I have been explaining that US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and particularly bombings of civilian areas by drones, is causing a strengthening of fundamentalism in Pakistan.
There has been authoritative confirmation of this from an unlikely source. US General Petraeus has been giving evidence in support of Obama’s fight against the American Civil Liberties Union, to suppress further photos and videos of torture of prisoners, apparently including rape.
Petraeus’ evidence says that to release the torture material would further inflame opinion against the United States, when it is already inflamed by bombings and civilian casualties and anti-Americanism can be measured as increasing:
Public support for the U.S. is declining in Pakistan because of military strikes there that the U.S. conducts from Afghanistan, according to the top American commander in the Middle East.
“Most polling data reflects” an increase in anti-U.S. sentiment, General David Petraeus said, without identifying the source of the polling.
Pakistanis are angered by “cross-border operations and reported drone strikes” that they believe “cause unacceptable civilian casualties,” Petraeus wrote in court papers supporting President Barack Obama’s decision not to release photographs showing the abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan
The big question is, why does the US continue with a military strategy which they acknowledge is counterproductive and destabilising Pakistan?
Interestingly, apart from the Bloomberg report, there was almost no mainstream media coverage of this aspect of Petraeus’ evidence. His statement that to release the torture visual material would endanger US troops was widely reported, but almost nobody reported his views on the effect of US bombing on public opinion in Pakistan.
Petraeus has since been on Fox News and rather stunned them by arguing strongly for the closure of Guantanamo and respect for the rule of law – including the international law of armed conflict (he referenced the Geneva Conventions).