Cultural Revolutions

Osama in Pakistan

Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of U.S. Navy SEALs, announced on May 1, gives (theoretically, at least) Washington the opportunity to make an exit from Afghanistan and Pakistan, but it most certainly underscored the surreal nature of Washington’s relationship with its “ally” in the region.  Bin Laden was hiding in plain sight in a large, walled house just a stone’s throw away from Pakistan’s military academy.  The compound may have been built specifically for Bin Laden six years ago in a neighborhood full of retired Pakistani military officers, in a country that has benefited from billions in U.S. aid.  The inescapable conclusion is that the Pakistani military and security apparatus knew where Bin Laden was all along and had actively aided him in evading U.S. forces, all the while taking U.S. money and helping to prolong an American presence in the region that has cost thousands of lives.  According to news reports, the CIA tracked a Bin Laden courier who eventually led the intelligence agency to the house in an area with a number of Pakistani military installations.  The absurdity of bolstering a treacherous ally that hosted a sworn enemy in comfort while people were dying as the result of a fruitless manhunt seems lost on many of the Washington elite, who, celebrations over Bin Laden’s death notwithstanding, have never quite decided what the United States is supposed to be doing in Afghanistan...

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