While much attention has been paid to Admiral Mike Mullen's allegations that Pakistan's security service, the ISI, was behind recent attacks on American targets in Afghanistan attributed to the Haqqani network, the subsequent call by an influential neoconservative pundit for the United States to "get tough with Pakistan" seems to have gone unnoticed.
Writing this week in two of the neoconservative flagship outlets, Commentary and The Weekly Standard, Max Boot argues for a more aggressive US approach to Pakistan's premier intelligence agency. "I suggest we start treating Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence Agency the way we treated Iran's Quds Force in Iraq," Boot opines in Commentary, an influential magazine founded by the American Jewish Committee, a key component of the pro-Israel Lobby. "That is to say, apply the full range of our power–everything from diplomatic pressure, economic sanctions, to kinetic military action–to curb the menace posed by this group."
Currently a senior fellow in national security studies at the influential Council on Foreign Relations, Max Boot clearly has the kind of influence that could turn his not-so-humble suggestion into American policy. In March 2010, General David Petraeus, then head of US Central Command, turned to Boot for help when some articles appeared in the American media noting that Petraeus's testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee implied that Washington's uncritical support of Israeli policy toward the Palestinians was hurting US interests in the region.
Petraeus forwarded one of the articles to Boot, with a note saying, "As you know, I didn't say that. It's in a written submission for the record…" In his reply, Boot dismissed the source's credibility, but promised Petraeus that he would write "another short item pointing people to what you actually said as opposed to what's in the posture statement." Appreciative, but clearly still concerned to ingratiate himself with Israel's powerful supporters, Petraeus wrote back six minutes later: "Thx, Max. (Does it help if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his wife at our quarters last Sun night?! And that I will be the speaker at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in mid-Apr at the Capitol Dome…)." When the Russian-born Jewish writer assured the four-star general that this wasn't relevant since he wasn't being accused of being anti-Semitic, a relieved Petraeus signed off with a "Roger!" followed by a smiley emoticon.
The embarrassing spectacle of one of America's most eminent military commanders seeing fit to grovel in such a demeaning way before a young pro-Israeli hack would surely have ended General Petraeus's career in Washington before it began if the American public had been made aware of the incident. The Israel-centric US media, however, chose to ignore the revealing Petraeus-Boot correspondence. As a consequence of the media's silence, the servile Petraeus is currently director of the CIA, overseeing the murderous drone strikes which are, predictably, enraging the Pakistani people. Meanwhile, his self-assured confidant is goading American policy-makers from his safe perch at the neocons' primary warmongering media outlets to escalate such provocative policies against the world's sole Muslim nuclear power–a country which, not insignificantly, has been designated as Israel's greatest strategic threat by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman.
While most Americans remain oblivious to the crimes being committed in their names around the world, those concerned about Pakistan's security would do well to remember that what's on the pages of Commentary and The Weekly Standard one day will most likely be on the lips of the Israel Lobby's compliant Congressmen and Pentagon and White House officials the next.
Maidhc Ó Cathail is an investigative journalist and Middle East analyst.
The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.