Daniel Pearl killed again

And why the war on terror will protect his killers, again

The editors of the Wall Street Journal will find it difficult to convince the family of Hayatullah Khan Dawar that Pakistan is not a fear society, because it passes the Sharansky ‘town square test’. Dawar’s body was found outside a village in North Waziristan, shot from behind, hands chained, seven months after his ‘disappearance’ at the hands of Pakistan’s ‘agencies’.

Dawar’s execution comes soon after Hamid Mir, another Pakistani journalist, refused to accept a guild award from the hands of Gen Musharraf (via The GlassHouse). For all the latitude he has allowed (to Pakistan’s English language press, with its miniscule readership), Musharraf has issued direct threats against journalists, Mir being one of them.

But what is really tragic about Dawar’s killing is not that he was killed by the agents of a vile dictatorship. It is that the government of the world’s most powerful democracy will be hard pressed to say much in criticism. That’s because the Pakistani government will offer that Dawar had exposed its tacit agreement with the United States that allows American troops to carry out attacks within Pakistani territory. This excuse is questionable — for Dawar had already exposed the fiction before being kidnapped — but is likely to be enough to shut official Washington up.