An Interview with Fatima Bhutto

FatimaIn Guernica:

I think the problem that Obama has made in Pakistan is an enormous one. Empowering Pakistan’s military and empowering this incredibly criminal and corrupt government with drone access and all the rest of it, and with billions and billions of dollars of aid, he’s just repeating the cycle. We’re seeing on a much larger scale a repeat of the earthquake. Pakistan took in, I think, $6.7 billion to deal with the earthquake. Four years later, we still have people in camps; that money has gone to some very high-up officials’ bank accounts and nowhere else. Except in this case, the Pakistan Army has entered into a guerrilla war and what Obama has proved to people in the region is that American democracy is always going to come down against the people. I mean, American democracy means we’ll drone your village, it means we’ll bomb your schools, and it means you live in refugee camps. The idea then of reaching out to the Muslim world, reaching out to places like Pakistan to explain to them that we share a common battle in fighting extremism, has been entirely lost. If I were going to meet President Obama, I would have so many things to say to him…

Fatima Bhutto: But [laughs] I think I would want to make clear to him that he’s opened a third front in my country. By allying America with this government, he has furthered the cause of the Pakistani Taliban so immensely, so immensely. Because when you’ve got these guys fighting the seventh largest army in the world and the first largest army in the world, and they’re fighting and they’re losing their homes, people forget that they flog women. People forget that they are in favor of an incredibly repressive Sharia system. Because what they see is that [the Taliban] are fighting a corrupt system, a corrupt government, a violent army.