This morning's world headline in The Baltimore Sun read, "Rage sweeps across Pakistan".
Supposedly, we're not at war with Pakistan. Well tell that to the Pakistanis.
On Saturday, NATO aircraft (make that American aircraft) attacked two military posts inside the Pakistani border killing 24 Pakistani soldiers for which the Pakistani Supreme Commander General Kayani called, "unprovoked acts of aggression".
A top U.S. official in Washington, under the condition of anonymity, called the incident "extremely murky". Not to the Pakistani's. Yesterday thousands gathered throughout the country particularly outside the American embassy in Islamabad and the American consulate in Karachi and yelled "Down with America". The Pakistani government in response closed two NATO supply routes that serve Afghanistan. It also ordered the CIA to end drone operations in the country within 15 days.
Meanwhile the U.S. military and civilian diplomats were falling all over themselves offering "condolences" and promising an investigation to "determine the facts." Yeah, right.
Let's be clear about a few things that the U.S., operating under the NATO umbrella, is doing and/or has done that are seen as clear provocations by the Pakistani military, the government and the Pakistani people themselves:
- All the Pakistani entities just mentioned recognize Pakistan as a sovereign country to which they believe the U.S. pays lip service.
- Despite the "hurrah's" Barack Obama received in the U.S. for ordering Navy Seals to clandestinely enter Pakistan territory and kill Osama bin Laden without informing the Pakistanis prior to the raid, ALL Pakistanis were outraged by this breach in security and America's complete disregard for Pakistan's sovereignty.
- The Pakistani people hate the American drone attacks within their territory that may kill a few suspected terrorist or Taliban leaders but invariably kill innocent Pakistani civilians, (which the American military euphemistically refers to as "collateral damage"). Meanwhile the Pakistani government and the military have tolerated the use of drones as they have come under intense political pressure from the U.S. i.e. threats to suspend military aid to the country if they don't comply to U.S. demands.
So it is easy to understand why Pakistanis are incensed by the U.S. taking measures that Pakistanis see as tactics used by an enemy and not an ally.
To be sure, the American main stream media and its pundits roundly condemn Pakistan as an unworthy ally, aiding and abetting the Taliban and suspected terrorists in Pakistan's tribal regions bordering Afghanistan instead of being more diligent and serious militarily in going after these people.
But let's remember, terrorism in Pakistan has escalated dramatically ever since we invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and Bush began his war on terror. Pakistan has always had serious ethnic and sectarian rifts within the country ever since it gained independence in 1947. These internal divisions have become exacerbated by our war in Afghanistan, dismantling the Taliban regime, initiating cross border raids into Pakistan territory and escalating the number of drone attacks. This has caused millions of ethnic Pashtun's in Pakistan to flee the fighting in their areas bordering Afghanistan and relocate within the provinces of Singh, Punjab, Baluchistan and the port city of Karachi thereby colliding with these ethnically different and dominant populations and creating greater internal instability throughout the country.
We Americans for the most part are not interested in Pakistan's ethnic divisions and internal strife, only in our single minded and obsessive pursuit of terrorists.
And yet Pakistan is expected to toe the line and do what the Americans demand or else.
Many Pakistani's it seems would choose to endure the "or else" and keep their dignity and self respect intact rather than having the Americans as their "friend and ally".