US imperialism - Dave Lindorff - Thursday, April 14, 2011

There was a truly bizarre and telling paragraph at the end of a Wall Street Journal news report on Pakistan’s demand that the US bring home hundreds of CIA and Special Forces personnel operating undercover in that country, and that it halt the drone strikes in the border regions abutting Afghanistan, which have been killing countless civilian men, women and children.

Reporters Adam Entous and Matthew Rosenberg, with no sense of irony, wrote: “The US hasn’t committed to adjusting the drone program in response to Pakistan’s request. The CIA operates covertly, meaning the program doesn’t require Islamabad’s support, under US law. Some officials say the CIA operates with relative autonomy in the tribal areas. They played down the level of support they now receive from Pakistan.”

Earlier in the story, in fact in the lead, the article states that Pakistan has ‘privately demanded’ that the CIA halt the drone strikes and pull out most of the CIA and special forces personnel operating in the country. But by the end of the article, we learn that the country is ‘requesting’ a halt to attacks by the US on its own territory and people. But odder is this notion that because the CIA is a covert agency, its operations don’t need Pakistan’s support under US law.

Excuse me for asking, but what exactly does US law have to do with whether or not the CIA needs another government’s support for it to operate in that country legally?

Somehow we’re at a point where even journalists and editors in the US accept without question the notion that the US is somehow free to run military operations anywhere it wants, to kill civilians with impunity, and to ignore demands not just of foreign governments but of the people of entire nations, at will, and that the issue is not whether CIA and special forces activity in a foreign country is legal in that country, but whether it is legal “under US law.” This is the definition of imperialism. It’s what I remember reading about how the Roman Legions behaved in the lands they occupied.

This whole sordid tale in Pakistan came to light because of the outrageous actions of one CIA operative, Raymond Davis, who was arrested and charged with two murders after he slaughtered two young men, apparently operatives of Pakistan’s ISI, on a busy Lahore boulevard.

For all the US hyperventilating against Shariah law in Muslim countries, it was by applying Pakistan’s Shariah Law on the use of death payments to victims’ families that the US got Davis sprung.

But he was not freed before virtually everyone in Pakistan had begun calling for his trial and execution, and not before it became clear that he, and the rest of the US spy army in Pakistan, was actually involved in subverting civil authority in that country. There will eventually come a day of reckoning for this kind of imperial over-reaching.

Already, the US is losing its war in Afghanistan, largely because its imperial legions treat the whole Afghan population either as the enemy, or as obstacles in the way of its killing machine. Already the US is finally being pushed out of Iraq (another war lost). And things aren’t looking that great even for America’s latest imperial adventure in the little country of Libya.

In fact, as our vast and unprecedentedly expensive military bankrupts the nation, we may someday even find our own country being overrun by the armed agents of other lands, with their robotic aircraft bombing our helpless citizenry. When it does finally come to pass, we will have only our own imperial hubris to blame.


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