"Mistrust those in whom the urge to punish is strong." Friedrich Nietzche

"Any and all non-violent, non-coercive, non-larcenous, consensual adult behavior that does not physically harm other people or their property or directly and immediately endangers same, that does not disturb the peace or create a public nuisance, and that is done in private, especially on private property, is the inalienable right of all adults. In a truly free and liberty-loving society, ruled by a secular government, no laws should be passed to prohibit such behavior. Any laws now existing that are contrary to the above definition of inalienable rights are violations of the rights of adults and should be made null and void." D. M. Mitchell (from The Myth of Inalienable Rights, at: http://dowehaverights.blogspot.com/)

Friday, August 03, 2007

Panama versus Pakistan -- Picking on the Little Guy

Back in December of 1989, King . . . er, I mean President George Bush the First, ordered the invasion of Panama. Several reasons were given. Protecting the lives of the 35,000 U.S. citizens living there at the time was one of them. According to Bush I, Panama had declared a war on the U.S. Others say, however, that the Panamanian Legislature declared that there was a state of war between the U.S. and Panama, evidenced by how the U.S. was treating that nation. The difference is critical. Did the Panamanians think that the U.S. was the aggressor, or did the U.S. think that Panama was poised to attack America? I mean, seriously, did the Panamanians think that if they started killing American citizens the U.S. wouldn't come down on them like a couple of thousand tons of bricks?

Another reason was to defend democracy and human rights, because the last election that then leader of Panama, Manuel Noriega (still a federal prisoner in the U.S.) won was supposedly rigged and unfair. Well gosh. How many unfair elections in how many nations around the world have there been in the last 50 years? Why wasn't that a reason for the U.S. to invade? Or, what about the obviously unfair elections, by our standards, in the former Soviet Union and China? (Or what about the human rights violations in those nations for all these years?)

A third reason given was to combat drug trafficking. What was coming through Panama at that time was some pot and a whole lot of cocaine. Of course, we didn't invade Columbia or Mexico or any other nation in which cocaine or marijuana is grown, processed, or shipped through. Besides, at that time, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) estimated five million regular cocaine users and about twenty-five million regular marijuana users. Was the government afraid of the pot-heads? Were five million crack-heads a serious threat to national stability?

Finally, the last reason given for the invasion was to protect the neutrality of the Panama Canal. Okay, they could have landed the troops in the Canal Zone and then sent out sorties to round up U.S. citizens not living there to bring them in for protection without invading and killing thousands of Panamanians citizens. (I think the official U.S. figure is between 200 and 300 Panamanian citizens killed. Others, reliable sources, put the figure at between 3,000 and 4,000. Big difference, right? Plus 15,000 or more who had their homes destroyed.)

Okay. My point here is that under a rational reading of the facts, Panama was not a national security threat to the U.S. That is, it did not present a clear and present danger to our nation, which should be the only reason why we would invade a sovereign nation. But what about Pakistan?

I was watching some talking heads the other day commenting on a statement by one or more of the Democratic Presidential candidates about the need to invade Pakistan in order to root out a major Al-Qaeda stronghold and possibly capture the illusive Osama bin Laden. The talking heads were very concerned about the U.S. invading a "sovereign" nation. . . . Excuse me!? We did it in Panama, for a whole lot less reason. No problem. I mean, Al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, does anyone remember the attack by those fanatics on our soil on September 9th of 2001? I would say that bin Laden and his crew absolutely do present a clear and present danger to the security of this nation. If they are hiding in Pakistan and the Pakistani government can't or won't do what is necessary to capture or kill them and anyone who is protecting them, then, gosh fellas, we have to do it ourselves, right?

Oops! I forgot. There is just one small problem here. Panama was a little guy; not capable of doing any real harm to the U.S. And no other nation in the world was willing to declare war on the U.S. for it's act of aggression on Panama on trumped up charges. Pakistan is a whole 'nother kettle of fish.

First, they have nuclear capability. Second, we could set off a revolution leaving the bad guys in charge of those nukes. Third, if the bad guys get the nukes, they might want to use them against their other hated enemy, India. India has nukes too, and just might want to do a pre-emptive strike against Pakistan under the right conditions. Hmmmm? This could get messy, as in the beginning of World War III.

So, what should we do? We can't just leave the Al-Qaeda boys alone until they hit us again. I say we do to Pakistan what we did to Iraq. Invade big time. Take out the legitimate government (sorry Mr. Musharraf, nothing personal you know. And we'll give you back your country when we finish here, okay?). At the same time, strike heavily where we think bin Laden and his group are holed up. A big pincher movement from south to north, and kill all the fanatic anti-American Muslims that get in the way. (Don't worry, they will all be going to Muslim heaven to the awaiting virgins.)

Oops! One more problem, besides Russia and China getting really, really pissed off, where are we going to get the troops? Hmmmm? Meanwhile, back in Iraq: "Okay, that's it. We're done here. Have a nice day. We've got another job to do now."

Well, I think you will have to admit that it is easy for the U.S. to beat up on the little guy, the ones with almost no power and no friends to help them out. But, seriously, something drastic has to be done in Pakistan, one way or the other, before it is too late.

No comments: