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September 25th, 2016

Max’s View

Bhutto
***1/2
The political issue I care about most is peace. It’s no fun, because the entire American establishment is essentially pro-war.

I’ve given up trying to argue against war and intervention from the pacifist perspective.

I may be the only pacifist that I’ve ever known. Most of us worship a deity who commands us to love our enemy as our friend. But instead of loving their enemies in foreign lands, most Americans are just as happy to hire poor teenagers to shoot or drop bombs on them.

I’ve given up trying to argue against war and intervention from the perspective of respecting other countries’ sovereignty.

When a small band of evil terrorists perpetrated 9/11, Americans were ready to accept the faulty conclusion that this was an act of war. And, in turn, most of us were willing to support an invasion, regime change, or drone strike in any country inhabited by people who share the same faith as the terrorists. Apparently, the American border is sacrosanct while every other countries’ borders are just meaningless lines on a map.

Finally, thanks to the two political outsiders running for President this year, there are a few people in the public eye who are speaking forcefully against imperialism. And we in the anti-war crowd finally have an argument that seems to be resonating with voters.

We should think twice before forcefully intervening in other countries’ affairs…because we are terrible at it!

It seems like every country that we try to control ends up worse off than we when intervened.

Pakistan is a good example. The documentary “Bhutto” explores the hideous unintended consequences of American intervention in Pakistan from the perspective of the great and tragic Bhutto family.

Our failure began in the mid-1970s, when the Kissinger State Department pushed democratically elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto out of power in favor of a military dictator who promised to discontinue Bhutto’s nuclear program. A few years later, Bhutto was hanged and Pakistan had H-Bombs, anyway.

We messed up even bigger in the 1980s in response to the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. In an effort to thwart Communist expansion at all cost, we worked with the Pakistani government to arm and empower as many Muslim freedom fighters as we could find. Many of them were jihadists. One of them was Osama Bin-Laden.

After the Soviets had been driven out, the jihadists turned their anger and American-bought weapons at their own West-friendly government – and at the West itself.

After 9/11, Pakistani President Musharraf bamboozled the US government into believing that he was the only thing standing in the way of a terrorist regime taking over Pakistan. Once again, we backed the wrong guy. After he gladly shook hands with George W. Bush in Washington, Musharraf flew home with a fat wad of American money and made secret deals with Al-Qaeda.

The Musharraf government failed to protect former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (a pro-democracy religious moderate) when she triumphantly returned from exile in 2007. She was shot to death less than a week after she came home and then the government promptly fire-hosed the crime scene to ensure that the terrorist assassins would never be caught.

I’ve lived long enough as a pacifist to know that I won’t be able to convince you to totally turn against war and imperialist meddling. However, next time your government is arguing that it’s a good idea to intervene in the affairs of a foreign country, remember: they’re idiots. And they will probably make things worse.

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