Not Licensed to Kill: America's Imperious Attitude in Pakistan is Wearing Thin
There was a truly bizarre and telling paragraph at the end of a Wall Street Journal news report today on Pakistan’s demand that the US bring home hundreds of CIA and Special Forces personnel operating undercover in that country, and that it halt the drone strikes in the border regions abutting Afghanistan, which have been killing countless civilian men, women and children.
Reporters Adam Entous and Matthew Rosenberg, with no sense of irony, wrote:
The US hasn’t committed to adjusting the drone program in response to Pakistan’s request. The CIA operates covertly, meaning the program doesn’t require Islamabad’s support, under US law. Some officials say the CIA operates with relative autonomy in the tribal areas. They played down the level of support they now receive from Pakistan.
Let’s parse this astonishing clip a bit. Earlier in the story, in fact in the lead, the article states that Pakistan has “privately demanded” that the CIA halt the drone strikes and pull out most of the CIA and Special Forces personnel operating in the country. But by the end of the article, we learn that the country is “requesting” a halt to attacks by the US on its own territory and people. But more odd is this notion that because the CIA is a covert agency, its operations don’t need Pakistan’s support under US law.
Excuse me for asking, but what exactly does US law have to do with whether or not the CIA needs another government’s support for it to operate in that country legally?
Let’s turn this Wall Street Journal paragraph around for a minute, in Chomskian fashion. Suppose we had a small army of Canadian intelligence operatives, heavily armed, in our country, conducting a secret war along our border with Mexico, and that they were also directing a campaign of drone attacks against Mexican drug traffickers in the “tribal regions” of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and southern California--a campaign which was leading to the deaths of hundreds of American civilians. Let’s say further that the US government was demanding, or requesting, that Canada stop its drone attacks and bring home its agents and undercover Mounties.
Now read this sentence:
Canada hasn’t committed to adjusting the drone program in response to the US request. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) operates covertly, meaning the program doesn’t require Washington’s support, under Canadian law. Some [Canadian] officials say the CSIS operates with relative autonomy in the US border areas. They played down the level of support they receive from Washington.
Any thoughts on how the Tea Party, the Republican Party, or you yourself would react upon reading such a report in Canada’s Toronto Star or or Globe & Mail?