By Joel Brinkley

Poor Pakistan.

The United States has bullied and abused the country for so long, forcing the government to take $22 billion in aid, that it's no wonder intelligence agents are showing up at the doors of people with pro-American biases, threatening to kill them.

After all, now that President Obama has laid out his strategy for withdrawing from Afghanistan -- while belligerently demanding that Pakistan "keep its commitments" -- some analysts are saying American forces can't withdraw completely because the U.S. needs a base for more military strikes across the border in Pakistan. The killing of Obama bin Laden in May was the model.

Well, can't Washington see that the bin Laden raid is destabilizing the nation? So it shouldn't be surprising that the military has arrested more than 30 people accused of helping the U.S. plan the assault.

"When something like this happens, you want to know what happened and how, and who was involved," explained Husain Haqqani, Pakistan's apologist, err, ambassador in Washington. "No one is being punished."

The U.S. said it couldn't tell Pakistan of the raid in advance for fear that someone would tip off the target. Understandably, that enraged Pakistanis. Then, twice in June, just after the U.S. gave the Pakistani army precise intelligence about militant bomb-making factories, the militants fled the facilities.

The army explained that, both times, the U.S. provided bad intelligence. Don't forget: American intelligence predicted that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, before the invasion in 2003.

After its most recent monthly meeting, the Pakistani army issued a statement declaring that "it needs to be clarified that the army has never accepted any training assistance from the United States" except in a couple of small, inconsequential cases. True, the U.S. gives Pakistan more than $2 billion in military aid each year, but only a small percentage of that, a mere $100 million, goes toward training.

Pakistan's relationship with America is now perfectly poisonous, and Pakistan insists that it's all our fault. "We can't win the so-called American war on terror," Imran Khan, head of a Pakistani political party, declared on Sunday. "This is an unending war, and it will crush the backbone of the country."

So why should Pakistan allow the U.S. to continue firing drone missiles into the country's tribal areas, where al-Qaeda, Taliban and assorted other militants live?

Certainly it's true that these militants killed 32 Pakistanis and wounded 52 more in a bombing June 12. They blew up an elementary school on June 23 and sent man-and-wife suicide bombers to kill 10 policemen on June 26. That's just a small sampling. On Monday, a Pakistani newspaper reported that terrorists have killed 35,000 Pakistanis in recent years.

But Pakistanis aver that all of it is retaliation for U.S. involvement in the area. That's why the army is demanding an end to the drone attacks -- while cutting off food and water deliveries to Americans manning the drone base, as it did recently.

Despite all this, the Americans keep trying to send dozens more diplomats and intelligence officers into the country, saying they hope to help the nation fight terror. Under the circumstances, however, Pakistan has refused to give them visas.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Islamabad in May, she said the Pakistanis promised "some very specific actions" in the near future to show their commitment to fighting terror. Well, Pakistan has certainly delivered.

On Monday, militants set ablaze three trucks carrying supplies to American troops in Afghanistan. No one was arrested.

Earlier, the intelligence service flatly denied that it assassinated journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter, just after he wrote an article showing that Islamic militants had infiltrated the military. But then, a short time later, the army arrested a senior officer, Brigadier Ali Khan, and four other officers on charges of collaborating with an Islamic militant organization, Hizb ut-Tahrir. (The arrests came only after the BBC reported Khan's complicity.)

In mid-June, the New York Times quoted Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, head of the nation's military, complaining that Pakistan had "mortgaged itself to the United States.

"We are helpless," General Kayani lamented. "Can we fight America?"

It's certainly comforting to know that the military's chief spokesman explained a few days ago that the government tried to expel the offending reporter because General Kayani "has not said a single word of what the New York Times has published."

As American officials see it, Pakistan may be the world's most perfidious nation. Surely you can see that they are misinformed.


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