The Reasoned Review

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Posts Tagged ‘extremism

Death in Pakistan

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The Guardian has some truly gruesome details regarding yesterday’s suicide attackin Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

At least four gunmen stormed into the mosque on Parade Lane, a five-minute drive from army headquarters, firing guns and throwing grenades at a crowd of at least 150 men, women and children.

The crowd scattered for cover but the militants singled out some for murder in cold blood, according to witnesses. “They took the people, got hold of their hair and shot them,” a retired officer who survived the attack told a local television station.

The attack comes as a surprise, as Rawalpindi is one of Pakistan’s most heavily-guarded cities, and one of its holiest.

More than 400 Pakistanis have died since early October in attacks on UN offices, security installations and crowded bazaars. The capital, Islamabad, increasingly resembles cities such as Kabul, with rising sandbagged walls, checkpoint-clogged streets and shopping areas bereft of foreigners and, increasingly, Pakistanis.

It is important to realize that prior to 2007, Pakistan had zero suicide attacks per year. It’s rapid and precipitous rise in suicide bombings coincided directly with the ouster of Musharraf and the escalation of drone attacks in Pakistan.

At least the victims seem to have an idea of what causes these attacks:

The violence also feeds anti-Americanism. After the bombing some Rawalpindi residents blamed the US presence in Afghanistan for fuelling militancy.

Perhaps someone might inform President Obama of this.

Written by pavanvan

December 5, 2009 at 9:44 am

Afghanistan: On the Other Hand….

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From the Inter-Press Service, a veteran from both Iraq and Afghanistan argues for a full withdrawal from Afghanistan:

In a 63-page paper representing his personal views, but reflecting conversations with other officers who have served in Afghanistan, Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis argues that it is already too late for U.S. forces to defeat the insurgency.

“Many experts in and from Afghanistan warn that our presence over the past eight years has already hardened a meaningful percentage of the population into viewing the United States as an army of occupation which should be opposed and resisted,” writes Davis.

Providing the additional 40,000 troops that Gen. McChrystal has reportedly requested “is almost certain to further exacerbate” that problem, he warns.

I wonder to whom President Obama will listen!

Written by pavanvan

October 17, 2009 at 8:04 pm

America and Pakistan: A Love Story

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The Boston Globe picks up on a massive new influx of US cash into Pakistan, a story which the New York Times and Washington Post considered beneath their purview. All told, an extra $7.5 Billion will be bestowed upon that poor desert.

While the bill promises that:

The aid would seek to strengthen Pakistan’s legislative and judicial systems; its public education system, emphasising access for women and girls; its healthcare system; and its human rights practices with particular attention to women as well as ethnic and religious minorities,

it also authorizes “such sums as are necessary” for military purposes, provided they use them to “combat terrorism”. A veritable blank check.

This new influx of aid comes on the heels of a previous $10 Billion to the disgraced Musharraf government, and seeks the reduction of anti-American sentiment in Pakistan. But if that be the case, our strategy planners might have done well to check this opinion poll by the International Republican Institute.

In it, one finds an overwhelming rejection on the part of Pakistan’s citizens, not only to US bombing of their country, but of the US as an ally against terrorism.

Fully 80% answered “No” to the question: “Do you think that Pakistan should cooperate with the United States on its war against terror?”, whereas 76% said “No” to the question: “Should Pakistan partner with the United States in conducting drone attacks against extremists”? 50% of those responding thought religion should play a “dominant role” in politics.

Amid such dismal approval ratings, it is easy to see why our policy planners should wish to buy off the Pakistanis off. But that we should force military aid and assistance against a people who so manifestly do not want it is still rather puzzling. As best as one can tell this aid influx appears a half-hearted apology for our continued attacks on Pakistani villages (close to 15 villagers per week die by our Predator Drones), and would likely serve to insure further cooperation, should ground troops prove necessary.


Written by pavanvan

October 1, 2009 at 5:16 pm