This, of course, is exactly the kind of thing many of us who opposed the war with Iraq have been worried about. India is now issuing warnings that Pakistan would be a “prime case for pre-emptive strikes”, and a “fit case” for US action, since they have been known to support terrorists, as well as having ‘weapons of mass destruction’ (I’m still trying to figure out what a weapon of minimal destruction is, but that’s a whole different entry).
Given that there is also apparent evidence that Pakistan is currently giving shelter, and possibly even aid, to members of the Taliban, who are trying to retake control of Afghanistan, it would seem that by the standards of our attack on Iraq, Pakistan should be right up there on our list. (But they’re still nominally on our list of allies, last I heard.)
So, what justification do the Indians offer for a pre-emptive strike on Pakistan?
“There are enough reasons to launch such strikes against Pakistan, but I cannot make public statements on whatever action that may be taken,” Fernandes told a meeting of ex-soldiers in this northern Indian desert city on Friday.
Fernandes said he endorsed Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha’s recent comments that India had “a much better case to go for pre-emptive action against Pakistan than the United States has in Iraq (news – web sites).”
Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t the Bush administration tell us that they had evidence of why we were justified in attacking Iraq, but that they couldn’t show all of it to us for reasons of national security? (This was before Colin Powell’s presentation to the UN in February).
In any event, if we don’t want to see all out war between Pakistan and India, we’re going to have an awful hard time figuring out how to dissuade them – especially since they’re obviously and carefully framing their justification in terms as close to the ones we used for attacking Iraq. Given that the Bush administration seems to have 2 left feet when it comes to doing the diplomatic tango, somehow I have a feeling this is not going to go well, and any aversion of war between those two nations is going to be brought about by forces outside of the US.