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New War Rumors: U.S. Plans To Seize Pakistan's Nuclear Arsenal

By       Message Rick Rozoff     Permalink
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After retiring from public life, George Kennan, the main architect of U.S. Cold War policy, cited a line he ascribed to Goethe to warn that in the end we are all destroyed by monsters of our own creation. To emend Voltaire, the White House rather than God is a comedian playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.

Woodward's account of last year's comments by Pakistan's president and Zalmay Khalilzad could be dismissed as merely anecdotal if not for an article that appeared in the New York Post on October 3 and developments in Pakistan itself over the past six weeks.

Arthur Herman, a visiting scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute think tank, stated in an article entitled "Our Pakistan problem: Obama's approach is failing" that "The bitter irony is that even as Obama is trying to get out of the war in Afghanistan, he may be heading us into one in Pakistan."

The author detailed that whereas in 2009 the U.S. launched 45 Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (drone) attacks inside Pakistan, it had tripled that number by the time his article appeared, and that half as many as last year's total strikes had been launched this September alone.

Also mentioning the NATO helicopter attack in the Kurram Agency of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas on September 30 which killed three members of the Frontier Corps and that "Raids by the CIA's Counterterrorism Pursuit Team - with its 3,000 Afghan troops - into Pakistan are also becoming routine," Herman warned:

"All this adds up to a US effort in Pakistan highly reminiscent of the one we undertook in Laos in the 1960s - one of the springboards into the Vietnam quagmire.

"If Obama's growing pressure on Pakistan destabilizes that government, the only thing keeping that country's nukes out of the hands of al Qaeda may have to be US troops. That's a shooting-war scenario that will make Obama wish his name was Lyndon Baines Johnson." [6]

Herman attributes the expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistan at a qualitatively more dangerous level to the machinations of former CIA officer and current Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution Bruce Riedel and the commander of 152,000 U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan General David Petraeus.

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A report of October 13 documented that since Petraeus took command of the war effort in Afghanistan in June there has been a 172 percent increase in U.S. and NATO air strikes, from 257 assault missions in September of 2009 to over 700 last month. In addition, "Surveillance flights increased to nearly three times the number from September 2009 and supply flights are up as well....Petraeus is sometimes seen as more willing to risk the so-called 'collateral damage' of civilian deaths....[7]

Last month's drone attacks were the most in any month since the targeted assasinations were started in 2004 and the amount of deaths they caused - over 150 - the highest monthly total to date.

By the middle of this month there have been at least eight drone attacks and no fewer than 66 people killed.

According to Steve Coll's New America Foundation, 1,439 of the 1,844 deaths caused by drone attacks in Pakistan since 2004 have occurred in 2009 and so far this year. [8]

Similarly, the deaths of 1,111 of 2,160 U.S. and NATO soldiers killed in Afghanistan since 2001 occurred in the same period. Seventeen foreign soldiers were killed between October 13 and 16 alone.

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On October 13 the Pakistani press reported that NATO helicopters, until then operating solely in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (in four attacks between September 25-30 against the Haqqani network), violated the nation's airspace over the province of Balochistan, leading Islamabad to lodge a formal protest with NATO.

Since the revelations from Bob Woodward's new book and the publication of Arthur Herman's article, commentaries in Pakistani newspapers have appeared which indicate the seriousness with which recent developments and even more ominous portents are being viewed.

An October 13 feature in The Nation stated that "the ongoing war on terror in Afghanistan is aimed to take the operations into Pakistani territory....The real target is Pakistan's nuclear potential; they [the U.S. and NATO] have no plausible security threat from the ill-equipped Taliban or ragtag extremists."

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Rick Rozoff has been involved in anti-war and anti-interventionist work in various capacities for forty years. He lives in Chicago, Illinois. Is the manager of the Stop NATO international email list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/stopnato/

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