Just as Americans are learning how to spell the name of Chen Guangcheng, the heroic Chinese dissident who is now safe in this country, we have a new hero's name to learn, repeat, and shout if necessary:
He's the Pakistani doctor who carried out a fake immunization program in the neighborhood around the compound in Abbottabad where the world's most wanted mass killer was hiding in plain sight. And maybe with the complicity of local authorities, since it's hard to believe he could have taken up residence -- for years -- in a crowded resort city full of military installations without the protection of our treacherous "friends" in that country.
The good doctor worked with our own spooks to confirm that one of the occupants of the sealed-off estate that had attracted the CIA's attention was none other than one Osama bin Ladin, now happily the late Osama bin Laden.
Before those Navy SEALs interrupted Mr. bin Ladin in his comfortable surroundings and homicidal diversions, the CIA had to be sure they had the right place and the right object of their swift, sure attentions. That's where Dr. Afridi came in with his ostensible vaccination program, whose real object was to vaccinate against terror. The good doctor managed to collect DNA samples from those within the mysterious house to confirm that this was our long-sought man.
It's still not clear what exact role the doctor's ruse played in identifying the world-infamous suspect, if any, but this much is clear: He did his ingenious best. At what turned out to be considerable risk. For now his heroism has been rewarded -- with a 33-year prison sentence for treason.
The verdict was handed down last Wednesday by the usual, errant Pakistani authorities, and Dr. Afridi was trundled off to one of their notorious prisons with indecent haste. Naturally he was denied legal counsel at his trial. Which completes the outrage.
The moral of this story: No heroic deed goes unpunished, especially in that treacherous country.
This kind of outrageous thing calls for more than the usual diplomatic protest and another pro forma speech from our secretary of state. It calls for outrage. Outrage made tangible.
Congress, which may prove the last redoubt of American pride and integrity in these matters, is already responding. The House is restive and the U.S. Senate, with a touch of poetic justice, is moving to cut $33 million in aid to Pakistan -- one for each year of Dr. Afridi's outrageous sentence. Good.
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