Beating the war drums

May 11, 2010 § Leave a comment

It’s been ten days since the attempted bombing in Times Square in New York City. Only ten days. And even for seasoned observers, the speed at which the case for invading North Waziristan has been made is impressive.

It began with apprehending the suspect, Faisal Shahzad, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin, on Monday, May 3. On May 5, the FBI probe was already focused on the Pakistani Taliban and their base in North Waziristan as the source of the plot, as evidenced by the New York Times headline, “Evidence Mounts for Taliban Role in Bomb Plot.” But, as Salon reports, Shahzad seems to have received no formal training from the Taliban. He does, in fact, seem to fall into the “lone wolf” category, an individual who took it upon himself to carry this act out, and then did it not terribly well. Doesn’t say much for his so-called training.

No matter. Already, by May 5, within two days of Shahzad’s arrest, Ahmed Rashid was not only labeling North Waziristan “terror’s new hub” but also making the case for launching a military operation there. He notes:

Over the past 18 months, Pakistan’s army has conducted major offensives in six of the seven tribal agencies that border Afghanistan. But the seventh agency — North Waziristan — has been left alone… North Waziristan is the hub of so many terrorist groups and so much terrorist plotting and planning that neither the CIA nor the ISI seems to have much clue about what is going on there.

Oh, the hapless CIA and ISI. Poor things. That alphabet-soup of militant groups is making their head hurt. They helped create so many different groups that they now have trouble keeping track of them. It’s a little bit like the old woman who had so many children, she didn’t know what to do. But back to Ahmed Rashid, who goes on to conclude that:

What is happening in North Waziristan is having a global impact. Something has to be done about a region that has become an even greater terrorist hub than Afghanistan was before 2001. Pakistan’s leaders — both civil and military — should take the lead in finding solutions to the problem, as the international community helps Islamabad implement a policy that will clear out this lethal terrorism central.

“Clear out this lethal terrorism central.”

If ever there was a euphemism for genocide, that would be it.

On May 6, Rashid called Shahzad “Pakistan’s first global jihadist.” This piece details exactly how Faisal Shahzad “belongs to this country’s true blue-blooded ‘establishment'” – that is, he is the son of an Air Force Air Vice Marshall, he went to prestigious schools in Pakistan, and then went to the U.S. for higher education. He even had a well-paying job in the financial industry. So it is quite amazing that Rashid then concludes by saying:

if the quiet “establishment” terrorist is found to be linked to either North Waziristan or LT [Lashkar-e-Taiba], Pakistan will face explosive pressure from the U.S. to do something about these untouched sources of terrorism.

One fails to comprehend why Rashid doesn’t want the target to be the Air Force officers’ mess, or the elite schools that Shahzad attended, or even the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut in the U.S., which Shahzad attended, that should be cause for concern. But of course, someone has to pay for Shahzad’s stupidity, and of course it will be the innocents in North Waziristan who will suffer.

The reality, of course, is that North Waziristan is already under attack. The U.S. has been conducting a long-running drone program there, which is run by the CIA. So while the case for invading North Waziristan is being made, the bombs keep falling on North Waziristan. On May 3, 4 people were killed as a result of a drone attack. On May 9, 10 people were killed, and then again on May 10, 14 more people were killed in North Waziristan by CIA drones. Of course all of these casualties have already been labeled as “militants.” This will never be verified, as there are no independent media in the region, and no human rights organizations active there either.

Faisal Shahzad was reportedly angry about the slaughter of innocent people through the drone attacks. That doesn’t justify the slaughter of more innocents in Times Square. But it does remind us that bombing only seems to produce more bombing. Not peace.


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