America’s Double Game

Night before last, as I lay in bed reading news on my phone, I found myself intrigued by two reports on the ITN app. One had to do with the latest Wikileaks Iraq report and the other had to do with America’s withdrawal of military aid from those units of the Pakistani army that had been accused of human rights violations. In my state of half consciousness, what surprised me was not America’s hypocrisy in war matters but rather, its sheer flaunting of it.

The latest Wikileaks report essentially tells of thousand of civilian deaths at the hands of the US army and also of incidents of torture by the Iraqi Army that the US army willfully ignored.

The American government has strongly condemned the publication of these classified documents. It has also gone a step further and emphasized how the release of this information would be detrimental to the security and safety of the US (and British) troops that are still deployed in the region and that are fighting to win the war against terrorism. The US government has so far not even hinted at looking into the matter. The only promise of an investigation, albeit an elusive one, has come from the British Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg.

The Wikileaks report just reiterates the fact that there are groups within the US government and the US army that place the preservation of human rights second to their own interests- especially human rights in other countries. In the ongoing War on Terror, civilian deaths are almost always labeled as collateral damage and strongly defended. Similarly, the torturing of ‘enemies’ is silently accepted because it is done under the guise of a greater good.

I have a problem with the fact that the US, on one hand, has turned a blind eye to the Iraq human rights abuses because its own military is involved there, and then, on the other hand, it has publicly bashed the Pakistani army for committing the exact same crimes.

Hillary Clinton said this with regards to reports of human rights violations by some units in the Pakistani army, “We take all allegations of human rights abuses seriously, and we discuss them with the government of Pakistan, and we follow the law, and we work with our partners in Pakistan to deal with any issues that come to our attention.”

After reading her statement and then seeing how it contradicts with the reality on ground, I am pushed into believing that these so called ‘allegations’ are taken seriously only when they address issues outside America’s realm of influence. The fact that the US government ignores its own record of human rights abuses and then quickly jumps ahead to give Pakistan a public lashing for the same just proves the duplicity of the situation.

Now, let’s set one thing straight. I am not arguing for or against the $2 billion military aid or its withdrawal from certain units. I am also not saying that human rights violations, especially those committed by the Pakistani army, should be ignored. Certainly not.

All I am saying is that it’s time we question the integrity of all those who are living in a glass house and throwing stones at others. In principle, Americans claim to be the champions of human rights, yet they allow these very violations when it suits them. Long gone are the days when America stood for the rights of the underdogs. Now, it acts just like all other colonial powers did in the past- by showing of power and might.

The withdrawal of this military aid to Pakistan is an obvious political maneuver. It may have to do with asserting pressure on Pakistan to do more, so that in the US mid-term elections, Obama can defend his strategy. It may also be a response to the Wikileaks controversy- a way to silence those that accuse the US of ignoring human rights issues. It plays out perfectly in that regards- Clinton distracts from local problem by bringing attention to the common enemy/ally (Pakistan and its army). Problem at home is brushed aside (or so is hoped). Appropriate action is taken. Equilibrium restored. Everyone goes home happy.

The only problem is that for as long as this War on Terror continues, the US-Pakistan ‘alliance’, no matter how superficial, has to be served and respected. With the passage of time, Pakistan will become more embroiled in internal matters and may not be able to serve its ally status. This combined with the fact that Pakistan also has a tendency to play ‘rogue nation’ (burning of NATO trucks, supporting of militant groups etc), the burden of making this relationship work might just shift to America’s shoulders. When that happens, America would no longer be able to carry on these double games in its war strategy. It would have no choice but to reevaluate its relations with India, its presence in Pakistan and its methods of aid giving.

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