As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Let's Play "Bring Down The Government Of The Nuclear-Armed State"

Another Predator drone attack killed at least 20 in Pakistan, according to early reports. While the US government continues to claim that these strikes are successful, at the very least they anger local populations and provide fuel for extremist organizations like the Taliban, which are already established in much of Pakistan and willing to weaken an already struggling young democratic government.

Given the circumstances, why in God's name would Dianne Feinstein make a statement like this that could increase anger among the disaffected in the country?

A senior U.S. lawmaker said Thursday that unmanned CIA Predator aircraft operating in Pakistan are flown from an air base in that country, a revelation likely to embarrass the Pakistani government and complicate its counter-terrorism collaboration with the United States.

The disclosure by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, marked the first time a U.S. official had publicly commented on where the Predator aircraft patrolling Pakistan take off and land.

At a hearing, Feinstein expressed surprise over Pakistani opposition to the campaign of Predator-launched CIA missile strikes against Islamic extremist targets along Pakistan's northwestern border.

"As I understand it, these are flown out of a Pakistani base," she said.

The basing of the pilotless aircraft in Pakistan suggests a much deeper relationship with the United States on counter-terrorism matters than has been publicly acknowledged. Such an arrangement would be at odds with protests lodged by officials in Islamabad, the capital, and could inflame anti-American sentiment in the country.

The Pakistani government, a nuclear-armed state, is literally fighting for their lives against Taliban forces. They have 120,000 soldiers in the fight. There are extremists and terrorists all over Pakistan - the government is finally acknowledging that the Mumbai attacks were launched from their soil. What can bring down the government in Pakistan quickly is losing the faith and support of the people, who are not disposed to the United States even under President Obama. It's extremely delicate and for Feinstein to make a statement like this, which will be seized on by the Taliban and used to whip up anger against Zardari and his government, is absolutely irresponsible.

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