Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 18, 2008

Confidence in U.S. Statements

Islamabad - Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, visited Pakistan, September 16-17.  During his visit, Admiral Mullen met with Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.
For his part, Admiral Mullen appreciated the positive role that Pakistan is playing in the War on Terror and pledged continued U.S. support to Pakistan.  In this context, Admiral Mullen reiterated the U.S. commitment to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty and to develop further U.S.-Pakistani cooperation and coordination on these critical issues that challenge the security and well-being of the people of both countries.
U.S. Embassy Press Statement, Sept. 17, 2008


At least five people have been killed in a suspected missile attack by a US drone on a village in north-west Pakistan, local officials say.

The officials said missiles hit the village of Baghar in South Waziristan, close to the Afghan border.
At least six people were injured in the attack, according to BBC correspondent Dilawar Khan in the neighbouring North West Frontier Province.
'US drone' kills five in Pakistan, BBC. Sept. 17, 2008

One might assume that Mullen was out of the loop. The Joint Chiefs have been circumvented by the White House on Iraq too. Maybe Cheney even wanted to make the point that Mullen is irrelevant.

Still, it is easy to imagine how this looks for the rest of the world. One can not trust any official U.S. voice anymore. If the top U.S. officer Mullen talks of respect for Pakistani sovereignty while his troops at the same time invade Pakistan, how should can one believe ANY official statement the U.S. makes?

This during the biggest confidence crisis in U.S. dominated financial markets. And no - the issues are not unrelated. The central bankers in China, Pakistan's ally, will notice this.

Press reactions from Pakistan:

Dawn: Drone attack belies Mullen’s assurance: Six killed in S. Waziristan village

The News: Drone attack mocks Mullen’s assurance

Meanwhile, in order to lodge a strong protest over repeated violations of Pakistan airspace by the US drones and carrying out airstrikes in the Ahmadzai Wazirs-inhabited areas of SWA, a grand tribal jirga of nine sub-tribes of Ahmadzai Wazirs held its meeting in Wana's main Rustam Bazaar where they raised a tribal Lashkar to defend their frontiers with Afghanistan. They threatened to scrap the peace deal with the government if it failed in stopping the US attacks.

Former JUI-F MNA from South Waziristan, Maulana Noor Mohammad chaired the jirga, where around 1,000 tribal elders and tribesmen were present.
The jirga announced that eight million tribesmen from tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan would voluntarily fight alongside their armed forces if the US dared to attack the tribal regions.

The Ahmadzai Wazirs on the occasion announced raising a 400-member tribal Lashkar that would be deployed at the border with Afghanistan to safeguard Pakistan's frontiers against foreign forces.

Dawn Editorial:

The fact is American strikes inside Pakistan are a terrible idea. US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher has said the whole Pakistani state apparatus must line up behind the goal of beating the terrorists and stabilising Pakistan. Unfortunately, the Americans giving the terrorists a beating on Pakistani soil will do anything but stabilise Pakistan — and all but guarantees that even fewer Pakistanis will accept that our own army beating the terrorists is a good idea either.

No doubt President Zardari and everyone down the de facto hierarchy of civilian power are new in office and faced with an extraordinary crisis. However, the president appears to have frozen in the face of an American onslaught. Mr Zardari must now use his speech before a joint sitting of parliament to explain his plan for defeating militancy — and keeping the Americans at bay.

If the U.S. keeps on with these attacks within Pakistan, Zardari will be replaced in a new coup by the military. That could well mean war between Pakistan and India which just moved nuclear capable jets into Kashmir.

Cheney/Bush are playing with deadly fire here. Not only with regard to war in Pakistan, but also through the general mistrust against the U.S. that is generated through these lunatic actions. The bill for that just starts to come through.

Posted by b on September 18, 2008 at 9:42 UTC | Permalink


Jeeze, b, I am amazed how you find these things!

How a sentient being could play with this kind of fire is beyond my understanding. What you refer to here could result is some real serious shit coming down the tube.

If elements in Pak military and security judge that their special connection to the United State of Arrogance is no longer valid... anything is possible, including the A-option.

If it was revealed that our leaders were puppets controlled by monster lizards from an evil galaxy, I wouldn't be surprised.

Posted by: Chuck Cliff | Sep 18 2008 10:22 utc | 1

So now we're invading "Nc-Clar" Powers. How nice. And I was having a quiet morning for once.

But as for the claim about Vice President Ogre....

Link to Alien Alert and It Ain't Lou Dobbs

Posted by: Diogenes | Sep 18 2008 11:40 utc | 2

Last night the beeb reported Mullen's comments as something like "He re-iterated Pakistan's sovereignty as being of prime importance and guaranteed no further ground attacks without Pakistan government approval".
I remember thinking how pointless that was since the biggest problem has been the murder of Pakistanis by repeated acts of amerikan terrorism by air.
It also seemed to me that amerikan empire is redefining sovereignty to just "putting your boots on the ground".
They consider they have an absolute right to go into any airspace anywhere and do as they like up to and including murder.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 18 2008 11:49 utc | 3

Has Gates gone nuts? Yes, there is need for a unified command in Afghanistan (to get out in some regular way). But the solution is certainly not to have all foreign troops under U.S. command. The solution is to have all troops in Afghanistan under NATO command.

US seeking sole command of Nato's war against the Taliban

The Bush administration is pushing for sweeping changes to the military command structure in Afghanistan, so that the head of international forces would report directly to US Central Command instead of Nato.

The changes would have huge repercussions for Nato, whose officials have stated that Afghanistan is a "defining moment" for the organisation's ability to conduct large-scale operations abroad.

The Independent has learnt that the proposal to streamline the complex chain of command, enabling US General David McKiernan to be answerable to superiors at Centcom in Tampa, Florida, rather than Nato, is before Robert Gates, the American Defence Secretary.

Posted by: b | Sep 18 2008 12:10 utc | 4

Yeah sure, Canadians and Europeans will gladly put their troops under Centcom control.

If NATO isn't good enough to lead in Afghanistan, why make such a fuss about including Georgia and Ukraine in it? And why would any nation be part of it?

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Sep 18 2008 12:19 utc | 5

The Pakistanis keep threatening military retaliation and they're starting to look rather silly. You quite rightly pointed out that all this is really bad for Zardari. It's been a long struggle to reassert some degree of democracy, at the very least civilian rule instead of military. Maybe the Americans aren't actually too keen on that idea, after all, they can't be serious about fighting 'terrorists' in Pakistan, that is a hopeless mission. You'd think they'd have their hands full in Afghan right now anyway.

Recently it really seems like the Americans are intent on starting World War III. It can't all be explained away by incompetence.

Posted by: Ed | Sep 18 2008 12:29 utc | 6

You have to tip your hat to Russia, don't you? They are fracturing NATO's solidarity and resolve with their tough stand in Georgia. This latest act in Afghanistan by the U.S. supports that possibility.

Posted by: Andropov | Sep 18 2008 12:33 utc | 7

This Gareth Porter analysis at is a good complement to b's observations here.

Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Sep 18 2008 12:45 utc | 8

Oh and one more thing, isn't this a gross and repeated violation of Pakistan's sovereignty? But weren't those the same people giving the Russians a stern talking to about the inviolable principle of territorial integrity and so on? It's just unbelievable.

Posted by: | Sep 18 2008 12:48 utc | 9

getting the pakistani army to stage a coup is exactly the plan (actually a much more desirable option). the first step was to install a weak, un-popular puppet govt. and get them to deliver on strategic issues via remote control. then if that does not work, if mass unrest breaks out ultimately leading to major destabilization or the army carries out a swift coup in-order to contain the situation. label the state as failed/on verge of al-qaeda takeover/terrorist etc etc and go in for the nukes and de-fang them. this is the aim of isreal-india in supporting the us regionally. infact forcing the us hand. what the us gets out of this? getting rid of a pesky trouble maker who has the ability to rock the new axis the us is trying to create in the region. and also at the same time throw a direct challenge to china and russia.

will they succeed?

note that pakistan army coas gen. kyani will be visting china on a 5 day tour starting sept 22nd. this will coincide with zardari's visit to new york. note that last week zardari canceled a planned visit to china and went and met with gordon brown instead.

it is my gut feeling that china is about to radically change its policy in this region. the days of its non-confrontational approach are numbered, and it is going to act directly where its interests are being actively challenged.

given the turmoil in its financial system what is the ability of the us to open a new theater of confrontation with china-russia? will they negotiate with china over pakistan or head towards a showdown?

also expect massive political unrest in pakistan in the short term mainly due to the govt (and politicians) total failure to control the economic slide. how would the army handle this? in my openion, after massive public rioting the the army will move in to impose martial law, scrap the constitution and liquidate the present political leadership and the us assets in the media (for whose heads the people will be calling for anyway by that time). if the army is supported by china (willing to stabilize the economy in the aftermath), i dont see much success for the us strategy.

Posted by: a | Sep 18 2008 16:09 utc | 10

label the state as failed/on verge of al-qaeda takeover/terrorist etc etc and go in for the nukes and de-fang them.

Exactly. There is good reason for Pakistan's paranoia on India and the U.S. which is now allying with it.

Via FLC - An Indian 'neocon' in the Indian Defense Review: Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest

Many conveniently propose the myth that a stable Pakistan is in India’s favour. This is a false proposition.

The truth is that Pakistan is bad news for the Indian Union since 1947-stable or otherwise.
If ever the national interests are defined with clarity and prioritised, the foremost threat to the Union (and for centuries before) materialised on the western periphery, continuously. To defend this key threat to the Union, New Delhi should extend its influence through export of both, soft and hard power towards Central Asia from where invasions have been mounted over centuries. Cessation of Pakistan as a state facilitates furtherance of this pivotal national objective.

The self-destructive path that Islamabad chose will either splinter the state into many parts or it will wither away-a case of natural progression to its logical conclusion. In either case Baluchistan will achieve independence. For New Delhi this opens a window of opportunity to ensure that the Gwadar port does not fall into the hands of the Chinese. In this, there is synergy between the political objectives of the Americans and the Indians. Our existing goodwill in Baluchistan requires intelligent leveraging.

Sindh and most of the non-Punjabi areas of Pakistan will be our new friends.

Pakistan’s breakup will be a major setback to the Jihad Factory, as the core of this is located in Pakistan, and functions with the help of its army and the ISI. This in turn will ease pressures on India and the international community.

Posted by: b | Sep 18 2008 16:41 utc | 11

That could well mean war between Pakistan and India which just moved nuclear capable jets into Kashmir.

That was gratuitous. Rational thought on the usage of nuclear weapons is not the prerogative of western countries who know who, when and how to use it against. (and it's 2-0 so far on civilian populations in Japan)

I'm pretty sure you did not mean it that way but let's clarify a few things about the escalation as you see it.

India has/is been trying to de-hypenate itself from Pakistan, as in "India-Pakistan issues" thoughts in the west. India sees China as a bigger issue over a number of fronts than Pakistan. Pakistan has about 10B $ in reserves while India has about 10 times as much. So, purely on economics, Pakistan bleeds faster than India in case of war. And there are rational actors on both sides.

Almost all the actions are aimed at China. See this Yahoo news story?

The mad race to arms is partly 2 things. One is self defence and other is the china containment policy of the USA by suddenly selling arms to India. As a proxy to the USA, the stupid GoI thinks it has a friend in the USA when it is a one way, sacrificial vassal state.

The last I heard, the Jaguars were the ones integrated for nuclear weapons delivery. Being "delivery capable" is one thing and actually having the integration done to do it is different, isn't it?

Belabouring the point again, that was scaremongering on the nuclear front. War is frightening, this one doubly so.

Posted by: shanks | Sep 18 2008 17:01 utc | 12

Andropov @7. I don't think Russia had to do very much at all to cause the current & ongoing splintering of NATO. That has been the Bush administration's accomplishment-- first with the decision to invade Iraq (remember that one?) and then with the idea to have an explicit NATO role in Afghanistan.

Time was (1990s), many US analysts would scratch their heads and say "NATO has to go 'out of area' or out of business." (That, because there was no Cold War rationale for it any more.) Now we have seen that sending it out of area is sending it out of business faster than anything else.

If it is not a defensive alliance of likeminded nations, what is it? H'mmm.

Posted by: Helena Cobban | Sep 18 2008 18:26 utc | 13

Fair point, Helena, but in the least, then, surely Russia exploited that weakening with its asserive stance in Georgia. More exploitation to come, I'm sure, as the U.S. attempts to encircle Russia and China.

Posted by: Andropov | Sep 18 2008 18:47 utc | 14

Pakistan Reverses 9/11 Appeasement by Ahmed Quraishi.


In case of conflict, Washington is expected to signal to India to open a front in the east in order to divert Pakistani military resources. Intelligence assets that have been planted inside Pakistan with links in Afghanistan will be activated and will possibly try to ratchet up the campaign of public terror in order to spread chaos and exert pressure on Pakistan military. More Chinese targets can be attacked or killed in order to strain ties between Beijing and Islamabad.

But Pakistan is not without options. In fact, the Pakistani position is stronger than what it appears to be. Islamabad can activate old contacts with a resurgent and rising Afghan Taliban inside Afghanistan. The entire Pakistani tribal belt will seize this opportunity to fight the Americans. The attempts to divide Pakistanis along sectarian lines have failed and the Americans cannot expect to repeat what they did in Iraq in March 2003. Pakistanis will fight and resist. There is a possibility that Pakistani tribesmen could cross the border in large numbers using secret routes to dodge aerial bombardment and join the Afghan Taliban and find their way to Kabul. The misguided ‘Pakistani Taliban’ who appear to be operating as an extension of U.S. military in Afghanistan will also come under pressure of the tribesmen and will be forced to target the occupation forces instead of fighting the Pakistani government.

Washington might be tempted by the idea of signaling to the Indians to engage Pakistan from the east. But the fact is that the Indian army has a dangerous rebellion on its hands in the valley. By opening a front with Pakistan, Indian soldiers will have to protect their front and rear simultaneously. The Pakistani military has contingency plans for dealing with hostilities on two fronts.

But the situation between Islamabad and Washington does not have to come to this. Islamabad can help tip the scales in Washington against the hawks who want a war with Pakistan. Not all parts of the U.S. government accept this idea and this must be exploited. Pakistan must make it clear that it will retaliate. Statements like that of Prime Minister Gilani must be stopped. His statement virtually damaged the psychological effect of army chief’s warning.

U.S. military posturing aside, Washington has recently seen a string of diplomatic defeats. Russia has cut American meddling in Georgia to size. In Iraq, a coalition of Shiite parties is forcing the Americans to leave the country. Bolivia and Venezuela have expelled U.S. ambassadors, and, in Bolivia’s case, the world has suddenly become alert to Washington’s meddling in that country’s politics and the role of the U.S. ambassador in fueling separatism. Which is not very different from the U.S. role inside Pakistan, where U.S. diplomats have created political chaos by directly engaging the politicians, coupled with creating and feeding insurgencies to weaken the country.


Posted by: a | Sep 19 2008 7:53 utc | 15

....liquidate the present political leadership and the us assets in the media (for whose heads the people will be calling for anyway by that time).

falls asleep.
sweet dreams.

Posted by: fool | Sep 19 2008 9:41 utc | 16

This is priceless btw.

Pakistan Invades America — “Without Permission”

Posted by: fool | Sep 19 2008 9:52 utc | 17

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