Christopher Hitchens just pulled all the sticky veneer off of a cancerous Pakistan-US relationship -- that has been going into the muck not just since we learned that Osama bin Laden was living somewhat pleasantly just down the street from Pakistan's West Point but much before, particularly when A.Q. Khan -- also living luxuriously and as a national hero in a well-buffed world called 'house arrest' -- was out pushing highly sensitive nuclear bomb-making technology to leaders of the world's most thuggish regimes.
Hitchens, not off his game at all, sets the rip at the beginning of his important Vanity Fair piece, "From Abbottabad to Worse":
Here is a society where rape is not a crime. It is a punishment. Women can be sentenced to be raped, by tribal and religious kangaroo courts, if even a rumor of their immodesty brings shame on their menfolk. In such an obscenely distorted context, the counterpart term to shame--which is the noble word "honor"--becomes most commonly associated with the word "killing." Moral courage consists of the willingness to butcher your own daughter.
If the most elemental of human instincts becomes warped in this bizarre manner, other morbid symptoms will disclose themselves as well. Thus, President Asif Ali Zardari cringes daily in front of the forces who openly murdered his wife, Benazir Bhutto, and who then contemptuously ordered the crime scene cleansed with fire hoses, as if to spit even on the pretense of an investigation. A man so lacking in pride--indeed lacking in manliness--will seek desperately to compensate in other ways. Swelling his puny chest even more, he promises to resist the mighty United States, and to defend Pakistan's holy "sovereignty." This puffery and posing might perhaps possess a rag of credibility if he and his fellow middlemen were not avidly ingesting $3 billion worth of American subsidies every year.
I once met and got a tour-de-force of the rough cultural, ethnic, and economic dynamics of the two "statelets" that Hitchens describes within Pakistan from the assassinated Punjab Governor Salman Taseer. I'm convinced that he knew his rivals would attempt to use his support of intellectual and religious liberalism against him.