Belmont Club

The sultans of swat

The Associated Press reports widespread civilian suffering in the contested Swat Valley as Pakistani forces went on the attack against the Taliban.

Civilians cowered in hospital beds and trapped residents struggled to feed their children Saturday, as Pakistani warplanes pounded a Taliban-held valley in what the prime minister called a “war of the country’s survival.” … Even the medics are gone: Only three doctors remained Saturday at the hospital in Swat’s main town, Mingora — all of them working flat out. … “We have no electricity, no running water, and we are almost out of food, milk and other things. We do not know what to do,” Ikramullah Khan said. “My wife has been mixing a few drops of milk into water just to make it look like milk. The younger children are not fooled. They just cry,” he said. Taliban militants seized much of the area under a peace deal, even after the government agreed to their main demand to impose Islamic law in the region.

The reader who sent the link said the article reminded him of Gaza, but without the outrage. Which got me to wondering. Pakistan happens to be approximately as old as Israel. It was conceived as a homeland for Muslims seeking to escape the “Hindu colossus” of India during partition. Given this, why does Pakistan have more “legitimacy” and at this point, more sympathy from the administration than Israel? And why have Pakistan’s counterinsurgency campaigns received relatively less scrutiny than Israel’s from the world press?

I think the reason Pakistan’s right to exist and bomb the living daylights out of its enemies are unchallenged is based on pure political considerations. Legality and morality have nothing to do with it. Pakistan and the Islamic world are now economically and electorally more valuable to the Western leaders than a handful of Jews on the shores of the Med. The rise of a growing Muslim voter base in the West has canceled the edge Jews once held in European and American politics. Oil and votes are hard combination to beat. Under those circumstances, Caroline Glick’s observation that Obama has thrown Israel under the bus is entirely natural. The cold winds in Washington shouldn’t rekindle old memories. That was then; this is now baby. And it should not precipitate any moral angst among the Jews. Why are Pakistan’s bombings never going to be equated with Gaza? It’s got nothing to do with righteousness. It’s not personal, just business.