Blogs Aug 11, 2010 at 2:02 pm



It's just that Pakistan takes the money we give them and uses it to fund the Taliban and al-Qaeda and political cronies.

Pakistan has never been our ally. They just pretended to be.

Kind of like Saudi Arabia.
It isn't a black vs brown or Christian vs Muslim. It is simple vs confusing. From the average person's perspective, Haiti was a tragedy that struck a bunch of desperately poor people. If people know anything at all about Haiti, it is it's poverty. Simple. Pakistan on the other hand is confusing as hell. Are they allies or enemies? Are the people victims or villains? They seem to be mixed up with Afganaistan/Taliban/Al-Qaeda somehow, but we aren't quite sure how. And why do we give them Billions in military aid? They keep "cracking down" on the Taliban right? But aren't they secretly helping them too? People don't give because they don't understand the country or the people, and don't want to give money to the "bad" people by mistake.
The tsunami affected millions of Indonesian Muslims. Just saying.
Any nation that has achieved a fully functional NUCLEAR WEAPONS program should, be able to take care of it's own citizens.
I know, not the way the world works.
After all- people gave generously to the tsunami victims, who were mostly Muslim and brown.
Piggy-backing off Will's comment, the hesitance in running to provide aid to the Pakistan tragedy is a "simple" matter of mistrust. You can't simply write checks to international charity organizations anymore, especially to countries like Pakistan. Americans are hypnotized into thinking they're all terrorists or at least ones in the making...maybe drownings will decrease the jihad numerator? Furthermore, you can't compare the American response to Haiti's disaster, have you been to Flatbush or Crown Heights Brooklyn?
See, there he goes again. Will tars all Pakistanis with the same brush, even though 80% of the population there is utterly opposed to the Taliban. Many times more Pakistanis have died fighting the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan than all the coalition forces combined. The conflict there is real, unlike the soft-focus racism of the angry white pudge in Fremont.

You disgust me, Will. You're human garbage.
@5 Giving to UNICEF should alleviate doubts about where the money goes.
The major eathquake in Pakistan a few years ago resulted in massive aid from US and other countries....just saying
Maybe this is incredibly cruel of me, but the wholesale murder of hundreds of thousands of Sikhs in Pakistan (…) following its separation from India makes me less than inclined to give a shit about their crocodile tears now.
The Stranger was more concerned about Haiti...… there's probably a better argument blaming the media than the white race.
Also, the popular notion that the Chinese characters for "crisis" equal those for "danger" plus "opportunity" is a load of hooey.…
@9, it's not "incredibly cruel", just another pedestrian deflection.
They cynic in me thinks the major response to Haiti was so we wouldn't have to deal with any consequences such as refugees, since they are in our "backyard".
@6 Will tars all Pakistanis with the same brush, even though 80% of the population there is utterly opposed to the Taliban.

Hold on there, buckaroo. Not long ago, you said,

"Nobody in Afghanistan (outside the extreme minority Taliban) thinks we're the bad guys just because we killed a few innocents."

So you were tarring all people who think we're the bad guys as Taliban. When, in fact, there are many, many people who have been fighting the Taliban who oppose the U.S. presence there as well. For instance, these women:

And from this recent article:…

Rabia, who is from Paktiya province in eastern Afghanistan but has lived most of her life in Kabul, said three nephews have been killed by the Taliban over the years.

"We don't want America or the Taliban," she said. "We want a government that can protect us."

Besides that, if your family members were burned alive or blown to pieces for no good reason, wouldn't it be reasonable to feel like the people who did it were "the bad guys?" Or would you say you wouldn't feel they were bad guys "just because" they killed your family members?

(Just because? Really?)

I don't think you're "human garbage" for having your opinions as dehumanizing as they are. I just think that, like Will, you are far too confident about experiences you don't know anything about. (Unless, of course, you've lost family members to senseless bombings, in which case, I apologize in advance.)
@6 thanks. Too bad wikileaks disagrees with you.

The Chinese character for Pakistan is "Mislaid Dreams".
@2 has it right. Americans can't stand complexity, or things that don't fit cleanly into a dualistic thinking. This sort of attitude cuts across political boundaries, and is always quite present here on the SLOG. People want things they can easily dismiss, and things that they can just as easily cheer for. (Emma Watson's haircut: good or bad? People who believe in a God: Ultimate Evil or Holiest of Holies?) Mr. Mudede himself in this post seems to be looking for a nice, clean answer.

Well, there is no such thing as an easy, clean answer. There never are, and there never will be. We live in a universe that is not only complex, but is also contradictory and defies perfect understanding.

Americans hate this with a passion. Even things like Haiti, which is a very strange, complex place, is put into the nice "poor people/third world" box. Just dump money at them & they'll go away. Americans can't ignore the complexities of Pakistan, and are arguing about it right now. Do they support the Taliban? Do they love America? Is it possible for Muslims to love America? They don't _look_ like Arabs, how can they truly be Muslim? Don't they hate Israel? etc, etc. It's too much for Americans to look at. It's best to ignore the whole thing and wring our hands over illegal immigration, where the lines are clearly drawn.

As clear as mud.
Haiti is close, Pakistan is far away. The MSM isn't covering the devastation in Pakistan at anywhere near the level they did Haiti, & less exposure = less aid. Also, while the # of people affected is huge, the actual # of deaths is tolerable (at least to the MSM).
Hmm? I am not sure I concur. My understanding is more people died in the tsunami and earthquakes in Kashmir (Pakistan) & Haiti initially than were killed by the current flooding in Pakistan (up to 1500 fatalities now?). Our aid to the affected tsunami countries, Kashmir and Haiti was as a result of the devasting death tolls. I don't know how many were displaced or "affected" in total by those three catastrophes combined but I think it more than the 14 million. Remember, several countries were affected by the tsunami.

However, I don't think it has to do with skin tone, religion or culture. On the other hand, I will admit the flooding in Pakistan is devasting and underreported. I'm just convinced of the reasoning (i.e "war on terror, etc.").
When I heard about the flooding I thought, huh, that's kind of bad timing. Given that the wikileaks thing had just come out about how Pakistan was taking US aid and giving it to the Taliban in Afghanistan. I would be willing to bet that there's a glimmer of truth in what WiS was saying -- people have it in their heads right now that giving money to Pakistan is bad. Therefore, less aid (vs. the earthquake a few years ago).
@15: "@6 thanks. Too bad wikileaks disagrees with you."
Are you always this thick? Last I heard, the Wikileaked documents indicated that some elements within the Pakistani government were covertly aiding the Taliban; that is, they were keeping it secret from the higher-ups who would have fired (and maybe prosecuted) them for it.
Pakistan's not a great ally, but the vast majority of its people and government are on our side, so to speak.
And you know what, Will in Seattle? It doesn't matter what the Chinese character for Pakistan is. The Spanish phrase for "green beans" is literally "green Jews", but I don't go looking for hidden meaning in it. Pull your head out of your ass.

I'd say that we noticed Haiti more than Pakistan because Haiti is right next door. Also, earthquakes are inherently more dramatic than floods in our perception; we're used to water moving, but not earth.
Flight time between Atlanta(CNN headquarters) and Port-au-Prince is a little over 2 hrs. Most of the other organizations Caribbean/Latin America reporters are based in Miami, even shorter. They can sleep in Atlanta or Miami or Punta Cana(resort in DR) and cover Haiti during the day.

Covering the floods in Pakistan would mean moving the one reporter covering the region in which we are currently fighting two wars. (Unless you're CBS and decided not to fill the spot while Lara Logan went on maternity leave).
@14, 60-70% of Afghanis want America to stay. And very, very few Afghanis list collateral damage from American troops as their most significant concern; virtually all of them list "security" as number one. And "we don't want America or Taliban, we just want security" isn't unfortunately one of the available options.

But I'm not sure what that has to do with whether Pakistanis are all terrorists like Will says or not.
@20, not only that, but opinion even in the Pakistani security forces is changing, because of many, many indiscriminate bombings within Pakistan, and the Taliban have never been more unpopular there. There is a shrinking hard core in the ISI that supports the Taliban, but it is no more true that they represent the majority opinion in the ISI, let alone the majority of Pakistanis.

And yes, Will is always this thick. He made his mind up eight years ago when he read an article in Reader's Digest, and has seen no reason since to re-evaluate his opinions, or learn anything. Anything at all.
I'm with #17 in thinking it has at least something to do with proximity. There's a term for it - the way we find it difficult to care about suffering far away - I just can't pull it from my memory.

Anyway, as I said when the Haiti disaster happened... I struggle to be too moved by this. There is an ongoing disaster around the world every day - starvation, war, disease. 24/7. To highlight one passing event seems like sensationalism. I concede that that's not necessarily a bad thing - considering that many of us are desensitized to the ongoing disasters. At least it makes money go in the right direction.
Helping Haiti had nuthin' to do with the Christain thing- it was because of the Voodoo thing...
Want to help Pakistan?

Don't drive so much.

Cause global warming is what's killing them.
@22, it's only related in that as stupid as it is to suggest that all Pakistanis are terrorists, it's no less stupid to suggest that everyone who opposes the U.S. presence there ("just because" we're killing their civilians) are all Taliban.
Meh, Haiti is right next door.
We’ve been bombing Pakistan, the government wouldn’t encourage us to give them money. With Haiti, they had the media pump the story all day playing the white guilt card. How much of that money has gone to Haiti? Last I heard, less than 10%. We raped Haiti in the 90’s for the only thing they’re good for, rice. Charity is the only way our government could make millions off Haitian misery. With Pakistan, we’ll just step up the bombings and take over the poppy fields if we want to use them for money.

Charles, where is Hollywood? They were there for New Orleans. They were there for Haiti. But not the Gulf region. Probably cause they just think it’s all white southern folk who are being affected by the Oil volcano and Hollywood hates them.
Crisis as an opportunity to use soft diplomacy through compassion in the form of aid would not only give us a chance to win some hearts and minds, as well as negate the prevailing assumption that we discriminate against Muslims. We need them more than they need us.
Children don't know the what's and why's. They only know pain and fear and hunger. At least show them some compassion.
@27, it is not stupid to oppose the American presence in Afghanistan (which is a different country than Pakistan, you realize that, right?); it's a complex issue. It IS stupid, however, to oppose it simply because we've accidentally killed some civilians. The Taliban have killed a hundred times as many civilians as we have, usually deliberately, and no Afghanis are confused on that point.

Tragic, yes -- but realize that most of those innocent deaths are primarily the fault of the Taliban, not us -- because they use human shields.

We have rules of engagement, they don't.
I agree with @2 - simple vs complicated. It's also, definitely, about proximity, as others brought up.

@11, thanks for saving me the time.

And Charles, @18 raises a good point about number of people affected. I would also direct you to this CNN article regarding the aid the US has pledged:…
@32 wrong.

You're thinking our official forces, Fnarf. There's an entire black ops war going on right now in the actual al-Qaeda countries, one that we don't admit to in print, but that is very real.

And they have very different rules they operate under.
The Chinese "crisis" has no other significant meaning ("opportunity!!!" *GONG SOUND). The Al Gores of the world (and now you too, Mudede) have fallen for a fallacy.

@34, tell us all about these black ops, Commander Nimrod.
32, care to link the stats that say the Taliban have killed over 100 times the amount of people we have? Seeing as how we've killed 100,00 plus civilians, I don’t think that's possible. And, if possible, how many of those deaths (Caused by Afghani’s) were in relation to securing/moving/selling opium and the other drugs it produces? Of course they want us to stay, their economy is largely based on opium and that business has historically never been better anywhere in the world since we invaded.
@11, you of all people should know my sense of humor.
@32, what the hell are you talking about, 100,000? There were 197 civilian casualties caused by coalition forces in the past twelve months (since the rules of engagement were tightened to prevent them), down from 332 the year before that. There are more than that caused by the Taliban in most weekends.…

I recommend the current issue of The New Republic for a good review of the various arguments for and against our continued presence there.
@38, it's hard when you're channelling Condeleeza Rice, as you so often do ;-)
@32, so far you've done a fine job of avoiding taking responsibility for claiming that the only Afghanis who oppose the U.S. presence are Taliban.

Your assertion that most of the civilian deaths caused by the U.S. are "primarily the fault of the Taliban" is as fact-based as your claim that most Afghanis who oppose the U.S. are Taliban. It's like a cop casually saying that it's not his fault he killed the hostages, because the kidnappers put them in danger in the first place. Hey, if people don't want their kids killed by SWAT teams, they shouldn't hang out with drug dealers. It's an authoritarian and rather pathetic attitude.

It takes a strong devotion to a pointless war to ignore the Senior commander when he says, “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat.” But that was the Taliban's fault, too, right?

As long as we're doing things like this:

we should be able to do better than to say, as you are saying, "We know we're making you suffer miserably, but just imagine what the Taliban would do!"

Of course, none of those kids are Americans, or members of your family, so it really doesn't matter.
Just for the record, the people of Afghanistan are Afghans (like the blankets). The currency of Afghanistan is an Afghani (like, I'll give you 500 Afghanis per bushel of opium).
@42, thanks for that. It's a little confusing, but I will strive to keep it right.
admittedly, i have learned a lot from these comments about that region of the world.

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