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COMMENTARY: Pakistan is Urdu for Cambodia

U.S. attacks on Pakistan
using missiles fired from remote-controlled “drone” warplanes have been
increasing under President Obama.

These covert
bombings often kill civilians in violation of the law of war. Even when
the missiles somehow blow up targeted individuals, they kill mere
suspects.
The U.S. denies that its Green Berets, Navy Seals and CIA
assassination squads are waging war in Pakistan from bases in
neighboring Afghanistan, but the Pentagon has long wanted to expand its
regional war there to attack suspected militants — much like President
Richard Nixon secretly bombed and then sent thousands of soldiers into
Cambodia.
The Pakistani government repeatedly objects to the U.S. Air Force’s
missile attacks, and the junta in Islamabad has condemned the bombings
as a blatant violation of its sovereignty.
Now the New York Times has quoted unnamed U.S. officials who
are urging the expansion of the war to include the use of secret death
squads, euphemistically called “Special Forces,” in raids directly into
Pakistan, a country with which the U.S. is not at war. As the Times
noted, the clandestine U.S. “war in Pakistan has for the most part been
carried out by armed drones operated by the CIA” and controlled from
Creech Air Force Base in Arizona.
Invasions using soldiers — attempted earlier with disastrous results
which included the murder of both civilian Pakistanis and Pakistani
police forces – would also violate the Charter of the United Nations
and the Geneva Conventions which prohibit all military aggression and
all attacks on civilians or civilian objects.
In support of a wider war on Pakistan, U.S. military commanders told the Times
that using its “special operations” soldiers “could bring an
intelligence windfall, if militants were captured, brought back across
the border into Afghanistan and interrogated.” Considering the
documented torture of prisoners by U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan,
Guantanamo and in secret prisons elsewhere, this language should send
chills down everyone’s back and cause a public uproar.
Retired U.S. Army Col. Ann Wright says it’s dangerous for the
U.S. (not just Obama) to attack Pakistan and that, with Pakistan’s
nuclear arsenal, the vulnerability of warheads and production reactors
raises potentially catastrophic risks.
“Reports that U.S. Special Forces are actually operating in covert
missions in Pakistan are very worrisome,” she says. “This latest New
York Times article is kind of confirming what was known and it is a
very dangerous situation for the U.S. to be getting into.”
Nixon launched his bombing and invasion of Cambodia without the
knowledge or consent of Congress — a criminal act which later became
one of the Articles of Impeachment adopted by the House of Representatives.
As satirist Dave Lippman says, Afghanistan may not be Farsi for
Vietnam, but Pakistan is Urdu for Cambodia. President Obama would do
well to consider the history of U.S. military defeats, or he could end
up outdoing Nixon as the president most reviled/most impeached.

John LaForge is on the staff of Nukewatch,
a nuclear watchdog group in Wisconsin, and edits its Quarterly
newsletter. This commentary was distributed by Peacevoice.

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