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Sunday, 17 May 2009
Señor, señor, do you know where we're headin'?
The nightmare scenario of subcontinental nuclear war that is evoked so shamelessly by Obama and his sycophants to "justify" the "Af-Pak" escalation is in fact made much more likely by Obama's own policies.
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.
I didn't engage in a point-by-point rebuttal of the post -- even thourgh there was certainly meet food to feed upon in that regard -- because, quite frankly, I couldn't see the point in wasting time and energy on such a -- how to put it charitably? -- jejune production.
So today let us depart from the fairy tale Pakistan concocted by our ever-earnest "progressives" in their increasingly desperate, well-nigh contortionist efforts to justify the brutal, bloody, lawless policies of the latest "safe pair of hands" picked to manage the militarist empire for a season or two. Instead, let's listen to someone who might actually know what he's talking about -- always a rarity in our modern political discourse. Here's Eric Margolis on "stirring a hornet's nest in Pakistan." It's worth quoting at length:
By the way, these many deaths and gargantuan discolations are what our eternally hopeful progressives call the positive results of "our policy in Pakistan." [Emphasis added.] Yes, many progressives now identify themselves personally with the same war machine -- and the same policies -- they were condemning with such vociferous heat just a few months ago. It becomes clearer all the time that for many, many "dissidents" of the past decade, it was not really the substance of the Bush Regime's high crimes and monstrous follies that bothered them; it was the fact these crimes and follies were being committed by the wrong side in the factional tussles of the imperial court. Once their guy had been draped with the purple, the Terror War and its discontents were suddenly transformed into wise, far-seeing acts of benevolence. Now back to Margolis:
That's right: the nightmare scenario of subcontinental nuclear war that is evoked so shamelessly by Obama and his sycophants to "justify" the "Af-Pak" escalation is in fact made much more likely by Obama's own policies. Indeed, it would probably not be too much to say that at this juncture in history, it is only such American policies that could tip the region over into nuclear war. For as Margolis makes clear, the jejeunistas' fearmongering fantasies of a "nuclear Taliban" are baseless. The real dangers lie elsewhere:
This genuine nightmare scenario -- Pakistan's proxy-warring against the Pashtuns on behalf of America's energy-driven dominationist policies -- is growing apace. Pakistani military forces are preparing to follow the American leader in an upcoming attack on the largest town in the Swat Valley, ready to turn Mingora into another Fallujah. As AP reports:
In Fallujah, American forces ringed the city for months -- after one failed attempt to take the town -- and allowed thousands of citizens to flee into destitute exile, while thousands more remained behind, with nowhere to go. Shortly after Bush's re-election in 2004, Fallujah was systematically destroyed -- Gronzy-style, Guernica-style -- in an operation that openly targeted medical centers (to prevent bad press about civilian casualties) and mowed down many civilians in its relentless churning.
The Fallujah operation was of course only one small part of a vast, sprawling, still-ongoing war crime that has killed more than one million innocent human beings -- an "extraordinary achievement" indeed, in President Obama's laudatory words. But even in the midst of this burning lake of corpses, the murderous beserkers in the Beltway and the Pentagon have the gold-plated gall to criticize the Pakistanis for their "heavy-handedness" in an operation urged on them by -- the Americans! McClatchy:
Really, this sort of thing is almost beyond comment. "Do they understand it the way we understand it?" says the spokesman of a military that launched a Hitlerian war of aggression on knowingly false pretenses, and has just had one of its main practitioners of murderous "dirty war" put in charge of its entire "Af-Pak" operations -- at the order of the "progressive" president. To find apt comparisons to such horrific irony, you'd have to reach back to the Eastern Front in World War II: "Reichsfuhrer Himmler, I regret to inform you that some of our Lithuanian auxilliaries have been entirely too primitive in their counterinsurgency tactics against the Jews. Our proxies are too openly brutal -- sometimes clubbing old men and children to death right in the center of town, causing unnecessary distress among the locals. They are sorely lacking in the efficiency and professionalism of our SS cadres, who escort their charges calmly and humanely to carefully pre-prepared pits far beyond the outskirts. It is more regrettable."
Washington is also upset because Pakistan refuses to put its military entirely at the disposal of the imperial agenda:
Just think of that: a sovereign nation having the nerve to decide its own strategic priorities, and actually commiting the bulk of its forces to defend against a much larger, nuclear-armed nation with which it has fought several major wars over the decades across a still highly volatile, hotly disputed border! What effrontery to the Great Sahib!
Meanwhile, even as Pakistan's American-fueled "surge" in Swat was driving more than a million people from their homes, Washington was throwing more gasoline on the flames of extremism with more drone strikes, killing at least 40 people, as Pakistan's The News reports:
Yes, there does seem to a bit of miscommunication between the imperial center and its servants in the hinterlands. But not to worry: soon they'll all be singing from the same hymn sheet, as AP reports:
I think they mean "resting place," but never mind.
Obviously, the War Machine is floating a trial balloon to habituate the hoi polloi -- and the dimbulbs of the political and media elite -- to the idea of a direct, on-the-ground American military presence in Pakistan. Hey, it's only "advisers"! It's only a bit of training, a bit of "schooling" -- you know, like those nice old lady teachers in your grammar school. How dangerous could it be? I mean, come on -- when in American history has the presence of a few American military "advisers" in country roiled by civil conflict ever led to any kind of bad result?
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on May 19, 2009.
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