Laughter is the best response

Feb 24th, 2010 | By | Category: The Nation

Yesterday’s editorial in The Nation carried one of the stranger bits of outrage that the newspaper has had to date.

The editorial, “A Reality Check”, drew its outrage from a recent editorial in the American newspaper, The Boston Globe.

The Globe editorial, “Pakistan’s Complicated Motives” says that Pakistan has an immense interest in the affairs of Afghanistan, and that our politicians and public alike prefer to have a friendly neighboring government. All in all, this is a fairly bland observation.

General Kayani is quoted by the newspaper as saying Pakistan’s “strategic paradigm” must be realized. The Globe’s editorial board noted the relationship between Pakistan and the US is multi-layered, and is Pakistan’s reasons for being so involved in the future of Afghanistan. There is hardly anything wildly controversial to be found here. Even the editorial acknowledges early on that the capture of Mullah Baradar demonstrates Pakistan working closely with the US, and that the two nations have achieved great successes together.

The Nation, however, is intent on finding something to be outraged about and so puts words in the mouths of the Globe editorial writers.

Take this excerpt, for example:

To all intents and purposes, the Americans are never happy, no matter whatever we do. One day, they are slinging mud on Islamabad for not doing enough in the anti-terror war and when it responds to the call, they chastise it for having ulterior motives.

Where is this in the referenced Globe editorial? It is, in fact, nowhere to be found. Actually, the Globe editorial is suggesting that Pakistan’s “ulterior motive” – as The Nation calls it – is to have some influence with the Afghani government. Isn’t that what The Nation also wants?

But truly, all of this is really beside the point. The Nation makes the truly ridiculous point that the Globe speaks for all Americans as well as the military and the Obama government. Does The Nation think that the edtiorial writers at the Globe newspaper speak more for the American policy than American military and political leaders?

The Nation itself reports today that the American General David Petraeus continues to praise Pakistan:

Senior US General David Petraeus on Tuesday hailed “important breakthroughs” and detentions in Pakistan, following the capture of a top Afghan Taliban commander and reports of other arrests.
The US General praised fight against militants as “quite impressive,” saying the counter-insurgency would be studied for years to come. He said Pakistan was running a classical campaign in the Swat Valley and South Waziristan.

“It is obvious that there have been a number of important detentions in Pakistan. It is very clear that there have been some significant intelligence operations,” Petraeus told reporters in Islamabad.

Of course, The Nation has a proud history of not reading their own reporting, so this should not be a surprise that they make this error again.

Actually, the Globe is a local newspaper in its own right, and since the editorial was located in the opinion section, speaks only for the editorial staff. If an American newspaper like New York Times or a UK newspaper like Guardian claimed that an editorial in Jasarat spoke for Pakistan, we would laugh!

Perhaps laughter is the best response to this Nation editorial after all.

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