Scapegoating Pakistan (Cont'd.)

By Jeffrey Goldberg

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.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2011/05/scapegoating-pakistan-contd/238223/