This latest exercise in barbaric law of the jungle in human history can be confidently traced back to the insane war against terrorism following 9/11; it is insane because it has no defined goal, save the vague end of terrorism rhetoric; it has no defined enemy, save the faceless “terrorists”; it has no defined end. It is unlike any other war in human history.
By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
The unprovoked NATO strike on a Pakistani post that killed twenty-eight army personnel and wounded several others made small headlines in the international press. Had it been NATO soldiers killed by a Pakistani strike, the uproar would have been deafening. The difference of balance is not in the color of skin, but the power that strikes. The power that can strike is now the only deciding factor in world affairs: one country can have nuclear arsenal, another cannot. In one country, state repression of mass uprising leads to NATO intervention and change of regime, in another, similar, even more, prolonged and deadly repression produces nothing but empty chatter. We are certainly living in an immoral, lawless and cruel time.
This latest exercise in barbaric law of the jungle in human history can be confidently traced back to the insane war against terrorism following 9/11; it is insane because it has no defined goal, save the vague end of terrorism rhetoric; it has no defined enemy, save the faceless “terrorists”; it has no defined end. It is unlike any other war in human history. Previous wars, even those which began on the vague, illogical and absurd claims, at least had definite goals and defined end points. The war of terror (and it should never be called war on terror) initiated by George W Bush, Dick Chenny, and Tony Blair has no goal that can be achieved by soldiers on ground, no end point, no exit; it is insanity, pure and simple.
Pakistan was pulled into this insane war without the consent of its people; it was the decision of one man, or at the most a few men in uniform, who happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time and who chose to join either because of fear or greed or both. The result has been devastating for Pakistan: unprecedented level of violence, emergence of an artificial economy, huge amounts of money entering and leaving in mysterious ways, leaving behind corruption of an order seldom seen before.
The situation in Afghanistan is no different. After ten years of devastation, and billions of dollars, its capital is filled with thousands of Western diplomats, aid managers and military officers who zip back and forth between fortified compounds in their armoured SUVs,” as an embedded Canadian journalist wrote in his recently published book The Savage War. What the Western world has brought to Afghanistan during the last ten years is simply insane. In the name of reconstruction, they have created “Manhattan-like corridors cut and stitched haphazardly on to the landscape, as a hack surgeon might bind an old wound.” Everyone involved in this insane war knows that it is an impossible war; no matter how many billions are pumped into it, there is no possibility of crushing Afghan resistance against occupation in any name. Everyone knows that Hamid Karzai’s mandate ends at Kabul’s city limits, and all efforts to extend it can merely secure temporary corridors.
Anyone who considers just this one aspect of this insane war would leave it as quickly as possible. But one cannot even insist on this commonsense anymore, it seems. As soon as one attempts to make any sense of this insane war, numerous theories about long-term US goals for the region, the energy resources of Central Asia, the Iran factor, and so many other vague and not-so-vague justifications and explanations are brought to bear on this war. But no matter what justifications are offered, the most obvious feature of this war remains unchangeable: it is a war without an end, because there is nothing one can define as the “other side”, which would one day surrender and bring the war to an end.
Regardless of the illogicality of the war, if US and its allies insist that they have a reason for continuing this insanity, Pakistan has none. Whatever reason there might have been in 2001, there is none left now. The military dictator who chose or who was compelled to enter into this so-called strategic partnership with the US is gone; there is no compulsion of the kind which the Bush-Chenny-Blair trio had then waved: you are with us or against us. There is absolutely no reason left for Pakistan to continue along the path of self-destruction which one of its dictators chose ten years ago.
The NATO strike that killed Pakistani soldiers can easily be the beginning of the end of Pakistan’s involvement in this insane war. The only thing that would stop such a disengagement would be monetary considerations for both the government as well as for the army. Over the last decade, a certain segment of Pakistani society has become addicted to green bucks. For some, it is easy money, for others, it is business, and for still others, it is graft. But for an average Pakistani, this money does not exist. Hard statistical figures can easily show that Pakistan’s economy today is worse than what it was before the flow of green bucks.
The political forces now in action were absent when the military dictator pulled Pakistan into this insane war. If these forces have the will to change the course, there is nothing that can stop this. When the United States pressured Turkey to join in the invasion of Iraq, the Turkish politicians called a special meeting of the parliament which passed a resolution against it and the matter ended there. There is nothing which prevents the Pakistani government from doing the same. A joint sitting of the two houses can easily pass a resolution, asking government to disengage and that would bring a new hope for Pakistan. Most of its internal strife will simply evaporate in thin air and it may even go back to the peaceful days of pre-9/11 era when one could still count on commonsense.