Scapegoating Pakistan (Cont'd.)


This is one of many letters I've received criticizing me for my provisional defense of Pakistan (or, more accurately, for my expressed desire to see evidence of direct Pakistani complicity in the sheltering of Bin Laden). This particular letter is from one of the several people who have written to me without calling me a douchebag:

How thick are you? Do you really believe that the Pakistani government didn't know where Bin Laden was? He was in the middle of Pakistan, for God's sakes. Why can't you face it that Pakistan is an enemy nation and should be dealt with like one? Are you tired of war? Is that it? Do you wish everyone would just get along already?

In other words, when can we get on with it and go to war against Pakistan? As I've written, and as numerous experts will attest, there is no actual war option. Pakistan is a well-armed, nuclear-weapons state of almost 200 million people. But this is beside the point: Pakistan is also our ally, a country that has suffered disproportionately from terrorism, that has lost thousands of soldiers and civilians in the fight against terrorism.
Osama Bin Laden
Yes, there are most likely elements of the Pakistani power structure that are sympathetic to the Taliban and al Qaeda, and some of these elements might have helped Bin Laden, or at least turned a blind eye to his presence. But: These elements, if they do exist, do not represent the entirety of Pakistan. They certainly don't represent the civilian leadership of the country, a leadership we should be buttressing, not demonizing. I'll say it again: Our only option in Pakistan is to provide aid and support for government and economic reform, health care, and universal education. And we can fight terrorism at the same time. But what we can't do is declare Pakistan an enemy. That would be ridiculous.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Jeffrey Goldberg is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and a recipient of the National Magazine Award for Reporting. Author of the book Prisoners: A Story of Friendship and Terror, Goldberg also writes the magazine's advice column. More

Before joining The Atlantic in 2007, Goldberg was a Middle East correspondent, and the Washington correspondent, for The New Yorker. Previously, he served as a correspondent for The New York Times Magazine and New York magazine. He has also written for the Jewish Daily Forward, and was a columnist for The Jerusalem Post.

His book Prisoners was hailed as one of the best books of 2006 by the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, The Progressive, Washingtonian magazine, and Playboy. Goldberg rthe recipient of the 2003 National Magazine Award for Reporting for his coverage of Islamic terrorism. He is also the winner of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists prize for best international investigative journalist; the Overseas Press Club award for best human-rights reporting; and the Abraham Cahan Prize in Journalism. He is also the recipient of 2005's Anti-Defamation League Daniel Pearl Prize.

In 2001, Goldberg was appointed the Syrkin Fellow in Letters of the Jerusalem Foundation, and in 2002 he became a public-policy scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

A Wild Vacation in the Pacific Northwest

A not-so-ordinary road trip, featuring extra-tall art bikes, skateboards, and hand-painted vans

Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus


Adventures in Legal Weed

Colorado is now well into its first year as the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. How's it going? James Hamblin visits Aspen.


What Makes a Story Great?

The storytellers behind House of CardsandThis American Life reflect on the creative process.


Tracing Sriracha's Origin to Thailand

Ever wonder how the wildly popular hot sauce got its name? It all started in Si Racha.


Where Confiscated Wildlife Ends Up

A government facility outside of Denver houses more than a million products of the illegal wildlife trade, from tigers and bears to bald eagles.


Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.


The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air



More in Global

From This Author

Just In