Denial And Wrath
February 8, 2012: Years of misbehavior are catching up with the Pakistani army and intelligence agencies. Their use of terror against non-Moslems (mainly Pakistani Christians, Hindus and Sikhs) and tribal rebels (especially in Baluchistan) is no longer hidden by censorship and media controls. The growth of the Internet brought with it the demise of the unenforceable media control laws. While the liberated media remained very nationalistic and pro-Islam, journalists also looked more closely at the terror campaigns sponsored by the military and intelligence agencies against Pakistani opposition. The murders and disappearances can no longer be hidden, and killing journalists is no longer as effective as it once was.
More Pakistanis are beginning to rethink who the real enemies of Pakistan are, and the army and ISI are no longer the unimpeachable paragons they long portrayed themselves as. Complicating all this is a growing anti-corruption movement and much less popular support for military governments. Since Pakistan was created in 1947, half the time the country has been ruled by generals who took over "for the good of the country." That no longer flies, and the generals are looking for another way to safeguard their wealth (gained largely via corruption) and privileges (also mostly illegal) from growing public wrath.
In Pakistan's tribal territories the army and Taliban have been fighting for two weeks over control of a pass that the Taliban use to move from North Waziristan into Afghanistan. There have been over 500 casualties, most of them Taliban. The army is trying to control the official, and unofficial, routes into Afghanistan, and the Taliban are fighting back. This border campaign reveals the absurdity of Pakistani policy. Many Islamic terrorist groups (mainly those that operate against India) are left alone, and often provided material and political support by the army and ISI. But these groups increasingly have ties to the Taliban and other Islamic terror groups that are openly at war with Pakistan. This sort of thing does not help the reputation of the army and ISI, or their decades of support for Islamic terrorism. But for the moment most Pakistanis still see Islamic terrorists, especially the ones attacking India, as heroes. That is slowly changing, which is causing no end of headaches for the politicians and generals who have long ruled Pakistan.
The U.S. is increasing the pressure to obtain the release of a Pakistani doctor who aided the United States in confirming the presence of Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani military town, before the American raid last May that killed the al Qaeda leader. For the Americans, rescuing the Pakistani doctor is critical, for failure to do so would make it much harder to recruit such agents in the future. The Pakistani army, which is holding the doctor on treason charges, is trying to use their captive to show that the army wasn't at fault. The army is accused to providing sanctuary to Osama bin Laden and lying about it. All indicators point to the army being guilty, but the army is grasping at whatever straws it can to portray itself as a victim in all this. The good doctor is likely to become another casualty of the war between Pakistan and its army.
The Pakistani Army continues to block NATO supply convoys from entering Afghanistan. NATO has increased the amount of supply it gets from the north (via Russia and Central Asia) and has not suffered militarily from the loss of Pakistani supply lines. But it's more expensive to bring supplies in from the north, and the U.S. is threatening to halt aid to Pakistan if the Pakistani border is not reopened to NATO. The Pakistanis are haggling for the best deal.
NATO leaked an intelligence report detailing continued Pakistani Army assistance for the Afghan Taliban and Islamic terrorists in general. The NATO report was based on interrogations of 4,000 Taliban and al Qaeda members. These captives provided detailed descriptions of the support their received from Pakistani military and intelligence organizations. Pakistan denies this, yet demands that it be allowed to participate in negotiations between the Taliban and the Afghan government.
The Indian campaign against Maoist rebels is a war of attrition. Police expose themselves to ambush, but keep pushing patrols into areas of known Maoist activity. The police take casualties, but they continue to find more Maoist camps. More often, bomb making supplies, weapons and other supplies are being captured, even if most of the Maoists living at the camps get away. Without their camps, Maoists suffer more desertions and losses from sickness and have a harder time recruiting. The Maoists also have more difficulty raising money, as the police campaign pushes the Maoists away from the businesses and towns that have long served as victims of Maoist extortion.
|"The chief aim of all government is to preserve the freedom of the citizen. His control over his person, his property, his movements, his business, his desires should be restrained only so far as the public welfare imperatively demands. The world is in more danger of being governed too much than too little.
It is the teaching of all history that liberty can only be preserved in small areas. Local self-government is, therefore, indispensable to liberty. A centralized and distant bureaucracy is the worst of all tyranny.
Taxation can justly be levied for no purpose other than to provide revenue for the support of the government. To tax one person, class or section to provide revenue for the benefit of another is none the less robbery because done under the form of law and called taxation."
John W. Davis, Democratic Presidential Candidate, 1924. Davis was one of the greatest trial and appellate lawyers in US history. He also served as the US Ambassador to the UK.