Countering a Pakistani General’s War “Analysis”

By Randy Taylor, Independent Analyst

24 October 2008: After reading the ridiculous analysis by former Pakistani General, Talat Masood published Thursday in the Daily Times of Pakistan, I felt the need to respond with a “counter-analysis.” Below is my assessment (in blue preceded by my initials) to his inane commentary.

Link to original article: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2008%5C10%5C23%5Cstory_23-10-2008_pg3_4

Daily Times - Site Edition

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Analysis: Redirecting the war on terror —Talat Masood

The war on terror during President Bush’s office has taken menacing overtones — as though it is directed against Islam and is a clash of civilizations. Both candidates, especially Obama, are credited with strong intellectual capability and may revise this policy to win back the confidence of Muslims

RT) It is indeed a clash of civilizations, where there has always been differences in policies and politics and religious goals, but the Muslims are the ones that made an issue out of it, using violence against the United states to which the United States has responded and will continue to respond. Regardless of intellectual capability, either candidate will have to respond, with force, as terrorism isn’t an intellectual issue.

Presidential elections in the United States in November 2008 will bring in new leadership and administration to power in Washington. Irrespective of the winner — Barack Obama or John McCain — it is clear that the global war on terror will remain among the highest priorities for the US. Other areas, like the economic crisis, a resurgent Russia, an ascending China and a defiant Iran, are also pertinent and will need to be addressed.

RT) One thing at a time General. We are aware of all the issues, including Pakistan’s resistance to letting us get into the border regions to hunt these terrorists. Terrorist that are plotting the overthrow of your government and planning attacks on the US and other western countries.

From the presidential debates, there appears to be a bipartisan consensus on the war on terror, and no radical change in direction and policy is expected, at least initially. There could be stylistic and nuanced changes in approach, and a possible rearrangement of priorities. Al Qaeda and the growing network of radical Islamist organizations, whose capabilities and support is increasing in soft Muslim states, would be the prime focus.

RT) Al Qaeda and Radical Islam doesn’t deserve “stylistic and nuanced changes in approach”, al Qa’ida should be eliminated by all means necessary.

The current administration and both presidential candidates claim that Pakistan’s tribal belt poses the greatest threat to the US and the world. They have repeatedly expressed fears that militants operating autonomously in the tribal belt are capable of launching terrorist attacks. Obama has been more explicit in stating that he will attack hideouts in Pakistan if there is actionable intelligence and the Pakistani government is incapable or unwilling to act. McCain, however, has been more discreet and diplomatic, but his policy is no different.

RT) “if there is actionable intelligence and the Pakistani government is incapable or unwilling to act.” This has been the problem all along. Pakistan isn’t willing to do their own laundry. Let me remind you that an unmonitored tribal Taliban government was the root, the nest for the perpetuators of the attacks of 9/11 here in the United States. These radical tribesmen who support and protect al Qa’ida operatives in the mountain regions of the border are as guilty as the killers themselves. Pakistan should allow the United States Military free access into these areas.

They will continue to pressurise Pakistan to be more aggressive towards the militants and deny them safe haven. The military and the ISI will remain under pressure to not protect militant organisations; the perception being that some of these radical groups are protégés of Pakistani intelligence agencies.

RT) The Pakistani Intelligence services are fully infiltrated by these radical Islamic types. Why? Because they are Muslims and the terrorists are also Muslims. Intelligence, freedom of movement, arms and money flow through ISI and the military to the terrorists. I would think that after all the video speeches by Ayman al-Zawahiri promoting unrest and disobedience in Pakistan that Pakistan would make catching and killing these terrorists a top priority. Every Pakistani that watches these films can become a potential supporter of al Qa’ida, yet you allow them to thrive within your borders. As well your government is afraid because these terrorists are indeed Muslims and you don’t want to offend other Muslims in the population. That is the primary weakness of your Muslim belief system, that everything is okay if you are a Muslim.

The fast growing influence of the Taliban and affiliated groups in Pakistan is a source of great concern for the incoming American leadership. Americans perceive Pakistan as a major Muslim country that is densely populated, strategically located and is a nuclear power. If Pakistan fails to stabilise and the Pak-Afghan border turns into a protracted battle zone, there will be an immediate and adverse impact on South and Central Asia as well as the Middle East.

RT) Yes, you are a Muslim country with nuclear weapons and increasing instability. We could wake up tomorrow and watch the news that al Qa’ida has overthrown your government in a coup, with the assistance of Pakistani Intelligence and military and that Osama bin Laden is in charge. You can help stabilize your own country by allowing the US Military to enter the remote mountain regions, hunt down and eliminate the threats to your own stability.

Policies adopted by the next American president on major issues affected the Muslim world will be crucial in reducing terrorism. These issues include: settlement of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict; US attitude towards Iran, Syria and Lebanon; and American insensitivities towards Islamic culture.

RT) Ridiculous statement altogether. The Palestinian conflict will not be resolved because the Palestinians don’t want peace. They state openly that they refuse to coexist with Israel. Great efforts have been made over the years to stabilize the area, concessions have been made yet the Palestinians still are not happy. The subject of Palestine is like a sick joke perpetuated and repeated by Muslims all over the world. The countries that you mention, Syria, Lebanon and Iran all funnel weapons into Palestine and keep people in place there to continue the civil unrest. As far as American insensitivities to Islamic culture, General, look around you. Show me a place anywhere in the world that is predominantly Muslim and is a wonderful place to live. There is no such place. Save the “American Insensitivities Speech” for the UN. They like that bundle of fables.

Obama has gone out of his way to please the Jewish community by reassuring them of full political support to protect Israel’s security. In his choice of Senator Joe Biden as vice president, apart from other considerations, Biden’s proximity to Israel and the Jewish community was probably a major factor. Obama has assured the Jews that Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel eternally, a very strong commitment even by American standards, going beyond what any US president or official has ever stated.

The genesis of terrorism in Muslim countries finds its roots in the injustices committed against the Palestinians. The equitable resolution of this conflict is the only way of countering terrorism. From the statements of the presidential candidates, that does not seem to be the objective.

RT) We covered this already. Peace in Palestine is an exercise in futility, by the choice of the Muslim world. Terrorists have been uttering this nonsense for years because Yassar Arafat had people believing this and it produced a long term battle cry for terrorists. The Palestinian people, even if given everything they wanted, would not be able to exist as a government or country. They have no concept of reasonable government, they cannot police their own, they have no exports, no national product to sustain them. They are not an oil rich nation. They are comprised of radicals. They are political pawns, by the choice of Islam and they are kept in this position by Islamic countries. Don’t blame us or Israel for the condition in Palestine.

Arab and Muslim countries empathise with the sufferings and aspirations of the Palestinians. The US identifies itself completely with Israel. It is doubtful if the new occupant of the White House would bring about any fundamental shift in this one-sided policy.

RT) That’s right. If your Islamic countries want peace in Palestine, then these same countries should quit promoting unrest and supplying weapons and explosives to the Palestinians. Teach them to reason as people, not as animals. The US has kept Israel at bay for years as if we removed ourselves from the equation, there would be no Palestine. Palestinians are to the Israelis what the Taliban and al Qa’ida are to the US.

To seriously address the Palestinian problem, the next US president will have to take it up within a few months of assuming office. Deferring it to the end of the term will invariably make the task of effective American involvement impossible due to the Jewish factor in US elections.

RT) It’s not a Jewish based problem, it is a Palestinian based problem. The Jews are merely trying to keep the animals inside the zoo.

Peaceful resolution of the current US-Iran impasse over nuclear weapons would be another significant breakthrough. With respect to Iran and Pakistan, the US applies different standards as compared to Israel and India.

RT) Yes, it pays to be a US ally, a viable member of the world community, a non-Muslim government, a country where Islamic radicals are not allowed to exist without retribution and punishment. It also goes greatly in a country’s favor when they don’t get on television and tell the world how they are going to eliminate Israel. If Pakistan suddenly takes up the anti-Israel rhetoric officially and cries out for the destruction of Israel, then you would make the black list too.

Obama has said that he will engage Iran, but is likely to take a less aggressive attitude towards the issue. There is a better appreciation in the Obama camp of the role Iran can play in the region, especially in the context of Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. McCain, however, is taking a more hawkish stand on Iran.

RT) Obama is an idiot. He has no business running for president. He will merely compromise the security of this nation.

Similarly, the highly exceptional US policy towards India is likely to continue. The US-India nuclear deal and a host of strategic and defence agreements will be implemented faithfully, given bipartisan support for India.

RT) We like India. There are many Indians in the US and the ones I know are good people. They also like Americans, which we cannot say the same for all Muslims.

On the other hand, the policy of denial of civil nuclear energy to Pakistan is also likely to continue. Strict scrutiny on proliferation issues will remain in place.

RT) I don’t think that Pakistan is ready for any expansion into further nuclear projects. First, clean up the radicals, show the world that you will not tolerate terrorists, their camps, their ideologies, stabilize your country and then you would be surprised how people might view Pakistan then.  Until then, it’s not wise to give matches to children to play in the forest.

Obama’s current statements notwithstanding, his main election plank has been his push for ‘change’. Globally, too, there is yearning for new leadership that can work together on a host of serious security and non-security global threats. If Obama is able to bring about a change in the grand American strategy from unilateralism to multilateralism, it would help win back the confidence of the international community. Just as individual countries need public support to win a national war, cooperation and support is necessary to fight militancy at the global level as well.

RT) Yes but Obama hasn’t clarified what the changes are. Every newcomer in a political election says he will change things. Problem with Obama is he doesn’t grasp the threat of worldwide radicalism fueled by Islamic hatred of the west. Or then, maybe he does and intends for Islam to get a stronger foothold in the United States. He comes from a background of radicalism himself with his connections to former terrorists, black radical movements, shady business deals, corruption throughout his past not directly placed on him, but certainly on people surrounding him.

Irrespective of any change in the grand strategy, it can be safely assumed that both McCain and Obama will pursue a more cooperative and multilateral approach in fighting the war on terror.

RT) McCain is a soldier and will defend the United States. Don’t look for too much in the way of “warm fuzzies” for terrorist regimes.

They may refurbish America’s image in the Muslim world by decommissioning the Guantanamo facility. It is possible that the entire semantics of the situation may change, with the terms ‘war on terror’ and ‘axis of evil’ replaced with others. Already, Britain and other countries have dropped this terminology.

RT) Guantanamo Bay is a necessity. The people there are war criminals and terrorists. The prisons in Pakistan are far worse. At least we keep an accurate head count whereas people die and disappear in Pakistani prisons quite regularly. I wouldn’t go too far into this subject, General. You people in Pakistan have a way of never letting people even see the inside of a prison cell.

The war on terror, as run by the Bush administration, has taken menacing overtones, as if it is directed against Islam and is based on a clash of civilizations. Both candidates, especially Obama, are credited with strong intellectual capability and may revise this policy to win back the confidence of Muslims.

RT) I don’t see the need to gain the confidence or approval of Muslims. The teachings in the Quran prohibit Muslims from ever approving of the west, what we do, who we choose as friends, how we worship our God. The War on Terror should have menacing overtones. Terrorism is a menace. Fight fire with superior fire, General. I trust they taught you something about countermeasures during your tenure as a military leader?

In the event that the winner of the November 4 polls continues with the current policy in Afghanistan with minor variations, then the possibility of withdrawal of US and NATO forces would only arise in the face of a serious military and political setback.

RT) The troops should remain until the terrorists are dead and gone. You have failed miserably in this aspect. Let me remind you General, we didn’t go to Afghanistan to hunt terrorists until we were attacked on 9/11 and the trail led us back to Osama bin Laden and his trained killers there. Since then, they have fled into your country where you refuse to let us hunt them and kill them in a manner required to eliminate the threat.

Notwithstanding America’s current decline, it is the one nation with comprehensive power. So if it were to have a leader who is prepared to work with its allies and most of the world, it is possible that the war on terror may be revised, with stability brought back to the world order.

RT) How does one exactly revise a War on Terror? You have mentioned this, yet you offer no viable ideas in the matter. If you think that this poor “analysis” you have presented is a solution, then you are part of the problem, not the solution. This doesn’t qualify as any kind of analysis, it is more of a typical Muslim ideology influenced statement which has been thrown out to the west by other Muslims many, many times. You sound almost like the terrorists themselves, placing blame everywhere except where it actually belongs.

Key points of your “Analysis”

  • America and Israel are bad people
  • Muslims are good people and their culture should be accepted by all with no reservations
  • Terrorism is somehow the fault of Americans and Israel
  • America should concede to terrorists and terrorist regimes and withdraw from Muslim lands
  • This is mostly happening because of Palestine

You sound like Osama bin Laden.