So the Raymond Davis saga is finally over. After way-too-many tortured puns on “Everybody loves Raymond”, I have to say I’m quite ambivalent about the whole thing. Should U.S. contractors be allowed to go around and shoot people without provocation and then get away with it? Well, obviously no. But many powerful actors in Pakistan, from political leaders to our military to our police to party cadres get to shoot people without provocation and get away with it; at least in this case the families got millions of dollars out of it. I’m not trying to be callous here, I’m just saying that under “normal” circumstances, the victims’ families would get no justice whatsoever, and in this case they have received compensation by someone’s (not mine) understanding of justice.
Officials said the US paid in the region of $700,000 (£436,000) to each of three families whose relatives were killed. Two were shot dead by Davis and a third was hit by a rescue vehicle.
The official said Washington had also agreed to “be helpful” to immediate family members who may wish to leave Pakistan for the US or the Gulf.
I’m happy this whole episode is over, if for no other reason than the fact that maybe now, everybody and their aunt will stop pretending to be an expert on diplomatic immunity. Small victory, I know.
Here’s my question though: what did the Pakistani military establishment get out of this? The Americans got what they came for, so to speak, which was their guy out of trouble. The families got cash. What did our khaki interlocutors get? Clearly they got something or else the deal would not have been struck. Was it less pressure for a N. Waziristan operation? (If yes, it would once again show our military’s proclivity for bargaining grand strategy away at the temple of ultimately inconsequential tactical gains). Was it more toys? More money? What? I’m dying to know.
By the way, this event coming to a close this way is not even remotely a surprise. We all knew that there wasn’t a chance in hell that the Americans would let an American be tried for murder in a Pakistani court. It literally could not and would not happen. The only question was the minute modalities of the whole thing, and distasteful as they are, I’m struggling to think of other possible “solutions” that would not be as, if not more, distasteful to the parties involved. If you have any ideas, please forward them in the comments.