How do the people of Pakistan feel about raids by US troops on their soil? Do they share Gov Palin’s enthusiasm? Here we see the first rumbles of a response.
About Geo News, per Wikipedia: Geo News is a Dubai based Pakistani news channel, fully owned and run by Jang Group. The channel started its broadcasting in 2005. It is considered as one of the famous news channels of Pakistan with millions of ‘Urdu speaking’ viewers around the world.
“Pakistan Army ordered to hit back“, Pakistan News Service, 12 September 2008
RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Army has been ordered to retaliate against any action by foreign troops inside the country, Geo News quoted ISPR spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas as saying on Thursday night.
Shakil Shaikh adds from Islamabad: Pakistan`s military commanders resolved to defend the country`s borders without allowing any external forces to conduct operations inside Pakistan.
The military commanders expressed this resolve on the first day of the two-day Corps Commanders conference, which began here on Thursday at the General Headquarters. Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired the all-important conference against the backdrop of the new strategic developments taking place in the region.
General Kayani has already rebuffed the American policy of including Pakistani territory in their operations against terrorists and those hiding in the areas bordering Afghanistan. Reports say that the US President Bush has allowed air raids from drones and ground operations in Pakistani areas including FATA.
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has termed General Kayani`s response to the Americans as a true reflection of the government`s policy. The military commanders are understood to have discussed the implications of the American attacks inside Pakistan and took stock of the public feeling.
“In his statement, Genral Kayani has represented the feeling of the entire nation, as random attacks inside Pakistan have angered each and every Pakistani,” said a senior official. As the corps commanders continue their discussion on Friday, the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has supported the Bush administration`s policy of conducting attacks inside Pakistan.
President Zardari is expected to talk to Mr. Brown on this issue during his first visit to Britain next week. Pakistan`s Ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, is also learnt to have already talked to senior security officials in Washington. The latest spate of attacks from drones in Fata has killed many innocent people recently, which has only added to the gravity and complexity of the situation.
Update #1: the importance of sovereignty
The Instapundit raises several important points in his post:
I’m not at all sure these are a good thing, even if Barack Obama does favor the idea. On the other hand, I don’t think they’re an invasion of Pakistan’s “sovereignty,” since the area in question is one in which Pakistan has not exercised sovereignty. Indeed, these areas have been the launching pad for attacks into Afghanistan, and a key attribute of sovereignty is responsibility for preventing such things. So either these areas are only notionally under Pakistan’s sovereignty, and in fact effectively stateless, or Pakistan is turning a blind eye to Taliban and Al Qaeda activities that it could stop if it wanted. Either way, though cross-border attacks may turn out to be unwise, I don’t think the sovereignty argument adds much.
Taking these by the numbers…
(1) All the candidates are enthusiastic about the war in Afghanistan. See stories #3 and #4 at in the following section.
(2) Whether or not Pakistan exercises sovereignty over the border territories is a lawyer’s argument, probably irrelevant to the people of Pakistan. If our actions are an affront to their pride, we may consider their reaction irrational but nonetheless unpleasant. If our border crossings help turn them against the US, historians probably will consider them an idiotic tactic. Consider Bismarck taking Alsace-Lorrain from France after the Franco-Prussian War. While a normal practice for the past 500 years, the rising but irrational sense of French nationalism made this an expensive fruit of victory — paid for millions of times over in the mud of WWI.
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“Punitive Strikes v. Invasion“, Joshua Foust, Registan (“All Central Asia, all the time”), 15 September 2008 — Excerpt:
Pretending the Pakistani government has done nothing about the tribal areas is daft: at American insistence, they have lost nearly 1,000 troops trying to quell the uprising there since 2004-about double what NATO and Coalition nations have lost in Afghanistan since 2001. Though only now, since removing the odious Pervez Musharraf, has the government been trying negotiations not with the militant leaders but the few tribal leaders left alive who are willing to take a stand, these have not been given a chance to succeed. It takes time-during the war against the Faqir of Ipi from 1936-1947, the British had miserable luck even getting the local maliks to tamp down on anti-British violence, though on occasion it worked. But the Faqir was only undermined after Partition, when agitating for a Muslim State became unnecessary.
Other Posts about the candidates’s enthusiasm for war
1. How the Iraq and Vietnam wars are mirror images of each other, 7 February 2008 — Now we have McCain, the leading Republican Presidential candidate, talking of an open-ended commitment to victory in Iraq.
2. A look at the next phase of the Iraq War: 2009-2012, 1 March 2008 — What is next in Iraq? None of the leading candidates have expressed any intention of leaving Iraq – except in the distant and vague future. McCain intends to fight so long as (or until) we suffer few casualties, then stay for a long time (perhaps a hundred years, as McCain said here and here) ). On the other hand, Obama has been quite explicit…
3. How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008 — The Presidential campaign rolls on in the seventh year since 9/11, with the only debate about the Long War being in which nations America should fight. We see this even the speeches of the most “liberal” candidate, Senator Barack Obama.
4. These days all American Presidents are War Presidents (part 2), 13 September
To see the archive of all FM posts: About the candidates for President.
For interesting articles about the candidates from other sources, see About the candidates for President of the United States.
Other posts about our war in Afghanistan (and now Pakistan)
Scorecard #2: How well are we doing in Iraq? Afghanistan?, 31 October 2003
Quote of the day: this is America’s geopolitical strategy in action, 26 February 2008
Another perspective on Afghanistan, a reply to George Friedman, 27 February 2008
How long will all American Presidents be War Presidents?, 21 March 2008
Why are we are fighting in Afghanistan?, 9 April 2008 — A debate with Joshua Foust.
We are withdrawing from Afghanistan, too (eventually), 21 April 2008
More about America’s newest war: in Pakistan, 14 September 2008 — NPR tells us a bit more about the war.
These days all American Presidents are War Presidents (part 2), 12 September 2008
NPR tells us more about America’s newest war, in Pakistan, 14 September 2008