Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Posts Tagged ‘Pakistan

Through Thick and Thin

with 2 comments

Syria Damascus ProtestsWell, no rapture. No surprise. It really is dismaying how people can believe prima facie nonsense in this day and age. It’s especially galling because so many Americans, especially the ones who fall for this kind of crap, have an especially high opinion of America and Americans. A country where tens of millions of people think the Earth is a few thousand years old or that evolution is “just a theory.” And don’t even get me started on people who think the Moon landings were hoaxed. Our educational system as once the envy of the world, it’s rapidly becoming the laughing stock of the world.

Moving right along, I think it’s clear at this point that Obama is going to get reelected. No one in their right mind is going to run against him, so its going to be a very amusing election. Especially the Republican primaries, a collection of, well, political suicide bombers like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich squaring it off. They might as well skip any actual pretense of debate and settle the issue mud wrestling. Hell, I’d pay to see Sarah and Newt go at it in a mud pit. On the plus side, I won’t have much to blog about since Obama’s inexorable progress will be painfully obvious to all. I wonder if peeps will be dancing in the streets the second time he gets elected? (Of course by then public displays of affection towards our Dear Leader may be mandatory.)

The economy still sucks. Tushima is still a disaster. The Gulf Oil Spill is still wreaking an unsung toll. Iraq is still a bloody mess, Afghanistan a repeat of Vietnam … without even the option of carpet bombing the Taliban’s cities because they don’t have any. Egypt is still a mess becasue Mubarak’s cronies throwing him and him alone to the wolves was not exactly the democratic revolution the people of Egypt struggled for and deserved. Libya is now effectively two states, with NATO bombing here and there. The totalitarian governments of Syria and Yemen are slaughtering people in the street, Syria’s may survive, Yemen’s is looking more doubtful. Bahrain is still a brutal mess. Pakistan gets more unstable every day. And the rest of the world is looking on and trying to stay out of the scrum … or see how they can benefit from it. See, more information about the state of the world in one paragraph than in an entire year of the New Yorker.

I wanted to mention Pakistan in a bit more depth. There’s been a lot of hostile talk about Pakistan in the USA, about how they aren’t a good ally, and they may have even known about OBL’s location. All possibly true. Then there’s reality. In reality, Pakistan is far more fractured and power is far more diffuse than in the USA. It takes a long time to forge a nation out of nothing, and Pakistan has had less than a century as a nation under conditions that make the United State’s infancy look like a romp in Disneyland. Secondly, aside from understanding what a mess Pakistan is, more importantly, they only joined the USA’s war against the Taliban because of threats and bribes. Pakistan was the Taliban’s best friend, for perfectly reasonable geopolitical reasons. So basically the USA is in the position of a bully who with a combination of threats and bribes forced Pakistan into a war not only against its best interests, but into a war against elements of its own society. To then blame the Pakistanis for being less than enthusiastic participants in the mess we made is, well, ignorant. We’re lucky they’ve cooperated as much as they have, we should be counting our blessings.

Lastly, as far as I can tell, the western cabal’s control of the mainstream media gets more pervasive and more subtle every day. Not that it was ever easy to figure out what was going on, but more and more huge numbers of people think they are tuned in … and they aren’t. This isn’t going to end well.

(The above image is being used legally under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license. Credit and copyright: Syriana2011. It’s an image of protesters in Damascus this spring. It’s obviously been photo shopped, since none of the thousands of Muslims in the image is engaged in violence.)

Written by unitedcats

May 23, 2011 at 6:28 am

Osama Bin Laden is Dead

with 8 comments

Well, in some of the biggest American news since 9/11, the TV is reporting that an American ground operation in Pakistan killed Osama Bin Laden. I’m watching Obama as I type, giving the most important speech of his career. I’d say I don’t know what to say, but I’d be lying. The first thing is simple, who the hell knows what this means. And President Obama just ended his speech. We have Osama’s body, a chapter in American history is over, what now? In no particular order, my random observations on this breaking news:

The first one is easy. Take anything from any source with a wheelbarrow of salt. Use the brain to interpret events, remember, leaders are always lying. To be more on point, Obama is the consummate politician, whatever he says is designed to improve his position, period. This is normal for heads of state. Most of what is passing for commentary about Osama’s death is going to be gibberish since it will be based on American propaganda about the “war on terror.” And call me a little skeptical, but the fact that Osama’s body has already been disposed of is sure to raise some conspiracy theories. It will be hard to spot the freezer burn with no body. The timing of this is certainly convenient as well, there’s a lot going on now that American’s need to be distracted from.

Moving right along, assuming Osama is really dead, what does this mean? Well, a lot of happy Americans for one. Osama was the perpetrator of a terrible crime, it’s hard to be anything but happy at his demise. Other than that, well, his death doesn’t mean all that much. Al Qaeda by its very nature is not a centralized organization, this won’t in any way, shape, or form end Al Qaeda. Nor will it end our “war on terror” since said war as never really about fighting terrorism at all but simply a propaganda cover for an interventionist colonial foreign policy.

In fact it’s entirely possible that a new “terrorist mastermind” will emerge from the shadows. It’s also possible that Osama had a videotape prepared to be released upon the event of his death, calling on his followers to carry on without him, yadda yadda yadda. I would hope that maybe America can leave 9/11 behind finally, but sadly the USA just loves to nurse old wounds forever. Very few Americans understand just how many innocent people we killed in the wars we unleashed in the name of 9/11, IE we spent the decade since 9/11 more inspiring and creating terrorists than fighting them, so one less terrorist isn’t really a big deal. And it may even rally some of Osama’s followers somewhere to a new 9/11 style attack. Great.

I guess in summation I’m mostly depressed by this turn of events. Since it’s not really going to make a difference in America’s foreign policy, nor is it going to inspire any meaningful dialog on just what the hell we have been doing overseas the past ten years. The political boost Obama gets from this may prove to be short lived indeed, it may even turn into his “Mission Accomplished” moment. When all is said and done, we bankrupted ourselves and created some terrible festering problems overseas the past ten years, none of that is going to be changed by Osama’s death. In fact most people’s elation will likely last until the next time they fill their gas tank. It will still be $5 a gallon.

A good summary of what has transpired so far can be found here. I did say this was going to be an interesting summer, and it’s sure starting out with a bang. Stay tuned for more exciting developments.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit. Credit and copyright: Photo of Arlington Cemetery from the 2008 DCist Exposed show by cstein96. I wish I could be more upbeat about Osama’s death, but so so many innocent people are dead and are still going to die because of this man, it’s hard for me to be particularly gladdened. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy is the best I can muster.)

Written by unitedcats

May 2, 2011 at 5:44 am

The Shoe Tossed Round the World.

with 3 comments

I had a post written for today that will have to wait, some of the stuff that’s going on in Pakistan is pretty incredible, and incredible as in “horrible” and “bad” and “this isn’t going to end well.” In fact I think the MSM is so overwhelmed by the extent of the catastrophe that is unfolding in Pakistan that they don’t really know what to say about it. I’m a little overwhelmed myself, especially by the idea of explaining how a tossed shoe might be leading to World War Three right before our eyes. Difficult concepts have  never stopped me before though, so here goes.

OK, the map. The red lines are international boundaries, everything else should be self explanatory. Pakistan is the upside-down-Italy shaped country that dominates the map. Afghanistan is the country to the above and left of it. Iran is the country on the left edge of the map, India on the right edge. Now, India and Pakistan have been at loggerheads since the 1940s, having fought several wars and having a heavily militarized border to this day. They are enemies, primarily because the top part of India visible on the map, the Kashmir region, should have gone to Pakistan when India and Pakistan were divided, but the British pulled a dirty trick and managed to get Kashmir into India. And the people of Kashmir had and have no say in the matter, India has never allowed a referendum to be held. Since if they did, Kashmir might very well vote to join Pakistan.  That in a nutshell is why India and Pakistan are enemies, a situation that has generated several wars, insurgencies, and ongoing terrorism.

Looking at the map, and if you were Pakistan, who would you want running Afghanistan? Someone friendly no doubt, or at the very least, someone who wasn’t going to take sides with India. Well, the Taliban fit that bill nicely, especially since the Taliban is primarily a Pashtun movement, and about half of the Pashtuns live in Pakistan. So lo and behold, Pakistan was the only country in the world that recognized the Taliban as a legitimate government when they ruled Afghanistan. It was all good to them, and freed them up to concentrate on India. So why in the name of God would the government of Pakistan join the USA in their war on the Taliban? Wouldn’t huge numbers of Pakistanis, especially the Pashtuns, want to side with the Taliban? Well, the USA put a lot of pressure on the government of Pakistan to join the USA in their crusade against the Taliban, not to mention paying vast bribes and possibly even the threat of nuclear attack if Pakistan didn’t cooperate. So that’s how Pakistan became our “ally” in the war on the Taliban.

As one might imagine, cajoling and threatening someone to join you in a fight against someone they are friends with might not turn out well. And it hasn’t.  The Taliban used Pashtun areas of Pakistan as a save haven to conduct their Afghanistan insurgency from, the USA responded by launching drone attacks in Pakistan and leaning on the Pakistanis to send their army into the border regions to fight the Taliban. The drone strikes have killed a lot of people, mostly civilians, and the Pakistan army’s efforts in the region have been both ineffective and as with the drone strikes, not exactly winning any popularity contests. Remember, the Pakistanis regard India as their real enemy, and didn’t want to fight the Taliban in the first place, so it’s not like they have been terribly enthusiastic in their war on the Taliban. In fact the situation in Pakistan  is close to a civil war now, since the Pakistani Taliban (something that didn’t even exist before the US attacked Afghanistan) have been launching attacks deep into non-Pashtun areas of Pakistan. It’s also entirely possible, and likely, that many in the Pakistan military and security apparatus are covertly aiding the Taliban.

Now add to this ugly mess the recent rains and flooding, which have been catastrophic by any standards. Millions of people impacted, many homeless, and the Pakistan government, already pushed to the limits, has had a hard time effectively providing aid. So dissatisfaction with the Pakistan government is at an all time high. Can we say “incipient failed state” now? And as a final feather in the cap of the incredible mess Pakistan is in, their president is touring Britain! Is he insane, or just staying somewhere safe because he knows the gig is up at home and he doesn’t want to end up like so many of Pakistan’s  former leaders … prematurely dead? Many Pakistanis are outraged at this, and one of them actually managed to throw a shoe at him at a public rally in England! Well, this was big news in Pakistan, and the government of Pakistan has done their utmost to keep the Pakistani man in the street from finding this out. Yes, newspaper offices are burning in Pakistan to keep Pakistanis from finding out that a shoe was thrown at their president. The fear being that it might spark even more unrest.

Well, obviously people are going to wonder why government troops are burning newspaper offices, suffice it to say that word has gotten out. In other words, a shoe thrown in England has sparked massive riots and protest in Pakistan, further destabilizing an already terribly unstable country. World War One was started by a single assassin’s bullet, it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that World War Three was just triggered by a single tossed shoe. If the nuclear armed Pakistani government goes down in flames and some sort of truly Islamic popular government takes power, shades of Iran 1979. God only knows how the USA and/or India might respond to that, best to not even think about.

Tomorrow, a soothing post about how a few thousand guys running around in a muddy cow pasture for an hour  changed the course of world history.

(The above image was taken from Wikipedia and used legally to the best of my knowledge: Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled “GNU Free Documentation License“. I wanted a really simple map that showed the lay of the land so to speak, and that was the best I could find.)

Written by unitedcats

August 9, 2010 at 8:50 am