DC to Delhi: Only Our Missiles, not Yours.

Condoleezza Rice is off to India this week, to "stand in solidarity with the Indian people " in the wake of the Mumbai attacks.

The Bush administration says it shares the horror and pain of the Indian people. In fact, it shares a good deal more than that.

It shares experience in ignoring terror warnings, for one thing. In
2007, a report to the Indian Parliament warned that that country's
shores were open to attack (and several of the Mumbai attackers seem
indeed, to have come by boat. ) As U.S. National Security Advisor, Rice
was present on August 6, 2001 when the Presidential Daily Briefing was
presented to George W. Bush at his ranch: "Bin Laden Determined to
Strike in US." Condoleeza Rice knows all about ignoring warnings like
that. Anti-terror laws? India's considering passing more
draconian anti-terror legislation in response to the attacks. Shrinking
civil liberaties and expanding police powers? Shredding democracy in
defense of democracy? The Bush administration knows all about that. There's
no excuse for terrorism, but in today's global economy there are plenty
of real grievances to manipulate. In India's growing economy, a
middle class of around 100 million live affluently, while 800
million-plus are miserable. India's Muslim minority are routinely
discriminated against -- even subject to pogroms. But the government
would far rather point fingers than look at economic disparities -- or
India's treatment of its minorities -- to explain what might have
motivated the attack.

Blame, don't explain: India's hardly alone in that.

Top of India's blame-list is Pakistan and purported Pakistan-based
terrorist camps. The pressure's on George W Bush and Rice to rein
nuclear India back from a deadly revenge attack on its neighbor. But
in the name of combatting terrorism, the US has been conducting missile
attacks into Pakistan for months. A week before Mumbai, protestors in
Islamabad were urging their government to sever ties with the United
States over those assaults. What is Rice going to say to India: your
missiles would be wrong, but ours are right?

Rice may manage to stand in solidarity when she arrives in India
this week. But when it comes to advising caution, urging diplomacy and
discouraging reprisal attacks, it's hard to imagine that Bush's
Secretary of State will be able to do any of that with a straight face.

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.