Pakistan Remake of “The Year of Living Dangerously”


Schmidle New America Foundatoin.jpg
Want to know how it feels to be a young journalist passionate about covering one of the exotic countries of the era — like Pakistan — and then be deported?
Deportation is scary, as is brushing up against the very real thuggishness of military and intelligence services in Pakistan.
But this is Nicholas Schmidle‘s story — which he tells in a piece coming out tomorrow in the Outlook pages of the Washington Post, “Pakistan Kicked Me Out.”
Schmidle’s treatment reads like a segment of a Pakistan remake of The Year of Living Dangerously.
Nicholas Schmidle, a blonde-haired adventurer journalist and son of a well respected Marine general, grabbed his young wife and said lets have a honeymoon that won’t stop living together in Pakistan and reporting from there. . .and off they went, until he became the first American journalist deported from Pakistan in years.
Schmidle had just published this piece in the New York Times Magazine titled “Next Gen Taliban,” as well as some dispatches for
Schmidle contacted me from Pakistan when he was being forcefully pushed out of the country, despite General Musharraf’s assurances only days earlier that the foreign media were free to report anything in the country and to travel anywhere and everywhere.

Schmidle spoke at the New America Foundation (video above) along with Peter Bergen, Steve Coll, Flynt Leverett, and myself and then did a bloggingheads discussion — or diavlog — with me that is worth watching, even though it’s been a few weeks since we did it.
I also have copies of the deportation order given to Schmidle and his wife (here is the pdf) — though the Pakistan government now states it did not issue such an order. It’s so interesting how many government officials have read 1984 and now deploy “The Big Lie.”
I believe that Pakistan is a tinderbox and one of the most dangerous nations in the world today.
And as briefly discussed in the New America Foundation meeting above, I believe that the US is training special forces units to send in to the Tribal Areas of Pakistan on covert missions to target al Qaeda, Taliban, and other Islamist militant leaders — and that the chances of George Bush sending in those forces are running about 50-50 right now, which in the odds business on war is high.
Schmidle’s story is intriguing and gives a peek into what it takes to penetrate some of the environments we fear so much in the world.
One last comment about Schmidle’s piece. The journalist vaguely referred to as having been harassed by Pakistan’s military authorities and threatened with being “the next Daniel Pearl” was another New America Foundation/American Strategy Program colleague of mine, Nir Rosen, whose writing on the Middle East is among the most important in the field right now.
— Steve Clemons


4 comments on “Pakistan Remake of “The Year of Living Dangerously”

  1. dqueue says:

    Talk about living dangerously… the day before he was scheduled to return from his assignment in Pakistan, Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement attache Keith Ryan was suicided in his Pakistan home. At least one report indicates a bullet entry wound in the back of his head.
    I’m unable to post clickable links in the comments…
    I hope there’s some follow-up on his story.


  2. Steve Clemons says:

    P.L. — Thanks for the reference. I remember it in Animal Farm too — but your reference is better and thus I’m going to change my piece.
    best, steve


  3. p.lukasiak says:

    Uh, steve, if you are going to cite an Orwell book to reference “The Big Lie”, 1984 (with its Ministry of Truth) is the book you are looking for. (i.e We have always been at war with EastAsia). In Animal Farm, the propaganda was presented as more about distortions and subversions than the kind of “Freedom is Slavery” and “Ignorance is Truth” nonsense found in 1984.
    (Of course, ‘the big lie’ has its origins in Mein Kampf, but few people have actually read that…)


  4. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Pakistan tests medium-range nuclear ballistic missile
    Feb 01, 2008 03:57 EST
    Islamabad (dpa) – Pakistan on Friday successfully carried out a training launch of a medium-range ballistic missile that is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, the military said.
    Continues at….
    Of course, Bush’s favorite “purtent ally in the Gluble Wer On Terrism” poses no “nukler” threat, like those pesky sand niggers in Iran do.
    So hey, heres a bright idea, now that Sibel Edmonds has let the cat out of the bag, lets cover our slimey lyin’ asses by legalizing the process of making sure Turkey gets boned up with a few nukes of its own. And gosh, who better to head this effort than the patriot’s patriot, our fearless walking wad of human excrement, Paul Wolfowitz!
    Shhhh, Steve, we don’t wanna break the confidence of whomever told you to hush up about this. We’ll just keep this as our little secret, eh? Gosh, its just so gratifying helping to make this world a far safer place, isn’t it?


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