Thursday, October 14, 2010

Haven’t we seen this disaster movie before?

By Mahir Ali, ZNet, October 13, 2010

VETERAN Washington Post correspondent Bob Woodward’s latest book, Obama’s Wars, has, among other things, helped to confirm suspicions of a high level of dysfunction in Washington vis-a-vis the nine-year war in Afghanistan, particularly in terms of disagreements between the Pentagon and the White House about how it ought to be prosecuted. It also highlights a series of low points in relations between Pakistan and the US.

That it appeared just as these relations were entering an increasingly fraught phase in the wake of Nato military incursions into Pakistani territory, the temporary closure of supply routes and the series of attacks on Nato tankers is merely a coincidence, albeit one that conforms to a long-standing pattern of mutual mistrust.

Although the Bush administration went out of its way to coddle Pervez Musharraf, plenty of Americans were consistently convinced that Pakistan was playing a double game of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. The advent of the even more pliable Asif Zardari held out the promise of fewer problems on that score. Woodward quotes him as telling “CIA officials privately in late 2008 that any innocent deaths from the [drone] strikes were the cost of doing business against senior Al Qaeda leaders. ‘Kill the seniors,’ Zardari had said. ‘Collateral damage worries you Americans. It does not worry me.’ “

The degree of moral abstemiousness inherent in that “What, me worry?” style of statement shouldn’t surprise anyone. More alarming is the apparent absence of any sense that the deaths of innocents serve as an invaluable recruitment tool for the Taliban.

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