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The Effect of Unrelenting Pressure on Pakistan

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As evidence mounts that Faisal Shahzad, the failed Times Square would be bomber had contacts and was trained by elements of the Pakistani Taliban, U.S. officials, (namely CIA Director Leon Panetta and White House National Security Advisor James Jones) in meetings with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari are exerting more pressure on his government to "control militants."[1]

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned early on after Shahzad's failed attempt that "Pakistan faced very severe consequences"[2] if another attempt was confirmed to have originated there.

So what are we to make of our latest "diplomatic overtures" to the Pakistani president?

It isn't as if he and his government exercise any real authority in the Tribal areas of Pakistan where the Pakistani Taliban operates and exerts control.

The Pakistani Army and the ISI (the secret intelligence agency of Pakistan) has had (at least since the early 1990's) extensive contacts and dealings with the Pakistani Taliban (as well as their Afghan Taliban brethren) but this has not been in concert with the Pakistani government (witness the many military inspired coups in Pakistan as evidence that the military is the stronger institution operating in the country and often acting independent of the president). However, U.S. pressure on the Pakistani government (to take military action against the Pakistani Taliban) has gotten the military to take some offensive action against the Taliban but these are U.S. instigated measures whereby the Pakistani military placates the Americans ambitions and more importantly, assures the billions of U.S. defense dollars continues to flow uninterrupted into the Pakistani military coffers.

But to this observer, the real effect of the unrelenting pressure by the U.S. on the Pakistanis to do more militarily in going after Islamic militants in their country (particularly in the Tribal areas adjacent to Afghanistan) will do nothing to reduce the terrorism of these militants but only serve to further destabilize the Pakistani government.

Our wars in Afghanistan (and Iraq), our undeclared war in Pakistan with the escalation in drone attacks against perceived militant leaders (that kill scores of innocents in the process) only serves to create more militants willing to retaliate and seek revenge against us.

The failed Times Square would be bomber is likely a harbinger of more attacks against us in the future.

We act as if our preemptive wars and occupations in Muslim countries, our drone attacks, indefinite detentions and extraordinary rendition policies have no bearing, no connection to why the terrorism against us is escalating rather than abating. This is the ultimate of being in denial.

For it is we, in our imperial rage reacting against those who have the audacity to fight back against us and in ways weaker antagonists have always fought back against superior foes in unconventional ways with use of tactics (terrorism i.e. suicide attacks, roadside bombings) all subjugated and oppressed peoples have always done against a more powerful foe.

The voices in the U.S. that see the reality of our wrongheaded, imperialistic policies are mostly drowned out, like voices in the wilderness, overwhelmed by the majority who (with their silence and passive acquiescence) support the present misdirection of our country.

Unhappily, this most assures us more of the same; more unnecessary wars resulting in more terrorism directed at us.

[1] "U.S. to Pakistan: Control militants, Top officials say N.Y. bomb plot raised the stakes", by Christi Parsons and David S. Cloud, "The Baltimore Sun", May 26, 2010.

[2] See footnote #1

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