When Christopher made a scathing attack on Pakistan in Vanity Fair, many of his accusations were true, but others crossed the line and diminished the overall credibility of the piece. Still, some of Hitch's best lines are basically true, and emphasize the loathsome and vile nature of the creepy paraphiliacs running the country:
...our blatant manipulation by Pakistan is the most diseased and rotten thing in which the United States has ever involved itself. And it is also, in the grossest way, a violation of our sovereignty. Pakistan routinely—by the dispatch of barely deniable death squads across its borders, to such locations as the Taj Hotel in Mumbai—injures the sovereignty of India as well as Afghanistan. But you might call that a traditional form of violation. In our case, Pakistan ingratiatingly and silkily invites young Americans to one of the vilest and most dangerous regions on earth, there to fight and die as its allies, all the while sharpening a blade for their backs. “The smiler with the knife under the cloak,” as Chaucer phrased it so frigidly. (At our feet, and at our throat: Perfectly symbolic of the underhanded duality between the mercenary and the sycophant was the decision of the Pakistani intelligence services, in revenge for the Abbottabad raid, to disclose the name of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad.)
I have to admit that I visited Pakistan several times in the eighties and nineties and did have both good and bad experiences, actually having a meeting with a man described as the Number Two in ISI, the notorious intelligence apparatus guilty for many of the duplicitous excesses that the Paks commit in their ceaseless veering and swerving across the political and legal landscape to avoid being found out. At least that's the way an elderly minister of the Northwest Frontier Province described Pakistan's plight to me, when in a late-night colloquy. he claimed that the NWFP and Baluchistan were actually going to eventually end up part of Iran and the rump remainder revert back to India. Chris goes on:
This is well beyond humiliation. It makes us a prisoner of the shame, and co-responsible for it. The United States was shamed when it became the Cold War armorer of the Ayub Khan dictatorship in the 1950s and 1960s. It was shamed even more when it supported General Yahya Khan’s mass murder in Bangladesh in 1971: a Muslim-on-Muslim genocide that crashingly demonstrated the utter failure of a state based on a single religion. We were then played for suckers by yet another military boss in the form of General Zia-ul-Haq, who leveraged anti-Communism in Afghanistan into a free pass for the acquisition of nuclear weapons and the open mockery of the nonproliferation treaty. By the start of the millennium, Pakistan had become home to a Walmart of fissile material, traded as far away as Libya and North Korea by the state-subsidized nuclear entrepreneur A. Q. Khan, the country’s nearest approach (which in itself tells you something) to a national hero. Among the scientists working on the project were three named sympathizers of the Taliban. And that gigantic betrayal, too, was uncovered only by chance.
North Korea and Iran both benefited from AQ Khan's Walmartization of nuclear weaponry. But Pakistan has so many unsolved mysteries that stain its historical path from nationhood in 1947 to the virtually pariah status that it has today, as the launching pad for terrorism and, more damningly, its inability to find the murderers of General Zia and Benazir Bhutto in the last quarter century. What kind of country allows the decapitation of a senior politician go by without some cover story? Hitch puts it well:
If we ever ceased to swallow our pride, so I am incessantly told in Washington, then the Pakistani oligarchy might behave even more abysmally than it already does, and the situation deteriorate even further. This stale and superficial argument ignores the awful historical fact that, each time the Pakistani leadership did get worse, or behave worse, it was handsomely rewarded by the United States. We have been the enablers of every stage of that wretched state’s counter-evolution, to the point where it is a serious regional menace and an undisguised ally of our worst enemy, as well as the sworn enemy of some of our best allies. How could it be “worse” if we shifted our alliance and instead embraced India, our only rival in scale as a multi-ethnic and multi-religious democracy, and a nation that contains nearly as many Muslims as Pakistan? How could it be “worse” if we listened to the brave Afghans, like their former intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh, who have been telling us for years that we are fighting the war in the wrong country?
If we continue to deny or avoid this inescapable fact, then we really are dishonoring, as well as further endangering, our exemplary young volunteers. Why was the raid on Abbottabad so rightly called “daring”? Because it had to be conducted under the radar of the Pakistani Air Force, which “scrambled” its jets and would have brought the Black Hawks down if it could. That this is true is bad enough in all conscience. That we should still be submitting ourselves to lectures and admonitions from General Kayani is beyond shameful.
All in all, a pretty damning and well-written condemnation of a country which continues to devolve into an Islamic terror state.
The Wall Street Journal blog piece does include Christine Fair's rebuttal to the Hitch piece. However, note that the following:
His piece commences with a dramatic reference to rape -- not as a crime but as a punishment -- and honor killing. The former refers to the rare, horrific instances where women and girls are subject to sexual assault by, in the words of the author, "tribal and religious kangaroo courts." The latter refers to killing women (and sometimes men) in the name of honor. In this paragraph a complex polity of 180 million -- most of whom condemn both practices -- are essentialized as a barbarous people who embrace the notion that "moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter." This literary amuse bouche foretells the absurdities, fallacies and dubious assertions in the rest of his troubling account of Pakistan's malaise.
does not deny that the above absurd punishments to women almost exclusively, something Ms. Fair omits to mention, often go unpunished. Her use of "amuse bouche" instead of "amuse gueule" can symbolize her avoidance of the vernacular nastiness of Pakistan back to the stable inside-the-beltway politesse that passes for diplomacy nowadays. And Ms. Fair reveals her disingenuous take
According to the USAID Green Book, in 2009, total economic assistance to Pakistan came to $1.35 billion and military assistance totaled $0.429 (for a grand sum of $1.78 billion). In 2009, Pakistan's gross domestic product was $162 billion. Calling this is a dependency is an obvious stretch. (In fairness, I too have been guilty of lapsing into this idiom until I crunched the numbers.)on the totality of US Aid to Pakistan in a single year. I myself helped get the Paks $450 million in military assistance while working at Denis Neill's shop in 1986, by delivering a large six-figure check to John Kerry's office who happened to be the Chairman of the Dem Senatorial Campaign Committee that year. He and buddy Chris Dodd voted along with the GOP minority on the Sen Forn Rel Cte to give the Paks the aid shortly thereafter, and Charlie Wilson thanked me personally for the favor.
I won't go on except to note Ms. Fair's cheap shot at Israel, which reveals her alliance with Islamic lizards against our only true ally in the Middle East. But in the end, Ms. Fair is unable to answer the total subjection of Pak women [I was edified last night by the daughter of an assassinated Pak governor Tahseer who appeared on Rachel Maddow's show. RM commended the daughter for her "bravery" in appearing on US TV because of retaliation back home. I wonder if Ms. Fair has an answer to the Governor's daughter or to the young Christian woman being railroaded to a death sentence by a kangaroo court in Pakistan.]
And it is, knowing him as I do, a bit odd to have Christopher as a moral arbiter, but he is less of a moral leper than Zardari, Bhutto's hapless husband, or the egregious oaf Musharraf. Much as I liked many of the Paki gentlemen I met during my visits there in the late last-century, their country is a virtual hellhole of conflicting and self-destructive elements who are paranoid and a critical mass of potential nuclear disaster at the present moment.