From the Washington Post last Thursday:
The Pakistani military is holding thousands of suspected militants in indefinite detention, arguing that the nation’s dysfunctional civilian justice system cannot be trusted to prevent them from walking free, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials. . . .
Top U.S. officials have raised concern about the detentions with Pakistani leaders, fearing that the issue could undermine American domestic and congressional support for the U.S.-backed counterinsurgency campaign in Pakistan and jeopardize billions of dollars in U.S. assistance.
Oh, there’s more:
U.S. officials say they worry that the detentions will further inflame the Pakistani public at a time when the government here needs popular support for its offensives.
“They’re treating the local population with a heavy hand, and they’re alienating them,” said an Obama administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. “As a result, it’s sort of a classic case going back to Vietnam; it [risks] actually creating more sympathy for the extremists.”
If those administration officials actually said those things with a straight face, we must have a hell of a training program for government workers to teach them to say the most incredible things without cracking up. The word “hypocrisy” isn’t strong enough to convey how ridiculous that criticism is. We need a new word that denotes the proper “you gotta be fucking kidding me” reaction one has when they read things like this.
Glenn Greenwald opts for sarcasm:
Let’s teach those Pakistanis that we’re not going to tolerate their lawless and tyrannical detention of people without charges and trials. We won’t put up with it. Especially not when it’s “justified” with the Orwellian claim that their real civilian courts can’t handle the prosecutions and they’re “afraid” that Dangerous Terrorists might be released if they give them due process because they’re unprosecutable. Kudos to the Obama administration for teaching them that countries that live under the Rule of Law simply don’t deny people trials based on such excuses. It’d be one thing if they were assassinating these people without any charges or trials — that, of course, would be understandable — but not detaining them. We’re the Leader of the Free World and we simply can’t be seen associating with or supporting regimes that would do such a thing. Besides, unlike the U.S., it’s not like Pakistan really faces an Existential Threat from Islamic radicals or anything, so (unlike us) they really have no acceptable excuse for doing these things.
He also notes that Pakistan is not the only target of our cognitive dissonance:
And the NYT today also reports that U.S. officials are demanding that Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki investigate a now-closed, undisclosed secret prison in Baghdad where Sunnis were held without charges and tortured; Look Backward!, we demand, and impose accountability for such heinous crimes!
I’m running out of adjectives for this kind of craven, shameless hypocrisy.