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07 January 2011


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William R. Cumming

Wow! Another great and inciteful post! Could you elaborate on the articulation of US policy originally after 9/11 when Deputy Secretary of State told Pakistan "you are either with US or against US"? How did or does this forumulation of policy or stragtegy still help or hurt US? No rush of course!


Since in 2000, Musharraf suggested changes to the blasphemy laws, and then withdrew them, the issue of blasphemy laws has little to do with the purported US war against Islam.

From May 2000 (Bush hadn't even been elected yet)


"The controversy concerns the military's proposal to change the way in which blasphemy cases are registered.

Currently, if an individual goes to the police and simply accuses someone of blasphemy, the police have to make an immediate arrest before an investigation.

General Musharraf was suggesting that to discourage false accusations, claims about blasphemy should initially be referred to a senior civil servant, who would then investigate before ordering any arrest.

The military insisted that this was just a procedural change, and did not mean that the law itself was being amended.

Nevertheless, many Islamic groups reacted sharply and their threats of protests this Friday have led General Musharraf to change his mind."


The killing of a public official over blasphemy also is pre-Bush:

"Judge Arif Iqbal Hussain Bhatti was assassinated on 19 October 1997 in his Lahore office after acquitting two people who were accused of blasphemy."

The celebration of the killer of a blasphemer is nothing new either. In 1929, the British Indian courts sentenced Ilm-ud-Din to death for the killing of Rajpal, the publisher of a scurrilous pamphlet that ridiculed the Prophet. Iqbal, later designated as the National Poet of Pakistan, spoke at Ilm-ud-Din's funeral. We are told "Muhammed Iqbal placed the body in the grave with tears in his eyes and said: "This young man left us, the educated men behind [in status]."" and "It was among the largest funeral processions seen by Lahore." and "A mosque is also built in Mianwali Jail, Mianwali Pakistan called Ghazi Ilmuddin Shaheed Mosque to offer him tribute for his bravery and sacrifice." (Pakistan's founder, Jinnah, had handled Ilm-ud-din's legal appeal against the death sentence.)

Since George Bush was born only in 1946, I wonder just how this radicalization is going to be blamed on him.

Sean McBride

The neocons are deliberately trying to destabilize and radicalize Pakistan in order to get on with their apocalyptic Clash of Civilizations between the West and the entire Muslim world. Shouldn't this be obvious? Destabilizing and radicalizing Pakistan is the policy objective.


Let us remember why Judge Arif Bhatti was assassinated in chambers in Lahore, 1997 - he had acquitted two persons of the charge of blasphemy - one of them was a 14 year old boy at the time of the alleged offence.

Don't try to blame the extremism of this large section of Pakistan's population that supports such blasphemy laws and the like on US or Western actions. This is indigenous Pakistani culture. Deal with it.


Brigadier Ali.

I have often thought what you put in words. But, I have never read in Corporate Media.

I am living in some alternate version of the United States where its leaders seem not to understand that assassination, rendition and bombing campaigns create more enemies than they kill. A lesson already learned 40 years ago. But, a jihadist Pakistan will have consequences far worse that a communist Vietnam.

The only way to control religious fanatics and have a civil society is by equal justice for all and the rule of law. But then, the Oligarchs have thrown out the rule of law for themselves in the United States.

Green Zone Cafe

It's getting close to the time when we'll have to grab the nukes.

Sean McBride

Arun: these are not mutually exclusive truths: 1. Islamic extremism has been an important element in Pakistani culture for decades. 2. Neocons are deliberately trying to prod, provoke, inflame and exploit that extremism.

Patrick Lang


How do we do that? pl

Sean McBride

Green Zone Cafe: One of key objectives of the neocons in trying to provoke and inflame Muslim extremism in Pakistan is to create the pretext and justification for seizing Pakistan's nuclear weapons. Your words above feed into the propaganda for this operation.


Thank you once again for a your brilliant commentary on the current situation in Pakistan Gen. Ali.

However, make no mistake, the Neocons understand exactly what they are doing. Their intention is to create a state of perpetual war against Islam. This allows them to achieve Three goals:

1. Everlasting support for Israel, no matter what it does.

2. Everlasting profitable military expenditure.

3. Implementation of Orwellian controls on the U.S. population under the banner of fighting "terrorism". This is judged necessary to maintain Neocon power and prevent unrest in the face of the economic dislocation America now faces.


Each and every part of American policy, at home and abroad, is designed to achieve this objective, from the deliberate and regular harassment of Americas Muslim population to the drone attacks on Pakistans soil.

The simplest way of understanding this is to compare Western civil actions during the Cold War against Communism with todays actions against Muslims everywhere. We are doing exactly the reverse of what we did then.

Between 1955 and 1990 the West ran a massive multifaceted civil program with the intention of convincing Russia's satellites - the Warsaw pact members and other vulnerable countries, that Western free market democratic ideology produced superior outcomes compared to Communism in all dimensions. To put it another way, we did our level best to charm them on to our side.

This series of programs was largely invisible to Americans because they were mostly carried out in Europe and directed at an Eastern European audience. These programs were epitomised by the famous "Kitchen Debate" between Nixon and Khrushchev on 24 July 1959.


The West ran numerous programs to confront Communist ideology and wean supporters of it across to Western ideas. These included, among other things:

1. Massive scholarship programs to entice Eastern bloc academics and students to engage with the West, visiting scholars programs, etc.

2. Government encouragement and support for defectors and/or converts.

3. Long term propaganda towards Eastern bloc populations.

Ultimately the Soviet Union collapsed because it could no longer maintain the fiction that its own citizens, let alone those of its satellites, were better off than Westerners in the face of the evidence to the contrary we so thoughtfully provided.

To put it another way, if we fought the Cold War the way we are fighting Radical Islam now, there would still be a Soviet Union.

To put it another way; where is the following YouTube video?

Scene: Outside suburban house in Phoenix Az. Mohammed is standing next to his BMW.

Script: "Well yeah, Seven years ago I was Taliban, but after I got wounded and captured I got to thinking.

The doctors were nice to me. They offered me education and resettlement. They had this Imam who convinced me that there was a better way to serve Allah...

Over here my daughter gets an education. We have a great mosque here and the people are friendly..... "

Flash to shot of mosque in Phoenix, smiling people, American flag in background ....

You get the drift? We did this type of thing on a massive scale in the Cold war. Now we are doing everything possible to stoke hatred, ridicule, and contempt for America in the Muslim world, and it looks like the Neocons are going to succeed in their objective.

different clue

I think Sean McBride may have offered something useful. It was true before and the Afghan war is making it far worse far faster.

Osama bin Laden arranged for this attack precisely so that the neocons and the CheneyBush Administration would invade Afghanistan and fight a no-win-possible type of Soviet Occupation war there. So the Administration stepped into the exact trap which the al Qaedists dug for them to step into.

Even given that, our forces bombed, blasted, and Special-Forced the Taliban into defeatability so fast that the Northern Alliance was then able to conquer and defeat them very fast. I believe I remember how very upset Donald Rumsfeld(?) was that it went so fast. I believe he called it "catastrophic success"?
And weren't our forces in position to surround and capture or kill every last leading al Qaedist in the Tora Bora area? And wasn't it the Bush Administration's sudden decision to remove marines and other fighting resources
to rush to the looming invasion of Iraq which allowed bin Laden, al Zawahiri and the others to escape? And then the Bush Administration actively thwarted the wishes of many Afghans to have Zahir Shah convene and ceremonially head a Grand Council for the bottom-up selection of post Taliban leadership. The Bush Administration string-pulled and manipulated events to get Karzai elected President instead, without a "Zahir Shah" council. So the Bush Administration helped the Northern Alliance win the war and then the Bush Administration very deliberately threw the victory and the peace away through malicious manipulation and neglect.

If my memory on all that is wrong, then all I have just said is worthless. But if my memory is correct then perhaps what follows might be useful.

If Obama were honest and brave (and he is neither), he would come before the nation and say, in effect, that it is too late to save what Bush threw away and too late to fix back what Bush destroyed. Dignified retreat on Pakistani terms is the only "victory" possible for us now. Since Obama is incapable of saying it, the only hope of anyone saying it is for a primary challenger to say it in hopes of removing Obama from the 2012 Presidential Race. If such a primary challenger could actually succeed in removing Obama from the Democratic Ticket; then he or she would have to run on Defeat With Dignity and hope that enough voters would agree to get that candidate elected on that mandate. Barring that, the only other hope is for Kucinich and Ron Paul to run
on a Quit Afghanistan Now ticket in hopes of placing or at least showing so well as to have leverage against whoever becomes our next President. Absent those two
possibilities, there is no hope on this subject.

Green Zone Cafe, we can't possibly grab the nukes. If we make a move, the Pakistani Army will give all the nukes to al Qaeda if that is the only way to keep them away from us. Our only hope is that the Pakistani Army and China
are quietly negotiating to have China take temporary custody of the nukes until it is safe to return them to Pakistan again. The Pakistani Army might well trust China to do that without then turning the nukes over to India or America. And any advice to that effect from American personell, however quietly stated behind the scenes, would poison that well too.
So we can only helplessly hope that the Pakistani Army
and China have separately decided to consider that their own selves.

FB Ali

Sean McBride,

I agree with you. There are powerful interests in the US who profit from this Permanent War. Apart from all the money going into the defence, security and intelligence budgets, the threat of attack enables them to curtail liberties in the country and better control the populace.

The crazy part of all this is that there are nuclear weapons floating around; when these start getting chucked, the options of enjoying your billions in balmy islands start getting drastically narrowed. Even the billions become at risk if your country’s economy and currency go down the tube. The only people for whom it really makes sense are the end-of-timers trying to hasten the ‘second coming’!

FB Ali

Green Zone Cafe

Your comment reminds me of similar comments that must have been made in the White House and the Pentagon back in the good old days. “It’s time to take over Iraq”. “It’s time to grab Afghanistan”.

FB Ali


I suggest you re-read the piece; you don’t seem to have got the point it’s making.

All societies have religious fanatics, some of them crazy enough to kill. Whether it’s a Nathuram Godse assassinating Mahatma Gandhi, or her Sikh bodyguards killing Indira Gandhi, or someone killing an ‘abortion doctor’ in the US or a judge in Pakistan.

The point being made is that the GWOT and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused ordinary Muslims to feel that their societies and religion are under attack by the US and Israel (the two are always conflated in the popular mind), and that, while their ruling elites are cooperating with the attackers, the only ones resisting are the Islamists and the jihadis. This leaves them much more open to the Islamist message.

This dynamic is greatly amplified in Pakistan, due to the pressures of the Afghan war. Even so, the Islamists cannot win an election there; they have to resort to destabilizing the country to achieve power. What is preventing this is the military. Taseer’s killing raises questions as to how solid that bulwark really is.



How do we do that? pl


I am sure the Pakistani military has considered that possibility. The unraveling of Pakistan is no one's interest and in particular India and the US, yet forces both internal and external seem to propel this situation forward.

What needs to happen to arrest and reverse this trend?


Typical good old Sean McBride, although this reminds why it initially felt you must be young. ;)

Thanks FB Ali, to this reader it felt terribly wrong to attack Afhanistan / the Taliban, wrong in spite of my huge dislike of the Taliban from a female- solidarism-perspective. ...

As it was peculiar to see the image of the enemy--was it ever defined well?--slowly merge from Al Qaeda into Taliban.

Medicine Man

I think some of you give the neocons too much credit for Moriarty-like cunning. These are the people who famously quipped that they "make their own reality". Truer words have ne'er been spoken, in my opinion. They advocate for their ideological goals, oblivious to the costs incurred by the US and other parts of the world, and whatever unforeseen consequences arise are simply not their responsibility.

Despite their zombie-like persistence in Washington, my gut impression is that they don't shape the dominant consensus as much as people believe. Maybe someone who knows more about DC can correct me though.


Brigadier Ali

Perhaps you might consider writing your fine analysis in another language! Obviously, the plain English, and simple observations dose not make much sense to the dysfunctional US FP planers, neocon or otherwise.

From Hope to Audacity Appraising Obama's Foreign Policy Zbigniew Brzezinski


The consequences of a failed peace process in the Middle East, a military collision with Iran, and an intensifying military engagement in Afghanistan and Pakistan all happening simultaneously could commit the United States for many years to a lonely and self-destructive conflict in a huge and volatile area. Eventually, that could spell the end of the United States' current global preeminence.

The first is that foreign policy lobbies have become more influential in U.S. politics.
Thanks to their access to Congress, a variety of lobbies -- some financially well
endowed, some backed by foreign interests -- have been promoting, to an
unprecedented degree, legislative intervention in foreign-policy making.

Now more than ever, Congress not only actively opposes foreign policy decisions but even imposes some on the president. (The pending legislation on sanctions against Iran is but one example.) Such congressional intervention, promoted by lobbies, is a serious handicap in shaping a foreign policy meant to be responsive to the ever-changing realities of global politics and makes it more difficult to ensure that U.S. -- not foreign -- interests are the point of departure.


Tangential but relevant as to the probable results of visiting devastation on a nation:

A Storm in Kapisa Province


Pakistan has always been a festering pathology. I lived there & generally like the folks, but the Sindhi & Punjabi feudals are walking/talking disasters. The continuing failure of the state (NWFP earthquake, lowland floods that are still unaddressed) just brings locals closer & closer to Allah & His mullahs.
Likewise the military (no longer in Punjabi hands), which whored out to western interests from day one until about a decade ago. Now they're "bearding up," taking on more Pashtuns (with interests across the western frontier) and looking towards the wahabis in the Gulf.
Heard the "news" that the heirs of AQ Khan gave the Saudis a couple of nukes, but they're with the Pak military "for safe keeping"? Kinda like an oil-based insurance policy against USG snatch programs (sorry, Green Zone Cafe).



I'm sure that Speaker Boehner, who insisted Congress read the constitution into the House record, will be joined by all his colleagues in defending the 4th Amendment rights in California. Except for those two members who were too busy violating House ethics rules on day one, not to mention voting prior to being duly sworn into office (thus violating the Constitution):

If only Mr. Diaz had been carrying a .357 the NRA would be defending his right to get it back.....

Medicine Man,

Sad to say but the neocon leadership understands the old adage 'you can fool some of the people all the time'. Just look at what Dick Armey, the money behind a big portion of the 'tea party', accomplished.

different clue

Another ray of hope occurred to me. Perhaps ex-Senator Chuck Hagel could run in the Republican primaries. If he got the nomination, he would have the hard-to-assail credibility and standing from which to say we have lost the Afghan War, we have to accept our loss, and we have to work with Pakistan to salvage what we can (if anything) and negotiate a graceful exit. Perhaps he could pick as his running mate that Representative I remember hearing about from North Carolina, Rep. Jones; a conservative Republican who turned against aspects of the Iraq War fairly early and may feel the same about Afghanistan.

Perhaps I am just conjuring up straws to grasp at.

Sean McBride

Medicine Man,

As best as I can tell, neocons at policy centers like the FPI (Foreign Policy Initiative), FDD (Foundation for the Defense of Democracies), JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs), AEI (American Enterprise Institute), etc. are still firmly in control of much of US foreign policy, and especially American policy towards Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Afghan and Afpak Wars are now highly unpopular among most Americans, but neocons are conspicuously (and successfully) agitating to escalate those conflicts. David Petraeus appears to be entirely under their thumb.

Also, I doubt that there is hope that any American politicians (Hagel, Kucinich, Paul or otherwise) will be able to upset this regime. The American mainstream media are also firmly under the thumb of neocon players and interests for the most part, and that institution is able to marginalize dissenters and troublemakers with the greatest of ease.

The neocons have an immense and obsessive interest in embroiling the United States in a never-ending war with more than a billion Muslims worldwide. They have made no effort to conceal their agenda -- they shout it from the rooftops. Some neocons are motivated by war profiteering; even more of them see the Clash of Civilizations, World War IV and the Global War on Terror as absolutely essential to guarantee the survival of Israel (and to enable the creation of Greater Israel).

FB Ali

There is an article in the Atlantic (Jan-Feb issue) by Andrew Bacevich on the issue of Permanent War, its supporters, and its effects, entitled The Tyranny of Defense Inc. at:


It is worth a read.

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