Friday :: Feb 29, 2008

Pakistan is done with playing Bush's games

by Turkana

That whole democracy thing isn't working out so well in Pakistan- for the Bush Administration, anyway. According to McClatchy Newspapers:

Senior Bush administration officials Thursday said they oppose plans by some Pakistani politicians to open talks with Islamic militants, saying that could lead to a repeat of a failed 2006 peace accord.

That accord "didn't really work," Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte told a Senate committee. U.S. officials say the agreement gave al Qaida and other militant groups breathing space to regroup.

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, the State Department's point man on South Asia, was blunter.

"We've always found that a negotiation that's not backed by a certain amount of force can't really force out the bad guys," Boucher said in an interview on National Public Radio, referring to militants in the Pakistan-Afghanistan border region.

"Ultimately, it's the outcome that matters," he said.

Of course, all outcomes, under Bush favorite Musharraf's regime, led us to where we are today. Which is in need of better outcomes. Which pretty much defines where everything Bush has touched stands, today.

The two parties that triumphed in the Feb. 18 elections for the national parliament, however, have stressed the need for a political — rather than a military — solution to the insurgency.

Also, McClatchy reported on Tuesday that the smaller secular party that won the elections in Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province plans to open talks with local Islamic insurgents allied with al Qaida.

Because, of course, all Bush accomplished in Afghanistan was to allow al Qaeda to escape back into the Pashtun region that straddles the literally randomly chosen border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they have regrouped, grown stronger, and now, with the also resurgent Taliban, grown strong enough to threaten Pakistan, itself.

And even the new, secular regional government wants to negotiate peace with the allies of the people who attacked us on September 11. Because they really have no other option for peace. Again from McClatchy:

The secular party that won last week's elections in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province plans to open peace talks with al Qaida-allied Islamic insurgents, a drastic departure from the military crackdowns that the national army has pursued with U.S. backing for the last five years.

The Awami National Party says army offensives in the tribal region abutting the province have killed, maimed and displaced untold numbers of civilians, driven recruits into the arms of the radicals and helped fuel a surge in suicide bombings and other terrorist attacks across the country.

"The war against terror has failed. So there should be no war," said Haji Mohammad Adeel, one of the party's most senior leaders. "The only solution is peace. We will do it with negotiations, not with bombs, not with guns, not with airstrikes."

To convince militants to quit the insurgency and to weaken the popular support that allows al Qaida to maintain a sanctuary in the region, the party pledges to build clinics, schools, roads and other infrastructure for the area's 3 million desperately poor people.

The party also wants to end the anachronistic, colonial-era system under which the seven Federally Administered Tribal Agencies have been run and fold them into the province, where they'd be subject to Pakistan's political, legal and economic systems.

Which makes sense. Because Bush didn't do the job of catching the bad guys, and the locals no longer care. They care about themselves, and about their own people. As they should. Had Bush not blundered off to destroy Iraq, rather than finishing the job against al Qaeda, perhaps the Pakistanis would feel differently; but they've had enough of the ineptitude that has kept them in the middle of a war zone for more than six years. They want peace. And they know it's not going to come by playing Bush's games. And just to make it even more clear that Bush doesn't actually give a damn about them, the Commander Guy continues to oppose the expressed will of the Pakistani people.

Turkana :: 11:09 AM :: Comments (6) :: Digg It!