COMMENTS POSTED ON SUNDAY TIMES OF INDIA WEBSITE OVER
SWAPAN DASGUPTA’S ARTICLE – WHY RUN AWAY FROM THE ENEMY?:
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Those who ignore the lessons of history, come to grief. British experience in Afghanistan when out of 20,000 only one man survived, was repeatedly cited when both Russia and now US are bogged down in Afghanistan. Nobody paid heed. Taliban had brought peace to the country after Russia left. US had good relations with them. It is their arrogance of power that they had to suffer so much ignominy when they thought they can uproot Taliban and impose their cronies on the country.
It is still time for everybody that wishes to do business with Afghan to restore the country to their rightful owners and deal with them as equals.
Afghanistan should be brought into the mainstream of 21st century civilization, with its freedom, dignity and independence fully restored to its people. They are proud and talented people. They will make their mark in the comity of nations.
If the US and NATO leave now, there will be chaos, but the power that emerges will be able to ensure longer term stability, if the world learns the lessons from history and let Afghanistan be left to Afghans.
Ghulam Muhammed, Mumbai
Why run away from the enemy?
Sunday September 13, 2009
There are good reasons why the commemoration of the eighth anniversary of 9/11 was remarkably subdued in both the US and Europe. The initial fear, followed by outrage and a steely determination to cleanse terrorism from the world has given way to frustration, despondency and defeatism. Iraq may have got off the front pages but Afghanistan, where it all began, is now increasingly being perceived as a hopeless war. Both liberals and conservatives in the West seem agreed that there is little point losing more lives and pouring money down a bottomless pit if the Afghans themselves are not sensitive to the charms of democracy and development.
Predictably, the dreaded Taliban with their medieval fanaticism and warped values invite maximum derision. But Western scorn is being dished out in equal measure at president Hamid Karzai whose exotic elegance once induced the perfect multiculturalist wet dream. Karzai is today being cast as a ballot thief and linked to sinister drug barons and ugly warlords. The ethical commitment that galvanised the post 9/11 crusade against the new evil has been considerably blurred by the realisation that the home side also plays foul. In the framework of moral absolutes, “we” are seen to be as imperfect and sinful as “them”. The will to fight the “just” war in Afghanistan has evaporated.
The implication is obvious: If the West can’t carry the proverbial white man’s burden in Afghanistan and, in Kipling’s immortal words, “veil the threat of terror/ And check the show of pride”, it should concentrate on its own aam admi concerns – like addressing schoolkids, pushing for universal healthcare and coping with the recession. A century ago, empire-builders could take on the fanatical Mahadi and his “Fuzzy Wuzzies” in Sudan to avenge the murder of General Gordon. In those days, public opinion at home didn’t count. As former US president Lyndon Johnson discovered to his cost in 1968, today a spectacular domestic track record can be effortlessly nullified by an overseas misadventure.
In the past six months, the West has acknowledged that it no longer has the political and moral resolve to do what it takes to win the Afghan war. Britain can barely stomach the death of 200 soldiers; a reinvented Germany can’t get over the collective trauma of having ordered the bombing in Kunduz; and the US Congress is taking a dim view of General Stanley McChrystal’s request for a last ditch surge in ground forces.
The war aims of the US-led NATO forces have been dramatically modified. From mounting an assault on a global menace, the West now wants to merely safeguard itself from terror attacks. In other words, if the Taliban can guarantee that it won’t mount terror strikes against the West or help those crazies from Birmingham who want videographed martyrdom, they can earn themselves the uninhibited right to thrash every barber, every musician and every unveiled woman. Their pent-up jihadi impulses can be carefully redirected elsewhere, as long as it is not Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the ones who are likely to oversee the post-withdrawal arrangements.
For Pakistan, the departure of the US-led forces and its own assumption of peace-keeping duties (for a generous consideration, of course) in Afghanistan will be triumph comparable in scale to the recovery of East Pakistan. First, it would have recovered its lost “strategic depth” in Afghanistan, an enormous gain in the context of its hostility with India. Secondly, it would have inherited the entire military arsenal of the retreating army. Third, as a price for guaranteeing zero terrorism against the West, it would have a reserve army of motivated Islamists to work for the “liberation” of India, particularly Kashmir.
India was an unintended beneficiary of Osama bin Laden over-reaching himself and inviting US retribution after 9/11. With the West’s likely retreat from Afghanistan, these gains stand in danger of being nullified. With an assertive China in the east and a re-energised Pakistan in the west, India may have reason to be deeply worried. How long can New Delhi live in denial and continue to raise the threshold of tolerance?
Yet, it’s not India alone that should be alarmed. When the last helicopter departs from Kabul and Mullah Omar returns to reclaim his lost Emirate, the Islamists would have won a spectacular victory. In just two decades, jihad would have been seen to have vanquished two superpowers – first the Soviet Union and now the US. The inevitable triumphalism is bound to infect the entire Muslim world. In Iran, it will reaffirm the conviction that a self-absorbed, decadent Western civilisation doesn’t have the moral gumption to resist a resurgent Islam.
The West should realise that running away doesn’t solve a problem; it often emboldens the enemy.
Rated4.8/5 (39 Votes)1 2 3 4 5
Ali Khan says:
September 13, 2009 at 04:04 AM IST
9/11 is one of the incident in the World which has so many Conspiracy Theories Associated with it. One can just go to YouTube and you find a lot of people talking about it. We have seen 9/11 Truth Demonstrations through out the world but the interesting point is US Government never comes with their explanation or more evidense to support their story. One of the common quesion which we can ask to ourselves is where did the Plane Gone after hitting the Pentagon, the pictures shown were just showing a small hole/crater on one of the wall of pentagon.
Another interesting thing the series of things happened soon after 9/11 shows that this tragedy has been Politically utilized to its Full Extent by the US Government!!!
September 13, 2009 at 04:06 AM IST
9/11 is an Inside Job…
MUBARAK PATEL says:
September 13, 2009 at 05:10 AM IST
First Super Power USSR (now Russia) and now
Super Power America,together with other powerful
allies, are paying the price in fighting enemies
in primitive Afghanistan. Russia dug in for 10
years and left hiding the tail between the legs
incurring heavy losses in terms of human lives
and arms and ammunitions. America is in 7th year
and is finding the frustation of war in Afghanis-
-tan. Financially, all involved in Afghanistan
are now almost “bankrupt”. Very difficult to
pull on ? World is waiting to see who has the
last laugh !
September 13, 2009 at 06:49 AM IST
your whole article basically stands on the premise that Pakistan or some one there can guaranty that there wont be any strikes against the west post retreat from Afghanistan.
Americans might be foolish but they sure are not blind, they have seen what happened to the erstwhile USSR, and know that nothing could be more dangerous than giving the Jihadists the slightest chance to proclaim victory.
You should also know that there can be no end to this problem until either we are able to wipe out the jihadists or the whole world population turns to islam and we start moving back in time.
September 13, 2009 at 08:09 AM IST
A very thoughtful article.
Once NATO forces go back and the dust settles in Afghanistan and adjoining area of Pakistan,Pakistan will turn the attention of taliban and other islamic fanatics towards India. And jammu & kashmir will again bleed and I shall wait for another terrorist attack in India though on a bigger scale.
sam the man from pakistan says:
September 13, 2009 at 08:41 AM IST
untill the root causes of the terrorism is not dressed,their will never be a peace.greedyness of israel and india will keep the terrorism alive untill terrorism take them down.solve the palistine and kashmir problem according to the wishes of the people of kashmir and palistine,their will be no more terrorism.
fait of usa and other involve is going to be worse then rusia.mujahadins will humuliate these forces so bad that they will never dare to attack afghanistan again.
Azharuddin Masood says:
September 13, 2009 at 10:22 AM IST
The world changed negatively after 9/11, but for Pakistan, it changed for better. Immediately after 9/11 it was well understood and conceived that Pakistani Government, Pakistan’s spy agency ISI was involved in the 9/11 attack. Since Pakistan have always been an ally of US right from the day of creation, Bush administration fully covered Pakistan and heralded as an ally of US and went after Al Qaida and Taliban, instead of waging a war campaign against Pakistan US included Pakistan as a frontline state in the war on terror but in reality Pakistan is the enemy of America, Afghanistan, India and humanity at large PATHOS!!! It was clearly indicated with proof that the then ISI chief General Mahmoud Ahmed instructed Omer Sheikh to transfer $100,000 before 9/11 attack to Atta the ring leader of 9/11. When the ISI chief was exposed of having send the money to the hijackers, the then President Musharraf now mentally retard, forced ISI general to retire immediately. Soon after the invasion of Afghanistan Taliban and Al Qaeda leaders went on run. Pakistan seems to be harboring Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists. Pakistan knows very well that until terrorists are with them they will continue to get monetary aid and military aid from US which they are accumulating it to use against India. After 9/11 many Pakistani journalists’ referred to Al Qaida as Al-Faeda such was the monetary benefit to Pakistan. 9/11 literally spawned a new industry named “terrorism” for Pakistan. This not at all surprises me; Pakistan is a devil in the face of an ally. The best suggestion is the US should send its military into Pakistan from the western borders from Afghanistan and at the same time India should attack Pakistan from the east. World will never be able to root out terrorism without dismantling Pakistan. 99.9 % of Pakistanis are heavily sympathetic to radicalism. Its enough now and we should stop daydreaming and take a strong stance and attack Pakistan to make this world free of terrorism.
September 13, 2009 at 12:09 PM IST
Very well written article and analysis. But we must not forget that the west would not hesitate to use the nuclear option like it has done in the past to tilt the balance in its favour.
What can stop them from doing it ? World opinion. But then the world opinion of the powers that matter (Russia, China, Europe, India and even Israel) are themselves fed up of islamism and its dangers. So its not unlikely that after the NATO forces leave, one large attack occurs on the world and the west builds a consensus to nuke the troubled areas of pakistan/afghanistan.
@ Sam the man from pakistan – palestine and kashmir are excuses that islamists use to justify their inherent need for fighting a holy war at any cost. We have seen it in the past and the world wont be fooled by such excuses to vent your islamic frustration. The moment you get palestine and kashmir, you would find another excuse. Let me give you an example – you as a pakistani – what do you have to do with palestine really ? Just because the palestinians are majority muslims, right ? In the same line of thought, you would find chechnya next, philipines after that, Uighuir chinese next and so on and so forth.
The cause of islamism does not stop at palestine and kashmir – it extends into world domination. And it is this desire that makes the west their most hated enemy as they cant tolerate the prosperity and power of the western world. THAT is the root cause of islamism and not political issues in faraway lands like kashmir and palestine. They are mere symptoms of the disease.
September 13, 2009 at 12:22 PM IST
A really well writen article…it shows u have a real concern and understanding of the situation…while there is a lot that i could write on, including the real reasons for these wars, i’m just going to state here that american departure from afghanistan is imminent. The problem that the (the americans) have is that their population is wonderful (though horribly uninformed), and they really won’t let this war go on for too long….
Unfotrunately for the brave afghan people, the taliban will eventually take over (unless there’s a sustained effort by the international community to finish them)….Pakistan will be a victim of a monster of its own creation…..and incursions into Indian territory will not cease…
Never underestimate the afghans….afhanistan is the “graveyard of empires”….
September 13, 2009 at 12:25 PM IST
india has to learn some lesson from these attack and take some measure steep to stop it happen again but gov of india loock like to take it easey.
September 13, 2009 at 12:35 PM IST
The West must not abandon Afghanistan at this point in time.
premji jairam says:
September 13, 2009 at 12:53 PM IST
It is strange that Indian dependence on US and western countries`stratagey regarding Af-Pak`terror agenda.This myopic view belittle political acumen of the Indian intellgentia who designed our policies.
September 13, 2009 at 12:58 PM IST
@ sam the man from pakistan
So you want to say that till the time India and Pakistan doesn’t solve Pakistan problem, innocent kashmiri people will continue to die at the hands of the terrorist sent from your factories in Muzaffarabad and elsewhere which produce more terrorists than cotton produced in Pakistan. You see it’s a circle and you are seeing the circle anti-clockwise. Try to see it clockwise. Till the time Pakistan stops sponsoring terrorists across the boarder and planning attacks like 26-11 Mumbai attacks, the peace talks will never take off and bear fruits and remain hidden in the rusting files.
And don’t you worry about Afghanistan. Nothing will happen to terrorist’s hegemony over there. In some years USA will take it’s troops away and then you can always raise another powerful Taliban in Afghanistan and SWAT areas. This time ground Empire State building and Sears towers destroy statues of Buddha in India(World Trade Centre and Bamiyan statues are no more) and establish a rule of Islam whose meaning you fanatics don’t understand at all. Make Osama Bin Laden the Secretary General of UN if it at all exists in your Utopian world.
September 13, 2009 at 01:51 PM IST
The religious fundamentalist nut jobs should be fought with cold logic. There is no point in getting angry or emotional and making a lot of noise. It only makes them think that they have succeeded in upsetting others.
If they attack any civilized country, they should be systematically tracked down and eliminated. Also, destroy their irrational ideology with education and logic. Make them realize that there is no Jannat (Heaven) and that the only place they will end up if they become suicide bombers is six feet under the ground and decompose.
September 13, 2009 at 02:05 PM IST
Whether one agrees or not ,the fact remains that Islam is fastest growing religion on the planet.
As I understand,in most of the arab countries unless a man has 4 wives and maintains 4 different homes to maintain them,he is considered to be not “strong enough”.The result is that muslims population is growing all over disproprtionately.
In India also Hindus,thanks to their adherence to family planning, are predicted to be minority in next 50 years and either there would be a civil war or another partition in such a case(even though I sincierly hope such things dont happen).
Even worldwide the these trends are being debated.For example a youtube video describes how Europe would be 30% Muslim in next 40-50 years and white Christian people may lose their liberal way of
life as Shariyat would implemented in such a case.
And if the strong leaders like Bush and Blair could not resolve this issue,who could?
Is it scaremongering and “communal” to raise such issues?I dont think so.
My suggestion is a frank and open dialoguse between various religions of the world so that consensus of peaceful co-existence could be arrived at.
Relions must encourage harmony amongst people and not create animosity between them.
Live and let live should be motto of everyone.