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Pakistan: Thy Wish Is My Command

By Mir Adnan Aziz

25 November, 2010

"Tyrants use their power in three manners. The first is, that they strive
that those under their mastery be ignorant and fearful, because, when they
be such, they may not rise against them, nor resist their wills; the second,
that their victims not be kindly and united among themselves, in such a wise
that they trust not each other; and the third that they strive to make them
poor and to put them under great undertakings, which they can never finish,
whereby they may have so much harm that it may never come into their hearts
to devise anything against their ruler". *(Alfonso X, King of Castile).

These words seem prophetic seen in the context of the West's attitude
towards Pakistan and the subsequent shenanigans of our own rulers. A recent
US request to 'extend' the sphere of drone strikes was countered by a
spineless offer to 'enhance' CIA presence in Quetta. The powers that be,
confident by the accepted bondage at large, gave up on even the routine
charade of defending sovereignty at all costs. It was, after all, an open
admission to their connivance in 'limited' drone strikes and CIA presence in
Quetta and surely elsewhere too. Hillary Clinton, British Foreign Secretary
William Hague and German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, amongst a host
of others, tell us in strident tones how to tax people fatally ravaged by
their war. They warn us severance of alms in case of non-compliance. Beggars
not being choosers, all we can do is say: 'thy wish is my command'. We are
indeed a fractious nation in servitude.

Historically famines and poverty occur due to calamities or prolonged wars.
We cannot stop calamities; forever wars are indeed of our own making. Our
insecurity and grinding impoverishment is perceived to be planned by the
government hence the bondage our lives have become. Seemingly, contrary to
conventional thinking, politics and public offices have become the most
burgeoning business. The US, with an administration that promised change,
continues to engage in forever wars; we the satellites are giddy with the
prospect in terms of dollars received. To those pundits who rant that we
sold ourselves cheaply, it is the very act of selling oneself that is
obscene; no amount of money can be redemption.

The hole in Lower Manhattan (with 'holes' a routine occurrence all over
Pakistan) is a reminder of the action of a few non-Pakistanis in a few
hours, the subsequent forever 'war on terror' a memorial to futility. Bush,
who ironically majored in history, made a grave error going into
Afghanistan; President Obama is making an even graver one escalating the
war. The 2014 timeline is as fallacious as the 2011 one. After making a
series of ignominious decisions to escalate the war in Vietnam, Secretary of
Defense Robert McNamara eventually said: 'wars generate their own momentum
and follow the law of unanticipated consequences'. Afghanistan, the saga of
spying and geo-political interventions chronicled by Rudyard Kipling in '
The great game' shall prove to be no exception.

President Obama's fundamental argument that occupying Afghanistan makes the
US more secure is flawed, as only a small number (if any) members of al
Qaedah reside in Afghanistan. If the US premise of their migration to
Pakistan is true, will US troops stay on perpetually in Afghanistan. If they
do, where does the peace equation come in with the Taliban calling for a
total withdrawl of US/NATO forces? It should be clear beyond doubt that the
focus of the developing political strategy is expanding the war theatre to
the cities and towns of Pakistan. This blunder will have a trans-borders
domino effect and strengthen militants with even moderates joining hands
with them.

Obama's promised change and the post McCrystal implosion change in military
leadership should have been cause for rethinking the entire Afghan policy;
what we have instead is a regressive policy guided by the gospel of
Petraeus. Meanwhile those that suffer see this war as a totally imperial
agenda whereas what President Eisenhower called the 'military-industrial
complex' using the war to prosper. ‘Terrorism’ experts are using the same to
gain money and visibility while mercenaries in the garb of contractors mint
(blood) money. This war has given carte blanche to many nefarious agendas
(here and abroad) hindering a logical conclusion.

In the recent US election virtually no candidate talked about Afghanistan.
The longest war in American history and the American public does not care to
talk about it any longer. What apart from servitude, forces us to be the
harbingers of western security at the cost of our own? The United States
has already lost the War in Afghanistan. The Pentagon mindset believes
that numerical and armament superiority is a precondition to sure victory;
the history of wars tells us otherwise - it is strategic superiority that
prevails. Afghanistan is a lost duel. History, geography and culture make
the area a nightmare for any foreign presence attempting to impose its will
on the nation.

When Gorbachev came to power he, like President Obama, inherited a war that
was not in the interest of his nation. It took a Soviet dictator, pariah to
the West, to end it. Would it be too much to expect the same from the Nobel
peace prize winning torch-bearer of the ‘free and democratic’ world?