Tuesday, January 22, 2008
The Bush/Osama partnership
Back in 2001, when a middle aged man sitting in a cave in Afghanistan, influenced the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York, he got the Government of George Bush very excited. For almost ten years prominent cabinet members even while out of Government had been advocating an attack on Iraq and Iran. In fact they had written a working paper on it which is available to the public. This was the perfect opportunity for a pretence to such an attack. The rest is History.
From then onwards, Osama and Bush became partners. Bush would not capture Osama, because he wanted the "threat " to be out there. Osama would not attack America, because Bush was doing his job for him. The goal of both people was to somehow invoke the name of Islam to further their aims. From Bush's point of view it would be Muslim blood and not American blood that would be spilled. From Osma's point of view, the spilling of Muslim blood was essential to wake up the Muslims.
After eight years the fact that although Iraq has been occupied, Iran and Afghanistan are still out there and not in Bush's control, means round 1 to Osama. Bush has another ten months to reverse his fortunes, but his economy has taken a big hit and his hands are getting tied. The next President is sure to take on where Bush left because ultimately the Israelis call the shots.
In the meantime all sorts of fringe groups have taken up the crises to forward their own agenda. Prominent amongst them the Christian right in America and General Pervez Musharraf in Pakistan. It has also become an opportunity for the Iraqi Shia and the Kurds.
Who would have thought that an act of terrorism on 9/11/2001 would change the course of History for ever. It was an act of terrorism that caused World War II, but truly the act was just an excuse for what followed. 9/11 was also an excuse and not the cause. If 9/11 had not happened, it would have needed to have been created.
There is an undeclared World War III. When the worlds most powerful nation sets out to spill Muslim blood in the guise of killing terrorists, no one can stop it neither should they. After a few million more Muslims have been killed, both sides are bound to ask the question, what have we achieved?
Americans will find that they have achieved nothing except the undying hatred of one billion Muslims. The Muslims will find that they have become more invested in Islam because they have suffered a personal tragedy in which each one of them will get personally affected. Like the Jews before them, what is going on right now will be remembered as the Muslim Holocaust. As obvious as this analyses seems, it is not that clear to the people wanting to be the next President of the US. Each one of them is committed to the "War on Terror" code named for killing more Muslims.
In hind sight the US Foreign policy in Iran was opportunistic, shortsighted and immoral. To carry on with these same policies in Pakistan shows the bankrptcy of US Foreign policy and the refusal to call past disasters a mistake.
The point is not that in Pakistan like in Iran they are supporting a dictator who is repressive towards dissent or that these policies go against the wishes of the vast majority of Pakistanis, the point is that like in Iran, these policies will lead to the rise of Radical Islam.
Whether the rise of Radical Islam is good or bad is again not the question. The question is that if your stated policies are primarily designed to discourage the rise of radical Islam then why would you pursue policies which are guaranteed to have the opposite effect?
Like in Iran, the failure of these policies will not just lead to the rise of radical Islam but a lot of blood shed, when the Islamists gain control and purge the old guard. The chances of this happening today are better than in the Shah's time because today we have a very weakened US. It is not only bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan but 2008 is the year of a lame duck President who is today the least popular President the US has had for a long time. In addition the US is Economically weakened and cannot afford to make another mistake.
If Pakistan goes, the US will go with it. The stakes are very high.
Today is Martin Luther King Day. In his “Beyond Vietnam” speech delivered at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967—a year to the day before he was murdered—King called the United States “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.”
Time magazine called the speech “demagogic slander that sounded like a script for Radio Hanoi,” and the Washington Post declared that King had “diminished his usefulness to his cause, his country, his people.”
No one wants to hear criticism. King had to be silenced rather than be allowed to carry his thesis to the next level. Had he been alive today, he would have had a lot to say about American Terrorism. Even after a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Vietnamese, America has learnt nothing from that defeat. Unlike Vietnam, there is no exit from the latest adventure. Simply put there is no one to negotiate with. The enemy is invisible, Osama never spoke for the whole of Islam. The Sunni Arabs of Iraq are not the enemy, the Shia non Arabs of Iran are not the enemy. The Deobandi Pustun of Afghanistan are not the enemy.
The enemy can only be Islam and no one speaks for Islam. This battle has to go on until a victor emerges and like Vietnam, victory will go not to the most powerful but to the one who has the most to lose.