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al queda and pakistan
November 21, 2002 7:09 PM   Subscribe

al queda and pakistan an excellent interview supporting an excellent frontline presentation on al queda - is the US winning or losing the war on terrorism?
posted by specialk420 (20 comments total)

 
is the US winning or losing the war on terrorism?

For a parallel, one may ask: Is the US winning or losing the war on drugs?
posted by four panels at 8:39 PM on November 21, 2002


that was a balanced and informative piece. good link.
posted by donkeyschlong at 8:52 PM on November 21, 2002


Losing.

Shame that few in the US - even on a weblog such a Mefi which takes great pride in it's intellectual acumen - are paying much attention. And so here we are: sowing arrogance, reaping the whirlwind. "Good night, sleep tight. Don't let the Al Qaeda terrorists b...........
posted by troutfishing at 10:52 PM on November 21, 2002


PBS recently did a piece on how easily suspected terrorist organizations can acquire weapons in the U.S. One group taking advantage of this is the Pakistani militant group, Jammat Al fur, who helped train Richard Reid. Here is the transcript.
posted by homunculus at 11:08 PM on November 21, 2002


I found this is interesting in the present context: a 1998 report from the Cato Institute, "Does U.S. Intervention Overseas Breed Terrorism?" (via Joe Conason's Journal.)
posted by homunculus at 11:47 PM on November 21, 2002


I was looking forward to the documentary, but found it to be one of the weaker ones Frontline has done. What I did think it revealed is that the culture of the Pakistan region makes American navelgazing look flat out cosmopolitan. Their world view trumps Bush's for black and white "us versus them" thought and reinforces the belief on my part that people who want us to address the "root causes" of anti-Americanism don't get it. These folks don't like us, never will. America could pull out of every foreign country, drop bread from the sky to all of them and you would still hear about how evil we are. Can't rationalize with that - at all.
posted by owillis at 12:38 AM on November 22, 2002


As usual, the US is blamed, but the writer has no solutions to propose.

An example:
We have been very uneven, very inconsistent, and very hypocritical, I think, in our policies toward Pakistan. Kashmir is the perfect example of this. The dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, which has already provoked two of their three wars, is a dispute with a history of 55 years. Kashmir has been divided since the partition of British India in 1947. There are dozens of U.N. resolutions on the books calling for a referendum, a plebiscite, to allow the Kashmiris to decide whether or not they want to be part of India or part of Pakistan.

We are now chastising, threatening, Saddam Hussein for non-compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions. Why don't we do the same vis-à-vis Kashmir?
Isn't the answer obvious? Because we believe that Iraq poses a significant threat to us and to its neighbor states in the region; because the Pakistan/Kashmir/India situation does not have a history of "55 years", but is the result of Islamic imperial expansion of a thousand years ago, British imperialism in India since the 17th century, and other European activity in the region, none of which the US had anything to do with. We're already in enough hot water in the Mideast -- should we really stick our nose into another regional conflict? Won't we just make more enemies?

There's the annoying flavor of 'The US is responsible for everything in the world' about this.

For example:
When the first war in Afghanistan was over -- the Soviet Union withdrew in February of 1989 -- the United States walked away from Pakistan, leaving behind a country awash with drugs, with arms; a country where sectarian violence was on the rise; a country where political assassination had become common.

A year after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, what was our thank-you note to Pakistan?
The hell? What was Pakistan's thank-you note to us? We had just helped drive the Soviets from their doorstep! Why can't Pakistan handle its own affairs? If Pakistan has a problem with sectarian violence and assassination, for heaven's sake, let Pakistan deal with it. Does the writer really expect the US to police the world, and tidy up all messy nations?

A generation ago, in the wake of Viet Nam, the Left was saying exactly the opposite. I wish they'd at least make up their minds.

This article is long in facts, short in ideas. The writer has no coherent idea of what to do with her facts, or how US policy should address them better than it is doing now.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 12:49 AM on November 22, 2002


Why don't we do the same vis a vis Kashmir?
No oil.

...we believe that Iraq poses a significant threat to us and our neighbour states in the region
...and that this threat has suddenly arisen just as bin Laden's trail has gone cold, an election is approaching and Bush's poll numbers have begun to look unsteady.

The writer has no coherent idea of what to do
From the article, some clear ideas of what the US should do:
- Intervene to resolve the Kashmir conflict, prevent regional destabilisation and possible nuclear war.
- Not attack Iraq and thus avoid furthering anti-US sentiment.
- Have a stable worldview and therefore not switch from loving Pakistan throughout the 80s to sanctions through the 90s to sucking up again when a military base is needed.
posted by lambchops at 1:59 AM on November 22, 2002


The Soviets evil dealings were no more influential than America's evil dealings. That we "drove" the USSR away from Pakistan is little consolation to the anti-prize I suspect many in that region feel cursed with. That anti-prize being subservience to American hegemony. It's all the same if you're on the butt end of the stick being used to beat you with. USSR, USA one the same. Equally fascist. Equally plutocratic. Equally corrupt. Equally promising one thing to lull you into calm and then doing another once they've stolen your leverage.

You want US policy Slithy_Tove? Quit being a puppet and think for yourself. Apparently that's what "they're" doing.

What kind of a future are we making for ourselves if we cease to be outraged about our government's own multitudinous dirty-dealings? These fuckers are dirty and it's high time we quit making excuses for them, cos they're coming for you too.
posted by crasspastor at 2:06 AM on November 22, 2002


...and that this threat has suddenly arisen just as bin Laden's trail has gone cold, an election is approaching and Bush's poll numbers have begun to look unsteady.

Um...lambchops...

1. bin Laden's trail has been cold for a year, until the recent audio tape, which may or may be him.
2. The election has been over for two weeks.
3. Bush's poll numbers have been stable for months.

I.e., everything you know is wrong. The Iraq threat has been present for a decade. The previous administration just failed to deal with it.

Oil? Right, oil. We sent troops into Afghanistan, Bosnia, Somalia, Grenada, Haiti, Lebanon, and Viet Nam because of those countries' precious oil supplies. We aren't proposing war against Saudi Arabia, Yemen, or Nigeria because they have no oil. Canada has enough oil to last the US 100 years, so of course we're desperately searching for more.

Translation: the oil argument makes no damn sense.

So basically, the writer wants to draw us into a land war in Asia? Between Pakistan and India? This strikes me as a very bad idea, especially when we have no interests in the area. Should the world try to calm these nations down? How about the UN? Or the British? Or Nepal, or China? Yes, of course. But why is it our job in particular?

crasspastor: Quit being a puppet and think for yourself.

*plonk*

Insults just get you ignored.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 2:33 AM on November 22, 2002


The hand rises forth into your body cavity:

What was Pakistan's thank-you note to us?

Where is the us you had nothing to do with in any "thank-you notes" being passed around in the first place?

We had just helped drive the Soviets from their doorstep!

*plonk* Offending someone supplants even making a point anymore. Who's this we Sr. Americano? Where were you in the "driving" away of the Soviets? You, like me, were probably right here, either too young to grasp it or old enough to, but tuned into ABCBSNBC and got the whole story there. Hardly a "we" situation. Unless of course you're a puppet. Which is right where you're best as an American taxpayer, laborer and consumer.

Does the writer really expect the US to police the world, and tidy up all messy nations?

Do you not have any grasp as to the gravity of your own government's depravity, that it must invade and subvert another country in order for itself to be "complete"? If you believe that that's couth then you are one of them. You'll perhaps volunteer their counter-terrorism phone banks one day.

You are making excuses for them.

But I'll get over it. Insulting as I go.
posted by crasspastor at 3:15 AM on November 22, 2002


Offending someone supplants even making a point anymore.

The medium is the message. When the medium is insults, that's what people hear and respond to. Insults beget more insults, not understanding.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 3:48 AM on November 22, 2002


The Iraq threat has been present for a decade. The previous administration just failed to deal with it.

I take it you were referring to Poppy Bush? I thought so. I just knew you wouldn't try to make a partisan charge in this conversation as in "everything bad is Clinton's fault."
posted by nofundy at 5:20 AM on November 22, 2002


nofundy: Why, no. As everyone knows, Bill Clinton played a subtle and complex game of geopolitics with Iraq, engaging Saddam in a cat-and-mouse game of diplomatic maneuvers while secretly arming the Kurds and Shiites, who, with US air support, rose up to overthrow him in the 'Glorious Insurrection' of 1999, resulting in the pluralistic Iraq we know today.

Because of Clinton's unstinting efforts, Iraq has a multiparty democracy that has a good chance to succeed (despite ongoing problems with corruption and ethnic and religious jealousies and infighting), a vigorous and outspoken press, and the best human rights record of any Arab state in the region. The 2000 Gulf Treaty between Iraq and Iran (signed under much pressure from the US) has resolved (for the moment) the conflict between those two countries, and a strong trading relationship has grown up between them. The Kurdish party in the new Iraqi parliament has even talked about establishing ties with Israel, but hasn't been able to make much progress because of opposition from the Shiite and Sunni coalition; this is still a work in progress.

nofundy, I would never say that "everything bad is Clinton's fault." We, and the Iraqi people, owe him so much! I only hope that President Gore will continue his predecessor's foreign policy successes.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 5:57 AM on November 22, 2002


As I suspected. Slithy_Tove is fisking again.
posted by nofundy at 7:18 AM on November 22, 2002


what concerned me most about the program and additional readings i have found on this subject is how fragile Musharraf's government appears - and how quickly pakistan could become the a fundamentalist islamic state with lots of nuclear and other WMDs - this could be worst case of blowback todate.... my question is - where is the leadership on peace? to defuse the powderkeg that middle east, pakistan, in fact the whole world is fast becoming? Colin Powell is doing an amazing job - considering the apocalyptic sabre rattlers he's got to put up with in the bush admin (pearle, cheney, et al.)
posted by specialk420 at 7:30 AM on November 22, 2002


These folks don't like us, never will. America could pull out of every foreign country, drop bread from the sky to all of them and you would still hear about how evil we are. Can't rationalize with that - at all.

And so we should ... ?
posted by moonbiter at 7:30 AM on November 22, 2002


bullshit. why are'nt these folks pissed at canadians, new zealanders, chileans, mexicans..etc. etc. as well???
posted by specialk420 at 9:32 AM on November 22, 2002


If/when the Canadians, etc. become the top dog - there will be a line for people who feel slighted by them. It used to England, it used to be France.
posted by owillis at 9:45 AM on November 22, 2002


There is much that was informative in this interview, but also clear bias, as well as arrant nonsense.

Let's deal with just one: the idea that we should have "consistent" policies under changing conditions. So it's 1990, the Soviet threat is all but gone, and Pakistan is developing a nuclear weapon with the assistance of China -- and we're supposed to maintain a "consistent" policy now? Pakistan's delusion is to sputter, at this point, But we're still your closest ally against the threat of ... um .... er .... . They chose to develop nukes at that point, knowing that we had clear responsibilities under the non-proliferation treaty and our own laws. And this is our fault? Get screwed, Pakistan. Their only route to remaining close to us at that point was civilian rule and no arms race on the subcontinent. If we had to choose between them and the considerably stabler multiparty democracy of India, it was really no contest. Taking that policy change -- which took a decade of little moves -- as somehow an abandonment, as an abrogation of their loyalty, simply shows how insular and removed from reality their worldview is. I find that more scary than many other things mentioned in the article.
posted by dhartung at 12:19 PM on November 22, 2002


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