Friday, October 24, 2008

Pakistan says no to America's war

The Pakistani Parliament has voted unanimously for a resolution calling on the government to end military action against the Taliban in its tribal areas, and instead try to negotiate with them. It's a stunning rejection of America's war, which puts Pakistan's interests - notably its interest in not having to fight a US-provoked civil war - first.

Predictably, the US is not happy with this outbreak of democracy:

Yesterday a US official made clear what it expected. "Pakistan needs to and is attacking insurgents in its northern areas," Patrick Moon, a deputy US assistant secretary of state, said during a visit to Kabul. "Sanctuaries for Afghanistan Taliban in Pakistan complicate our security operations. Pakistani Taliban and other extremists such as al-Qaida are posing a threat to the stability of Pakistan."
I don't think the Pakistani Parliament disagrees on the threat at all; what they disagree about is the solution. The idea that guerrilla wars are won by exterminating all the "evildoers" (or school students, as the case may be) is simply a US fantasy, born of too many cowboy movies and a latent appetite for genocide. At the end of the day, when the US has gone home, Pakistanis will have to share the same country with the people the US has been fighting. And the only way to do that is by negotiation and finding a way to live with one another.