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Get Over It! WikiLeaks Is Good For America

The most worrisome disclosures I read involved Pakistan and the macabre dance-step US leaders go through balancing Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. Pakistan needs to keep links with the Taliban in Afghanistan to protect it from India, which the US now wants to put on the UN Security Counsel.

None of the Pakistan revelations are really news; it’s just reading the actual diplomatic cables makes our bizarre commitment to a war in Afghanistan seem that much more wasteful and absurd.

Like MacNamara knew in Viet Nam in the mid-1960s, US leaders no doubt now know their war in Afghanistan is equally doomed. They just have to keep their stories straight and continue to bamboozle the American public into thinking the debacle there is anything but what it really is: A case of saving face on a mission begun nearly a decade ago by the US equivalent to Emperor Nero.

One thing the WikiLeaks revelations do is nicely clear up the brief scandal in September over a video showing Pakistani troops gunning down six young men in blindfolds in the Swat Valley. We learn that the US ambassador knew full well that this kind of summary execution of Pashtun civilians was going on regularly.

US Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson cables the State Department in Washington that such killings are a potential hot potato. Here's her cable:

“Post advises that we avoid comment on these incidents to the extent possible and that efforts remain focused on dialogue and the assistance strategy.” In English that seems to mean, keep the killings from the press and the public and schmooze the Pakistanis to be nicer, while we keep giving them money and weapons so they can keep cutting a bloody swath through the Tribal Areas of northwest Pakistan.

Thus, the cable sheds significant clarity on how things really work in the US war now spilling from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Here’s the process the cable shows:

First, we cajole or pay off the Pakistani military to reluctantly launch a major military assault against their own people in the Tribal Areas because some of those people threaten US soldiers across the border in Afghanistan.

Of course, most Pakistanis hate the United States for just this kind of activity.

When the Pakistani military's indiscriminately violent assault against civilians is revealed publicly, the US is forced to turn on them and criticize them -- lest the home front US public think their leaders had anything to do with the atrocities in the assault they pressured the Pakistanis to undertake.

The fact is, as writer William Polk emphasizes in his brilliant counter-insurgency primer, Violent Politics, all counter-insurgency campaigns necessarily devolve into indiscriminate killing. The United States tries mightily to turn Polk’s truism on its head with humanitarian programs and public relations – but the fact is, to be effective, indiscriminate killing is necessary, something the Pakistanis instinctually know.

Who’s really to blame?

It should be clear to Americans interested in positive, progressive change that, despite the gray areas and any conceivable collateral damage, the WikiLeaks revelations are helpful and positive because they help us better understand what’s being done by the “specialized class” making decisions in our names with our tax resources.

story | by Dr. Radut