May 16, 2011
In order to avoid become a cynic in my old age, I try to apply what I call the Gary Hart Principle to public statements of public figures. That principle is this: Lets suppose they are telling the truth.
The principle derives from Sen. Gary Harts experience back in 1987. He was running for president, youll recall, and he dared the reporters to tail him if they doubted his fidelity to his marital vows. They did. Uh-oh. Soon, poor Hart was seen coming out of his Capitol Hill townhouse in the presence of a fetching young lady not his wife.
Not to worry, said the embarrassed senator. He had been up all night discussing U.S.-Soviet relations with this bright young college student. In those days, before Bill Clinton, actually getting caught in such circumstances was not considered job-enhancing.
OK. Lets assume Gary Hart was telling the truth. Here was a member of the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee who had access to Top Secret U.S. intelligence material. By his own account, he spends the night discussing our relations with the USSR with a young lady he had met some 48 hours earlier.
Had anyone done a background check on this eager foreign affairs major? Had anyone thought to caution the senator about the need to be somewhat circumspect about discussing sensitive national security matters with someone youd just met?
Just before his campaign collapsed, Sen. Hart appeared before the hungry pack of jumping journalists. Whew, he said. After what Ive been through in the past week,
Ill look forward to negotiating with Gorbachev.
Gary Hart never got that opportunity, thank God. But I wondered from that day to this: What makes you think you havent already been negotiating with the Communists?
Supplying compliant western politicians with female companionship is one of the oldest ploys in their bag of tricks. Succumbing to the charms of warm friends in the Cold War even sent West German Chancellor Willy Brandt packing, Nobel Peace Prize and all.
There are some things even Socialists cant swallow.
Back to Pakistan. Suppose they are telling us the truth. Suppose they are not, as one American cartoonist waspishly put it, Stab-you-in-the-Back-istan. Suppose they did not harbor Osama bin Laden for the past six years.
Lets suppose that Pakistans version of West Point could march and drill happily while the most wanted terrorist in the world was building a two-story compound just a few hundred yards from the main gate. And lets suppose further that the famous ISIPakistans intelligence servicehad no idea that bin Laden was so happily ensconced.
If they really had no idea bin Laden was in the neighborhood, how valuable an ally in the war on terror would that make Pakistan? Does anyone think such a trusted ally with such priceless intelligence to give us would be worth, say, $20 billion over a decade? Does anyone seriously think President Obama should have alerted the Pakistanis that we had located Osama bin Laden?
I remember a day in New York City in the fall of 1974. I was desperate to find a full-time job and feeling rather low as I stood on a Manhattan street corner. A huge black limo came careening around the corner. I recognized the occupants from their photos in the New York Times. They were Zulfiqar ali Bhutto, then the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Sitting next to him was his attractive young daughter, Benazir. They made eye contact with me and waved. Surprised, I waved back. The senior Bhutto was on his way to address the UN.
Soon, however, he would be hanged back home by the Pakistani general who had ousted him in a coup. And his daughter would go on to become Prime Minister herself, get overthrown, and then be blown up as she campaigned for a second term as Pakistans civilian leader. The coup leader, Muhammad Zia-ul-Huq, went on to be killed a decade later in a suspicious plane crash in the Punjab that claimed his life, those of several of his top generals, and that of the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.
Thats pretty much what passes for government in Pakistan. If you are Pakistans leader, you are lucky if you only get overthrown and not murdered. It reminds me that even the young and unemployed in America have better prospects for a peaceful and prosperous life in this Great Republic than the richest and most and powerful in that failed country. And it reminds me why we cannot rely on anything being said by the Pakistani leadership. Even if they are telling us the truth, they cannot commit themselves or their government to anything.