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Pakistan and the Fable of the Hornets


In December 2001 — three months after the 9/11 attacks — I wrote an article entitled “A Foreign-Policy Primer for Children: The Fable of the Hornets.” The article provides a good description of what is now taking place in Pakistan, in response to the CIA’s drone assassinations in that country.

In the fable, Oscar the policeman provoked a crisis in the village by poking a bunch of hornets’ nests in the woods. The hornets responded to Oscar’s provocations by attacking people in the village.

In response, Oscar and several deputies entered the woods and attacked and destroyed the hornets’ nests. After a grand celebration by the villagers, Oscar reentered the woods and saw something foreboding: dozens of new, smaller hornets’ nests were now under construction throughout the woods.

Last Saturday, the Washington Post reported, “Militants forced to flee their havens in Pakistan’s mountainous tribal areas are establishing new, smaller cells in the heart of the country and have begun carrying out attacks nationwide, U.S. and Pakistani officials say. The spread of fighters is an unintended consequence of a relatively successful effort by the United States and Pakistan to disrupt the insurgents’ operations….”

What began with a post-9/11 police action in Afghanistan to capture the suspected perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, especially Osama bin Laden, morphed into a regime-change operation when the Taliban government refused the U.S. government’s unconditional demand to deliver bin Laden to U.S. officials.

The police action turned out to be unsuccessful, with bin Laden presumably escaping the country, but the regime-change operation did succeed in ousting the Taliban regime from power and installing a U.S. puppet regime in its stead.

Not surprisingly, the Taliban were determined to regain power, which has mired the U.S. government in a brutal 8-year (and counting) occupation of the country and, even worse, defending a crooked, corrupt, and fraudulent puppet regime. In the process of defending that regime, U.S. and Afghan forces continue to kill, torture, and abuse the Afghan people. That has, in turn, succeeded in providing the insurgents and the terrorists with an endless supply of recruits.

Since many of the militants were holing up in neighboring Pakistan, the CIA has now expanded the conflict with its drone-assassination program, killing people in a totally separate country. Additionally, U.S. officials have strong-armed the Pakistani government into killing its own people, under the rationale that anyone opposing the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan must also be considered an enemy of the Pakistani government.

So, we’ve now got both the Afghan government and the Pakistani government killing their own people, at the specific behest of the U.S. government. How can this not bode ill for the American people? How can there not be simmering, if not boiling, anger and rage every time an Afghan or Pakistani family loses a spouse, a parent, a child, a friend, or a countryman?

Moreover, by placing U.S. fortunes on one side or the other in these foreign countries, the U.S. Empire risks the possibility that the side it is opposing will ultimately gain power, such as what happened during the Iranian Revolution, when the Iranian people ousted the brutal Shah, who the CIA had installed into power, and replaced him with a radical anti-U.S. Islamic regime.

Consider Switzerland. The Swiss government is not occupying Iraq and Afghanistan. It is not policing the world. It is not propping up crooked, corrupt, and fraudulent rulers. It isn’t killing, abusing, and destroying people and property around the world. The Swiss government minds its own business. Unlike the U.S. Empire, the Swiss government isn’t poking hornets’ nests around the world. And unlike the United States, the hornets leave the Swiss people alone.

This post was written by:

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.