Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Media misses the obvious in Pakistan story

In case you missed it over the weekend, there was an incident in Pakistan that is causing us some serious foreign policy headaches. There's some conflicting reports about what happened, but basically NATO airstrikes wiped out two Pakistani military bases and killed about two dozen of their troops. Our relationship with Pakistan is apparently at the "worst" it has ever been since the war in Afghanistan began.

Moe Lane has a post at RedState that sums up what we know so far:
Via Drudge comes the beginnings of clarity on this issue: it’s now being tacitly admitted by the Pakistan government that Saturday’s conflict was initiated by their own troops.  Essentially, Afghan/American troops were raiding Taliban in Afghanistan when Pakistan troops fired on them (the Pakistan government maintains that their troops were attacking on what they thought were insurgents).  NATO airstrikes were the result, which shot up two military posts and killed over twenty Pakistani troops.
The Pakistanis’ claim here is that they alerted NATO forces that it was their military posts that were being shot up (although they apparently informed NATO earlier that they had no troops in the area); one Afghan response to that was that the insurgents that NATO/Afghan troops were hunting had retreated to said posts and continued to shoot from there.  Which, if true, more or less illustrates the reason why you do not offer tactical shelter to people who are shooting at United States troops.  The end result will be the local real estate getting reconfigured into a state best described as ‘lunar landscape.’

What is interesting to me is the way that many in the mainstream media are covering this story, especially the issue of strained American-Pakistani relations.

From the Washington Post:
Relations were already fractured after a series of clashes this year, including the January shooting death of two Pakistanis in Lahore by a CIA contractor, the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May and public U.S. charges that Pakistan’s intelligence service has aided Afghan insurgent networks within its borders.
From the Associated Press:
The relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. has severely deteriorated over the last year, especially following the covert American raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani garrison town in May. Islamabad was outraged it wasn't told about the operation beforehand.
From the New York Times:
Such cross-border attacks have been at the heart of an increasingly hostile relationship between Pakistani and American officials. The United States has demanded that Pakistan do more to stop militants based in its territory, particularly from the feared Haqqani network and Al Qaeda, from crossing into Afghanistan to attack American forces. And United States forces in eastern Afghanistan say they have taken more mortar and rocket fire from positions at or near active Pakistani military posts in recent months, despite complaints to Pakistan about it.
Pakistani officials were enraged and embarrassed by the raid on Bin Laden’s compound and by repeated American drone strikes against militants in the northwestern tribal regions, which they consider breaches of the country’s sovereignty.
Notice anything? Anything...missing?

These quoted sections all point to our "fractured," "severely deteriorating," and "increasingly hostile" relationship with Pakistan, and state that the raid by our Navy SEALs that killed Osama bin Laden is a source of this tension, because it "outraged" and "embarrassed" the Pakistanis.

Any chance that at least a tiny little slice of all this tension and hostility with Pakistan is from the fact that FBI Most Wanted Terrorist Scumbag Osama bin Laden was sheltered by their country for almost a decade?

Remember, unlike Saddam Hussein's underground "spider hole" and Muammar Qaddafi's similarly squalid living quarters, bin Laden was in a huge, multi-million dollar building that was definitely luxurious by local standards...a huge, multi-million dollar building that had previously been occupied by Pakistani's top intelligence agency.

I'm not sure how many fancy military-style bunkers are scattered around Pakistan, but I don't think it's too much to ask that the so-called "intelligence" agents keep a list somewhere of ones they have or used to have and take a peek at them once every few years...especially, you know, when we're looking for a that terrorist guy with the scruffy beard?

Look, I don't think that there's any reason to cheer the deaths of those Pakistani troops, but I do find it galling that the Obama administration is falling all over themselves to apologize for those rude NATO troops who wouldn't just sit there and let the Taliban keep shooting at them.

Anyone else think the reason that Osama bin Laden was living in Pakistan for so long was because Pakistan felt pretty confident that President "Apology Tour" Obama wouldn't really do much about it? Sigh...

UPDATE: Just wanted to clarify that Moe Lane made the same "we're hostile because you were snuggling with our Number One Terrorist for a decade" point in his blog post, after the section that I had quoted above. I had cut and pasted that section in after I had written most of the rest of the post and forgot to give him credit for reaching the same conclusion I did.

Amazing, isn't it, how an idea that seemed so obvious to me and Lane was completely inconceivable to the rest of the mainstream media?

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