Yesterday, The Nation suggested the entire Faisal Shahzad case is a ‘set up’ to trap Pakistan, and that we may be facing an ‘imminent attack’ by the Americans. The evidence they present are some statements by American Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and American Attorney General Eric Holder. Both statements, which were made during TV interviews, have been used by commentators to suggest that there are threats from the US against Pakistan. The Nation, unsurprisingly, is the most hysterical. But what did these American officials actually say?
Here is what The Nation wrote in its editorial published yesterday, “US attack imminent?”
FIRST it was Hillary Clinton issuing a threat to Pakistan; this has been followed by an even more ominous threat to Pakistan from the US Attorney General Eric Holder. He stated that if Pakistan failed to “take appropriate action” against the Taliban, the US will. If the message is still unclear to anyone in Pakistan, this latest threat should leave absolutely no room for any doubt that the US now intends to target Pakistan far beyond the FATA region and certainly with more than just drones.
This is a serious claim! The Nation is accusing the American Secretary of State and Attorney General of threatening Pakistan with attack. Is this true?
Let’s look first at the entire conversation between US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the interviewer on the CBS News programme ’60 Minutes':
“With the bomb in Times Square, I wonder what your message is to the Pakistani government?” Pelley asked.
“It’s very clear. This is a threat that we share, we have a common enemy. There is no time to waste in going after that common enemy as hard and fast as we can and we cannot tolerate having people encouraged, directed, trained and sent from Pakistan to attack us,” she replied.
This is important. Hillary Clinton recognized that the TTP is a common enemy of Pakistan and US. She is not saying that there is some tension between the two states, she is saying that we must work together.
Actually, Hillary Clinton gave some praise to Pakistan for its efforts.
“But we’re not getting that cooperation,” Pelley remarked.
“Well, we are,” Clinton replied.
“The question is why is this administration not pressuring Pakistan to give up Osama bin Laden [or] his deputy Ayman al Zawahiri…,” Pelley asked.
“I have to stand up for the efforts the Pakistani government is taking. They have done a very significant move toward going after the terrorists within their own country,” Clinton replied.
This is far different from how the interview is being presented, isn’t it? Hillary Clinton actually seems very full of praise for Pakistan.
But let’s get to the moment of truth and read the full quote about ‘severe consequences':
“Even in light of the Times Square bomber, you are comfortable with the cooperation you are getting from the Pakistani government?” Pelley asked.
“Well, now, I didn’t say that. I’ve said we’ve gotten more cooperation and it’s been a real sea change in the commitment we’ve seen from the Pakistani government. We want more; we expect more. We’ve made it very clear that, if, heaven forbid, that an attack like this, if we can trace back to Pakistan, were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences,” Clinton said.
Asked what she meant exactly, Clinton said, “I think I’ll let that speak for itself.”
This is very different from how the statement has been presented – especially by The Nation. Actually, Hillary Clinton again gives a lot of praise. As for her words that have so upset The Nation, she never says anything about an attack on Pakistan by the Americans. Taking her whole statement in context, surely it seems more likely that the threat is against Taliban and its sympathizers. Perhaps this is what makes The Nation so worried?
As for Mr. Eric Holder’s statement, let us look at his actual words in full context. Asked about Hillary Clinton’s statement, Mr. Holder replied:
Well, in connectino with the Shahzad investigation, they have been, I think, extremely aggressive. They’ve been cooperative with us. And I think we have been satisfied with the work that they have done. We want to make sure that that kind of cooperation continues. To the extent that it does not, we will, as Secretary Clinton indicated, take the appropriate steps. But as of now, with regard to Shahzad, I think we’re satisfied with the level of cooperation we have received.
This should be shocking to anyone who has not read the full statement before. The Nation and any other journalist who is only taking three words from a statement an misrepresenting them is misleading his readers very badly. This is unprofessional and unethical and should be severely reprimanded.
Contrary to the claims of these journalists, Mr. Eric Holder actually praised Pakistan’s efforts. Actually, if you watch the remainder of the interview, he says
The vast majority of people who go to Pakistan and come from Pakistan to the United States are well-intentioned; they have relatives; they have cultural ties to both countries.
Let’s also look at what other American officials are saying. Richard Holbrooke – who is a close confidant of Hillary Clinton – assured that there will be no move to block economic or military aid
The assurance came from Mrs Clinton’s close confidant, US Special Representative Richard Holbrooke. Her remarks in no way indicated any impact on the flow of US economic or military aid to Pakistan, he told a briefing in Washington.
“As for Secretary Clinton’s interview on (CBS channel’s) 60 Minutes (programme), I think that perhaps it was not fully understood for what she was saying by some people who didn’t see the full text or didn’t appreciate what she was saying,” he said.
American Defense Secretary Robert Gates has praised our military and said that “Pakistanis are in the driver’s seat.”
Obviously, there are some media personalities who are sympathetic to the Taliban and are trying to make some problems between Pakistan and the US by the devious practice of misquoting and misrepresenting the words of officials. The Nation in particular has been absolutely irresponsible and unprofessional by mischaracterizing statements in attempt to scare the people and make some false claims of threats.
Far from putting pressure or making any threats against Pakistan, both Hillary Clinton and Eric Holder praised both the Pakistani military also and also the Pakistani government and also the Pakistani people! The way that The Nation presents their statements is dishonest. The editors should be ashamed of themselves.