explain it, I might suggest that the U.S. government now exists mainly to feed material to The Daily Show. I'm referring to an article in the New York Times reporting that "the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization." Don't laugh. No, really, stop it! Honestly, it's perfectly sensible. Secrecy being such an all-encompassing value for our government, why shouldn't its employees work in the dark, even when the rest of us, the rest of the world, knows what's going on. Fortunately, I'm not an employee ofthe U.S. government or its military-industrial contractors; so, though Raytheon, the Library of Congress, and other places have been thoughtful enough to try to minimize the pain of the ongoing Wikileaks dump of State
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its helicopters crossing the border shooting. Petraeus evidently wanted to get U. the Pakistani capital. ISR [Intelligence.S. "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours.TomDispatch: Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto. On the other hand.it's so Washington 2010 of us -. Yemen is actually a Johnny-corne-lately. "Saleh reacted coolly. and Reconnaissance] platforms overhead. however. trainers and training for his troops. there were limits and -." In other words. threatening. that anything-goes country whose president Ali Abdullah Saleh gave Washington almost carte blanche to act militarily -. even for Saleh. Surveillance." he told then-Centcom commander General David Petraeus last January.comldialogs/printl?id=175329 Department documents by blocking people from reading them. not a coalition-of-the-willing world. not less involved. in conflict in distant lands. not yours. In return for the right to drop bombs and launch missiles. as Washington acts with relative impunity in that land. 20f7 5/25/2011 6:06 AM . military and civilian. and the CIA swarming. its capital. Still. Washington is still laboring in a coalition-of-the-billing.we nonetheless tried to exceed them." as he put it to Obama's Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan in September 2009 (according to one of the State Department documents Wikileaks released). Meanwhile. the Yemeni president got his own "open door" -. and maneuvering in Islamabad. a Club Med for recreational bombing. including Amazon and PayPal.S."an open door on terrorism. are trying to ensure that there won't be a fourth. and lots of fancy military equipment because. would bomb his country "back to the Stone Age" unless he joined the fight against al-Qaeda.probably Special Operations forces -. U. The War Against Pakistan http://www. That catches the American way of war these days and helps explain why we always seem to end up more.directly into the U. the CIA's drones have been attacking Pakistani territory.S. wheedling. ever since Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage marched into the office of Pakistani autocrat General Pervez Musharraf soon after the 9/11 attacks and reportedly told him that the U. the next thing you know we're trying to slip a (uniformed) body through it as well. I've been wandering the Web like any 12-year-old reading around. and the Obama administration and assorted Internet crews.S. And Saleh was even eager to take credit for those bombs we were dropping.S. that country has been a magnet for Washington's top brass. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen had visited 16 times by early 2010 and sometimes there seems to be a greater density of American officials. You want to know what struck me? Something small. actually. Treasury: tons of money (it's euphemistically called "aid") shoveled his way. offers big dollars for the right to blast the hell out of things.S. to the General's proposal to place USG [U. let's face it. cajoling. its Special Operations troops on the ground. According to that State Department document. anywhere we have a foot in the door of war. And it happened in Yemen. Government] personnel inside the area of operations armed with real-time. bribing. Only recently have American officials made Sana'a. direct feed intelligence from U.tomdispatch. or sixth round of dumps. troops -. than in Washington itself.on the ground in combat areas with Yemeni units. More like an open bomb bay. Among the places where the U.S. According to a State Department observer. fifth.
but we didn't know that then. In 2008. offers an insider's vision of just what impunity means in the Pakistani context. Of course. She promised to hand over nuclear scientist and international bogeyman Dr. This has been the promise that has kept Zardari.Q. She also made clear that. whose father. Tom A Flood of Drone Strikes What the Wikileaks Revelations Tell Us About How Washington Runs Pakistan By Fatima Bhutto With governments like Pakistan's current regime. for example. CIA drone strikes have. A. been a feature of the American war in Pakistan since 2004. protests by the National Assembly have been few and far between and yet. so that George W. in fact. an obsequiously dangerous man.) "We'll protest in the National Assembly. "Kill the seniors. to the International Atomic Energy Agency. Bush's Global War on Terror might triumph. by the end of November." In fact." Gilani added cynically. she would allow the Americans to bomb Pakistan proper. his position and those of his colleagues in government haven't wavered. was killed by the police in 1996 during the premiership of his sister. Khan. Songs of Blood and Sword. the Americans had been involved in covert strikes and other activities in Pakistan since at least 2001. According to the recent cache of State Department cables released by Wikileaks. In 2008. Prime Minister YousefRaza Gilani enthusiastically told American Ambassador Anne Paterson that he "didn't care" if drone strikes were launched against his country as long as the "right people" were targeted. "and then ignore it.tomdispatch. in power. he replied. The War Against Pakistan http://www. the "father" of the Pakistani atomic bomb. a member of Pakistan's parliament.TomDispatch: Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto. Pakistani territory had been targeted by American unmanned Predator and Reaper missile strikes more than 100 times this year alone. an epic search for the truth behind her father's life and death. Benazir Bhutto. who needs the strong arm of the CIA? According to Bob Woodward's latest bestseller Obama s Wars." Why would he worry? When his wife Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 2007 to run for prime minister after years of self-imposed exile. after Barack Obama won the presidency in the U.S. once back in power. and Zardari 30f7 5/25/2011 6:06 AM . She has recently written a stirring memoir. was notified that the CIA would be launching missile strikes from drones over his country's sovereign territory. too. It doesn't worry me. when Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari. (They weren't.comldialogs/printl?id=175329 Fatima Bhutto. Collateral damage worries you Americans. she was already pledged to a campaign of pro-American engagement.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon termed the worst disaster he'd ever seen. affecting 20 million people.the United Nations concluded that the destruction caused by the floods surpassed the devastating Asian tsunami of 2004.5 million potentially fatal cases of diarrhea and another two million cases of malaria are still expected. Over the 30 days 0f7 5/25/2011 6:06 AM . (Perhaps. unindicted. assassinations) published in 2010. faceless. While the dead are regularly identified as "militants" or "suspected militants" in newspaper stories and on the TV news. The War Against Pakistan http://www. as it turns out.N. Pakistanis will assure you. Think of it this way: this summer. George W. Two million homes were destroyed and the crucial food belt in the key agricultural provinces of Punjab and Sindh was ravaged.N. Barack Obama ordered his first drone strike against Pakistan just 72 hours after being sworn in as president. according to a U. In the six years that drone strikes have been used in the fight against Pakistan. the Pakistan earthquake of2005. dysentery. During what U. The dead. monsoon rains and floods submerged one-fifth of Pakistan.33 civilians mistakenly killed in each drone attack.2. the strikes escalated and soon began occurring almost weekly. report on "targeted killings" (that is. an average rate of error can be calculated: 3. the drones were sent in 53 times. In Obama's first year in office. was considered comparatively low -. Although the body count. they almost never have names. and other water-borne diseases.") Based on this study. and un-convicted civilians. and collateral damage. Pakistanis are considered irrelevant.971 people have been killed. doesn't seem to worry anyone in the governing elite. Their histories are always vague. It seems a suitably macabre fact that.TomDispatch: Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto. later nearly daily. including 14 women and children. Bush employed drone strikes 45 times in his eight years as President. the CIA launched its most extensive drone campaign yet. It was the country's worst natural disaster in its history. of course.283 and 1. and so became a permanent feature of life for those living in the tribal borderlands of northern Pakistan. The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict (CIVIC) took a careful look at nine drone strikes from the last two years and concluded that they had resulted in the deaths of30 civilians. and the recent earthquake in Haiti combined. under the circumstances. Millions of children were left homeless or at risk of contracting cholera.tomdispatch. 1. superior American military intelligence classified them as "militants in training. researchers at the New America Foundation estimate that between 1.comldialogs/printl?id=175329 ascended to Pakistan's highest office.000 killed -. are largely unnamed. nor are their identities confirmed or faces shown. with the country desperate and prostrate. however. According to the World Heath Organization.
and that's just for the army. and various cabinet ministers. opens up its nuclear secrets.apple polisher in Urdu -. In 2009.S. Look at Berlusconi! The Pakistani political establishment has always believed that the West is best. which. Various U." The Pakistani media has welcomed the release of :Suythe Book: the State Department documents because much that reporters and pundits have long claimed (and which Washington has long denied) has now been confirmed: that. the Defense Minister. the mercenary private contractor Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) has been operating in Pakistan at the behest of the Americans. Ambassador Anne Paterson confirmed that key player and Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani directed his forces to aid those American drone strikes.5 billion dollars of "civilian aid" over five years -.S.became the laughing stock of the country's new media when he went on television to suggest that revelations about how Pakistan's government had lied to its people. One newspaper baron and government chamcha -. the country will get $7.. They would produce the highest number of drone fatalities for a single month in the last six years. that the country's military high command has given the green light for drone strikes on its own people. and the Army's internal documentation on how it selects the Chief of Army staff and other matters. General Kayani. 20-odd drone strikes were called in. Congress.comldialogs/printl?id=175329 of September. the ambassador wrote. It has. Under the Kerry Lugar Bill passed by the U..tomdispatch. 50f7 5/25/2011 6:06 AM .S. operations in the country's northern and tribal regions were. and coordinated foreign attacks didn't faintly measure up to those about leaders in other countries. if Pakistan plays nice. Pakistan already receives approximately two billion dollars in military aid a year. after all. U. Prime Minister Gilani called a meeting of the Joint Chiefs. on December 3rd. offers the present leadership the chance to extend their incompetent rule just a little longer. in one of the many State Department cables Wikileaks loosed on the world.TomDispatch: Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto. for instance. to discuss the Wikileaks scandal and strategies for dealing with any potential embarrassments in yet-to-be-released cables. and that the infamously corrupt government of President Zardari has turned the country over to the Americans in exchange for money. subverted its national sovereignty. as Islamabad rushed to assure Washington that it would not divert too many troops from the war effort to help with flood relief. been the ultimate source of their power and so.and this is just the tip of the financial iceberg. The War Against Pakistan http://www. of course. "almost certainly [conducted] with the personal consent of . including the Finance Minister.
while the unelected dark overlord of the government.comldialogs/printl?id=175329 (Lie. It worked so well before. illegally detains or renders its citizens. The job of policing the nation was always a peculiar reward to offer a man who couldn't keep his one charge safe.S. there's no need for debate there.tomdispatch." he wrote. reacted to the Wikileaks revelations swiftly and with a frustration and anger felt by many Pakistanis. for whom President Zardari issued a presidential pardon and who had all corruption charges against him dropped under the National Reconciliation Ordinance (an odious law pardoning 20 years worth of graft carried out by politicians.S. Interior Minister Rehman Malik. proconsul in Islamabad. As the Wikileaks documents pour out. various members of parliament are queuing up to have their names put forward as possible replacements for the prime minister. the Pakistani writer and historian. undoubtedly. They have. Amusing. overstepping the official limits of his office with impunity. but hardly a surprise. bankers and bureaucrats) was also given a senate seat by his friend the president. watched as a foreign power bombs its land. nor will Washington feel more constrained than it ever has when it comes to choosing its allies and running the South Asian arm of its informal global empire. Zardari. has no constituency. Malik. Malik came to public notoriety as Benazir Bhutto's security adviser -until her assassination. The War Against Pakistan http://www. What will Pakistan's elite learn from Wikileaks? Undoubtedly nothing. it is worth noting. Like many military chiefs in the past. General Kayani is putting forward his own set of favored names.) Tariq Ali." Still. emerges as a shrewd diplomat warning her country of the consequences if they carry on as before.S. is that Zardari reassures the U. Anne Patterson. satrapy. has been offering himself for another unelected posting. did not stand for elections either. that ifhe were assassinated. and was made president in the very same manner as Pakistan's previous ruler General Pervez Musharraf: he was selected by his own parliament. and turns a blind eye to 60f7 5/25/2011 6:06 AM . Always nice to know that the country is regarded by its ruler as a personal fiefdom. Its military and political leaders constitute a venal elite happy to kill and maim its own people at the behest of a foreign power. Since the only person capable of replacing the president is his sister. after all. The U.TomDispatch: Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto. The Zardari government makes no secret of its gratitude for American support. his sister would replace him and all would continue as before. that elite carries on with little sense of the grim absurdity of recent events. "confirm what we already know: Pakistan is a U. "The Wikileaks. And if we're going by the White House's response so far.
son of Pakistan's former President and Prime Minister. This obeisance to power is the key to Zardari's American engagement. Her father. and the Guardian. The Zardari regime's essential acquiescence has recently been acknowledged via a multi-year "no strings attached" offer of a military aid package by Washington. The War Against Pakistan http://www. but the damage was done -. to download it to your iPod.comlblog/175329/ 70f7 5/25/2011 6:06 AM .-Pakistani relationship.tomdispatch. the Daily Beast. is most recently the author of Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter's Memoir (Nation Books. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. and an elected member of parliament. At the height of the devastation wreaked by the summer floods. two flood ravaged provinces. with its own government at the helm. was killed by the police in 1996 in Karachi during the premiership of his sister. While we wait for Wikileaks to reveal the rest of the cables. That it shares a border with Iran hardly seems a coincidence. Fatima Bhutto. The American embassy issued a swift and suitably hurt-sounding denial. we watch as American officials argue for expanding their drone attacks southwards into the natural-gas-rich province of Balochistan.tomdispatch. which are unlikely to have any bearing on Washington's future dealings with the corrupt governments of Zardari in Pakistan or President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan (or anywhere else for that matter). 2010). because it was being used by the Americans for their drone strikes in Pakistan. an Afghan-born Pakistani poet and writer. among other places. Pakistan. All rights reserved.and the message was clear: the war against Pakistan continues unabated.comldialogs/printl?id=175329 Pakistan's flagrant censorship and abuse of human rights. Her work has appeared in the New Statesman. Benazir Bhutto.TomDispatch: Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto. Copyright 2010 Fatima Bhutto © 2011 TomDispatch. To listen to a Timothy MacBain TomCast audio interview in which Fatima Bhutto discusses the unequal U. Fatima lives and writes in Karachi. Murtaza Bhutto. click here or.S. the Health Secretary of Balochistan and the Deputy Chairman of the Pakistani Senate both alleged that aid could not be airlifted out of an air base in the city of Jacobabad on the border between Sindh and Balochistan. here. And so it will remain. View this story online at: http://www.
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