What do you do? The is the question that everyone should have been asking from the first news of Raymond Allen Davis's arrest in Pakistan three weeks ago.
Mr. Davis, after shooting and killing two Pakistanis, was put under arrest. The US immediately demanded his release, claiming diplomatic immunity and insisting that he was only defending himself from robbers. Pakistani police officials said, almost from the beginning, that Allen shot the men as they were running away.
While there is never any reason to believe anything emanating from official sources in Pakistan, last week they did release a tape in which Davos disclaims any position in the embassy and describes himself as a private contractor. When it was revealed at the same time that he was heavily armed and that a vehicle sent to rescue him (after running over a pedestrian) also contained heavily armed men, the nature of his contracting business became clear. It is now generally understood that Davis, a former special forces soldier, was a contract security agent previously employed by Blackwater and now working for the CIA under diplomatic cover. Presumably the fact that he is a liar should be good enough for the government of Pakistan. Imagine if he had claimed to be a Catholic priest or the prophet Mohammed.
No one knows for certain at this point, but it is pretty obvious that Mr. Davis has been well trained to shoot first and ask questions later. Whether the men he killed were robbers, as he claims, or ordinary people involved in a feud, as has been claimed in Pakistan, is not all that important, particularly if they were shot trying to escape. Anyone who has ever had the misfortune to run afoul of a private security agency working hand-in-glove with city cops or the FBI or CIA knows what sort of men are employed in this business. They go through the world with a chip on their shoulder and a license to kill. I speak from the experience of one of my sons.
Then, what do do? Frankly, I do not care what happens to Mr. Davis. He was paid to do a job and if he has to take the fall, he knows how to take it like a man. Unfortunately, the US has some prestige at stake, and our so-called allies in Pakistan have proved themselves extremely unreliable. The sissies at the Obama State Department, it seems to me, have no choice but to demand Davis's immediate release and to threaten military retaliation if our will is thwarted. That is how a responsible Great Power must behave. Bring Davis home and let him be tried by a jury of his peers. In the America Davis and his kind have been creating for us, that jury just might be made up of subcontinental Muslims who have fled the violence that the US has inflicted on their homelands.
Thomas Fleming is the former editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He is the author of The Politics of Human Nature, Montenegro: The Divided Land, and The Morality of Everyday Life, named Editors' Choice in philosophy by Booklist in 2005. He is the coauthor of The Conservative Movement and the editor of Immigration and the American Identity. He holds a Ph.D. in classics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Before joining the Rockford Institute, he taught classics at the University of Miami of Ohio, served as an advisor to the U.S. Department of Education, and was headmaster at the Archibald Rutledge Academy. He has been published in, among others, The Spectator (London), Independent on Sunday (London), Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Chicago Sun-Times, National Review, Classical Journal, Telos, and Modern Age. He and his wife, Gail, have four children and four grandchildren.