- Peace Garden: Another history lessen ignored

Another history lessen ignored

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Quagmire, Phase 2: The Invasion of Pakistan

The United States has just invaded Cambodia. The name of Cambodia this time is Pakistan, but otherwise it's the same story as in Indochina in 1970. An American army, deeply frustrated by its inability to defeat an anti-American insurgent movement despite years of struggle, decides that the key to victory lies in a neighboring country. In 1970, the problem was the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Cambodia. Today it is Taliban and al-Qaida bases inside Pakistan, which the United States has been attacking from the air for some time, with controversial "collateral damage." George W. Bush has now authorized independent ground assaults on Taliban and al-Qaida targets in Pakistan's Tribal Territories, without consultation with Pakistan authorities. These already have begun.
This follows a period of tension, with some armed clashes, between American and Pakistani military units, the latter defending "Pakistan's national sovereignty." Pakistan public opinion seems largely against "America's war" being fought inside Pakistan. Washington's decision was made known just in time for the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks that opened the first phase of the "war on terror," after which "nothing could ever be the same." We no doubt have now begun phase two.
The eventual outcome of the American intervention in Cambodia in 1970 was Communist overthrow of the American-sponsored military government in that country, followed by genocide. The future consequences in (nuclear-armed) Pakistan await.
Will we ever learn the lesson's from history? Based on the rhetoric and actions of our polticians - I don't think so.

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