For many Pakistanis, it seems west means US and UK. For slave minded fake liberals, it seems good relations with west means acting like a bitch of UK and US governments.Even on drones issue, key NATO member like Germany is not on the same page with USA and it tried to distance itself from the issue but Pakistan never bothered to approach these countries to bring some sanity in their partners.
Why should Pakistan government do that when it is run by fake liberals, sectarian fascists and slave minds who are working as mercenary for US administration? Other countries also know that so they don’t bother to come out like they did on Syria or even North Korea which are run by two most oppressive and brutal regimes.
Pak government, army and fake liberals don’t seem to have any idea of having relationships other than master-slave or enemy-enemy relationship.
China and US/Japan/Taiwan have serious issues which can turn into potential military clashes but they still enjoy good people to people relationship, trade on equal terms, academic collaboration etc. Pakistan, despite acting as a slave and mercenary for US and UK never bothered to establish serious academic relationship or research collaborations in civil or military areas. In fact some big technology based industrial projects and technology transfer happened through China, Russia, France, Germany and other partners on equal cooperation basis but still our fake liberals and establishment cannot come out of their colonial past of serving UK or the power which replaced it after second world war i.e. USA.
Even in US or UK, Pakistani establishment only focuses on security related institutions and never bothered to understand broader opinion which also include anti-war, non-interventionist, non-corporatist or anti-military industrial complex groups.
But then again what benefit will it give to establishment which relies on mercenary services to corporatists sitting in White house or military industrial complex which runs Pentagon?
Recent events of march against drone strikes and attack on Malala Yousafzai have raised some important questions in my mind. These questions are mainly related to the timing of the event and how past events were dealt by the government and security institutions.
If Benazir Murder case is resolved then a lot can be understood about this fake war. For a start, one should ask that how was it possible that some rogue terrorists were able to delete or tempered the mobile communication record from the area? As far as I know that only ISI or some other high level intelligence organization like CIA (Like NADRA data they can surely access this data too) can do it.
These incidents like Benazir, Malala, Islamic University blast or Peshawar market blasts (denied by Talibans) happen at crucial times when anti-war protests take momentum or some crucial decisions are being made about further operations.
Another interesting event is the letter written by Afghan (Pentagon puppet) President Hamid Karzai to PTI’s Chairman, Imran Khan. For those who think that Malala issue is not related to drones and military operations or this fake war, there are few things to ponder upon (If they have the brain to do so). Why the president of a country would like to write a letter to Imran Khan and show the concerns which are shown by social-class and sectarian fascists in Pakistan and pro-imperialism media in USA? It seems Imran Khan and PTI’s march against drone strikes not only disturbed the plans of Pakistani sectarian and social-class fascists but also disturbed the pro-war scum internationally.
Another thing to understand about drone, NWA operation and Malala issue is that Imran Khan is scheduled to lead a protest in front of UN on 26th October 2012.
We need to find answers for these questions. For a start on Malala’s issue, government’s own interior minister Rehman Malik denied the involvement of TTP. Even if it is TTP then there are more than 15 (some say 30) groups working as TTP.
Some are fighting for revenge, some are being funded by international enemies of the country who want Pakistan to remain stuck in this war and some are local criminal gangs. Unless they are not identified clearly, word Taliban has no meaning. Free and Fair investigation can only be done in current scenario through Supreme Court or some investigation body working under SC. But again judiciary is being badly cornered by the government and army due to corruption and missing persons cases. That is why I say for a start we need to find the names behind Benazir murder case.
People say that these tribes and terrorists are ideologically connected. Ideologically connected is also a vague term. People with same customs, cultures or grievances or may be some other common points can be termed as ideologically connected. With this logic most Indians can be termed as RSS, most USA can be connected to Bund or KKK, all Irish people can be termed as IRA, all British people can blamed for the crimes of East India Company, most Israelis can be linked with Stern gang, most Germans can be linked with Nazis etc. Without addressing the root causes, one cannot solve this issue and waging a war against populations after some isolated incidents doesn’t look very intelligent especially after a decade of destruction.
When are we going to learn the lessons from past mistakes? Or Pakistan army and government are committed to repeat another 1971?
Azhar Ahmed convicted of offensive Facebook message in UK–> A question mark on the concept of freedom of speech
It is remarkable to see the colors of hypocrisy in different societies. One such example can be seen in the home of world’s so called the best democracy in the world i.e. United Kingdom. On one hand they preach concepts of freedom and democracy to the whole world and even bomb them to achieve these objectives and on the other hand they punish teenage boy Azhar Ahmed for just writing some facebook message against the soldiers of British Army.
What a hypocrisy?
Azhar Ahmed convicted of offensive Facebook message
A teenager has been found guilty of posting an offensive Facebook message following the deaths of six British soldiers in Afghanistan.
Azhar Ahmed, 19, of Ravensthorpe, West Yorkshire, was charged with sending a grossly offensive communication.
He told Huddersfield Magistrates Court he accepted the message had been “unacceptable” but had denied it was “grossly offensive”.
It was a great feeling to see that people in a country, who’s government in the madness of being a so called super power is killing women and children all over the world, are fighting for the cause of freedom and justice in Chicago. We salute the protestors from America and all other nations who are taking part in these historic protests. May Allah help you in the noble cause of peace and justice.
As expected, American establishment and government have started to use Nazi-like tactics against the protestors and doing whatever they can to push these protestors back. On one hand American government claims to be the champion of democracy and human rights and on the other hand they are not following these norms when it comes to dealing with these peaceful protestors.
In the video above it was nice to see a Palestinian flag in the protest. humanity is not dead. These Americans and other nationalities with whatever religious,racial or linguistic backgrounds are much better than those fake liberals (scum of Pakistan) who support drones, bombings on civilian population and illegal abduction of people. Great job justice loving people.
These protests are against NATO, war on terror, imperialism, drone attacks in Pakistan/Afghanistan and other terrorist (financial and military) activities by these so called first world countries and their puppet allies. It seems that American administration is again using terrorism fear to control these protests as well. Hopefully this will not work.
Reports of Afia Siddiqui getting cancer and pregnant due to sexual abuse–>This case is enough to say that ISI is trash
Afia Siddiqui case is alone enough to say that ISI is like a truck of filthy garbage and must be grounded for sure. They have got too much authority to sell the country and its people. These morons are good for nothing. The best scenario for Pakistan will be if these feudal-corporatist and Khaki ruling elite keep fighting with each other and destroy each other. Then a new Pakistan can emerge out of it , more free, more justice-loving and more prosperous.
Below is a news report stating some shameful things which also tells us about the hypocritical justice system of United States of America. The details may be a bit exaggerated or some of the details might not be as they are but over all context is disturbing about her condition and her family facing problems to find details about her. But the main culprit is ISI as I don’t expect miracles from USA marines or security institutions.
We hope that people with sense of justice and humanity will stand up in United States of America and will raise their voice against this injustice.
Dr Afia Siddiqui gets pregnant, contracts cancer in US jail
By Shahid Abbasi -
Karachi: Pakistani scientist Dr Afia Siddiqui, who is serving 86-year imprisonment in a US prison cell, has contracted cancer and allegedly become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse during her confinement.
Talking to The News Tribe, her sister Dr Dr Fouzia Siddiqui said she had come to know through Pakistani Consul General in Houston that Dr Afia Siddiqui had been diagnosed with a cancer. She added that earlier there were reports that the Pakistani scientist had become pregnant due to alleged sexual abuse during imprisonment. However, the Pakistan Embassy has not playing its role in either confirming or rejecting the reports.
She said that former Pakistan Ambassador to US Hussain Haqqani was called back the next day when he told us the condition of Dr Afia.
She quoted Pakistan Consul General Aqil Nadeem as saying that he was requesting the jail authorities for providing medical facilities to the Pakistani scientist.
Dr Fouzia said keeping in view the reputation of the Roswell jail and the nature of her sister’s disease the request was insufficient.
She urged the Pakistan Embassy to arrange a team of physicians comprising doctors from jail as well as from private sector for Dr Afia Siddiqui.
Dr Fouzia said that newly-appointed Pakistan Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman had assured her all possible help before leaving for America to take up her new assignment. However, despite making contact with her, the envoy has not given any response in this regard.
Speaking about the reports of Dr Afia’s alleged pregnancy, she said that her family was told about it after the Pakistani scientist showed some symptoms in the women jail.
Dr Fouzia appealed to the US and Pakistani authorities to arrange a telephonic conversation of her mother with Dr Afia.
Earlier, British journalist and human rights activist Yvonne Ridley had declared the long punishment of Dr Afia as just ‘one step away from death’.
Talking about attitude of Pakistani politicians being adopted on the Dr Afia issue, she said that she would not believe in their statements until and unless her sister returns to Pakistan. Dr Fouzia complained that the politicians had only exploited the Dr Afia issue just to gain political mileage.
She said that the Pakistani scientist had been provided substandard food, which led to health problems at the jail as she had complained of it during her earlier telephonic conversations.
According to Pakistani TV anchor Aamir Liaquat Hussain, he had received information from his friends in the US that Dr Afia had contracted cancer and will be killed during confinement.
The renowned anchor said that the Pakistani scientist can be brought back through diplomatic efforts.
In a video uploaded on Youtube, Hussain said that Dr Afia had become pregnant as a result of sexual abuse in jail.
The News Tribe, a UK-based bilingual news website has approached Pakistan Ambassador to US Sherry Rehman through an email to get her point of view on the issue but received no response till the filing of this news.
Recent wave of Arab spring and success of Justice and Development Party in Turkey have given many lessons to Islamic movements and political parties around the world.
These revolutions and political successes came as a result of patient and hard laboured struggles without compromising on fundamental issues.
Here in Pakistan, after wasting a decade in an un-wanted foreign war, there was a chance of smaller but ideologically focused parties to join hands against the so called war on terror.
The other fundamental issues which got spot light during that time were issues like independent judiciary,corruption, missing persons and breaking the status-quo in Pakistani politics.
Two political forces, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led by Imran Khan and Jamat e Islami led by Munawwar Hassan, can be expected to bring people together on fundamental issues related to the survival of our country. On one hand eyebrows are being raised over the inclusion of former PML-Q members in PTI and their alleged soft corner for MQM which Imran Khan has rejected.
PTI’s poltical leadership has been denying the impression that they are forming any alliance with forces of status-quo, MQM with its politics of violence or any corrupt leadership. Their point of view on the inclusion of new leadership as expressed by Imran Khan recently is that these people are joining PTI after agreeing with PTI’s agenda and knowing that their assets and credibility will be scruitinized before giving them any party tickets.
Time will tell if PTI sticks to what it claims. Now in another turn of events Jamat e Islami is getting closer with PML-N, a force well-known for being an important part of status-quo along with two other pillars including PPP and establishment.
This development is interesting as according to the news reports, Farid Paracha of Jamat e Islami said,“All the PML-Q has been renamed as PTI. If we have to work with these corrupt people, there is no need to get closer to the PTI.”
This line of argument is interesting from Jamat e Islami’s senior leader. JI is criticizing PTI for including those who are joining the party after accepting PTI’s agenda on USA war on terror, corruption,judiciary etc. Also these people are joining PTI after knowing the fact that their assets and credibility will be scruitinized before giving them party tickets.
On the other hand JI prefers to be partners with a party which is itself an important part of status-quo and has a good history of corrupt power politics (JI’s past statements are also there on this). It was evident from the JI’s recent social media campaign that the people in JI who support PML-N and JUI-F are not happy with PTI’s growing popularity and a possible conflict of interest in the form of some common vote bank or supporter base especially anti-war on terror votebank.
If we talk about fundamentals, PML-N supported operations in Sawat and tribal areas, and played its double role in judiciary movement. Also the possibility of them having a clear stance on corruption is very limited, if we look at their past tenures in federal government.
But still they are eligible for being a partner in the eyes of JI’s senior leader despite former accusations by JI on PML-N for playing the role of a friendly opposition.
So far there are no clear statements on the recent developments between PTI and JI relationship by their top most leaderships. According to news reports, they are expected to meet soon to discuss recent developments in Pakistani politics and way forward with each other.
I hope they will keep fundamental issues like war on terror, corrution, indepndent judiciary, missing persons and independent foreign policy in mind before taking any major decision. This is a make or break time for Pakistani politics as new developments are taking place in neighbouring Afghanistan and a new wave of change in Pakistan is knocking our doors.
Will PTI and JI compromise their fundamental stances over some tactical politics? Their answer may determine the future course of our country and its politics.
by Hamid Mir
ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan is no more a cricketer turned politician. He has suddenly become an important regional player in the US endgame in Afghanistan.
A mind-blowing public rally of Imran Khan in Lahore on October 30 made it very difficult for the Zardari regime to give new commitments or accept any demands from the US to push its decade-long war against terror. Imran Khan has not only become a threat for traditional political parties inside Pakistan but is also going to become a big hurdle in the implementation of demands made by US during the recent visit of Hillary Clinton to Islamabad.
The PTI leader criticised not only President Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif but also blasted US policies in the biggest-ever show of political power in Lahore in the past 25 years. The last time Lahore saw this kind of political tsunami was on April 10, 1986 when late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto returned after many years in exile. A big reception to the daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was a bombshell for the then military dictator. Benazir Bhutto addressed a big rally in Iqbal Park, adjacent to the historical Lahore Fort. That rally was the beginning of General Zia’s end.
The October 30 rally by Imran Khan in the same Iqbal Park also looked like an end of pro-US policies started by General Pervez Musharraf ten years ago. Imran addressed US Secretary of State as “Chachi Clinton” (Aunty Clinton) and said a big no to any more army operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas. It will now be impossible for the ruling Pakistan People’s Party and its coalition partners to start new operations in North Waziristan or even continue the old operations from South Waziristan to Khyber Agency. Elections are close and no political government can take the risk of going against public opinion.
Hillary Clinton is these days desperately looking for someone who can become a bridge between Afghan Taliban and the US. Imran Khan can make some serious efforts in this regard but is more focused on the situation inside Pakistan. He has offered his services for the engagement of Pakistani Taliban but wants assurances that there will be no more military operations.
Imran said all this just one day before the meeting of President Asif Ali Zardari with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in Istanbul. The US has arranged this meeting through Turkish President Abdullah Gull for the success of the Istanbul conference. Army Chief General Kayani also left for Turkey on Monday. Afghan officials will discuss the US endgame with Pakistan, India, Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgystan, Uzbekistan, UAE, Turkey, US and UK in Istanbul Conference from November 1.
The US wants some commitments from Pakistan at this conference and that is why the Pakistani Army Chief is also invited to this conference. However, Imran Khan’s massive anti-American rally has made it very difficult for Pakistani leaders to oblige their friends from Saudi Arabia and Turkey who have became part of the process on the US request.
Imran criticised the Army operations in the tribal areas in very strong words. He clearly said some tribal elders had given him assurances that if US drone attacks were stopped and the Pakistan Army halted operations in the tribal areas they would control all militants. Imran Khan also arranged meetings of these tribal elders (mostly from North Waziristan) with his ex-wife Jemima Khan who is making a documentary against drone attacks.
Jemima and Imran are separated but often meet because of their two sons. An American lawyer Clive Smith is also helping Jemima and they are planning a big campaign against drone attacks in the Western media. Jemima writes for Vanity Fair magazine. She is helping not only Imran but also Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, and Assange may also speak at the inauguration of documentary against drone attacks. The documentary is expected to have a lot of “WikiLeaks”. Imran Khan has repeatedly said, “Pakistan has changed”. He threatened, “I will not spare anyone who gave Pakistani bases to US and sold my people for dollars”.
Without naming Pervez Musharraf he sent him a message not to come back to Pakistan. He also said: “We want friendly relations with every country but we cannot accept slavery of America”. Imran Khan came out openly in support of the Kashmiris and advised India to withdraw its troops from Kashmir.
He tried to satisfy the central Punjab voters who are not happy with the soft stance of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif on India. This hawkish stance will definitely bring him closer to the military establishment but he opposes military action in Balochistan. He also criticised the role of Pakistan Army in former East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) in his recently published book “Pakistan a Personal History”.
According to the sources in Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) more than a dozen ambassadors from different Western countries wanted to see Imran Khan this week but he left for China immediately after addressing the mammoth public rally in Lahore on Sunday night. He will be a guest of the Chinese government. His opponents often declared him “Taliban Khan” or the “modern face of Jamat-i-Islami” but hundreds of thousands of people enjoyed the songs of many popular singers in the Lahore rally. For some critics it became a grand musical show but the fact is that the crowd enjoyed the music at a public place after a very long time. Pakistan has many popular pop singers but they cannot sing at public places due to fear of suicide bombings that started in 2007. There was a suicide attack on the musical show of Sono Nagam sometime back in Karachi and after that many pop singers were threatened not to sing at public places. Many singers like Adnan Sami, Atif Aslam and Ali Zafar tried their luck in India in recent years but now they can come back.
Imran Khan is bringing back not only the political activities on the roads but also encouraging many pop singers like Shehzad Roy to sing publicly who made songs against drone attacks. Roy presented his famous song ‘uth bandh kamar kya darta hey phir dekh Khuda kya karta hey” in the Sunday rally. Thousands of youngsters were dancing on this song and Imran was clapping with them.
Imran Khan is becoming the voice of the common Pakistanis who are neither religious extremists not secular fascists. He is becoming a ray of hope for those disgruntled youngsters who have started hating democracy due to bad governance and corruption. These youngsters can now bring about a change in Pakistan through their vote power. Youth is the real power of Imran Khan and this youth belongs to the lower middle, middle class. This is the most disillusioned class in Pakistan but now the youth of this class is becoming active, which is a positive sign.
Dozens of sitting parliamentarians are contacting Imran Khan for joining his PTI. Former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and many political big shots will make some shocking decisions soon but Imran is more interested in young blood and well-educated minds.
He warned the government on Sunday that all politicians must declare their assets inside and outside Pakistan within a few months failing which his party would launch a civil disobedience movement and block all major cities with public support. For many analysts he is emerging as the third option after Zardaris’s PPP and Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N.
Some say he will ruin Nawaz Sharif in the central Punjab and PPP would be the ultimate beneficiary. Imran does not agree with this analysis. He always criticises PPP and PML-N jointly because one is ruling at the centre and the other is ruling Punjab, which is more than 60 percent of Pakistan. Imran has definitely proved that he enjoys more political support in Lahore than Nawaz Sharif but it does not mean that he is going to get clear majority in the coming elections. He needs some winning horses not only in the central Punjab but also in south Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Sindh.
He needs big rallies in Faisalabad, Multan, Peshawar, Karachi and Quetta and then he can make some bigger claims. He will definitely make dents not only in the vote bank of PML-N but will also damage the PPP badly. There are 25 seats of national assembly in Lahore division of which PML-N has 20, PPP has 3 and PML-Q has one. Imran may snatch at least half of the PML-N and all the seats won by PPP and PML-Q in Lahore. Out of 23 seats in Gujranwala division PML-N has 13, PPP 8 and PML-Q has 2. Imran will damage PPP and PML-Q more than PML-N in Gujranwala. There are 20 seats in Faisalabad division – PML-N has only 4 while PML-Q has 8 and PPP has 7 seats.
Many sitting members of the national assembly from Faisalabad are pleading to Imran to accept them in his party. Some PPP, PML-Q and ANP members from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are also in contact with Imran, which means that his popularity is not confined to Punjab.
His biggest stronghold in the north is the tribal area where he is expected to make a clean sweep and more than 10 seats are in his pocket. This is the same area where he will not allow government to start any new Army operations.
If there is no operation then what will be the future of Pakistan-US relations? Zardari regime is at the crossroads. There is US pressure from one side and the PTI pressure from the other.
Nawaz Sharif was trying to play safe by targeting only Zardari and not the US but Imran Khan has suddenly changed the political dynamics in Pakistan. He is the new trouble man for US and also for the pro-US political elite in Pakistan. All the popular parties have no option other than to follow his anti-Americanism.
Hillary Clinton needs to realise the wave of change in Pakistani politics. She cannot understand this change without engaging Imran Khan. October 30 was just a beginning. World will see more changes on the political map of Pakistan and Imran Khan will play a leading role.
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has stopped all US operations from the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan, an airport which was given to American forces for use after 9/11 and drone attacks were launched from the base on targets in the tribal areas, military sources have confirmed. It was also used extensively in 2001 when thousands of US sorties took off to bomb Afghanistan a few weeks after the 9/11 attack in New York.
As the relations between Islamabad and Washington have strained due to latter’s mounting interference and repeated breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the US Embassy spokesman, Alberto Rodriguez, confirmed that there are no US forces at the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan.
Pakistan Air Force (PAF) spokesperson, when approached about his version on the vacation of US forces and the deadly drones from Shamsi airfield, explained that the airfield does not belong to the PAF while the Pakistan Army sources confirmed that the airfield was free from the American forces.
No one was prepared to share with The News the dates or the time period when the Shamsi airfield was vacated by the Americans although the sources insist that it is a recent development.
Almost a year back, Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar spoke on the topic of the Shamsi Air Base confirming that it was being used by American forces for logistical purposes but, he added, the government was not satisfied with payments for the use of the facility.
Mukhtar, however, did not go into the nature of airfield’s use by the American forces. Prior to Shamsi, Pakistan had also got vacated from the US forces the Jacobabad Air Base and Pasni, which were used for its operations in Afghanistan.
The US has been using the Shamsi Air Base in Balochistan province to station unmanned Predator drones that have been used to attack terrorist targets inside Pakistan’s tribal areas. Shamsi airfield, also called Bandari, is a small airfield and air station located about 200 miles southwest of Quetta near the town of Washki.
In 2009, media reports revealed that the airfield was used by the United States Central Intelligence Agency as a base for Predator drone attacks on so-called militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas but ended up killing several hundreds innocent people. On January 9, 2002 a US Marine Corps KC-130 aircraft reportedly crashed on approach to Shamsi. All seven crew members were killed in the crash.
In February 2009, The Times of London had announced that it had obtained Google images from 2006 which showed Predator aircraft parked outside a hangar at the end of the runway of the Shamsi airfield. Before that, a US Senator Dianne Feinstein said that the CIA was basing its drone aircraft in Pakistan. The US company Blackwater was also reported to have a presence there, hired by the government to arm the drones with missiles.
It was General Musharraf who had permitted the US to use its airbases not only to attack Afghanistan but also to launch drone attacks on the people of Pakistan in the name of the so-called war on terror. The present regime also continued with Musharraf’s policies and allowed much larger number of drone attacks than before.
WikiLeaks had revealed that Prime Minister Gilani had endorsed the drones’ policy. Gilani was reported to have even said to the US officials that his government would raise hue and cry over these drone attacks for the sake of countering the public pressure.
However, of late and after the Raymond Davis episode, things became extremely tense between Washington and Islamabad with the CIA insisting to carry on with its operations, including the drone attacks inside Pakistan, while the ISI is adamant to restricting the Americans from crossing the red-line.
Below is an article by late Howard Zinn on the issue of war and its role in achieving any good desired goals. A good read for those who are interested in understanding the view other than the one presented by governments fighting this criminal war.
Why War Fails
By Howard Zinn
10/23/06 ” The Progressive” -I suggest there is something important to be learned from the recent experience of the United States and Israel in the Middle East: that massive military attacks are not only morally reprehensible but useless in achieving the stated aims of those who carry them out.
In the three years of the Iraq War, which began with shock-and-awe bombardment and goes on with day-to-day violence and chaos, the United States has failed utterly in its claimed objective of bringing democracy and stability to Iraq. American soldiers and civilians, fearful of going into the neighborhoods of Baghdad, are huddled inside the Green Zone, where the largest embassy in the world is being built, covering 104 acres and closed off from the world outside its walls.
I remember John Hersey’s novel The War Lover, in which a macho American pilot, who loves to drop bombs on people, and also to boast about his sexual conquests, turns out to be impotent. George Bush, strutting in his flight jacket on an aircraft carrier, and announcing victory in Iraq, has turned out to be an embodiment of the Hersey character, his words equally boastful, his military machine equally impotent.
The Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon has not brought security to Israel. Indeed, it has increased the number of its enemies, whether in Hezbollah or Hamas, or among Arabs who belong to neither of those groups.
That failure of massive force goes so deep into history that Israeli leaders must have been extraordinarily obtuse, or blindly fanatic, to miss it. The memory is not lost to Professor Ze’ev Maoz at Tel Aviv University, writing recently in the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz about a previous Israeli invasion of Lebanon: “Approximately 14,000 civilians were killed between June and September of 1982, according to a conservative estimate.” The result, aside from the physical and human devastation, was the rise of Hezbollah, whose rockets provoked another desperate exercise of massive force.
The history of wars fought since the end of World War II reveals the futility of large-scale violence. The United States and the Soviet Union, despite their enormous firepower, were unable to defeat resistance movements in small, weak nations. Even though the United States dropped more bombs in the Vietnam War than in all of World War II, it was still forced to withdraw. The Soviet Union, trying for a decade to conquer Afghanistan, in a war that caused a million deaths, became bogged down and also finally withdrew.
Even the supposed triumphs of great military powers turn out to be elusive. After attacking and invading Afghanistan, President Bush boasted that the Taliban were defeated. But five years later, Afghanistan is rife with violence, and the Taliban are active in much of the country. Last May, there were riots in Kabul, after a runaway American military truck killed five Afghans. When U.S. soldiers fired into the crowd, four more people were killed.
After the brief, apparently victorious war against Iraq in 1991, George Bush Sr. declared (in a moment of rare eloquence): “The specter of Vietnam has been buried forever in the desert sands of the Arabian peninsula.” Those sands are bloody once more.
The same George Bush presided over the military attack on Panama in 1989, which killed thousands and destroyed entire neighborhoods, justified by the “war on drugs.” Another victory, but in a few years, the drug trade in Panama was thriving as before.
The nations of Eastern Europe, despite Soviet occupation, developed resistance movements that eventually compelled the Soviet military to leave. The United States, which had its way in Latin America for a hundred years, has been unable, despite a long history of military interventions, to control events in Cuba, or Venezuela, or Brazil, or Bolivia.
Overwhelming Israeli military power, while occupying the West Bank and Gaza, has not been able to stop the resistance movement of Palestinians. Israel has not made itself more secure by its continued use of massive force. The United States, despite two successive wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, is not more secure.
More important than the futility of armed force, and ultimately more important, is the fact that war in our time always results in the indiscriminate killing of large numbers of people. To put it more bluntly, war is terrorism. That is why a “war on terrorism” is a contradiction in terms.
The repeated excuse for war, and its toll on civilians-and this has been uttered by Pentagon spokespersons as well as by Israeli officials-is that terrorists hide among civilians. Therefore the killing of innocent people (in Iraq, in Lebanon) is “accidental” whereas the deaths caused by terrorists (9/11, Hezbollah rockets) are deliberate.
This is a false distinction. If a bomb is deliberately dropped on a house or a vehicle on the ground that a “suspected terrorist” is inside (note the frequent use of the word “suspected” as evidence of the uncertainty surrounding targets), it is argued that the resulting deaths of women and children is not intended, therefore “accidental.” The deaths of innocent people in bombing may not be intentional. Neither are they accidental. The proper description is “inevitable.”
So if an action will inevitably kill innocent people, it is as immoral as a “deliberate” attack on civilians. And when you consider that the number of people dying inevitably in “accidental” events has been far greater than all the deaths of innocent people deliberately caused by terrorists, one must reconsider the morality of war, any war in our time.
It is a supreme irony that the “war on terrorism” has brought a higher death toll among innocent civilians than the hijackings of 9/11, which killed up to 3,000 people. The United States reacted to 9/11 by invading and bombing Afghanistan. In that operation, at least 3,000 civilians were killed, and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee their homes and villages, terrorized by what was supposed to be a war on terror. Bush’s Iraq War, which he keeps linking to the “war on terror,” has killed between 40,000 and 140,000 civilians.
More than a million civilians in Vietnam were killed by U.S. bombs, presumably by “accident.” Add up all the terrorist attacks throughout the world in the twentieth century and they do not equal that awful toll.
If reacting to terrorist attacks by war is inevitably immoral, then we must look for ways other than war to end terrorism.
And if military retaliation for terrorism is not only immoral but futile, then political leaders, however cold-blooded their calculations, must reconsider their policies. When such practical considerations are joined to a rising popular revulsion against war, perhaps the long era of mass murder may be brought to an end.