Tuesday, February 15, 2011
One American Man
Why is the U.S. so quick to cut billions of dollars in funding to rescue one American man, while it did not cut funding to an Egyptian government that harmed its civilians for 30 years? Similar to Egypt, the U.S. has considered Pakistan to be an important ally in its “war on terror.” But now, the U.S. is threatening to cut off a multi-billion-dollar aid package from Pakistan if the government doesn’t release American diplomat Raymond Allen Davis, who is being held on murder charges. The situation is summarized in the following news report:
Thirty-six-year-old Davis, an ex-U.S. army soldier who also served in the Special Forces, is said to have been employed in a “technical assistance” role for the American consulate in Lahore. On January 27th, Davis, who said he was afraid he was going to be robbed, shot two Pakistani men on motorcycles dead. While rushing to Davis’ assistance, a bystander was killed by the driver (who is yet to be found) of a U.S. consular vehicle.
Some eyewitnesses, however, dispute Davis’ story of self-defense, claiming that it was Davis who pursued the motorcyclists. Pakistani police investigators say that Davis used an “excessive and disproportionate” amount of force against the two men he killed, firing nine bullets, mostly at their backs. Davis is currently being held, as the U.S. fights to get him released.
Since the incident, anti-American sentiments have brewed among many angry Pakistani citizens. Davis’ release could trigger a revolt in Pakistan, as citizens are already outraged about the U.S. military drone attacks at the Afghan border, which have killed hundreds of innocent civilians.
The arrest of one American man got the U.S. government’s attention. The arrest of one American man froze the U.S. government’s military support in Pakistan. After all the civilian sufferings and deaths that have occurred under U.S.-supported institutions, is this really what it takes to get the U.S. government’s attention?