A report in the American New York Times says that the US is going to cut funding and aid for certain troops that were involved in the deaths of some civilians. At first, this might seem like the US cutting support for the military, but since it comes during the same week that the Americans announced an additional $2 Billion in military support, it must be considered something else. Actually, it looks like the Americans finally learned an important lessons.
The US has a rather sordid history of providing military support to whatever leader served their needs, no matter how brutally he treated his people. The Americans armed Saddam Hussein until he was no longer useful. They supported the dictator Pinochet in Chile, and even the Taliban when it was convenient to their Cold War against the Soviet Union. In our own country, the Americans helped prop up military dictators in the past.
But since the 9/11 attack, the Americans have said that they have turned their backs on this past behavior. They said that the mujahideen who they had armed and supported against the Soviet Union turned on them, teaching them that the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend. The official policy out of Washington was changed, they said, and they would no longer support dictators or militants or terrorists of any kinds.
Of course, it is easier to speak such words than to act on them. The world viewed this new American position with skepticism, and rightly so. It’s one thing to say that you will stop supporting those groups that have turned on you – but what about those who are still allies?
Today we may have an answer.
For the Americans to say that they will increase support to the military – but withhold it from anyone involved in harming civilians – is welcome evidence that the US has finally learned a lesson and is willing to make the difficult decisions necessary to truly support the people of Pakistan and not just their own interests against Taliban.
Foreign Minister Qureshi stated quite correctly that Pakistan is an ally, not a satellite. We are also not a private Army for the Americans to use in their war. Now, we have our own war against these extremists who have been murdering our brothers and sisters for too long. Even today their viciousness has shown itself again when they exploded a bomb outside a mosque in Pistakhara after Juma. What kind of monster can attack civilians leaving a mosque?
Taliban militants may be willing to kill innocents, but it looks like the Americans are not. The Americans may be the enemy of our enemy, but if they also refuse to support anyone who kills innocents, they are also our friend.