Thursday, November 20, 2008

Notes on the Central Asian War

Following up on yesterday's remarks about the "sociological defeat" of Pakistan in Bajaur, it seems that Pakistani refugees from the regime's military campaign against the Taliban are now escaping the fighting by fleeing into Afghanistan and from there back into a safer part of Pakistan en route to Peshawar.

In a neighboring region, Swat, Pakistani jets bombed various locations.

The first report underscores the rising confusion along the Pakistani-Afghan border, while both reports add evidence of the decline in government control. The ability to bomb oneself is not the mark of government power but of the government's lack of power. Power is force used constructively; when a country uses force to destroy part of itself, the shock and awe serve to expose its weakness, not its strength.

Meanwhile, "the first US attack in NWFP area" with missiles was reported in a Pakistani press story claiming that "officials say that civilians are killed in most of the attacks." What might be the socio-political dynamics of a situation in which the central government may quietly be agreeing to U.S. missile attacks while local officials make statements such as this?

It is worth noting that all of these incidents occurred on just one day in Pakistan.

Stepping back from the above details, the following broader perspective from an editorial in today's Pakistan Frontier Post says something about Moslem perceptions:

The basic cause of the war against terror was the debacle of 9/11,
in which approximately 3000 individuals suffered death but as a revenge or by design [sic] Bush administration pushed the world into the war which has taken the lives of millions of Iraqis, Afghans and Pakistanis. The Muslims and NATO countries are now mentally convinced that war against terror have been waged against them by [sic] Bush administration.

The editorial is not "anti-American." On the contrary, its point, spelled out in considerable detail, is to deplore what it sees as dangerous radicalization of Pakistani society as any number of enemies take advantage of the violence to train new waves of terrorists. In sum, it sees the "war against terror" as generating precisely that which it claims to be combatting.

Evidence to the Contrary:

For an eye-witness report that things are really not as bad as the above media reports suggest, see this essay. My thanks to Hassan Abbas (Watandost) for calling attention to it.

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