In Lefty world, it matters not what’s being done; the only thing that matters is whether a Leftist does it

Back in 2004, when George Bush was president, Michael Moore compared al Qaeda terrorists to American Minutemen:

The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win.

Moore’s shallow brain and inadequate education left him incapable of distinguishing between people who fight for individual liberty and people who fight for world domination and mass slavery.  He’ll root for sadistic murderers as long as they’re anti-capitalists.  He has no sympathy for people like Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, Wesley Batalona, Scott Helvenston, Jerry Zovko, or Michael Teague.

Back then, Moore was not alone.  You’ll recall that he spoke for a vociferous, angry, and large percentage of Americans who vigorously opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — wars that Bush began with both Congressional and NATO approval — because we were a big mean bully harming innocent Iraqi women and children as part of our sadistic and delusional war against some amorphous “terror” thangy.  Buoyed up by a tide of anti-War righteousness, Britain’s left-wing Lancet, once a respectable medical publication, posited that Americans had killed 650,000 Iraqi civilians, a report that was quickly debunked.

The debunking, of course, didn’t stop the antiwar uproar that had Americans taking to the streets with great regularity denouncing Bush as a Hitler-esque war criminal, and calling American troops baby killers.  Underpinning all of this antiwar fervor was the Lefts’ contention that terrorists were not a problem, that we just needed to show them a little understanding, and that Bush was grossly overreacting by taking the battle to the terrorists themselves.

Fast forward to 2012.  Stories are starting to appear in the U.S. press saying that Obama’s drone attacks — each of which he allegedly approves personally, after carefully selecting the target he wants dead — are killing and wounding thousands of civilians, including women and children, in Pakistan:

U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan have killed far more people than the United States has acknowledged, have traumatized innocent residents and largely been ineffective, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The study by Stanford Law School and New York University’s School of Law calls for a re-evaluation of the practice, saying the number of “high-level” targets killed as a percentage of total casualties is extremely low — about 2%.

[snip]

“TBIJ reports that from June 2004 through mid-September 2012, available data indicate that drone strikes killed 2,562 – 3,325 people in Pakistan, of whom 474 – 881 were civilians, including 176 children. TBIJ reports that these strikes also injured an additional 1,228 – 1,362 individuals,” according to the Stanford/NYU study.

Based on interviews with witnesses, victims and experts, the report accuses the CIA of “double-striking” a target, moments after the initial hit, thereby killing first responders.

Did I mention that we’re not at war with Pakistan?  Indeed, it’s nominally still an ally of ours in the war against Islamic terrorists.  That hasn’t stopped Obama.  What’s worse is, that aside from a few Leftists who are unwilling to tolerate any sort of American actions against terrorists (which is a principled stand, even if often a foolish one), Progressives, Democrats, and other people on the Left are not only quiet about this, they think it’s a good thing.

On my Facebook page, I did I quick post drawing people’s attention to these drone strikes, and highlighting the huge number of collateral deaths occurring, not just on Obama’s watch, but under his direct orders.  The responses I received from my liberal friends surprised me.  Really surprised me.  I will not quote them verbatim, because I haven’t asked for permission to do so (and won’t ask), but I can accurately summarize them as follows, simply by rephrasing people’s actual words:

What can we do?  We can’t negotiate with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.  If they’re hiding among civilians, innocent people are going to get killed, but that fact alone can’t stop us from going after the bad guys.  I hate that this killing is happening, but better that their kids die from drone strikes, than that our American children die in terrorist attacks.  I’m totally liberal, but I’m a pragmatist when it comes to the fact that Obama is doing a job that needs to be done, and everyone who criticizes him is a whiner who hates him.

So, to recap:  Al Qaeda kills 2,996 Americans, and boasts about it.  George Bush gets credible information that Saddam Hussein is seeking to build a nuclear weapon, and that he is funding, sponsoring, training, etc., Al Qaeda terrorists.  Bush also gets credible information that the Taliban regime in Afghanistan is doing the same, except for the nuclear weapon part.  Only much later do we learn that Hussein’s nuclear weapons program may not have been as advanced as originally thought, with the misinformation in large part originating with Hussein himself, as he tried to portray himself as a regional strong man.  Armed with this information, Bush is able to create a coalition of many nations and to get Congressional approval to wage war against nations that host and aid Al Qaeda.

The argument from conservatives was and is that (1) al Qaeda declared war on us; (2) because it has no nation of its own, the only thing we can do is attack it in those countries that willingly and generously support it; and (3) if al Qaeda chooses to use innocents as shields that proves how depraved al Qaeda is, but cannot stop us in our righteous fights against true evil doers.  Incidentally, this is also the same argument that Israel and her supporters make:  Israel has repeatedly made concessions in order to get peace; Palestinians have made it plain that their sole goal is Israel’s destruction; and the high numbers of fatalities amongst women and children occur because Palestinians are evil enough to use innocents as their shields.

Throughout the Bush years, that argument was unpersuasive to the Left.  Now that we have a Leftist president, though, one who personally picks the day’s target in an allied country, and who supports a policy that inevitably kills innocents who are not even in a combat zone, everything is suddenly hunky-dorey.  It’s all good because Obama is doing it.

I find this sickening.  It bespeaks a moral vacuum that has no boundaries.  Leftists are incapable of clearing away the ideological brush and focusing on core moral issues.  The only core moral issue is Leftism.  You’re either for it or you’re against it.  If a conservative does things, they’re bad; if a Leftist does things that are infinitely worse, and illegal, they’re fully justified.  Just sickening.

 

The beginning of the end of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship

It seems we’ve propped up Pakistan long enough.  It’s no longer a duplicitous ally.  Instead, as Islamists have penetrated further and further into its political and military ranks, it’s now becoming an active enemy:

On Thursday, Adm. Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee that Pakistan was using ‘violent extremism as an instrument of policy’ and said the Haqqani network, Af-Pak’s deadliest militant outfit, ‘acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Internal Services Intelligence Agency.’ Mullen further explained that Pakistan was using militant proxies to ‘hedge their bets’ in Afghanistan, adding, ‘in reality, they have already lost that bet.’ To be sure, independent analysts and former government officials have been airing such complaints for years. But never in the long, dark history of the Afghan war have serving officials so unequivocally called Pakistan to account for its double game.

You can see the rest here.

This rupture was inevitable.  If the U.S.-Pakistan had been bride and groom, they would long ago have been featured in a “Can this marriage be saved” column, along with sage advice that, no, it cannot.  An open rift will, of course, impose significant tactical and strategic changes on our military, but I have great faith in our military’s adaptability.  And indeed, with Obama at the helm for another 15 or so months, the Pakistan situation may be the least of our military’s problems.

Prayers for Raymond Davis

He’s not in a uniform, but Raymond A. Davis, former Special Forces soldier, and current CIA operator and prisoner in Pakistan is a soldier for American interests.  Our own government has admitted that he “was part of a covert, C.I.A.-led team collecting intelligence and conducting surveillance on militant groups deep inside the country.”  When he was attacked as part of a robbery, he fired on the robbers, killing both.

The New York Times also reports that this may not have been a straight forward robbery.  The implication is that Davis blatantly committed a crime.  My suspicion, if it wasn’t a garden-variety robbery, is that Davis was attacked as part of his line of work.

When help finally came Davis’ way, the driver of the rescue vehicle managed to run over another Pakistani.  Davis, who theoretically has diplomatic immunity, found himself arrested, thrown into a Pakistani prison, and made a cause celebre to the radicals and credulous street in Pakistan.

The Pakistani government, which has known all along about his CIA affiliation, is now hamstrung by the radicals on the street.  They want Davis dead, and Pakistan is afraid of those radicals.  However, given that Davis has diplomatic immunity, killing him is a problem.

Davis, of course, is in an even worse situation than the Pakistani government.  He’s in a Pakistani prison, and has to hope that the government, to make its own life easier, doesn’t simply turn its back and allow a lynch mob in.

In a spy movie, the Americans and Pakistanis would arrange for Davis to be snuck out of the country, with no one the wiser.  This isn’t a spy movie, though, and I don’t think there’s enough competence between the two countries right now to arrange for a “no one the wiser” scenario.  It seems, right now, as if Davis’ best hope is prayer — which he certainly deserves for repeatedly putting himself on the line in the service of this country.

PC toilets coming your way soon

Several years ago, my family and I visited Pompeii, which is one of the most wondrous tourist destinations in the world.  To maximize our experience, we hired a highly recommended guide who walked us over the grounds, explaining everything before us.  This guide’s particular passion was plumbing.  He had no words for the wonders of Roman plumbing, many of which are still visible in Pompeii, and the European tragedy that saw this sophisticated plumbing disappear for around 1800 years.  This was also a British tragedy, since England had once enjoyed the benefits of Roman plumbing, only to forget that benefit for centuries, along with the rest of the European world.

I am certainly a fan of modern plumbing.  Indeed, when I lived in England thirty years ago, one of the things that stamped it as a civilized country in my mind was the fact that, no matter where one went, one could find clean, functioning public toilets.  (We will ignore, for purposes of this post, the execrable toilet paper that accompanied that lovely plumbing.)  For a tourist with a small bladder, this was a very big deal.

Perhaps I shouldn’t have been so surprised by England’s heightened appreciation for clean toilets.  After all, Thomas Crapper, the father of the modern toilet, was a British subject.  Although he may not have invented the modern flush toilet, it was he who brought it to the masses, allowing people to break free from chamber pots that needed to be emptied by hand (usually into the street) or squalid pit toilets in smelly back yards.

Sadly, however, England seems to be retreating to a pre-modern era when it comes to plumbing.  In order to accommodate the overwhelmingly delicate sensibilities of new immigrants who have not, in their home countries, enjoyed the blessings of modern plumbing, at least one major commercial outlet in Britain has installed pit toilets, over which one squats, rather than our nice, Western-style thrones:

For centuries, the great British loo has been a matter of envy to the rest of the world.

Thanks to the efforts of pioneers like the legendary Thomas Crapper, we have long since led the world in comfort and hygiene.

Now, however, that could be about to change.

For most of us, the squat toilet is nothing more than a staple of horror stories about old-fashioned French service stations or the exploits of adventurous backpackers in far-flung parts of India.

But this basic form of plumbing, also known as a Turkish toilet or Nile pan, could be coming to a shopping centre near you – and all in the name of cultural sensitivity.

From next week, shoppers in Rochdale who push open the cubicle door expecting the reassuring sight of a modern, clean lavatory could instead be faced with little more than a hole in the ground.

Bosses of the Greater Manchester town’s Exchange mall have installed two as part of an upgrade costing several thousand pounds after attending a cultural awareness course run by a local Muslim community activist.

A familiar sight in parts of the Middle East, and still sometimes seen in France and Italy, the toilets require users to squat above them, rather than sitting.

With one in ten of Rochdale’s population of Pakistani or Bangladeshi origin, centre managers say they have been told some members of the local Asian community prefer them for cultural reasons.

You can read more on this cultural regression here.

I continue to believe that, when immigrants arrive legally in a new country, they should have made available to them all the opportunities that country affords, that they should not be subject to discrimination because of their immigrant status and that, in the privacy of their own homes and the comforts of their own communities, they should be allowed to surround themselves with the trappings of their home culture, if they so desire.

I have never believed, however, that the destination country should be forced by political correctness to re-make itself into a reasonable simulacrum of the country left behind.  After all, I have to assume immigrants move for a reason, which reason, presumably, is that the destination country offers opportunities denied them in their homeland.  To turn England into a primitive Pakistani village is ludicrous, and offensive both to the British themselves and to those immigrants who genuinely sought a new life in a new culture.

Excerpts of Obama’s speech indicate he will do the right thing for the wrong reasons *UPDATED*

As I write this, Obama hasn’t spoken yet, but he has released excerpts from his speech.  These are my first thoughts on his words:

“The 30,000 additional troops that I am announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 – the fastest pace possible – so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They will increase our ability to train competent Afghan Security Forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.” [This is good.  This is what Obama needed to do.  It's one thing as a candidate to demand that the sitting president lose the war.  It's another thing entirely for the former-candidate, now-president to preside over another 1975.  Having spent ten, agonizing, demoralizing months trying to figure this one out, Obama is finally doing the right thing.]

“Because this is an international effort, I have asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we are confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. Now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what’s at stake is not simply a test of NATO’s credibility – what’s at stake is the security of our Allies, and the common security of the world.”  [Is it just me, or did Obama completely avoid that old-fashioned word "victory" or that nice little phrase "win the war"?  Obama is such a Leftist he really cannot contemplate the possibility of a "we win, you lose" scenario.  To him, success is manifestly a way out, victory or not (and see the next paragraph to get what I mean).  Also, unless Obama expands upon it in his speech tonight, he's said nothing about the nature of the threat against us.  To say that "security" is "at stake" is meaningless without explaining who the enemy is, and what an enemy victory means.  Given the Islamists' willingness to spell out in words of one syllable their plans regarding the West, Obama should be able to articulate the danger they pose.  Again, he simply can't seem to make himself say certain words:  "The Taliban, a fundamentalist branch of Islam that sheltered and trained the terrorists who killed more than 3,000 Americans on 9/11, is resurgent and spreading.  It must be cut out, root and branch, in order to ensure that its members' willingness to attack us directly, and indirectly (by taking over our allies, such as Pakistan), is destroyed."  See?  It's simple -- but not for Obama.]

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.”  [Here's the kicker to the two preceding paragraphs.  Obama is not in this for victory against a determined and violent enemy that has already attacked America and Europe and that continues to threaten to West's security.  Instead, he's adding troops as a predicate to an orderly retreat.  He doesn't want to win.  He wants to escape.  Obama has also done something incredibly stupid by announcing his date of departure.  If I were the Taliban, I'd simply retreat into caves for a couple of years, wait for Americans to withdraw, and then return to the field.  Obama should announce that U.S. and allied forces will depart when the war against the Taliban has achieved certain milestones, not when a specific date hits on the calendar.]

Bottom line: Obama’s doing the right thing (thank God), but for the wrong reasons. The question is whether our strong and determined American military can achieve victory when the Commander in Chief (a) refuses to name the enemy and is afraid of the “V” word and (b) has given the enemy a specific time line, after which they are free to pursue their theocratic totalitarian goals?

UPDATE:  Well, the speech is over and done now.  I gather that Obama did spell out more clearly what the threat actually is, but for the most part that he tracked along the excerpts I discussed above.  I also gather that I, although unversed in military strategy, pretty much caught onto the myriad flaws in the approach.  Otherwise, how could I have tracked so closely with Steve Schippert’s informed analysis?

I’ve figured out who is responsible for Bhutto’s assassination

There’s been a lot of finger pointing in the few days since Bhutto’s assassination. John Edwards blamed George Bush. Mike Huckabee went so far as to blame the entire United States, apologizing on our behalf. Robert Novak thinks the United States is also to blame for the fact that it neither provided security nor did it push Musharraf to provide strong security for Bhutto. The Pakistani military might have been involved. Mark Steyn hints delicately that Bhutto’s own courage and foolhardiness may be to blame — something that is supported by the fact that, despite two prior assassination attempts, she voluntarily made herself a target by sticking it out of the top of her car, which placed her in a situation beyond protection. Al Qaeda has offered itself as a probable suspect, a claim Pakistan has hastened to endorse.

I think these assignments of blame are all too facile. I think the fault lies with the British. You see, in 1947, when the British withdrew from their Indian Empire, they acceded to Islamic demand that they create an Islamic nation — and, voila, Pakistan was born. The partition process had attendant upon it incredible violence and, as the Literary Encyclopedia (a nice source) notes, this initial violent rift seemed to set a template for the region in the next sixty years:

An estimated half a million people perished while seventeen million people were forced to move across the freshly demarcated frontiers of India and Pakistan. The blood-stained legacy of 1947 has cast an enduring shadow on inter-state relations and domestic politics in post-colonial South Asia. There are few burning issues in the subcontinent which cannot be traced, directly or indirectly, to the fateful moment when the British struck the partitioner’s axe. India and Pakistan have fought two full-scale wars over the former north Indian princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. An undeclared war, also over Kashmir, following nuclear tests by both countries in May 1998, resulted in a deadly standoff in the Kargil heights during the summer of 1999. An earlier war in 1971, preceded by a civil war in which Muslims slaughtered Muslims, led to Indian intervention and the breaking away of Bangladesh. The rise of religious majoritarianism in secular India – highlighted by the razing of a sixteenth-century mosque by Hindu militants in December 1992 and the systematic brutalization of Muslims in Gujarat in 2002 – is rooted in partition, as is Pakistan’s drift towards a militant and bigoted form of Islam, a by-product of its efforts to espouse an ideology in contradistinction to India’s secular identity.

Not only did it set a template, of course, but it turned Pakistan into a swirling soup of Islamic (and other) malcontent. As is so often the case, Mark Steyn, in taking apart Bill Richardson’s silly pronouncement that we should just set up a representative government in Pakistan, points out the core problems with Pakistan:

But, since Governor Bill Richardson brought it up, it’s worth considering what exactly “the interests of the U.S.” are in Pakistan. The most immediate interest is in preventing the country’s tribal lands from becoming this decade’s Afghanistan – a huge Camp Osama graduating jihadist alumni from all over the world. That ship, if it hasn’t already sailed, has certainly cast off and is chugging out the harbor. Something called “the Islamic Emirate of Waziristan” now operates a local franchise of Taliban rule in both north and south Waziristan, and is formally recognized by the Pakistan government in the Islamabad-Waziri treaty of just over a year ago. Officially, the treaty was intended to negotiate a truce, although to those unversed in the machinations of tribal politics it looked a lot more like a capitulation, an interpretation encouraged by the signing ceremony, which took place in a soccer stadium flying the flag of al-Qaeda.

Of course, the “Federally Administered Tribal Areas” have always been somewhat loosely governed Federal Administration-wise. In the new issue of The Claremont Review Of Books, Stanley Kurtz’s fascinating round-up of various tomes by Akbar Ahmed (recently Pakistan’s High Commissioner in London and before that Political Agent in Waziristan) mentions en passant a factoid I vaguely remember from my schooldays – that even at the height of imperial power, the laws of British India, by treaty and tradition, only governed 100 yards either side of Waziristan’s main roads. Once you were off the shoulder, you were subject to the rule of various “maliks” (tribal bigshots). The British prided themselves on an ability to run the joint at arm’s length through discreet subsidy of favored locals. As a young lieutenant with the Malakand Field Force, Winston Churchill found the wiles of Sir Harold Deane, chief commissioner of the North-West Frontier Province, a tad frustrating. “We had with us a very brilliant political officer, a Major Deane, who was most disliked because he always stopped military operations,” recalled Churchill. “Apparently all these savage chiefs were his old friends and almost his blood relations. Nothing disturbed their friendship. In between fights, they talked as man to man and as pal to pal.”

The benign interpretation of Musharraf’s recent moves is that he’s doing a Major Deane. The reality is somewhat bleaker: Today, even that 200-yard corridor of nominal sovereignty has gone and Islamabad’s Political Agent is a much shrunken figure compared to his predecessors from the Raj. That doesn’t mean “foreign” influence is impossible in Waziristan. Osama bin Laden is, after all, a foreigner, and so are many of the other al-Qaeda A-listers holed up in the tribal lands. Jihadists arrested recently in Britain, Germany and Scandinavia all spent time training in Waziristan, as do Chechen rebels. If another big hit on the US mainland is currently in the works, it’s safe to say it’s being plotted somewhere in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Interestingly, modern India, which was also carved out of the former British Empire, hasn’t devolved into this corrupt, violent soup of extremism. It’s had its moments, of course, and there are certainly aspects of Indian culture that don’t easily yield to Western admiration, but it is, on the whole, a successful Democracy. I’m too historically ignorant to draw any conclusions from that fact but, perhaps, some of you who better understand Indian, Pakistan, Islamic, Hindu, Cold War or Tribal history can do better in this regard than I can.

UPDATE:  And a reminder that democracy, as we understand it, doesn’t exist in Pakistan, comes in this story about the “annointing” of Bhutto’s famously corrupt husband and her utterly untried teenage son as the new party leaders:

Pakistan’s largest and most storied political party chose Sunday to continue its dynastic traditions, anointing the 19-year-old son of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to be her ultimate successor but picking her husband to lead for now.

The selections mean that the Pakistan People’s Party, which casts itself as the voice of democracy in Pakistan, will stay in family hands for a third generation.

The word “dynastic” in the above quotation nails the situation and does not bode well for the future of Pakistan’s putative “democratic” party.

Bhutto’s assassination *UPDATED*

Bhutto 1

In 1914, an obscure Archduke and his wife were assassinated in Sarajevo, a place that, to most Western Europeans and Americans, was the back of beyond. It should have been nothing more than a bloody moment in local history that quickly vanished into the backwash of time. It didn’t, of course. Instead, it set in motion a series of events that led to World War I, one of the bloodiest wars in modern history and a war that set the stage for World War II and the Cold War.

I couldn’t help but think of 1914 and Sarajevo when I woke up today to read about Benazir Bhutto’s assassination today in Pakistan. It wasn’t a surprise, of course, considering the fact that this was the third known try against her in only two months. If people are trying that hard to kill someone — and if they are not worried about either their own deaths or collateral damage — they’re eventually going to succeed.

It remains to be seen who was responsible for that assassination. Al Qaeda has already volunteered itself as a suspect, but that may simply be opportunistic blather. Many suspect President Pervez Musharraf, of course, since he was facing an election against Bhutto, but it could just as easily have been Musharraf’s Islamist enemies. Pakistan is certainly not a place lacking people who are motivated to kill. Indeed, to the extent that the increased instability in Pakistan may benefit the Republican candidates, who are seen (rightly, I think), as more prepared to deal with threats against America’s security, I’m sure there are many lining up in the nutroots rooms to blame the assassination on Karl Rove.

I’m not sufficiently well-versed in events in Pakistan to venture any predictions about how this event will play out, both in Pakistan and abroad. My only hope is that it doesn’t take World War IV from a luke warm war to a hot, hot war.

capte86f702351d246829c7c155b28094cbdpakistan_bhutto_blast_tok114.jpg

UPDATE: You might have noticed that my blogging rate is low today, despite the big happenings. We were to have been driving to the mountains today, but got snowed out. Instead, my husband suggested that we clean closets, which I thought was a good way to end the old year and see in the new. The one problem is that, in terms of blogging, that’s almost as bad for my output as being in a car. Since I’m incapable of deep thoughts right now, let me pass you on to the Captain who has, I think, some of the better posts about the assassination’s meaning at home and abroad.

As always, American Thinker’s Rick Moran has some good posts, too — here and here.

UPDATE II: And, of course, Mark Steyn.

UPDATE III:  Christopher Hitchens also offers extremely interesting comments about Bhutto’s personality and legacy.

What I want to do versus what I need to do

What I want to do is blog. What I need to do is take care of my husband who is home sick today; work on three legal projects that are due tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively; get the house ready for the twice monthly cleaning lady visit; cook dinner; take my daughter to her audition for the school play; do a load of laundry; and spend time on the phone with beloved family members who are going through a hard time right now. I’ve gotten so that I dread the phone ringing, because it’s always more work. (Not you, DQ, of course. I always like it when you call, even if there’s work attached to the phone call!)

So, I’ll leave you with one thought until I can carve out another small window of time in which to opine about something. The top story right now is about Musharraf’s declaration of martial law in Pakistan, a tactic he’s used before to keep himself in power. He’s a nasty bit of work, who is willing to work with Islamist extremists in order to maintain his position. Nevertheless, absent Musharraf, the same Islamists probably get, not only room at the table, but the table itself, turning Pakistan into a pre-nuclearized Iran.

Because the choices in Pakistan seem to be evil and more evil, I keep thinking of many Brits during the 1930s who supported Hitler. Dig a little deeper into their reasoning, and you discover that they didn’t really support Hitler. They just thought that he’d be a bulwark against Communism, and they feared Communism even more than National Socialism (which was, initially, trying to present a clean and pretty face for world consumption). History has revealed that choosing the Nazis to support was an appallingly bad choice, but history has also shown that the Communists weren’t better — although I doubt they would have come up with the ultimate evil of the Holocaust.

Sometimes, in world politics, there are no good choices. There aren’t even least awful choices. All one can do is try to figure out which of two evil systems is least likely to blow up the world in the near future.

UPDATE:  Thank goodness that, curled up in a chair in the living room, I have the cure for a day like this.