Peak State
May 05, 2011, 03:30 PM
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My insta-reaction to bin Laden being found not on Pakistan's lawless frontier but next to the Pakistan Military Academy — We've been scammed for years by the Pakistan deep state! — is gaining in respectability.

So much so that Speaker of the House John Boehner has had to put out the word that loyal Invade-the-Worldists shouldn't be discouraged by mere embarrassment. Under the title, "Republicans Are Useless," Your Lying Eyes cites an AP story:

The Obama administration was investigating whether Pakistan knew Osama bin Laden was hiding deep inside the country as House Speaker John Boehner and top lawmakers insisted the U.S. maintain close ties with the sometimes reluctant ally in the war on terror. The killing of Osama bin Laden at a compound just miles from Islamabad prompted furious questions about whether Pakistan was complicit in protecting the mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks...Amid the harsh criticism of Pakistan, Boehner and others said this was not the time to back away from Pakistan. "I think we need more engagement, not less," he said. "Al-Qaida and other extremist groups have made Pakistan a target. ... Having a robust partnership with Pakistan is critical to breaking the back of al-Qaida and the rest of them."

How true!

Except that Pakistan hosted the founder of al-Qaida.

And that raises difficult questions of what we mean by "Pakistan."

Outside of the GOP brain trust, the discussion has moved on to whether "rogue elements" in, say, Pakistan's intelligence service sheltered bin Laden.

All this raises the philosophical question of what is meant by "the government of Pakistan." Earlier, I had asserted the metaphysical point that, from the point of view of the United States of America, the strategic question is which side are they on in the hunt for Osama bin Laden, and that, therefore, whomever implements a decision on bin Laden is, for our purposes, the effective government of Pakistan.

But, there might not be a need for that kind of subtlety of argument, because there's an alternative to the "rogue elements" theory:

Or did this conspiracy go all the way to the top?

The concept of a "deep state," a permanent government of shadowy behind-the-scenes manipulators, is closely associated with Cold War Italy.

But there's an irony here. The man most often accused of heading Italy's deep state was Giulio Andreotti, who was prime minister of Italy for a total of over seven years from 1972 to 1992. (Here's my review of the 2009 Italian movie about Andreotti, Il Divo, which, I must say, strikes me as once of my best movie reviews.)

Andreotti is the anti-Berlusconi, a man with negligible need for fame and acclaim. If he took on Italy's prime ministership three times, it wasn't out of ego, but because he could get more things done that he wanted to do in the top job than as a grey eminence.

In other words: less deep state than peak state.

Similarly, having lived in Chicago for 18 years, it was obvious to all that there is a Deep City.

Perhaps there were some rogue elements in the machine who were embarrassing, say, their less ridiculous colleagues by embezzling quarters from tollbooths.

But, for 42 of the last 56 years in Chicago, there was no mystery about who was, overall, in charge of the Deep City: Mayor Daley. The young Barack Obama craved the Mayor's job because it represented true power. Rahm Emmanuel didn't quit his post as the President's chief-of-staff to get elected Mayor in order to be manipulated by obscure underlings.

So, let me take a wild guess and throw out a name of somebody in Pakistan who might have decided to host Osama bin Laden: Pervez Musharraf, Chairman of the Pakistan Joint Chiefs of Staff from 1998 to 2007 and President of Pakistan from 1999 to 2008. He resigned a little over a half year after his rival Benazir Bhutto got machine gunned and blown up after returning to Pakistan to challenge him for the Presidency. Maybe that was just a rogue element, too.

Here's a new interview on Fox News in which Musharraf concedes incompetence at catching bin Laden, but denies complicity.

Now, I don't know anything about Pakistan. It seems more disorganized than Chicago, so maybe President Musharraf really was a feeble figurehead. On the other hand, maybe not.