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What Did Pakistan Know? A Circle of Friends, A Circle of Blood

This same question came up in the early Bush years, when John Gibson of Fox News asked what the Saudis would do about a situation. This was in the days before 9/11, of factional in-fighting between King Fahd’s brothers, one of whom was a hard-shelled Wahhabist, while the other, (and now king) Abdullah, was a reformer and a friend and ally of the Bush family.

I wrote then that there were at least two Saudi Arabias. Gibson agreed.

The same is true today in Pakistan. There is no Pakistan and never was. At least not as we think of America. In tribal societies (Ayn Rand would call them “primitives”) there are only circles; circles of friends, circles of blood (family), circles of thieves, circles of common purpose, etc, none of which have any particular allegiance to the national reality named Pakistan that has a reserved parking place down at One UN Plaza.

The true nation is a long time in its creation, for it requires the consensual merger of family, clan or tribe into a folk (volk), all with a common identity, into a larger whole. It is a reciprocal understanding.

Pakistan only goes back to 1948, same as India.

In the Middle East, with the possible exception of Egypt and maybe Iran (Persia), both for other reasons…Islam has done little to foster national identities, for it has always clung to the Middle Ages form of royal entitlement, finding it easier to establish and bind God’s law through kings rather than persuasion and reciprocal understandings. Thus it has fostered the same sort of royal shenanigans there…regicide, fratricide, factional fighting among half a dozen brothers and sons and cousins, almost all from different mothers, scheming women all seeking a better seating for their sons around the king’s dinner table…we read about in the histories of Europe from the fall of Rome to about (you guessed it) 1776.

It’s really no more complicated than that. There is no Pakistan. Nor is there really a “government” of Pakistan, for even inside their government there are only these circles.

So every time a member of the press asks what Pakistan knew, or when it knew it, they are fostering a lie that began as far back as the founding of the League of Nations which then admitted national entities that were anything but.

A nation looks like this, with its groups (circles) for the most part, inside the larger whole. Here, even most criminals think they are American:


A Circle of Friends, Thieves, Blood, i.e., Pakistan, looks like this, and you can add as many other circles as you want.

They almost always overlap, which is where you find mutual cooperation. Need to know.  Bin Laden may have bribed a few, he may have enticed a few more over to his side with religion; there are all sorts of things that would have gone into how bin Laden could build this compound and remain behind it for a few years.

Some knew a little, none (most likely) knew it all.

But Pakistan knew nothing.

 

Bernard Chumm
Partner, The Sands Institute, head of the fearsome Scat Patrol, and Protector of the Innocent
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9 COMMENTS

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9 COMMENTS

  1. My thoughts, too. Point to any country, most especially in the Middle East and the continent of Africa, there are factions within factions. Yesterday, someone said the Prime Minister of Pakistan knew nothing; that evidence he had seen led him to believe the P.M. knew nothing. That may well be true… as far as it goes, which isn’t far at all when you consider things from the perspective you outlined here.

  2. What you’ve presented here makes a great deal of sense regarding the structure that might exist in other societies other than our own, but I still question how much those in positions of authority within Pakistan genuinely knew about bin Laden’s whereabouts, simply on the very practical basis of proximity and the fact that bin Laden’s compound was located in close proximity with the nation’s premier military academy.

    The division of loyalties within the society I can understand, along with how a more immediate threat may have influenced the response of those in positions of authority within either the military or the government.

    Realistically, any questions we might have about the prioritizing of loyalties on the part of Pakistan is a moot point, because what’s done is done and isn’t going to be undone.

    • My purpose was very narrow and a little instructive. Pakistan is what it is. I was pointing to the inane sort of journalism that asks what did Pakistan know. In virtually every office of government there there are at least four circles operating entirely independently of one another.

  3. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was drawn by the British, with the primary purpose of cutting the Pashtun Tribal lands in half. It worked on the map, not so well with the tribesmen.

  1. My thoughts, too. Point to any country, most especially in the Middle East and the continent of Africa, there are factions within factions. Yesterday, someone said the Prime Minister of Pakistan knew nothing; that evidence he had seen led him to believe the P.M. knew nothing. That may well be true… as far as it goes, which isn’t far at all when you consider things from the perspective you outlined here.

  2. What you’ve presented here makes a great deal of sense regarding the structure that might exist in other societies other than our own, but I still question how much those in positions of authority within Pakistan genuinely knew about bin Laden’s whereabouts, simply on the very practical basis of proximity and the fact that bin Laden’s compound was located in close proximity with the nation’s premier military academy.

    The division of loyalties within the society I can understand, along with how a more immediate threat may have influenced the response of those in positions of authority within either the military or the government.

    Realistically, any questions we might have about the prioritizing of loyalties on the part of Pakistan is a moot point, because what’s done is done and isn’t going to be undone.

    • My purpose was very narrow and a little instructive. Pakistan is what it is. I was pointing to the inane sort of journalism that asks what did Pakistan know. In virtually every office of government there there are at least four circles operating entirely independently of one another.

  3. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan was drawn by the British, with the primary purpose of cutting the Pashtun Tribal lands in half. It worked on the map, not so well with the tribesmen.

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