The Ally From Hell

The Atlantic Monthly looks at Pakistan, America’s “Ally From Hell”.  Following the raid to kill bin Laden in Abbottabad, and in the shadow of our ongoing drone war in the northern tribal regions, Pakistan has become (somewhat understandably) paranoid that we’re intent on denuking them in the event of a crisis of state.  So they’ve taken to driving around assembled tactical nuclear weapons in unmarked, unescorted, unarmored cargo vans.  The ISI takes US money, and funds various paramilitary groups which it doesn’t actually control, some of which are anti-American and end up killing US troops and disrupting our supply channels.  Both sides turn a blind eye to the mess because they can’t do without each other.  What a clusterf*ck.

Reading Afghanistan

I’ve been doing some reading on Afghanistan.  I am so glad I wasn’t born there.  I’m going to read more, but ugh, I need a break.

The first book I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaleed Hosseini, who also wrote The Kite Runner.  It reminded me a little bit of One Hundred Years of Solitude.  It’s intergenerational, it’s about a community, and it’s discontinuous – there are large spaces in time between the salient events which are conveyed.  The style is also a little bit like the magical realism of Garcia Marquez, except that all the events really happened, and what makes them seem magical is how surreal they are.  How surreal and awful.

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