February 19, 2008

WE ARE ALL BUSHITES NOW:

Unilateral Strike Called a Model For U.S. Operations in Pakistan (Joby Warrick and Robin Wright, 2/19/08, Washington Post)

The missiles killed Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior al-Qaeda commander and a man who had repeatedly eluded the CIA's dragnet. It was the first successful strike against al-Qaeda's core leadership in two years, and it involved, U.S. officials say, an unusual degree of autonomy by the CIA inside Pakistan.

Having requested the Pakistani government's official permission for such strikes on previous occasions, only to be put off or turned down, this time the U.S. spy agency did not seek approval. The government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was notified only as the operation was underway, according to the officials, who insisted on anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities.

Officials say the incident was a model of how Washington often scores its rare victories these days in the fight against al-Qaeda inside Pakistan's national borders: It acts with assistance from well-paid sympathizers inside the country, but without getting the government's formal permission beforehand. [...]

Independent actions by U.S. military forces on another country's sovereign territory are always controversial, and both U.S. and Pakistani officials have repeatedly sought to obscure operational details that would reveal that key decisions are sometimes made in the United States, not in Islamabad. Some Pentagon operations have been undertaken only after intense disputes with the State Department, which has worried that they might inflame Pakistani public resentment; the CIA itself has sometimes sought to put the brakes on because of anxieties about the consequences for its relationship with Pakistani intelligence officials.

U.S. military officials say, however, that the uneven performance of their Pakistani counterparts increasingly requires that Washington pursue the fight however it can, sometimes following an unorthodox path that leaves in the dark Pakistani military and intelligence officials who at best lack commitment and resolve and at worst lack sympathy for U.S. interests.


Is anyone even making a counterargument anymore to the basic idea that we're entitled to take unilateral action where there is no sovereign government?


Posted by Orrin Judd at February 19, 2008 10:48 AM
Comments

It is more than that. Intelligence technology and weapons technology have transformed the very core definitions of international law. Now all the world are the fuzzy-wuzzies, the military threshhold having been so displaced.

Posted by: Lou Gots at February 19, 2008 3:13 PM
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