“I saw a newborn baby with wild wolves all around it.” — Bob Dylan
While the usual gaggle of sycophants and media hive-minders — along with some ordinarily perspicacious analysts — tell us that Barack Obama literally changed the course of human history by disgorging a great load of thrice-chewed cud about nuclear disarmament in Prague this week, the high-tech drone war the great hero of peace is waging inside the sovereign territory of America’s ally, Pakistan, is helping drive tens of thousands of people from their homes and killing civilians almost daily.
Obama’s Prague speech was a bold, creative, world-shaking, epochal address whose full import will only be understood many years hence by future historians, declared no less than Juan Cole. But the good professor seems to have mislaid his laser pointer — the sharp-focused beam that just a week ago skewered Obama for his outright lies and Cheneyesque manipulations in announcing his “comprehensive strategy” to escalate and expand the “Af-Pak War”. Indeed, just two days before Obama’s pseudo-epiphany in Prague, Cole was accurately delineating the folly and falsehoods permeating Obama’s Afghanistan policies. …
The headline from McClatchy says it all: “Pakistani Army Flattening Villages as it Battles Taliban.”
This is exactly what the hot-blooded humanitarian interventionists in the Obama Administration have been demanding: that Pakistan “take the fight” to the Taliban forces that, according to such world-historical savants as Hillary Clinton and the President himself, are posing an existential threat not only to Pakistan but even to the sacred Homeland itself.
Last month, when a faction of the Pakistani Taliban (which is not be equated with the Afghan Taliban, but is anyway, repeatedly and deliberately, by the media and political classes) took temporary control of Buner, a city 60 miles from the Pakistan capital of Islamabad, the American power structure went into its customary all-out panic mode, urging the fragile Pakistani government to quit signing peace deals and ceasefires with the sectarian and tribal groups on its frontiers and instead “take action” against them pronto — before they launch cruise missiles into the Mall of America from their floating space platforms….or something.
(To digress: One likes to think that these continual hissy fits of arm-waving alarm are merely cynical ploys to help advance militarist policies and war-profiteering schemes, but who knows? Maybe our fearless leaders really are a bunch of witless, ignorant cowards. Either way, the results are the same: more war — and more war powers — more death, more suffering, and more ever-profitable destabilization.)…
We asked for signs,
And signs were sent.
— Leonard Cohen, “Anthem”
We are now in the midst of a full-blown campaign to “roll out the product” for a new war: this time, in Pakistan. Anyone who lived through the run-up to the invasion of Iraq should be able to read the signs — anyone, that is, who is not blinded by partisan labels, or by the laid-back cool of a media-savvy leader far more presentable than his predecessor.
We noted some of these signs in a long post yesterday and won’t belabor them here. But today brings yet another bumper crop of panic buttons and alarm bells from the powers-that-be, with ever-increasing emphasis on the “Taliban kooks with Muslim nukes” theme: one more variation on the old “mushroom clouds rising in American cities” ploy that has worked like a charm for our militarists lo these 60 years or more….
A reader writes:
Do you see Pakistan as an unstable republic with nukes? If yes, is there anything you might approve of/wish for the United States (and others) to do to preemptively mitigate the risks that might ensue from political chaos there? For the sake of argument, let’s pretend that the US has pure motives.
We’re obviously going to hear many arguments for why “Pakistan is the one (even if you didn’t like our other interventions),” how Abdul Qadeer Khan pals around with terrorists, etc.
So, it would be helpful to know what canny critics of American imperialism see as the maximum degree of intervention that would be appropriate.
One of the largest empires the world has ever known – complete with second-largest nuclear arsenal in the world, capable of wiping out the planet several times over – disintegrated completely in the early 1990s, breaking into a myriad of different nations, and chaotic polities, some of which went to war with each other while others had internal wars that raged for years. Corruption was rampant, society collapsed, death rates climbed, birth rates plunged – all of this, again, with a vast nuclear arsenal looming over it all. Yet I don’t recall anyone recommending any U.S. military intervention to “preemptively mitigate the risks that might ensue from political chaos” in the break-up of the Soviet Union, to which I was eye-witness for a time. The only difference I can see in regard to Pakistan is that the scale of the risk and its possible global ramifications are actually much, much smaller….
Señor, señor, do you know where we’re headin’?
Lincoln County Road or Armageddon?
Seems like I been down this way before.
Is there any truth in that, señor ?
— Bob Dylan “Señor (Tales of Yankee Power)”
Yesterday, we briefly took up a Daily Kos piece that declared, with quivering fervor, that America’s ever-expanding and ever-more-deadly military intervention in Central Asia is actually an act of purest altruism, aimed solely — solely, we were told — at preventing those lesser breeds under the law on the subcontinent from blowing their silly-billy selves up in a nuclear war. We were also informed that anyone who didn’t like Barack Obama’s “continuity” — and expansion — of Bush’s policies in the region was just a malevolent malcontent who didn’t care about the millions of people who would surely die if America withdraw its entirely benign protection from Pakistan….