Afghanistan, Albert J. Beveridge, American imperialism, Asia, Barack Obama, China, Haqqani network, History, India, Islamabad, John Marshall, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics, Recomendations, Roman Empire, The Geopolitical Goals Of The Anglo-American Empire In Afghanistan, United States, Video, Videos, Vladimir Putin, Wars, World, Youth
Anglo American Empire…….. (The Geopolitical Goals Of The Anglo-American Empire In Afghanistan, Pakistan)
- Quote of the day (atung.net)
- On Federal Indian Domination (indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com)
- Remember the American Empire? We were all sort of ambivalent about it, because… (sfgate.com)
- Albert J. Beveridge Calls for an American Empire (1900) primary source document with reading questions (historymartinez.wordpress.com)
- Ruins of the American Empire 2011 (livingstrongandhappy.blogspot.com)
- Newspaper column: Obama a disaster, living nightmare ‘Leading the American empire – and rest of the world with it – into a dark abyss’ Read more: Newspaper column: Obama a disaster, living nightmare … (gunnyg.wordpress.com)
- What Do We Worship Today? (5ptsalt.com)
- Thank You! Jesus Didn’t Believe in War. He Believed in Love. (angelstarlove.wordpress.com)
- Empires all end! Is America’s the next one to go? (macattack56.wordpress.com)
- Tell me again why we keep giving $billions in financial aid to the Pakis every year? (barenakedislam.wordpress.com)
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He just started shooting me’ witnesses reveal details of Kandahar massacre
This photograph of a courtroom sketch by artist Lois Silver shows U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, (C) and his defense attorneys Emma Scanlan (2nd L) and Maj. Gregory Malson (L) listen to witness Sgt. Jason McLaughlin (R) testify at Bale’s military Article-32 Investigation, a U.S. Courts Martial pre-trial proceeding, at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington November 5, 2012. (Reuters/Anthony Bolante)
“We are children! We are children!” was one victim’s last phrase before being killed in a shooting spree as American Staff Sergeant Robert Bales left sixteen Afghan civilians dead, according to witness testimonies.
Seven Afghan witnesses from the Kandahar province testified over a live video link to the judge at a Washington State military courtroom. They recalled chilling details of the rampage, which claimed the lives of nine children and seven adults at two Afghan villages on March 11, 2012.
The witnesses recounted the identities of those who lived in the villages, listing those killed. The victims’ bodies were buried quickly under Islamic tradition, and no forensic evidence was available to show the number killed.
The youngest witness was a thirteen-year-old Sadiquallah. He described being awakened by loud screams that an American had “killed our men.” He then went to hide in a storage room with another boy, ditching behind the curtain. A bullet ricocheted off his head, fracturing his skull.
“I was hiding behind the curtains. A bullet hit me,” Sadiquallah told the court. He also said the killer had a gun and a light, but he could not identify the man.
His friend was shot in the thigh and also survived. He is to testify later.
Quadratullah, Sadiquallah’s older brother, meanwhile, was hiding with other children in a different part of the house. When the killer found them, the kids yelled “We are children! We are children!” Quadratullah testified.
Haji Mohammed Naim, the boys’ father, was the first person shot at their residence. He told the court that he was woken up by dogs barking and shots being fired, after which he saw the shooter climb over a compound wall.
“He just started shooting me,” Naim said.
Faizullah, one of the eldest sons, told the judge that he was awoken by someone telling him about shooting at his father’s compound. As he rushed to the residence, he found his father with a gunshot wound to the throat. One of Naim’s daughters was also wounded, as were two neighboring siblings.
All five wounded survived, after being treated at a nearby base and then flown to a military hospital in Kandahar.
In this picture taken on March 11, 2012, an Afghan Villager cries over the bodies of Afghan civilians, who were allegedly shot by US soldier Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. (AFP Photo / Jangir)
‘Everybody was shot on the head’
Khamal Adin, a witness from the second massacre site, the village of Najiban, told the judge how he came to his cousin’s house on the morning after the rampage and found bodies piled together and burned.
Adin said he found an aunt dead in a doorway with a gunshot wound to her head. Inside, he found the bodies of six of his cousin’s seven children, his wife, and other relatives. The fire that burned the bodies was out by then, but he said he could still smell smoke.
When Adin began presenting his testimony, Bales moved from his seat to be closer to the monitor. Neither at that time or at any other moment of the hearing did he give any discernible reaction to the stories he heard.
The court then asked Adin to describe the injuries. He said: “Everybody was shot on the head… I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the wounds.”
Bales was not expected to testify, as he has not entered a plea. His defense team says their client has a post-traumatic stress disorder and suffered a concussive head injury while on duty in Iraq.
In this picture taken on March 11, 2012, the bodies of Afghan civilians shot, allegedly by US soldier Staff Sergeant Robert Bales, are loaded into the back of a van in Alkozai village of Panjwayi district, Kandahar province. (AFP Photo / Mamoon Durrani)
The formal hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is needed to determine whether the 39-year-old father of two will face a court-martial, as he has been charged with premeditated murder.
According to the prosecutor, Bales drank whiskey and watched an action movie before leaving the military base twice to carry out the killings – the deadliest committed by an American soldier during the Afghan war. If convicted he faces execution.
Prosecutors say Bales divided his shooting spree into two episodes – attacking one village, returning to the base and then leaving again to assault another.
In between his acts, he is alleged to have woken a comrade to tell him about the first massacre, that soldier testified, but believing it to be a hoax, he went back to sleep.
Two Afghan National Army guards also recalled a figure outside the base on the night of the killings. One guard remembered that a man had arrived at the base and did not stop even after he was asked three times to do so. Later in the night, the second guard said, he saw a soldier leave the base — laughing as he went out. Neither of them could tell if it was Bales.
Witnesses suggest Bales was not alone during massacre
It was revealed on Saturday that Afghan witnesses claimed that Staff Sergeant Robert Bales was not alone during his shooting rampage.
Special Agent Leona Mansapit of the Criminal Investigations Command testified in court that one of the witnesses to the massacre saw at least two American soldiers on the scene.
A woman whose husband was shot and killed recalled seeing two soldiers in her house. One soldier restrained her while the other shot her husband dead.
Another witness claimed he heard English being spoken outside his house while the massacre took place.
Days after the massacre took place, several sources speculated that Bales was not alone during the killings, including Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
The hearings are scheduled to last until November 16.
In this picture taken on March 11, 2012, an Afghan villager points to a spot where a family was shot, allegedly by US soldier Staff Sergeant Robert Bales. (AFP Photo / Mamoon Durrani)
Edited: 11 November, 2012, 14:01
Aafia Siddiqui, Afghanistan, afia Siddiqui, Allah, Amanda Knox, American Justice, Anger, Beauty, Brandeis University, Cindy Sheehan, Current Issues, Death, God, Happiness, Hate, Heart, Human, Islam, Knox, Life, Lord, Pakistan, Recomendations, Uncategorized, United States, war, Wars, Wisdom, Woman, Women, Youth
RAMADAN 1432 A.H.
(August 7, 2011)
A comparative analysis of the criminal cases involving three young women, two Americans and one Pakistani. The cases of Amanda Knox, Casey Anthony, and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui reveal just how arbitrary and capricious “justice” can be in the U.S. legal system, and how conceptually flawed it can be in the collective mind of the American people (generally speaking).
These three cases also reveal, in very graphic detail, the role that race, class, gender, religion and politics often play in the pursuit of justice in the western hemisphere.
Amanda Knox was prosecuted and convicted in Italy (along with her Italian lover and an African immigrant) for the brutal murder of another young female foreign exchange student. Knox received a sentence of 26 years as a result. Now via the automatic appeals process in European law (a superior quality, in my view, to American law), and the recent decision by an appellate judge to allow an independent review of key forensic evidence that was used to convict her – because the evidence was reportedly contaminated by being mishandled by Italian investigators – Knox has a good chance of winning release in the near future.
(If I were a betting man, I would wage it all on my belief that Ms. Knox will be “legally” cleared and repatriated back to America sooner than later.)
Casey Anthony, a young woman from Florida, was charged in the death of her own child, Caylee Anthony. Despite the damning evidence against her, Anthony was recently found not guilty of the most serious charges in the murder indictment, and convicted only for giving false information to the law enforcement officers who investigated the case. Anthony has now been released to an undisclosed location, and reportedly stands to make a fortune when ever she decides to “tell her story.”
Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani national, and committed Muslim woman, who came to the United States at the age of 18 for university study. She excelled academically at the University of Houston, MIT, and Brandeis University. She also distinguished herself as a young leader of the Muslim student organization(s) to which she belonged, and engaged in praiseworthy charitable work in the greater Boston area. Aafia would later become a person of suspicion (post 9/11), return home to Pakistan, and eventually become a target Buy propecia online of a rendition operation (along with her three young children – ages six, four, and six months) in March of 2003.
After five years of secret detention and torture, Aafia would mysteriously re-emerge in a weakened and disheveled state in Afghanistan; she would be shot and seriously injured while awaiting re-interrogation; and soon after be brought back to the United States, in 2008, to eventually stand trial (two years later) for allegedly “attempting to murder U.S. personnel” (FBI and soldiers) in Afghanistan in July 2008.
While Amanda Knox and Casey Anthony (young, white, non-Muslim females) became “tabloid darlings,” Buy lasix online whose trials played out in the public sphere like Reality TV dramas, the trial of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui was shrouded under a cloak of near anonymity within the United States – despite the presence of a significant number of reporters in the courtroom each day of the trial.
Both Knox and Anthony misled investigators (aka, repeatedly lied) during their interrogations, while Aafia was forthright from start to finish.
Both Knox and Anthony initially tried to shift responsibility for the crime that they were accused of committing on to an innocent person, and both had strong circumstantial evidence against them. In Siddiqui’s case both thematerial and circumstancial evidence were strongly in her favor; it was the government’s star witnesses that perjured themselves on the witness stand during the trial (although they were never charged with perjury)!
Casey Anthony received an extreme presumption of innocence from a jury that saw a young white female who was facing the death penalty, if convicted. (I predict that the presumption of innocence principle will strongly kick in, post conviction, based on the alleged contamination of evidence, in the appeals process for Amanda Knox.) And while Ms. Anthony had a fair and impartial jurist to preside over her case, Judge Belvin Perry, Aafia Siddiqui had just the opposite. U.S. District Judge Richard Berman was openly biased against Dr. Siddiqui from start to finish.
Anthony’s jury was sequestered in a hotel, cutoff from the outside world; while Dr. Siddiqui’s should have been!The jury in Aafia’s case left the courthouse each day, and were continually exposed to the highly prejudicial, government-fed local media reports that contaminated the court of public opinion; reports that were so unfair and poisonous that they made any prospect for an impartial deliberation process almost impossible.
Anthony’s attorneys were given a lot of latitude in their defense of their client; while Siddiqui’s attorneys were hamstrung (and in the opinion of some observers, allowed themselves to be hamstrung) to such an extent, that the missing fives years of her secret detention were made off limits during the trial!
While Casey Anthony is a free woman (relatively speaking); and Amanda Knox – who has benefited from a growing defense lobby, and American press coverage that has been primarily positive – may soon be a free woman; Dr. Aafia Siddiqui (who is not accused of harming anyone!) received a sentence of 86 years on September 23, 2010, and is now being confined at a notorious institution (known as Carswell) on a military base in Fort Worth, Texas.
The well known peace activist, Cindy Sheehan, made a provocative observation regarding the outcome of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui case, not long after her sentencing:
“Even if Dr. Siddiqui did shoot at the Americans, reflect on this. Say this case was being tried in Pakistan under similar circumstances for an American woman named Dr. Betty Brown who was captured and repeatedly tortured and raped by the ISI. Here in the states that woman would be a hero if she shot at her captors, not demonized and taken away from her life and her children. I believe Dr. Aafia Siddiqui is a political prisoner and now the political bogey-woman for two US regimes.”
I couldn’t agree more…and so goes the tale of three accused women.
El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
(c) 2011, All Rights Reserved
- JI holds Aafia Day rallies across country (nation.com.pk)
- No justice for Aafia: No CHANGE for America (matsudolegend.wordpress.com)
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Iran-Pakistan-China Pipeline – Gateway to the progress of Balochistan
This is what really happening in Pakistan. Wake up call……….
To revenge Pakistan for its involvement in Afghanistan, Russian KGB started its interest and covert operations in Balochistan. Turkmen writer Tariq Saeedi maintains that,” during the Russo-Afghan war, the Soviet Union was surprised by the ability and resourcefulness of Pakistan to generate a quick and effective resistance movement in Afghanistan. To punish Pakistan and to answer back in the same currency, Kremlin decided to create some organizations that would specialize in sabotage activities in Pakistan. One such organization was BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), the brainchild of KGB that was built around the core of BSO (Baloch Students Organization). BSO was a group of assorted left-wing students in Quetta and some other cities of Balochistan”.
Balochistan became international in 1967 – 69 when Soviet Union, with the help of Iraq and India set-up an Azad Balochistan Movement and put up a person Juma Khan as its leader. He had no following and was running under ground to Iraq and Syria. I believe he died in exile in Syria. It will be recalled that during Mr Bhutto’s rule, the Iraqi Embassy was raided and much of arms and ammunition confiscated said to being supplied by Iraq to the underground in Balochistan. Iraq came under severe criticism in the Arab world for working against such a staunch friend of Arabs as Pakistan. Iraq explained that they were supporting the Iranian Balochis through Pakistan in their enmity with Iran etc. This was the time if I remember correctly when ZAB had undertaken an operation against Baloch Sardars whom he wanted to eliminate to establish democratic leadership. An interesting fact of Balochistan is that while in Pak Balochistan majority is Shia, in Iranian Balochistan majority is Sunni. Iraq was playing the Sunni card against Iran then, as the official story goes. [Dr Samiullah Koreshi] [Baltic Security and Defence Review
After the Russian withdrawal from Afghanistan, BLA lost its major source of funding and went into darkness until American occupation of Afghanistan in 2001 that provided golden chance to India for its stronghold in Afghanistan under the shadow of Pro-Israeli NATO and US forces. BLA is again on the move with Indian, CIA and Mossad’s support who in return have their own objectives in burning Balochistan. In September 2006, it was reported that, “The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) pumped huge money, into the province, transferred arms and ammunition via Kishan Garh into Dera Bugti, from various routes,”.
Pakistan army claimed to seal the routes of separatists supplies through India and Afghanistan, after high-tech weaponry like surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), 107mm rockets and other lethal weapons were recovered by the law enforcement agencies in the province. But Indian involvement in burning Balochistan was not blocked and Pakistan officials and security analysts continued explaining the involvement and tactic being used for the destabilization of Balochistan. In interviews published in The Post, Separately, Pakistan’s former Army Chief Aslam Beg and ex-chief of ISI General (retired) Hamid Gul both had accused Indian consulates located in Afghanistan and Iran and the United States with fomenting trouble in Baluchistan.
In the joint statement issued after the meeting of Indo – Pak prime ministers in July 2009 in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt, Indian involvement in Balochistan’s unrest was first time acknowledged by India and commented Brajesh Mishra, the National Security Advisor and Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister in the NDA government, “This is an indirect acknowledgement by New Delhi that India has a hand in what is going on in Balochistan.” Global security Magazine writes, “Most recently, these activities included the stationing of Indian intelligence officers at Zahedan, Iran close to Baluchistan rebel activities in Pakistan. Pakistan charges India with complicity (via Afghanistan ) in the ethnic crises in the two states of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan: Baluchistan and the Northwest Frontier Province. Pakistan complains that the Indian consulates in the border cities of Jalalabad and Kandahar are involved in fomenting insurgency in its Baluchistan province. Amidst increased fighting in January 2006, Musharraf accused India of arming and financing the militants fighting in Baluchistan. New Delhi categorically rejected the allegations. Islamabad banned the separatist Baluchistan Liberation Army as a terrorist organization in April 2006″.
Indians and Israelis have joined hands to act as the mercenaries for Americans to keep Balochistan burning. Ever since the Taliban were ousted from power and foreign troops landed in Afghanistan in late 2001, the Indians have been using the Afghan soil for sabotage and terror acts in Pakistan. The News International, a leading daily in Pakistan, on February 21, 2010 detailed that over a hundred Baloch dissidents have been sent to India by the Indian consulate, located in Kandahar (Afghanistan) for six-months training. These trainees were promised a monthly salary of $ 500 – 1000 upon completion of the training and working for the employer’s objectives. The newspaper report also revealed the command and control of these trainees. Half of them go under the command of Afghan Border Police chief at Spin Boldak while the rest lot to be put under the command of Afghan Police Chief of Shorawak District of Kandahar province.
- Three killed in Balochistan (nation.com.pk)
- Balochistan activists ‘tortured’ (bbc.co.uk)
- You: Pakistan’s military accused of escalating draconian campaign in Balochistan (guardian.co.uk)
- Brahumdagh Bugti seeks UN, Western intervention in Balochistan (nation.com.pk)
- Pakistan PM in Balochistan pledge (bbc.co.uk)
- Pakistan: Protect Shia Muslims (hazaranewsquetta.wordpress.com)
- West Balochistan (balochilinguist.wordpress.com)
- VIDEO: Shia Muslims ‘killed in Pakistan’ (bbc.co.uk)
- Nato copter intrudes into Balochistan (nation.com.pk)
- PTI VP from Balochistan resigns (nation.com.pk)
- Pakistan for enhanced gas from Iran (nation.com.pk)
- Use of force no solution to Balochistan problems: speakers (nation.com.pk)
- Balochistan A Backgrounder (balochilinguist.wordpress.com)
- Army’s strategy producing positive results in Balochistan (armycansavepakistan.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan Taliban commander confirms talks with government (ctv.ca)
- You: PM reaches out to angry Balochs (nation.com.pk)
- How balochistan plateau can feed the whole of Pakistan if it is developed (wiki.answers.com)
- You: Pakistani forces take control of Shamsi airbase (nation.com.pk)
- Faisal-a-bad (spittoonwatch.wordpress.com)
- Pakistan claims to have arrested Indian trying to enter Balochistan (thehindu.com)
- Unfinished Business (ashwathtree.wordpress.com)
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Since 2009, a litany of reports and studies have called for greater focus to be placed on Pakistan, seeing it as more important than Afghanistan and arguing that only by solving the problem in Pakistan could stability develop in Afghanistan, since Pakistan has served as a safe-haven to Afghan militants and al-Qa’ida activists. There has thus been a greater international commitment to the area with more troops sent to Afghanistan and improved cross-border cooperation, as seen with Operation Panchai Palang (Panther’s Claw) in Helmand Province. The operation saw U.S., British, and Afghan forces taking action against the Taliban while the Pakistani military sought to prevent insurgents from escaping across the border.
The focus of this article is the political challenge faced by the United States in respect to Pakistan. The author argues that the American approach to Pakistan is fundamentally erroneous, as lack of political stability in Pakistan severely undermines the effectiveness of the military campaign against the Islamists and jihadists that operate within Pakistan and along the Afghan-Pakistan border. Pakistani terror groups may differ in their interests, base of operations, and so on, but they are united in their hatred of the United States and the Pakistani government, which they view as an “American puppet.”
A key challenge for American decisionmakers concerning Pakistan is the topsy-turvy nature of Pakistani politics, where the police and the courts operate as tools of politicians’ ambitions while the state system remains praetorian in nature, leading to chronic instability. Thus, although the “kill-ratio” (the number of insurgents killed on a daily and weekly basis) is rising, as drone attacks become more effective, what the international community fails to understand is that the more money it invests in Pakistan and Afghanistan, the more unstable these countries become. There is evidence that foreign aid ends up being used for unnecessary projects and programs, with the money rarely reaching the people and areas that need it the most. British journalist Jason Burke recounts that in the late 1990s, one could travel in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the Khyber Agency, something that is no longer possible without an armed escort. Apparent to Burke as he travelled throughout the area, were the dire conditions of the inhabitants, treated by Islamabad as second-class citizens in Burke’s eyes.
Thus, in many ways a key challenge in removing the Pakistani Taliban threat from FATA and other areas along the Pakistan-Afghan border is to make the indigenous community feel that it is part of Pakistan; yet considering that the local population tends to identify with its ethnic, Pashtun background, this is not an easy task. Second, experience has shown that at times of political upheaval and instability, the Pakistani army tends to step in and impose order, which raises the specter of a fourth military intervention (the three previous military rulers were: Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq, and Pervez Musharraf). Another military takeover would deal a deadly blow to any democratic hopes that Pakistan might have, not to mention furnish Islamists with more ammunition in pointing to Western hypocrisy, as seen with Pervez Musharraf. The Taliban knows that the international community would not stay in the region indefinitely–made clear by President Obama in his West Point speech on December 1, 2009. The Afghan Taliban can therefore afford to wait. Thus, sending more troops and money to South Asia without dealing with the political situation in Pakistan means wasting valuable resources at a time when the United States and the international community can ill-afford such profligacy.
The praetorian nature of Afghanistan and Pakistan:
During the 1960s, the prominent Harvard political scientist Professor Samuel P. Huntington argued that newly formed states are more likely to develop a praetorian style of governance than established democracies. Amos Perlmutter’s study, which built on Huntington’s earlier work, identified the social and political conditions that lead to the emergences of a praetorian state. Perlmutter argued that praetorianism requires low social cohesion within the state in question. This condition stems from a situation whereby personal desires and group aims differ when it comes to management of the society and development. What exacerbates the situation is lack of state institutions or weaknesses within the state institutions that are supposed to promote cohesion.
Second, the state in question must have fratricidal classes, which refers to the gap between the classes. This is normally an upper and lower class, which adds to the fragmentation that exists in the society, as the upper class is composed of traditionalist and modernists, while the lower class focuses on survival.
The third social condition refers to lack of a middle class. This does not mean that there is no middle class, but what there is of the middle class is either too small to effect change or too weak. As Perlmutter states, “The middle classes in most praetorian states are small, weak, ineffective, divided, and politically impotent.”
The final social condition identified by Perlmutter as being important to the development of praetorianism refers to recruitment and the mobilization of resources: a government in a praetorian state lacks widespread support and is reliant on a few small groups for support. This is why a praetorian state needs to attract people to its cause, and it does so by allowing them to use certain resources or to exploit positions in society. Thus, for example, a praetorian state allows individuals to control valuable resources. The state also follows the common pattern of higher modernization at the center with much less on the periphery, leading to tensions between these two zones.
Perlmutter identifies a number of political conditions that assist in the development of a praetorian state. These include lack of institutionalism–which ensures that the state has weak and ineffective political parties–and continuous tensions between the periphery and the center. During the Partition of India, the Hindu-led Congress Party had more experience in politics, while the All-India Muslim League was organized very much around a strong, quasi-authoritarian system led by Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Thus, with Jinnah’s death, the league had no one of his caliber to lead it, causing fragmentation, wrangling, and divisions. This was because during the pre-independence period, the league had no real base. Mainly, this was because it was very much a product of the United Provinces, which meant that in 1947, it was a party without a base, as the United Provinces remained in India. Finally, India unlike Pakistan had benefited from the state mechanism that the British had created. It was in India that most of the infrastructure was located, whether it was in terms of political machinery or economic conditions. In 1947, Pakistan had to start with very little: no real infrastructure, no wealth, and not much experience in the realm of public administration. These conditions have allowed the military to assume greater control, because it is generally the only Pakistani institution that is reasonably united–not beset by petty factionalism–and able to operate in difficult situations.
It is clear that Pakistan is deeply imbued with praetorian characteristics, whether on the social or political level. In Pakistan, the army wields tremendous power and influence and has direct say in government policies and the management of society, as seen with the way Zia-ul-Haq allowed groups such as Jama’at-e-Islami (JI) to penetrate every facet of Pakistani society, especially the military and later on the Afghan refugee camps. Pakistan lacks social cohesion in that there are tensions between the different provinces and ethnic groups that inhabit the country. All of these factors, coupled with ethnic and social tensions precipitate the development of a quasi-praetorian state system, which fundamentally aims to prevent the growth of a democratic system.
The AFPAK Strategy:
The Obama administration’s approach to the troubles in Pakistan centers on its “AfPak” Strategy, which recognizes that in order to resolve the problem in one country (Afghanistan or Pakistan), one needs to address what is occurring in the other. Thus, when President Obama announced the adoption of the new policy–AfPak–on March 27, 2009, it subscribed to the view that one could not solve the problems of Afghanistan without addressing what was occurring across the Durand Line. President-elect Obama declared in December 2008:
“…we need a strategic partnership with all the parties in the region–Pakistan and India and the Afghan government–to stamp out the kind of militant, violent, terrorist extremists that have set up base camps and that are operating in ways that threaten the security of everybody in the international community. And, as I’ve said before, we can’t continue to look at Afghanistan in isolation.”
AfPak emphasizes a substantive change in U.S.-Pakistani relations and is indicative of U.S. impatience with Pakistan’s failure to deal with extremism and terrorism. President Obama has officially moved away from former President George W. Bush’s position of refusing to rebuke Pakistan publically for failing to deal with Islamist militancy in all of its guises. The change of policy arises from a perception among members of the Obama administration that rather than deal with extremism, Pakistan has allowed it to grow. The Obama administration has paid special attention to the Inter-Service Intelligence Directorate (ISI), as Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared in March 2009, “They [ISI] have been very attached to many of these extremist organizations, and it’s my [Mullen’s] belief that in the long run, they have got to completely cut ties with those in order to really move in the right direction.”
AfPak’s roots lie in the rising violence in southern Afghanistan, which is Taliban-based. Since 2007, Taliban forces have sought to recover ground lost following the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. In the south of the country, mainly the Helmand and Kandahar regions, Taliban fighters crossed into to Pakistan, where International Security Assistance Forces (ISAF) or American forces could not pursue them. The city of Quetta, which arguably is the home of many leading Afghan Taliban members, is not very far from the Afghan-Pakistan border. Bruce Riedel, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute writes, “The Taliban apparatus in Pakistan’s madrassas was not dismantled, and many Taliban officials continued to operate in Pakistani cities, particularly Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan. By 2004 Taliban officials were openly fund-raising again in Quetta.” Moreover, Mullah Omar comes from the Ghilzai tribe, which located between Kabul and Kandahar.
At the heart of AfPak is the acknowledgment that the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan has become dangerous, for America and for the rest of the world, and that there is a need to take action. The United States is thus determined to remain engaged in the area, by adopting an activist campaign designed to prevent the return of the Taliban to power in Afghanistan, as the Taliban allows such groups as al-Qa’ida to operate without impunity. AfPak therefore fits in well Head of ISAF operations in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal’s assessment of the situation in Afghanistan (which came after AfPak was announced), whereby the former commander of Special Operations in Iraq adopts a kinetic-oriented, information operation vis-à-vis Afghanistan. In other words, McChrystal accepts the principle of AfPak and has a plan to improve the situation in Afghanistan.
Second, AfPak identifies the actors involved in the conflict: the United States, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the international community. The enemies are al-Qa’ida, the Taliban, and other radical organizations. The main goal of the strategy is not the long-term occupation of Afghanistan or direct control of the region, but the build-up of Afghanistan to the point where the government can maintain stability. This is for the sake of the Afghan and Pakistani people as well as for the security of the international community. In the words of President Obama:
For the American people, this border region [Afghan-Pakistan] has become the most dangerous place in the world…. For the Afghan people, a return to Taliban rule would condemn their country to brutal governance, international isolation, a paralyzed economy, and the denial of basic human rights to the Afghan people–especially women and girls. The return in force of al Qaeda terrorists who would accompany the core Taliban leadership would cast Afghanistan under the shadow of perpetual violence.
The terrorists within Pakistan’s borders are not simply enemies of America or Afghanistan–they are a grave and urgent danger to the people of Pakistan. Al Qaeda and other violent extremists have killed several thousand Pakistanis since 9/11. They have killed many Pakistani soldiers and police. They assassinated Benazir Bhutto. They have blown up buildings, derailed foreign investment, and threatened the stability of the state. Make no mistake: al Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within.
In his statement announcing AfPak and again in his West Point speech (December 1, 2009), Barack Obama argued that greater political action was needed regarding Pakistan’s terrorism problem. The Obama administration’s position is that by improving the political situation–a codeword for democracy promotion–Pakistan could successfully deal with its internal and external terrorist problem (insurgents, Islamists, and the al-Qa’ida network). For Obama, the removal of Pervez Musharraf from the presidency has not meant an end to Pakistan’s political problems, in that it allowed for the restoration of democracy, because the system still fails to address the country’s needs and people’s demands to a minimal level.
The final element appearing in AfPak is the role of the international community, which President Obama argues cannot abandon Afghanistan and the region, especially at time of such deep economic crisis. The rationale behind the position is that first, President Obama is determined to end America’s image as a unilateralist state. The notion is that by cooperating with other countries to improve the situation in Afghanistan, the United States has abandoned the Bush-Rumsfeld methodology. Second, there is also the issue of cost sharing, in that the United States can no longer afford another costly war as in Iraq, which might be what Afghanistan becomes if the United States has to provide security while paying for reconstruction and development.
More specifically, AfPak focuses on improving intelligence sharing, enhancing military cooperation along the Afghan-Pakistan border, as well as addressing such issues as trade, energy, and economic development. In addition to committing greater military resources, Washington has also expanded its non-military assistance, as seen with the large injection of development aid to Pakistan and specifically to the FATA. This began with the reentry of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) into Pakistan in 2002.
The military side of AfPak is different for Afghanistan and Pakistan. In the case of Afghanistan, the focus is on strengthening the American and NATO presence, as well as engaging the Taliban on a multilateral level–NATO and the Afghan army support. For this reason, General McChrystal, the head of ISAF has adopted an active policy of seeking to control territory in order to provide peace and security for the indigenous population so that they are able to develop sustainable communities, making them less likely to join or support the Taliban. Thus, the military’s goal is to drive out the Taliban and its interference with the reconstruction process. The United States has adapted to the new situation in southern Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal belt by placing greater emphasis on special operations, whether through U.S. Special Forces or drone attacks. U.S. Special Operations Command ensures that U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan are deployed on a 12-month rotation–six months in the war zone and six months at home. The units are expected to monitor what takes place in their area of operations, and when they redeploy they are sent back to their area, allowing them to develop personal relations with the local community. Tied to this campaign is greater cooperation from the Pakistanis, with ISAF taking the position that without pressure from the other side of the border, the situation in Afghanistan will continue along the same lines.
On the non-military side of the “strategy,” there is a strong commitment to reconstruction and development. As James Dao recounts, in the Baraki Barak District, American soldiers are based “…living alongside its police officers and public officials, trying to win friends as it struggles to root out enemies.” During the day, the troops not only patrol the city but also engage with the community, whether it is in dialogue, by purchasing local products, or employing the locals in reconstruction projects. This means that on the Afghan side, the international forces not only seek to establish and ensure security but also undertake confidence-building measures, work on reconstruction, as well as develop and improve ties with the community. Thus, AfPak involves such policies as law and order (increasing the size of the Afghan police as well as training the Pakistani police in law and order procedures), trade development, education, and so on. This is closely linked with the bipartisan Kerry-Lugar Act, which saw the adoption of a policy of increasing American non-military contribution to Pakistan (there is less focus on Afghanistan because the country is already a large recipient of non-military aid as part of the Bonn Agreement, in which the United States is also a key player).
The Kerry Lugar act 2009:
In May 2009, Senators John Kerry (D-MA) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) introduced their Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act. The legislation, which began when Joe Biden was chairman of the Senate of Foreign Relations (then known as the Lugar-Bidden Act), emphasized the deteriorating situation in Pakistan and the deep commitment of the United States to the country. The legislation provides Pakistan with large sums of non-military financial aid to assist it in combating the rising tide of terrorism within its borders and outside of them.
The legislation recognizes and declares that the current state of affairs in Pakistan–the lack of security, democracy, and stability–allows militant organizations to use Pakistan as a launching pad for attacks against targets in Pakistan and across the globe. The act, which Congress passed on October 7, 2009, provides financial assistance (around $1.5 billion per annum until 2013) to Pakistan. The goals of the act are also for Pakistan to support and consolidate democracy and the rule of law in the country. Second, the act pledges to help Pakistan establish the conditions conducive for stability, with references made to economic security. Third, the legislation seeks to provide Pakistan with the means to prevent and combat the usage of its territory for terrorist camps. This includes helping the Pakistanis develop the tools for improving coordination and cooperation among the military, paramilitary, and police action against terrorists. That is, the act recognizes that each branch operates against terrorists in Pakistan, but far too often, there is a failure to communicate between the branches, which undermine the counterterrorism efforts. Finally, the Kerry-Lugar Act hopes to improve relations between Pakistan and the United States, especially as Kerry and Lugar noted that the United States is not widely esteemed in Pakistan. The act has received support from President Asif Ali Zardari, who called upon Congress to support the bill, because “President Obama understands that for Pakistan to defeat the extremists, it must be stable. For democracy to succeed, Pakistan must be economically viable. Assistance to Pakistan is not charity; rather, the creation of a politically stable and economically viable Pakistan is in the long-term, [a] strategic interest of the United States.”
Yet there are numerous problems with the Kerry-Lugar Act, the key being Pakistani opposition. Pakistanis see elements of the act as unacceptable U.S. interference in domestic Pakistani issues. Further, the legislation is not groundbreaking; everything it seeks to do has already been tried in respect to Pakistan. In addition, although it allocates funds for anti-corruption purposes, it fails to recognize that this money often ends up in the hands of those engaged in the abuses, as the system does not take into consideration the nature of the Pakistani state, which is tribal and kinship-based. The concept of biraderi (extended family) means that one must contend with the idea of the extended family and the obligation that one has for one’s extended family. Thus, what in the West is understood as corruption or nepotism is in Pakistan, simply part of family life and obligations. In practical terms, biraderi means that if one is in a good position, this power must be used to assist family members and help them find employment.
Foreign military financial assistance:
Foreign military financing (FMF) has become an important tool for U.S. policymakers. FMFs are congressionally appropriated grants in which the recipient country is provided with funds to purchase American-made weapons, services, and training. In respect to Pakistan, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gillani has noted the significance of FMF, as the Frontier Corps (FC) has had to face “terrorists” using old, unsophisticated guns. The FC, a large paramilitary force of around 80,000 men entrusted with border security in the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan, has received U.S. assistance including financial support and training. Overall, since 2001, Pakistan has benefited from an increased commitment by Washington in terms of military equipment that it claims it needs to combat Islamist terrorism. Between 2001 and 2008, the United States has provided Pakistan with $1.6 billion through the FMF program. Islamabad has used these funds to purchase American military equipment such as 5,600 military radio sets, six C-130E transport aircraft, 20 AH-1F Cobra attack helicopters, 26 Bell 412 transport helicopters, night-vision equipment, and protective vests. In their review of U.S. aid to Pakistan, Cohen and Chollet were critical of FMF, arguing that FMF “…is often justified to Congress as playing a critical role in the war on terrorism, in reality the weapons systems are often prestige items to help Pakistan in the event of war with India.”They add:
Looking at the total approved U.S. weapons sales, including weapons purchased without the benefit of direct U.S. assistance, Pakistan has spent $8.4 billion between 2002 and 2006. Most of this has been spent on weapons such as F-16s and other aircraft, anti-ship Harpoon Block II missiles, and antimissile defense systems. Few of these weapons are likely to provide much help in rooting out al Qaeda or the Taliban.
Pakistan is continuously demanding sophisticated weapons from the United States, especially since the military’s operation in the Swat Valley when the Pakistani Air Force executed more than 300 combat missions using F-16s. The air force has argued that it needs more advanced F-16s to counter the Taliban, as the newer plans carry better imagery facilities. Air Chief Marshall even admitted that the air force used Google Earth in order to learn the area. However, what the country’s military forces require are counter-insurgency equipment and more importantly a change in outlook. That is, much of the Pakistani military outlook has remained directed at India and external threats instead of dealing with Pakistan’s internal threats that stem from the presence of terrorist groups. Professor Bruce Hoffman recounts a discussion in Islamabad in August 2008, when a diplomat told him that the Pakistani military had no knowledge of a counter-terrorism operation. Professor C. Christine Fair of Georgetown writing in the Wall Street Journal in June 2009 noted:
…the army has resisted developing a counter-insurgency doctrine. It prefers to plan and train for conventional battles and views its struggle against insurgents as a “low-intensity” conventional conflict. Washington has been slow to understand that this is not a quibble over semantics but a serious difference in how the army intends to contend with the threat. The Pakistani army believes India is its principal nemesis, not the insurgents who have occupied the Swat valley and destabilized Pakistan and the region.
History has shown that in regards to South Asia and the Afghan-Pakistan tribal belt in particular, outsiders cannot impose solutions. The inhabitants of the region proudly recall that the only foreigners that have come close to defeating them were Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan. Thus, it is highly unlikely that the United States and the international community can solve the problems of Pakistan and Afghanistan. In an interview, a tribal elder in Kunduz, Northern Afghanistan noted, “For 30 years we lived under the rule of war. Only in the last six years have we had some peace. The solution is not to send foreigners–the more foreign troops there are, the more resistance they create. The Afghan army and police should secure the villages.”The locals join the Afghan or the Pakistani Taliban either because they are drawn to the ideology of the Taliban, due to tribal or filial ties, or they are coerced. Increasing corruption and criminality has led to growing support for the Taliban, as local Afghans view their own government and security services with nothing but contempt. A classic example was seen in the Wardak Province of Afghanistan, when Taliban forces captured a group who had kidnapped the son of a wealthy merchant. The kidnappers’ bodies were found hanging in Maiden Shah, the province’s capital with a note: “The same fate awaits others who choose to kidnap for a living.” The merchant allegedly provided them with a gift of $200,000 for freeing his son. In the words of Karimullah, a local shop owner, this kind of policing role explains why Afghans help the Taliban:
It proves the Taliban have no problem with ordinary Afghans. They have a problem with those Afghans who work in high government positions who run crime in this city…. Of course I help them. They never pressure us to support them. They come around once a month and ask for help. We give them charity. People here prefer the Taliban to the government and the kidnappers. They are the ones who will bring security.
While AfPak has attempted to present “new thinking” regarding the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it has not brought any substantive change in strategy, which remains: an increased presence of foreign troops to ensure the security of the Afghan people until the Afghan National Army (ANA) is ready to assume the responsibility. The only revision has been to upgrade the projected size of the Afghan army from a 100,000 to approximately 300,000. The problem with this is that the ANA is far from a well-functioning military force, as its members are part of different ethnic and religious groups that often resent one another. Moreover, it takes more than a few weeks or months to train a soldier. The costs to train and equip foreign troops are also extremely high. In comparison, Afghan soldiers are rushed through the training process. This is the fourth attempt in Afghanistan’s history to establish a national Afghan army. The issue though is that recruitment is low, due in part to threats from the Taliban and other insurgents, ethnic differences (trained Tajiks outnumber Pashtuns 41 to 30 percent), and low wages ($180 a month paid to an Afghan soldier versus $250 to $300 month insurgents reportedly receive from the Taliban.
Second, developing ties with the local Afghan community helps make clear that the United States wants promote development and reconstruction. To further familiarity with the local population, the U.S. military returns troops to the areas that they operated in previously when they are rotated back into action. The rebuilding of Afghanistan is a huge undertaking, which requires a long-term commitment of years if not decades. For this reason, there has been apprehension over President Obama’s West Point speech. Moreover, although U.S. forces generally behave well, there is a culture of abuse and impunity in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, where men of rank abuse their positions. Thus while Afghans and Pakistanis hear about the American commitment to their respective countries, they rarely enjoy the benefits, which ironically makes them more hostile towards the United States, because they maintain that the United States is in fact fuelling the corruption and lawlessness by handing money to those in power. The Petraeus-McChrystal strategy of providing security to the local population, though laudable is therefore superfluous, because the Taliban will have strong popular support. Simply put, the failure is not lack of security, but because the Taliban is favored as a military, anti-corruption, religious, and congenial force.
Third, the framework and the Kerry-Lugar Act fail to realize that the Afghan jihad has substantially undermined the traditional nature of Pashtun (along the Afghan and Pakistan border) society. It has led to the emergence of three types of maliks (heads of villages or village sections): the traditional “white beard” malik as well as two new types: The “self-made malik,” is a man who returned from working in Iran or the Gulf states where he gained additional sophistication and often uses corruption to get his way. The third type is the youngmujahidin (fighter) who has gained enhanced status by participating in the fight against foreigners. Moreover, the Afghan jihad along with the Islamic reforms of Zia-ul-Haq, the use of the Kashmir by the ISI, and rising anti-American sentiments in Pakistan have ensured a solid base of support for anti-American activity in Afghanistan.
As President Obama declared in his West Point speech:
…I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. This is no idle danger; no hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror. And this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards, and al Qaeda can operate with impunity. We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region.
The problem is that once again, the United States, despite its good intentions and regardless of all the options offered by the Obama administration or congress, has failed to appreciate that foreigners cannot solve South Asia’s problems. None of the options offered by the Obama administration or Congress can help improve the situation.
The situation within Afghanistan and Pakistan is very serious due to a combination of factors, including a decrepit political system; a social system that exacerbates local, regional, and state tensions; and leaders who define their own interests in ways that make progress impossible and stability unlikely. The agenda of leaders and groups is self-preservation rather than cooperation. This became blatantly obvious in the days leading up to the 2008 Afghan national elections, when incumbent President, Hamid Karzai invited the former mujahidin commander Abdul Rashid Dostum to join his administration. Similarly, in Pakistan, President Zardari has made extensive compromises to ensure his survival, especially in light of growing scrutiny over his wealth. Thus, until U.S. policymakers accept the precept that South Asian leaders are first and foremost political survivors, and national politicians second, the United States and its allies will continue to risk the lives of brave women and men as well as pour money into the bottomless pit that is South Asia.
- Pakistan condemns US spy allegations – Xinhua (news.google.com)
- You: Pakistan asks US to show proof (nation.com.pk)
- Afghan Taliban: We support Haqqani, not Pakistan (cnn.com)
- Mullen keeps focus on Pakistan link to Haqqani network (cnn.com)
- Pakistan PM rejects US pressure (bbc.co.uk)
- Guide to the Latest on Pakistan’s Terror Ties (propublica.org)
- Why Pakistan supports the Haqqani network: Fear for its own security (diplomatieincarje.wordpress.com)
- Kabul to Drop Trilateral Peace Effort (online.wsj.com)
- Pakistan’s foreign minister defends country’s record on fighting terror (guardian.co.uk)
- Pakistani leaders to meet on crisis with U.S. – Reuters (news.google.com)
- Pakistan’s spy chief and legislators plan peace talks with Taliban (csmonitor.com)
- Pakistan’s military and legislators plan peace talks with Taliban (csmonitor.com)
- NATO captures senior Haqqani leader in Afghanistan (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- NATO Captures Senior Haqqani Leader in Afghanistan – Fox News (news.google.com)
- U.S. Envoy Visits Pakistan Over Tensions on Tackling Militants (businessweek.com)
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“Religion does not require women to veil their hands, feet and faces or enjoin any special type of veil. Tribal custom must not impose itself on the free will of the individual”
King Amanullah Khan, King of Afghanistan from 1919-1929 “It (Independence) belongs to all of us and that is why we celebrate it. Do you think, however, that our nation from the outset needs only men to serve it? Women should also take their part as women did in the early years of our nation and Islam. From their examples we must learn that we must all contribute toward the development of our nation and that this cannot be done without being equipped with knowledge. So we should all attempt to acquire as much knowledge as possible, in order that we may render our services to society in the manner of the women of early Islam.”
Queen Soraya of Afghanistan (1919-1929) “We will never allow you to dictate to us how to run our country and whom to employ in Afghanistan. How and where we employ the foreign experts will remain the exclusive prerogative of the Afghan state. Afghanistan shall remain poor, if necessary, but free in its acts and decisions.”
Daoud Khan “A Nation stays alive when its culture is alive “ “Thing’s aren’t complicated, people make them complicated”
Christini Martini McFarlene “Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both”
Benjamin Franklin “There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable”
Howard ZInn “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
Malcolm X “We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism….Instead of sending our sons and daughters around the world to kill Arabs so we can have the oil under their sand, we should send them to rebuild infrastructure, supply clean water, and feed starving children…In short, we should do good instead of evil. Who would try to stop us? Who would hate us? Who would want to bomb us? That is the truth the American people need to hear.”
Robert Bowman “It is a most wicked crime against God and Islam to deny education to women and children.”
The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) “The tragedy of our day is the climate of fear in which we live, and fear breeds repression. Too often sinister threats to the Bill of Rights, to freedom of the mind, are concealed under the patriotic cloak of anti-communism.”
Adlai Stevenson “My country is the world, and my religion is to do good.”
Thomas Paine “When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.”
Sinclair Lewis “If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other.”
Carl Shurz “You can only protect your liberties in this world by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can only be free if I am free.” Clarence Darrow “I never submitted the whole system of my opinions to the creed of any party of men whatever, in religion, in philosophy, in politics or in anything else, where I was capable of thinking for myself. Such an addiction is the last degradation of a free and moral agent. If I could not go to Heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all.”
Thomas Jefferson Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will.”
Frederick Douglass “The very purpose of a Bill of Rights was to withdraw certain subjects from the vicissitudes of political controversy, to place them beyond the reach of majorities and officials and to establish them as legal principles to be applied by the courts.
One’s right to life, liberty, and property, to free speech, a free press, freedom of worship and assembly, and other fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections”
Robert Jackson “If you let someone take the rights of some people away it is only a matter of time before they get to you and your ideas and beliefs” “When I woke up this morning I asked myself: What are some of the secrets of success in life? I found the answer right there in my very room.The Fan said – Be cool. The Roof said – Aim high. The Window said – See the world. The Clock said – Every minute is precious. The Mirror said – Reflect before you act. The Door said – Push hard for your Goals. And don’t forget, the Carpet said – Kneel down & Pray” “Dort wo man Bücher verbrennt, verbrennt man auch am Ende Menschen.” “Where they burn books, at the end they also burn people.” Heinrich Heine If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.”
Peace Pilgrim “All that I am, or hope to be, I owe to my angel mother.”
Abraham Lincoln “Allow the president to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion, and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such a purpose – and you allow him to make war at pleasure.”
Abraham Lincoln “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”
Abraham Lincoln “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free…it expects what never was and never will be.”
Thomas Jefferson ”Never promote men who seek after a state-established religion; it is spiritual tyranny–the worst of despotism.”
John Leland “If each man or woman could understand that every other human life is as full of sorrows, or joys, or base temptations, of heartaches and of remorse as his own how much kinder, how much gentler he would be.”
William Allen White “If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.” James Madison “We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization”
Franklin D. Roosevelt “I believe in only one thing: liberty; but I do not believe in liberty enough to want to force it upon anyone.”
H. L. Mencken “I ain’t got no quarrel with the Vietcong. No Vietcong ever called me Nigger.”
Muhammad Ali “However many holy words you read, however many you speak, what good will they do you if you do not act on upon them?”
Gautama Siddharta Buddha “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
Gautama Siddharta Buddha “I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun’s energy… If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.”
Sir George Porter “The (true) servants of (God) the Most Gracious are those who walk on the earth in humility, and when the ignorant address them, reply with (words of) peace.”
The Quran “I tried to find Him on the Christian cross, but He was not there; I went to the Temple of the Hindus and to the old pagoda, but I could not find a trace of Him anywhere.
I searched the mountains and the valleys but neither in the heights nor in the depths was I able to find Him. I went to the Kaaba in Mecca, but He was… not there either.
I questioned the scholars and philosophers, but He was beyond their understanding.
I then looked into my heart and it was there where He dwelled that I saw him; He was nowhere else to be found.”
Rumi “Oppression by it’s very nature creates the power that crushes it” “Read, every day, something no one else is reading.Think, every day, something no one else is thinking. Do, every day, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to continually be part of unanimity.”
Christopher Morley “My Religion is simple; My Religion is kindness.”
Dalai Lama “I lived in the West, I saw Islam; but I never saw any Muslims. I lived in the East, I saw the Muslims; but I never saw Islam.” Jamal–al–Din Afghani “It is only when a society shares caring values that its people can feel secure.”
Michael Lerner “The most violent element in society is ignorance.”
Emma Goldman “The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought.”
Emma Goldman “Only the educated are free”
Epictetus “What Malcolm X said when he got silenced by Elijah Mohammed was in fact true, America’s chickens…are coming home to roost. We took this country by terror, away from the Sioux, the Apache, the Arowak, the Comanche, the Arapahoe, the Navajo. Terrorism. We took Africans from their country to build our way of ease and kept them enslaved and living in fear. Terrorism. We bombed Granada and killed innocent civilians, babies, non-military personnel. We bombed the black civilian community of Panama with stealth bombers and killed unarmed teenagers and toddlers, pregnant mothers, and hardworking fathers. We bombed Qaddafi’s home and killed his child. Blessed are they who bash your children’s head against a rock. We bombed Iraq. We killed unarmed civilians trying to make a living. We bombed a plant in Sudan to payback for the attack on our embassy, killed hundreds of hardworking people, mothers and fathers who left home to go that day not knowing that they would never get back home. We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye. Kids playing in the playground, mothers picking up children from school, civilians, not soldiers, people just trying to make it day by day.We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and Black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back to our own front yards. America’s chickens are coming home to roost.Violence begets violence. Hatred begets hatred. And terrorism begets terrorism”
Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Jr. “Those who know the least, obey the best.”
George Farquhar “The only good is knowledge and the only evil is ignorance.”
Socrates “My mind is my own church”
Thomas Paine “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
JFK “Egypt did for itself in 3 weeks what the US could not do for Iraq and Afghanistan in nearly 10 years. Peace, not war, overcomes terror.”
Zahra Billoo “First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.”
Martin Niemöller “Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.”
Muhammad Ali “People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway. If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.”
Mother Teresa “Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.”
Seneca ”Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths.”
Muhammad Ali “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones. I am not afraid.”
Marcus Aurelius “All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.”
Thomas Paine “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.”
Galileo “Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of Stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. “
Strength To Love
Martin Luther King, Jr “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
Benjamin Franklin “The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church.”
Ferdinand Magellan “Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.”
Mark Twain “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”
Susan B. Anthony “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”
Albert Einstein “The will of the people… is the only legitimate foundation of any government, and to protect its free expression should be our first object.” Thomas Jefferson “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
Stephen Roberts “I am the inferior of any man whose rights I trample under foot.” Robert Green Ingersoll (1833-1899) “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why are they poor, they call me a Communist.”
- Hearts and Minds Of Random Thoughts (justsimplyinlove.wordpress.com)
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New York (CNN) – After a stealth U.S. military operation, notorious terrorist Osama bin Laden may be dead but the notion of a fundamental conflict between Islam and the West which he advocated remains a problem, according to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Asked by CNN’s Anderson Cooper whether the front line in the global war on terrorism has now shifted to Pakistan, the country where bin Laden was found and killed by the United States, or to Yemen, a growing center of influence for al Qaeda and those inspired by al Qaeda, Blair said the issue wasn’t that simple.
“Sometimes people say, ‘Well, what should we be worried about most? Would it be Afghanistan? Would it be Iraq? Would it be Pakistan? Would it be Yemen? Would it be Somalia?’ The answer to that question is all of those, I’m afraid,” Blair said in an interview set to air Friday on AC360°. “For me this is one struggle,” continued Blair, “It’s got many different aspects to it. One is the security aspect. But the other is the narrative, the ideology that people like bin Laden represent. Because my fear is that the narrative has a far broader support than those engaged in extremism would suggest.”
Blair explained that he believes the number of individuals who turn to violence because of radical Islamic beliefs is “a relatively small number.” But, “those that buy into the narrative that there is this fundamental conflict, that the West is oppressing Islam, I think that stretches far deeper.”
Since leaving office in the U.K. Blair has worked as an envoy in the Middle East peace process.
Tune in to AC360°