US to Pakistan: Stop complaining about the Predator strikes you support

Senator Carl Levin is the first senior US figure to publicly rebuke the Pakistani government for its double game of criticizing the US air campaign against the Taliban and al Qaeda while secretly providing support and approval. From The Times of India:

In a public rebuke to the Pakistani leadership on Thursday, a leading US lawmaker, supported by the Obama administration, told reporters after a visit to the region that he was ”very unhappy” with the vocal criticism of the drone strikes from top officials in Islamabad when in private they “not only understand and acquiesce but in many cases support the drone attacks.”

Washington, US Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, told reporters in a conference call, would prefer “a silence on their part rather than a public attack on us that creates real problems for us in terms of the Pakistani public and helps create some real animosity” against the United States.

“I just think it’s wrong for them, I’ve told them that to their face,” said Levin, who met in Pakistan with Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Pakistan’s army chief of staff Ashfaq Kayani.

For more on this subject, see this post.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • T Ruth says:

    Well said Senator Levin!
    I’m tired of hearing the Pakistani Govt constantly whining. ITS TIME SOMEBODY TOLD THEM TO SHUT UP.
    Pak politicians are weaklings, unable to guide their people and explain the simple things of life. The only strong leaders to be found in Pakistan are in the Taliban.
    The fact that the Pak govt cooperates with the US in the drone program, while propagating their Doctrine of Deception, Duplicity and Double-dealing (how pure is that?–i’ll call it pure bs), proves what a cynical lot they are.
    That cynicism is what the Pak govt and Taliban have in common and, so, they both mis-lead.
    Since Senator Levin has the administration’s ear, he should enquire what is its strategy for Pakistan and when is the President going to announce this?
    If 2009 was the year of dithering, is 2010 to be the year of withering?
    Yup the drones are great stuff–wow technology–and you can re-double them, but it ain’t gonna win you the War, Sirs.
    Not for you America, not for me, a global villager, not even for the average Pakistani presently voiceless in the drone of whining.

  • Bungo says:

    Patience T Ruth. Pakistan’s day will come. It just won’t be this year (or even this administration) The focus now is to zip up Iraq and stabilize Afghanistan while juggling Yemen and Iran. Believe me, contingcy plans for Pakistan have been on file for a Loooonnng time now and are being up-dated regularly. For now Pakistan is Pakistan’s problem as well as a target rich shooting gallery for our boys at the computer screens.

  • Civy says:

    It is pretty dismal that the Pak intelligence in many of the areas these drone strikes are taking place is so poor they can’t even do an assessment of their effectiveness except by evaluating Taliban and AQ public statements.
    I would prefer that protests such as this came from inside Pakistan, by respectable members of the Pak community, rather than from us, but perhaps a little push-back on Pak whining will prove useful.

  • MalangJan says:

    Paki establishement is trying to sell US the dead bodies of those killed by drones at highier price. Somtimes they asked for the drones technology, some times for exta money or hand outs. This is how these munafiq(hypocrites) are running this country. Pashtun people are in favor of target killing by drones rather than carpet bombing & artilary shelling by Pakistani army & airforce of civilian population just for the sole purpose of creating more terrorists. Compare the achievements of Drones to the Paki military. It is clear all terrorists leader like Naik Mohd, Masoods like Bait Ullah possibly Hakim Ullah were killed by drones. On the other hand Paki military has only killed civilian population, they cant name a single terrorist leader they have killed. One thing is clear that Paki establishment are born hypocrite(Munafiqeen) playing double games for too long. But for how long. The world comunity knows that Pakistan is not credible member of the world comunity, epicenter of terrorism even selling its own citizen(living or dead) for money. We Pashtun assure US & NATO of our complete support for the drone attack & demand they they shall be extended it to Rawalpindi & Mureedkey & with frquency. The world specially US needs to take out this epicenter of terrorism once for all.

  • Hnaging on every word says:

    In addition to Malang Jan (great point about the indiscriminate fire) and the former FATA resident mentioned in the article, I recall reading the Governor of Balochistan expressing his fatigue with the tired, old US/drones-are-bad spiel:
    All sound and fury, but to the usual short-sighted result. Pak pols spewing “evil-foreigner” sound-bites to a country with ~50% literacy rate (more shame on Pak gov’t), knowing folks will eat it up for now. Hey, maybe the masses will forget about how little gets done by the GoP! Good luck with that, P.

  • T Ruth says:

    Bungo, i see the rationale of what you’re saying.
    However, in the meantime, in the eyes of the global villager, America is seen as weak in its pandering to Pakistan, and worse still as having very poor judgment in its alliance with this double-dealing nation. At one level one can say that America by dancing with the devil, undermines its own moral positioning.
    Something is wrong with the way politics is being played here, when it takes a Senator to make this statement, stating the obvious, which then becomes news.
    i mean, what are Holbrooke, Clinton, Biden (who was bestowed an honour by the Pak govt) doing? So my larger point is not a pure military one but even at the political level, one does not read a smart, cohesive strategy towards this Sick Man of Asia of the New Century.
    On your mention of Iran, America should wake up every morning and remind itself that Pakistan, AQ’s host nation, already has a nuclear arsenal. But since this is old-hat and not news, no one is talking about it.
    I fear that it is going to take another 911 type situation, somehow, somewhere, perhaps even nuclear, for the next escalation point to occur. Then the obvious will become clear and we’ll all be saying oh we failed to see the picture because we didn’t join the dots.

  • Scott says:

    I love clarity. We all are going to need a lot more of it if we are going to end this long war any quicker. I commend Senator Diane Feinstein for first leaking that predator drones were operating out of Pakistan with Pakistan’s consent. I commend Secretary Clinton for saying she found it hard to believe Pakistan’s leaders couldn’t get al Qaeda’s leaders if Pakistan’s government really wanted to. I applaud Carl Levin’s remarks. And I rarely find myself having anything positive to say about any action or utterance from Democratic politicians.

  • Civy says:

    Great story RE: Baluchistan.
    Is there a way to trade Afghan real estate in the north in order to unite the Pashtuns in return for incorporating a sliver of Baluchistan stretching from the current Afghan border down along the Iranian border to Gwadar in order to give Afghanistan a seaport?
    Can this be done in a way that re-unifies tribes in both areas AND benefits the country of Afghanistan?
    I mean, seriously, not only would it massively simplify our logistics, but in truth, by the time this is over the US will have paid Pakistan enough money to have bought such a strip of land outright. Perhaps we could do a Hong Kong type lease?
    God knows the producers of oil to the north as well as buyers in India and China would leap at the opportunity to participate in an Afghan resurrection if this could be achieved.

  • Alex says:

    This article has been linked to in Frontier Outlook: //

  • MalangJan says:

    Positive thinkings, your idea will lay solid foun- dation for peace in this region & help curtail terrorism business of Pakistan. Baloch & Pashtun had suffered a lot because of American sponsered Paki army. The war machinery & money donated by US to Pakistan has mainly been used against Pashtun & Baloch people. Pakis do not dare to use it against strong India, they hav already tasted the might of Indians in 1965, 1971 & on all other ocassions. In fact neither Baloch nor Pashtun opted for joining Pakistan during partition of India. British imposed Durand Line to divide Pashtun in Afghanistan & Pakistan. It is in the genes of brits to devide & humiliate for reason they may know.
    It is time for British & US to start thinking on lines of helping Pashtun & Baloch people. Sooner or later the British & US(puting Paki establishment on opium of free money & war machines) will be threatening them with nuclear weapons & terrorism(its main export).
    London conference on Afganistan is one such an oppertunity to start thinkings on these lines. Declareing Gawader free port & puting Balochistan & Pashtun area of North West under UN protectorate till time when the free trade is established among Indians, Chinese, Iranis, Pakistanis(the rest of it), Sindis & Arabs. The people of these regions will prosper & peace will return. Trade will replace the terrorism industry.
    For all this to happen US will have to change its thinking & revisit its proitities vis-a-vis Pakistan. Training commandos or donating $100 million to Pakistan army to safguard its nuclear aresenal of around 80 warheads are adhoc arrangements by all standards. They need to have a long term solution for this epicenter of terrorists.

  • Zeissa says:

    I have no issue with saving MalangJan’s people by conquering any parts of the country that largely supports terrorism and reeducating them.
    It’s what happened to Nazi Germany, conquer the country, show them the death camps. Of course there are innocents in the more pro-terrorist areas of Pakistan, but there’s almost always collateral.
    The West needs to get over that it can’t save everyone.
    But then again a liberal is a person who thinks you need to go soft on crime until it happens to themself.

  • james says:

    I’ve said for years now that we would have been much better off had we formed a strategic alliance with India (instead of Pakistan) in the war against Al Queda. We still need to do so. It’s better to be late than both dead and sorry.
    This still can be done and should have been done long ago. At the very least, it would foster a healthy “jealousy” on the part of the Paks and would prod them to maybe go after AQ more aggressively.
    We here in the US have a lot more in common with the people of India than that of Pakistan by a long shot.
    This is the strategy that worked so well for Nixon during the Cold War and detente. He would “play” the Chinese against the Soviets and very effectively.
    At a minimum, the same could and should be done concerning India and Pakistan.
    Please be aware that I am definitely not suggesting that we should incite a war between those two countries.

  • T Ruth says:

    It was interesting to note that Secy Gates visited India firts, EVEN BEFORE the Pak army announcement of no more new ops.
    He chose New Delhi to announce that AQAM meant going after the whole lot.
    I reckon it’ll eventually gravitate to the closer alliance you are suggestig with India. One does wish that some of these strategic/tactical moves on the chessboard would be played a little quicker, especially the more obvious ones.


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