Bhutto Assassinated - Whither Pakistan?

After Benazir Bhutto's assassination on Thursday, what's next for Pakistan?

Posted by David Ignatius on December 27, 2007 11:21 AM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (188)

Cmn Ionut :

Say Benazir that ben laden was ded?

Rick :

“Hands off please, Uncle Sam”, is the title of an editorial in The News, one of Pakistan’s leading daily news papers.

That sounds like a plan. But do you think that Bush is listening? No way.

Rick :

From today’s WP...

A Libyan al-Qaeda commander who was killed last week in northwestern Pakistan had lived there for years and, despite a $200,000 U.S. bounty on his head, felt secure enough to meet officials and visit hospitals, according to officials and residents of this city...

He met openly with a Pakistani politician and a Libyan diplomat and called on foreign fighters recovering from their wounds...

The Pakistani government contends it has been doing everything possible to capture al-Qaeda figures within its borders. But Libi, who was killed in a missile attack last week, moved unchallenged around the heart of Peshawar, a city of about 1.2 million people, underscoring how freely he and other al-Qaeda leaders have been able to operate in Pakistan.

One day in 2006, Libi strode into the central prison in Peshawar, the administrative capital of North-West Frontier Province. As another Libyan fighter sat nearby behind bars -- in the custody of Pakistani authorities -- Libi, the politician and the Libyan diplomat argued over whether the man should be deported against his wishes to Libya or released to fight another day, according to Javed Ibrahim Paracha, the politician who helped arrange the meeting.

"I knew Abu Laith for quite some time," said Paracha, a former member of the Pakistan National Assembly who is running for a parliamentary seat again in elections this month.

Paracha called Laith "a good and pious Muslim" and said the Libyan had frequently visited hospitals in Peshawar and the nearby city of Bannu to check on foreign fighters who had been wounded fighting alongside the Taliban and other militant groups.

The Pakistani government has barred U.S. forces from searching for al-Qaeda leaders on its soil...

It has been nearly two years since Pakistani forces are known to have killed or captured any significant al-Qaeda figures...

Libi emerged as a major figure among Islamic extremists in 2002, when he announced via videotape that al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mohammad Omar had survived the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan...

Intelligence reports indicate that [when he was killed] Libi had been on his way to a meeting with Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander and tribal leader who has been blamed in the Dec. 27 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, according to an intelligence official in Europe who spoke on condition of anonymity...

Libi's death came two months after he and al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahiri announced in a joint statement that a Libyan militant network had formally joined forces with al-Qaeda. Libi was a longtime leader in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, an organization founded in the early 1990s to topple Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi...

Paracha is a regional leader in the branch of the Pakistan Muslim League party that is headed by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Paracha is known to have close contacts with Taliban leaders and other militants...

He said he has negotiated the release of hundreds of foreign fighters from Pakistani prisons on the condition that they leave the country. "I've been doing this service for four years," he said...

How about that? Paracha is a regional leader of Nawaz Sharif's party and is buddy buddy with Abu Laith al-Libi who is buddy buddy with bin Laden and was on his way to meet with Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban commander and tribal leader who has been blamed in the Dec. 27 assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto...



No, i havent picked up my Tata Nano yet. Will wait for their Micro :). Yes i read that report about the Indian base in Tajikstan. Its a struggle in the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) or dUPA (dis-United PA :)) between the Congress and the Communists when it comes to foreign policy for India in the 21st century, with BJP the main opposition party in agreement with Congress except perhaps on some matter of form for the sake of opposition rather than any substantive difference. Robert Gates the US Defence Secretary visits India this month and wonder if they will sign status of forces agreeement then as is proposed. The communists are congenitally anti-Americans. Witness the furore when they learnt that India had launched a satellite for Israel. With Russia playing its own power game, thats understandable, i suspect one will see US military-industrial complex gaining most from the monies that India has to spend on military purchases for the next 4 to 5 years.

As an aside, Saudi and Pakistani navies are conducting military exercises off Pakistan's coast. Wonder who mans the Saudi ships? As in the past, it was Pakistan who provided pilots to the Saudi Air Force!.


Rick :

Russian turbulence for Indian airbase

It does seem that India will have to downsize its big-power dreams in Central Asia. Its plan to deploy aircraft at the base at Ayni in Tajikistan is facing opposition from an unexpected quarter - Russia.

Why? The Russian rethink on India's role at Ayni appears to have been prompted by unease over India's new closeness to the Americans.

Yep, India had better get back on the winning side of WW III...the Russia, China, Iran, Arab League...India alliance.

Rick :


Perhaps you are not so paranoid after all. Cable number three was cut today. Coincidence…? Not likely.

Have you picked up your new Tata Nano yet?



The net where i am is no problem :). Wonder how ordinary folks who dial in to the call centres are affected? And the problem with the undersea cable was it simply a technical fault or something more malicious. Paranoid i know, but its possible!. Interesting article in atimes today about India & Russia and a military base in Tajikstan.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Kicking the truth out of Pakistan:

For Journalists in Pakistan, That's the Way It Is

By Nicholas Schmidle

Sunday, February 3, 2008;

The police came for me on a cold, rainy Tuesday night last month. They stood in front of my home in Islamabad, four men with hoods pulled over their heads in the driving rain. The senior officer, a tall, clean-shaven man, and I recognized one another from recent protests and demonstrations. Awkwardly, almost apologetically, he handed me a notice ordering my immediate expulsion from Pakistan. Rain spilled off a nearby awning and fell loudly into puddles.

I asked, somewhat obtusely, what this meant. "I am here to take you to the airport," the officer shrugged. "Tonight."

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

I mean Dolivaw :)

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

How’s your internet bandwidth today Olivaw?

Internet Outages Hit India, Middle East

Filed at 9:30 a.m. ET

NEW DELHI (AP) -- India's lucrative outsourcing industry struggled Thursday to overcome Internet slowdowns and outages after cuts in two undersea cables sliced the country's bandwidth in half.

The disruption -- which has hit a swath of users from Egypt to Bangladesh -- began to affect much of the Middle East on Wednesday, when outages caused a slowdown in traffic on Dubai's stock exchange.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for the information. I now have several new sites to peruse for sources of news on Asia.

Perhaps you have figured out by now that you cannot have more than two links to internet sites referenced in a single post. That threw me for awhile too. Like you, I was wondering what was so offensive about my seemingly innocuous posts.


I agree with you about Arun Gandhi. His views on Israel track perfectly with my own. It is a shame that he was forced to resign from his Institute for Peace which he founded. Yes, it’s just one more example of the control over our media and government exerted by the Israeli Lobby.


Check out today's (26th Jan) edition of the daily times.

Excellent editorial. The lead article is about the Taliban capturing ammunition truck(s) of the Pakistani Army. And the new Chief of Army denying any threat to Pakistani nuclear sites, as the BBC had reported.

Another good source for views on Pakistan is Ms. Shireen Mazari. Her weekly column is carried by She works in a think tank in Pakistan and i scan her articles for anti-India rhetoric as i see it. And am surprised from time to time, when her weekly article doesn't contain any anti-India rhetoric. She is equally if not more harsh on the US and UK for their role in Pakistan :)

Nivedita: Thanx! Forgot to acknowledge you in the last couple of posts :)



Check out todays (26th Jan) edition of the dailytimes.

Interesting editorial and a few news items too.

Nivedita: Thankx!



Rick, Victoria:

Third attempt phew!

1. I have visited the US as a tourist but never stayed there for either studies or work. Though have lived in the true north :). Count a certain carrot eating varmint with a furry tail and long ears as an influence though :).

2. You rightly pointed out the Indo Israeli cooperation has probably blossomed into something deep. India has just launched a spy satellite for Israel. It will spy on Iran, Syria and presumably Pakistan too! And intelligence sharing between the two countries at least when it comes to Pakistan is a certainity. Two news items of note with regard to Pakistan from an Indian stand point. The Indian ambassador there being a target for terrorists as per Pakistani intelligence. Check out And the Pakistani nuclear sites on alert for possible terrorist strikes. This on the BBC website.

3. And today was India's 58th Republic day which went off peacefully in Jammu & Kashmir as per news from the rediff site. If so, that is good news indeed! Possily because most of the terrorists are now concentrating on doing battle with the hand that fed them earlier..the Pakistani state.

4. India & France have finalized status of forces agreement today. One of the many agreements signed between India and France during the current visit of President Sarkozy to India. He was the guest of honour for India's Republic Day parade.

4. Thus the likelihood of an Iranian,Chinese,Indian & Russian foursome opposing US led countries in the Gulf is quite unlikely given the above. \


Rick, Victoria:

Possibly my article has been held for clearance by the blog owner. Hmmm, i wonder why? How do i know this, because my second attempt at the now unposted post has been held up too!

Nothing objectionable as far as i could make out was written. No profanity or personal attacks except perhaps a humourous reference to the situation in the Gulf what with most countries being under the influence of one or more P5 nations. I did use the word 'carved' :). And how India's sphere of influence in such a situation could be call centres for all the P5 nations in India :).



hi rick- this is off topic a bit, but i just came from onfaith-
there has been some furor over a post by the grandson of mahatma gandhi, arun gandhi.

the original post stated that it was time for jewish people to forgive the past, and move forward in their dialogue-

then 3 posts regarding mr gandhi-

then mr gandhi was forced to resign from the institute of peace which he himself started.

its a frightening pander to mob mentality-

certainly mr gandhis overstated his case when he said
" We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity."

by saying the jews and israel are the biggest players-

but the lynch mob that has gone for his head, and got it- are far more terrifying than his words-

i know its off topic, and i didnt mean to hog the blog- but it is a scary abuse of power to me to remove the man from his own organization.

dont criticize israel- message well received


then mr gandhi was forced to apologize

My Apology for My Poorly Worded Post
I am writing to correct some regrettable mis-impressions I have given in my comments on my blog this week. While I stand behind my criticisms of the use of violence by recent Israeli governments -- and I have criticized the governments of the U.S., India and China in much the same way -- I want to correct statements that I made with insufficient care, and that have inflicted unnecessary hurt and caused anger.

I do not believe and should not have implied that the policies of the Israeli government are reflective of the views of all Jewish people. Indeed, many are as concerned as I am by the use of violence for state purposes, by Israel and many other governments.

I do believe that when a people hold on to historic grievances too firmly it can lead to bitterness and the loss of support from those who would be friends. But as I have noted in previous writings, the suffering of the Jewish people, particularly in the Holocaust, was historic in its
proportions. While we must strive for a future of peace that rejects violence, it is also important not to forget the past, lest we fail to learn from it. Having learned from it, we can then find the path to peace and rejection of violence through forgiveness. |


Jewish Identity Can't Depend on Violence
Jewish identity in the past has been locked into the holocaust experience -- a German burden that the Jews have not been able to shed. It is a very good example of a community can overplay a historic experience to the point that it begins to repulse friends. The holocaust was the result of the warped mind of an individual who was able to influence his followers into doing something dreadful. But, it seems to me the Jews today not only want the Germans to feel guilty but the whole world must regret what happened to the Jews. The world did feel sorry for the episode but when an individual or a nation refuses to forgive and move on the regret turns into anger.

The Jewish identity in the future appears bleak. Any nation that remains anchored to the past is unable to move ahead and, especially a nation that believes its survival can only be ensured by weapons and bombs. In Tel Aviv in 2004 I had the opportunity to speak to some Members of Parliament and Peace activists all of whom argued that the wall and the military build-up was necessary to protect the nation and the people. In other words, I asked, you believe that you can create a snake pit -- with many deadly snakes in it -- and expect to live in the pit secure and alive? What do you mean? they countered. Well, with your superior weapons and armaments and your attitude towards your neighbors would it not be right to say that you are creating a snake pit? How can anyone live peacefully in such an atmosphere? Would it not be better to befriend those who hate you? Can you not reach out and share your technological advancement with your neighbors and build a relationship?

Apparently, in the modern world, so determined to live by the bomb, this is an alien concept. You don't befriend anyone, you dominate them. We have created a culture of violence (Israel and the Jews are the biggest players) and that Culture of Violence is eventually going to destroy humanity.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Thanks for the interesting post on Gaza Victoria. I posted a piece of it on Post Global Power Barameter under the Asia's Choke Points -Malacca Straights Thread.


Crisis in Gaza
Turning out the lights

With every Palestinian crisis, such as the one currently occurring in Gaza, there is a sense that neither side knows how to respond next. In the meantime, only the innocents suffer.

By Zahed Amanullah, January 23, 2008

I'm a Palestinian... get me outta here!

If the analogy of the Gaza strip as a 1.5 million capacity prison seems like hyperbole, witness the "prison break" this week of hundreds of Gaza's Palestinians into Egypt near the border town of Rafah. Residents broke through the border wall (with the aid of explosives) not to smuggle in more ammunition, but to buy "rice and sugar, milk and wheat."

With Israel's crushing two week old blockade in effect, intended to snuff out militant groups, Gazans have watched their economy crumble. Industrial stockpiles dwindled and food was in short supply. Fuel shipments were cut to Gaza’s sole power plant, leaving much of Gaza City in darkness. Reports on the ground outline relentless suffering.

It's a sign of how far things have come (or not, rather) since Israel's 2005 withdrawal from Gaza strip settlements, a withdrawal seen by Palestinians as one in name only. Israel still has control over nearly every aspect of Gazan life and has applied it mercilessly. Students destined for universities abroad have been trapped by the border closures and restrictions on travel. With the blockade, Gaza is at risk of becoming "virtually 100 percent aid dependent," according to a UNRWA representative.

For Israel, it is the barrage of Qassam rockets, deployed by the Izzedine al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’ military wing, that underscores the entire Israeli response in Gaza (suicide bombings from there have become virtually impossible since a border wall was built around it several years ago). Over 1000 Qassams were fired in 2006 alone. Considering the restraints, they are manufactured and deployed with remarkable efficiency.

"It is the duty of all states to ensure the right to life and safety of its people, especially from vicious acts of violence and terrorism," argues Gilad Cohen, Israel's UN representive. But the Qassams are, of course, no existential threat to the Jewish state. It is only poor Sderot, a farming village barely a mile from the border of northern Gaza, that bears the brunt of the rockets (calling them missiles would be an overstatement).

To the extent that Qassams have caused death or injury there, they are indefensible. But if, as the Israelis argue, every life is precious, the grossly disproportionate body count delivered within Gaza as retaliation serves as a reminder of how quickly the argument can turn. Within the past week, over 40 people have been killed and 120 injured, most of them civilians. Targeted killings mean little when aimed within one of the most densely populated areas of the world.

"It is a message to Hamas, and hopefully the people in Gaza, who by the way elected Hamas as the government, to put pressure on that government," adds an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman. However, when Palestinians are pushed ever further below poverty level (as over two thirds of Gazans currently are), survival is more of a priority for them rather than facing militants with guns. The response is seen, quite rightly, as collective punishment.

It should also be noted that Gazans also helped elect Hamas not to wage endless (and so far, unwinnable) war, but to save themselves from the kleptocracy of a Fatah-led government. Hamas notably rejected a referendum proposed by Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on a two-state solution based on 1967 borders (something Hamas abhors). The fact that a clear majority of Palestinians support such an outcome may have been a reason.

The truth is that Qassams are much more a political weapon than a tactical one. To the extent it serves their interests, they are overstated by Israel and understated by Hamas (to the outside world, anyway). The salvos are a reaction of emotion and spite, not practicality. Deep down, most Palestinians probably know this.

If Israel is being goaded into reinvading the territory (as some are pondering), the result could be endless misery. As with any occupation (Iraq comes to mind), Israelis need to ask themselves what could possibly be achieved. Likewise, the Qassams do little more than offer Israel valuable cover. Without the current crisis, the recent decision by Israel to expand the Har Homa/Jabal Abu Ghneim settlement south of Jerusalem by 300 units might have met with more international resistance.

Ultimately, Hamas will have to reconsider the wisdom of their current tactics. The successful liberations of recent times have not relied largely on weaponry. This is no accident. From South Africa to East Timor, there is still tremendous global inertia towards supporting self-determination. That support depends on a moral high ground, which Qassams can only continue to obscure.

For now, Israel will pull back just enough to reduce the boiling over into merely boiling. Fuel shipments to the stricken power plant have now resumed. The lights are back on, but in the scheme of things, there is still darkness. Some Israelis are imagining the crisis to be a charade created by Hamas as a provocation. This in a conflict littered with them. Irony, it seems, is not yet in short supply.

v :

i have to admit i looked for an anon post that could have been dolivaws also-

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Have you read the article by David Ignatius in today’s WP?// “A Pro for the Pakistani Army? Ashfaq Kiyani May Do What Pervez Musharraf Couldn't”// Admiral William Fallon, US chief of Central Command, visited General Ashfaq Kiyani, new Pakistani Chief of Staff on Tuesday of this week. Fallon’s account of his hour-long discussion with the Pakistani general supports other recent evidence that Kiyani is a professional soldier who wants to rebuild an army whose reputation and morale were tarnished during the Musharraf years. Fallon say’s that He Kiyani will focus less on the external threat posed by India and more on the internal danger posed by extremists like al-Qaeda. "He knows that you can only do so much with military force," Fallon said. To contain an insurgency, "you need to take care of the population" through economic and social development. The danger for Kiyani is that, like Musharraf, he will be seen as so close to the United States that he will lose credibility in his own country. Fallon recognized that problem when he cautioned about unilateral American actions that undercut Pakistani sovereignty. "I suspect there's a fair amount of sensitivity to a very visible U.S. footprint inside the country," he said.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Not only did you forget to sign off on your previous post, you also forgot to send it:) Where is it? You are not referring to your post @ January 22, 2008 3:31 PM are you? That one was signed. What did you tell us? We are dying to know!


Rick, Victoria, Nivedita:

Forgot to sign off my name on the previous post. But then you knew it was me posting it :).

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Victoria is suspicious. She is afraid that the US-Israel-India alliance will gang up on the Muslims. She could be right.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Is this the article that you refer to Dolivaw?

China and the US remain focused
By Jing-dong Yuan

I don’t see a reference to India-China joint military exercises. I’m afraid I missed the one that you referred to yesterday. Too bad, I would like to read it.


the covergence of mutual interests of the israel-india alliance, i believe, cannot be overlooked.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Hi Victoria,

It is real mess in Palestine, but what is new.

Thanks for the kind words Nivedita. I think Dolivaw has spent much time in the USA given his/her command of the English language and American popular phrases like “flavor of the month”.

I’m sorry to hear that Dolivaw. I was hoping that the Iran-China-Russia-India axis would team up to kick the Zionists out of Palestine and the Americans out of the Middle East where we continue to make a mockery of the principles on which our nation was founded. One can still hope.

Nivedita :

DOLIVAW66 and Rick: I enjoyed reading the discussion between the two of you.

Thanks DOLIVAW66 for presenting views on India and Hinduism in a truly unbiased and open way. You do well to represent the culture you belong to.



I dont think India is joining the Iranian-Russian-Chinese alliance. The present Govt. has decided to refine the traditional non-aligned influenced foreign policy which was characterised by pro-soviet leanings in the past to one of non-aligned with pro-american leanings. The wish to have better relations with China could be to get their approval for the Indo-US nuclear deal by the present Govt. The joint military exercises which India and China conducted recently are the current flavour of the month :). Even the US is discussing it with China. Read today's Asiatimes online website for some insightful analysis.
Everyone is tiptoeing around everyone else i.e, US, India, China, Russia, EU, Japan..the game is underway which way it will be played out is as yet unclear. There are no clear cut sets of rules just shades of grey!


i just saw a clip on the news where 100s of women from the gaza strip were desparately trying to escape gaza at the egyptian border-
60 women were shot and wounded

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

In today’s NY Times:

Yes it is boomerang time, or payback time for our present and past misdeeds in the Middle East that have enraged the Muslim world and inspires freedom fighters of all stripes to attack the USA and its interests at home and abroad. God help the poor individual or regime that is seen as a US ally on the so called “war on terror”, which is code for our uncontrollable greed to grab unlimited access to all the oil fields in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world and to provide unconditional support to our ally Israel which also relies on imports for 99% of its oil.

This is why we maintain military bases in the Gulf States including three aircraft carrier task groups in the Arabian Gulf region further inflaming the Muslim world. In his recent trip to the region, President Bush continued his lobbying efforts to persuade the Saudis and other Gulf State rulers to keep the spigots open and the cheap oil flowing. Yet he never calls on the American people to sacrifice, to conserve, or to control our gluttony for oil in any way. Like he also never asks us to sacrifice to pay increased taxes to pay for his ill advised misadventure in Iraq, which even further inflames the Muslim world.

The world is further disgusted with news reports as were provided in the NY Times from a reported who accompanied Mr. Bush on his trip of the wretched saga of Gaza children suffering from a lack of food and medicine during the Israeli blockade, blending into the wretched excess scenes of W. being festooned with rapper-level bling [elaborate, gaudy jewelry and other accouterments, and a lifestyle built around excessive spending and ostentation] from royal hosts flush with gazillions from gouging us on oil…the president and his advisers Elliott Abrams and Josh Bolten went native, lounging in floor-length, fur-lined robes…// In Abu Dhabi, Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan gave the president a gigantic necklace made of gold, diamonds, rubies and emeralds, so gaudy and cumbersome that even the Secret Service agent carrying it seemed nonplussed. Here in Saudi Arabia, the king draped W. with an emerald-and-ruby necklace that could have come from Ali Baba’s cave.// Time’s Massimo Calabresi described the Kuwaiti emir’s residence where W. dined Friday as “crass class”: “Loud paintings of harems and the ruling Sabah clan hang near Louis XVI enameled clocks and candlesticks in the long hallways.”// In Abu Dhabi, the president made a less-than-rousing speech about democracy while staying in the less-than-democratic Emirates Palace hotel’s basketball-court-size Ruler’s Suite — an honor reserved for royalty and W. and denied to Elton John, who is coming later this month to play the Palace.// The president’s grandiose room included a ballroom…The $3 billion, seven-star, 84,114-square-foot pink marble hotel — said to be the most expensive ever built — would make Trump blush. It glistens with 64,000 square feet of 22-carat gold leaf, 1,000 chandeliers, 20,000 roses changed every day, 200 fountains, a dome higher than St. Peter’s, an archway larger than the Arc de Triomphe, a beach with white sand shipped in from Algeria and a private heliport. The rooms, scattered with rose petals, range from $1,598 to $12,251.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

It looks like we may be adding India to the Iran-China-Russia alliance, I mean partnership…

From Post Global:

India seeks Chinese approbation of its request for a special waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to move ahead with its nuclear deal with the US... Beijing remains silent on the issue…Indian PM Manhoman Singh wraps up his 3-day visit to China as both countries laud their closer bilateral ties….China and Russia emphasize importance of close relationship…Space Ambitions: China says it's interested in Jupiter and that is might get in on Russian ambitions for Mars…"Soft power" is the best term to describe China's rapidly growing global political influence and deterrent power against the US...but a growing number of analysts wonder whether this non-military power is actually any "softer" in its ultimate effect than military action.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


It looks like India is seeking but not receiving approval from China to make a deal with the USA.

From the WAshington Post:

India seeks Chinese approbation of its request for a special waiver from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to move ahead with its nuclear deal with the US... Beijing remains silent on the issue

Indian PM Manhoman Singh wraps up his 3-day visit to China as both countries laud their closer bilateral ties

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :




Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Dolivaw and Victoria

Yes, I read that article first thing this morning and was going to send you the link. You beat me to it. It is very interesting and timely giving the upcoming elections; since ISI is accused of manipulating the last election – conveniently dropping corruption charges for those politicians who support Musharraf.

Yes, the practice of supporting “freedom fighters” against the USSR in Afghanistan (USA), against India in Kashmir (Pakistan), and then supporting the Taliban in Afghanistan (Pakistan) is coming home to roost. Now we can’t control them and we have been attacked in New York and Washington by Al Qaeda, and Pakistan is being attacked by a witch’s brew of several different groups including Al Qaeda. Some of these groups were formally on our payroll and are now in opposition that we are trying to rein them in.

You are right Victoria, Musharraf has shown before that he is not above using the ISI to gain or maintain power. The USA is throwing cold water on this theory of course, but that does not mean that it is not true. Just because we are paranoid doesn’t mean that they are not out to get us:)


pakistani newspapers and blogs are all pretty much in agreement that musharraf supplied the weapons to the rebels in the red mosque through the ISI-

the red mosque is about 1 mile from an ISI headquarters and it just not physically possible to have gotten the weapons past them -

this article may play for americans who have no real interest or background knowledge of the incident-
but is clearly an attmept by musharraf and his cohorts to waylay the very loud and very public criticism of the ISI by the familair claims of, infiltration of "extremists"

as always, one asks in any tragic event-
who stands to benefit?

nusharraf unquestionably benefitted greatly politically from this incident internationlally and domestically.



Check out the article

Sort of vindicates what the Indian Establishment has been saying all along..Pakistan's fight against terrorism is just a front and the blow back may consume the country or may weaken it severely.

A prospect that is very welcome from many in India, because the mindset of Pakistani establishment is still to destabilize India even if the Kashmir issue is solved to Pakistan's satisfaction.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Today’s Post Global GPB

And the topic of discussion is...

“Will Bush rescue the Annapolis accord as he visits the Middle East for essentially the first time?”

And the answer provided by the author is...

No Annapolis rescue...just another photo op to enable radical Islamists.

“Most analysts believe President Bush won't start crafting constructive policies now, in his last year, when he has had no vision for the region for 7 years. What most thought leaders are asking is whether the President has any real priority beyond an attempt to reach for some type of better legacy than he has now. Few believe he does and that will make it difficult for this trip to achieve much if anything other than photo ops. Unfortunately, it provides the opportunity for US opponents, particularly radical Islamists, to achieve much as they direct anger and rage toward the most unpopular US President in memory.”

I concur. Ata boy W!

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Thanks Victoria,

The link is not working on my computer at work. I'll try it again when I get home.

Here's one for you:

Taliban Commander Emerges As Pakistan's 'Biggest Problem'

Radical Accused in Bhutto's Death Has Quickly Gathered Power

By Imtiaz Ali and Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, January 10, 2008; A17

PESHAWAR, Pakistan, Jan. 9 -- Even as his reputation has grown more menacing and his militia more powerful, the Taliban commander accused of ordering the death of Benazir Bhutto has shrouded himself in mystery.


hi rick, i dont know if youd find this interesting or not-
its on the erosion of our freedom of speech

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for another great news source. Yup:

“Those in the political establishment and outside who are stridently pushing the deal may be a varied lot but share one common trait: None had advocated or desired that India go overtly nuclear…”

Beware this crowd. Don’t let the US trick you into giving up your nuclear option while the US and Israel keep ours. I would like to see every one ban nuclear weapons, but what is fair for one is fair for all. The US has demonstrated in Iraq and Palestine that we certainly don’t hold the moral high ground.

The reason for going nuclear is that it is a relatively cheap deterrent not only for other nuclear adversaries, but also for those with overwhelming conventional military might like the US and soon to be like China.

I didn’t realize that India is so concerned about China.

“No government leader has claimed, or can assert, that the country today can effectively deter China, its primary challenge…”

I thought that Pakistan was your primary challenge.

“Nothing better illustrates this danger than New Delhi’s own action in pulling the wool over public eyes by denying the Chinese demolition of the Indian forward posts, lest questions be asked at home as to what it has done in response to the provocation. It even goes to the extent of needlessly downplaying the increasing cross-border Chinese military incursions…”

Amazing, we never hear this in the mainstream media.

“A decade after declaring itself a nuclear-weapons state, India’s primary focus today is more on buying high-priced conventional weapons from overseas (reflected in its emergence as a top arms importer in the world) than on plugging gaps in its deterrence. Consequently, India’s goal of erecting a credible and survivable nuclear deterrent, as the private intelligence service Stratfor put it, is at least a decade away…”



Dolivaw for R. Daneel Olivaw :) and Olivia as in Olivia D'Haviland the actress :). Enjoyed all his books including his biography I,Asimov.



hi all- doliviaw- i spent half of my wasted youth with my nose buried in asimovs books- (also his pulp magazines)

i dont remember who doliviaw is-
i googled but couldnt find it-i havent a clue who dolivia is-
im equally clueless about stars in america tho-

whos dolivaw? just curious



Asiatimes online is indeed a very good source of news and analysis. Refreshing change from mainstream news reporting. Their correspondent for Pakistan is one of the best and seems to have good sources of news both in official Pakistani as well as in the 'Jihadi/Taliban' circles.

Do read an article on Indo-Nuclear deal in the Asianage by Brahma Chellaney and why a lot of people in India are opposing it.

Rick Jones, Freedericksburg, VA :


Whew! Indian politics is much more complicated than ours it seems. Maybe it’s just because I live every day with ours. Thanks for your efforts to sort it out for us. From what I see your very tolerant Hindu philosophy is very admirable indeed and much preferable to our Judeo-Christian based society. Your caste system though seems to be not so great, but perhaps that will change with time. Or maybe it is not as bad as it seems to the outsider.

Today, America is much more religious than the more secular European societies, and I think we pay a great price for that. For the past thirteen years or so we have been easily duped and led astray by the right religious wing nuts that have had way too much influence. Maybe this will be the year that we banish them back to the wilderness for another 40 years. I certainly hope so.

Thank you for your posts.


Victoria,Rick :

Excellent article..

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars..

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


I think that you have misunderstood me. I think MikeB may have said that India’s mistreatment of Muslims and Christians is the root cause of Islamic extremism and terrorism. But not me, please point to some statement in my posts that suggests that.

I think that Islamic extremism and suicide bombers were invented in Egypt in March 1928 when the charismatic preacher Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood with six employees of the Suez Canal Company.

Please see this link:

January 5, 2008

First Chapter

‘Jihad and Jew-Hatred’


The Muslim Brotherhood and Palestine



Not to nitpick but its Dolivaw and not Dolivia :). I prefer a logical robot courtesy Isaac Asimov to an actress :).



Rick, Victoria,

Gujarat, Godhra

Yes it is proven that the fire couldnot have been started from the outside. Forensic report etc. However, 60 litres of fuel is estimated to have caused the destruction that it did. SIT (Special Investigation Team) of Gujarat Police headed by Rakesh Asthana and his team have deposed before the Nanavati commission that it was a pre-planned conspiracy.

(There are other articles which provide both points of view ..a search on google will yield them..)

Check out the article. Yes, much to think about, the role of karsevaks etc. There are two theories out: One it was an accident, the other by the SIT that it was pre-planned. As with everything in India, this has been politicized by pro and anti hindutva camps and the media is playing its part in keeping its TRP ratings high :). Hence, the truth if it was truly an accident or a conspiracy will never be known.

As to 2000 muslims being killed, that is a number which has been the number is closer to 900 muslims and about 200 or so hindus. Not to be flippant about it, but accuracy in the media and the lack of judging the post-godhra riots without reference to the original incident or even a reference to it, is bothersome.

As in Gulf War I, these riots were the first TV riots so to say in India. I believe the anti-sikh riots of 1984 were far worse (not to belittle the horrendousness of it) as they affected multiple cities in India. Possibly, we didnt have private media channels then and hence information could be managed better.

RSS and Mahatma Gandhi

Nathuram Godse the killer of Bapu was earlier a member of RSS, but had moved on to the Hindu Mahasabha. A common mistake made by many writers over the years. In fact, in the movie Gandhi, they showed a supposedly Hindu leader with flowing hair and beard (an allusion to the then head of RSS Golwalkar) as nodding to N Godse as he walks to assassinate Gandhiji. That scene is a figment of someone's fertile imagination. At the trial, his defence testimony was censored and not made public for a good many years. (see the link for an English translation of his defence testimony... ).

Apparently, the authorities thought if the public heard it, it would trigger sympathy for him and the reasons why he killed Gandhiji. N Godse was a Maharashtrian Brahmin from Pune and after the killing, Brahmins in Maharashtra had their houses torched. Hindu Mahasabha was founded by V D Savarkar and he advocated that hindu youths should undertake science and technology studies, eat meat and do away with supersitions. For him, the entire subcontinent was mother a more nationalist than religious minded. He had suffered at the hands of British in Andaman cellular jail. The cellular jail operated by the British in pre-independence India was extremely harsh and it took a lot to survive it. He is again a figure to be either eulogised or held in contempt depending on which side of the political debate one is in India. There is evidence to suggest that he may have ultimately collaborated with the British to gain his independence.

RSS was born in Nagpur in 1925 as Rick has suggested. As the only country with majority Hindu population (Ok Nepal is one too)there is a need for such an organization. It encompasses many spheres and has given birth to BJP and its predecessor the Jana Sangh on the political side. Has both male and female wings. Has a cadre of dedicated people who work in all parts of India to counter Christian Missionaries and their insidious activities in rural and tribal areas. And are usually involved in relief activities during natural disasters: floods, earthquakes, Tsunami. Not a religious organization per se. VHP is an offshoot of the RSS as is the Bajrang Dal. They organize evening play time for young hindu kids..shakhas as they are known. In the 70s and 80s before internet :), they were fairly popular. With globalization and the like, they probably dont get as many young recruits as before. They are like an uncle or aunt you dont want to know, but privately admire for their stand. Are they in tune with the times, hmmm good question. They were born at a time when India and the world was pretty different. The biggest event is the annual address by the RSS Chief in Nagpur during the festival of Dussehra or as its known Vijayadashmi. A sort of state of the nation address. Vijaydashmi ..the day when Lord Ram finally vanquished Ravana. Nationalistic and for them a Hindu is for whom India is a mother..Bharat Mata.

As to HRW being neutral hmmmm.. i dont know. I tried searching for any statements or press releases from HRW on the issue of Taslima Nasreen and the rioting by Muslims in Kolkata and earlier attack on her in Hyderabad. Nada..didnt find anything on the HRW website. No statement calling on the Govt of India to provide her with protection. In case of speech made by Narendra Modi during campaigning, the HRW was quick enough to come out with a statement. Leads one to conclude there are double standards operating here.

In India secularism is given a bad name and has come to meant the following:

1. If you are anti-Hindu you are secular
2. Minorities are inherently secular, only hindus are communal. Go figure!
3. Minority institutions can operate the way they want. No Govt. oversight on admissions etc
4. Their religious practices controlled by them, but for Hindus the state govts. control the temples (especially in south)
5. The Govt. of India has a practice of subsidizing the Hajj pilgrimage for Muslims. A rather twisted definition of secularism.
6. Talk of single unified civil code for all Indians, is immediately met with ..Hindu agenda and Fascism. No debate is possible.

Regarding the recent violence in Orissa, it has more to do with reservations i.e., affirmative actions given a communal colour. Read a report on Converting to christianity and then claiming same privileges as backward Hindus takes the cake! Convert in the name of equality and to escape the curse of caste and then ask for the same privileges after conversion.

As to Benazir Bhutto in relation to India. please read the latest article by Francois Gautier on Many in India didnt have any illusions about her.



rick meet hinduzionkafir aka kafir mainly on eboo patels threads onfaith

he doesnt believe im an american or a woman, but thinks im a mullah from pakistan with a long grey beard

charming, aint he?

hinduzionkafir :

Mike B, Rick Jones and others:
You seem to think that somehow Islamic terrorism is a new phenomenon. The truth is that Islam has been terrorising infidels since its creation. Muhammed himself murdered hundreds of innocents (google Banu Qurayza) and raped many women.
Blaming India for Islamic terrorism is perhaps the most, for lack of a better word, retarded statement I have heard. How about you answer the question as to how Islam is in India in the first place? Let me give you some insight. Islamic invaders plundered and destroyed cities in their paths and killed Hindus in numbers that make the holocaust pale in comparison. And they are still doing so. Muslims deserve everything they get. I hope you learne more.

victoria :

rick- its a deep history-

i knew i shouldnt have given wikipedia as a source- it was late and i was tired-

go to either link- south asia on asia news-
or the indiantogether at 1:34am on 1-5

search rss- then make up your own mind-

i already have my opinions about hinduvta

even dolivia called rss right wing-

i had a few articles to link- but for some reason im not able to link tonight- (my husbands downloading all sorts of stuff)

but its better if you search yourself anyway

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Here is the quote from the Wikipedia reference that you gave me that led me to say that RSS was formed to combat Muslim riots:

“In 1925, Dr. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, a Nagpur doctor influenced by recent Hindu-Muslim riots in his town, formed the Rashtriya Swayemsevak Sangh aiming to protect Hindus by organizing together…”

Here is the quote that says they are not separatist or nationalist. Actually they are opposed to separatists and nationalists:

“With regards to claims of having an anti-Muslim stance, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav has stated that such claims are a "distortion of RSS ideology". He asserts that the RSS "believes in the oneness of our culture and the country" and that "any opposition to this view could lead to disintegration as it in fact happened with the Partition. This accent against divisiveness should therefore not be seen as hatred towards any particular religion…

Vincent Kundukulam, a Christian priest at St. Joseph Pontifical Seminary in Aluva, Kerala, has written a Ph.D thesis in Sorbonne University, Paris, France, that claims RSS to be neither nationalist nor fascist. He states that that RSS cannot be considered as a nationalist organisation in the sense in which the term 'nationalism' is generally interpreted in India. He points out that Indian nationalism and religion are mutually exclusive. Since RSS's primary loyalty is to the Hindus, it can't be called 'nationalist'. He also argues against branding the RSS ideology as "Fascism", "Nazism", "Fundamentalism" and "Communalism". He said the terms fascism, Nazism, and fundamentalism are much abused terms in India. They have a different connotation and meaning in the European context that don't apply to an Indian sociopolitical context. He argues that since communalism is not a part of religion, RSS can be called "communal" only in a limited way…”

So it looks to me like they are only guilty of trying to preserve their Hindu way of life, an admirable quality I think.

I agree with your concern about the contest over Jammu and Kashmir of course, since the contestants are nuclear armed. But I think they are not crazy. I think we should be more concerned about nukes getting into the hands of the Taliban and al Qaeda in NW Pakistan.


the BJP sprang from the RSS- its really far right wing, and only made a statement last year disassociatng itself from the caste system- that article i linked is a film made about the treatment of dalits(untouchables) by the RSS(BJP)

(o btw- the RSS wasnt formed to conuteract muslim riots- but as a spearatist and hindu nationalist movement) not sure were you got that

the muslim brotherhood sprang up as a reaction against exactly those leaders who embraced zionisim-

actually, theyre both kind of separatist, isolationist, and extreme far right orgs- begun at the same time
although as the BJP - the RSS is trying to soften its image for the west

i also dont know why dolivia tinks the BJP is rejecting the indo-us nuke deal- they are the ones who made it-

egyptian politics?
im not getting into that

but the BJP/RSS are relevant now as a political force that is polarized against the muslims to the north-
since they both have nuclear capacity-

and are still fighting over a tiny plot of land i kashmir-

it needs to be takne seriously

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Here is an interesting article in today’s NY Times:

January 5, 2008

First Chapter

‘Jihad and Jew-Hatred’


The Muslim Brotherhood and Palestine

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for the reference on RSS. That was very interesting. I’ve been wondering what the RSS is.

It looks like it is a force in preserving the Hindu religion and way of life. They are supporters of the BJP political party. It was formed in 1925 to protect Hindus from Muslim rioters. It was active in Hindu relief activities during the partition and maintained an “anti-Islamic banner”. It has an estimated 4.5 million active members. They feel that the Hindu tradition is being marginalized by nationalism in India. It feels that Islam threatens the fabric of Hindu philosophy, which is religious tolerance. They believe that India’s Muslims are converts through force of “circumstances”, and would convert back to Hindu given better “circumstances”. They are tolerant of all religions, but they are opposed to anything that divides the nation as indeed happened with the partition. They are opposed to the caste system. They are opposed to Islamic Fundamentalism and Islamist terrorism. They side with Israel in their dispute with Palestinians. They have been called fascist but this does not seem to fit. They are accused of organizing and equipping the rioters that killed 2,000 Muslims across the state following the railway coach burning in Gujarat in 2002.

I looked for a Dolivaw reference to RSS and couldn’t find it. But now I see why you were taking him to task if he said anything positive about RSS. Actually, at the risk of getting on your bad side, I must admit that the organization seems to have many admirable qualities; e.g. charitable relief to the poor and oppressed, opposition to the caste system, preserving the Hindu way of life. I oppose their siding with the Israelis against the Palestinians. But the religious tolerance of Hinduism seems to be far superior to either Christianity, Judaism or Islam:)


the question that basically always pops up in cases of man made tragedies is always the same-
"who stands to benefit?"


yes rick, as far asi know is legit-
ive read some articles from asia times, and while it is certainly slanted- its still legit.

heres a little background on the RSS- (referred to previously by dolivia) and especially - youll notice their connection to israel-

also some background o the forces behind the politicians-

rakesh sharmas independent film-

Chet'ta Rejo (Beware) shows another face of inhumanity in Gujarat. Over its 72 minutes of running time, the film explores and exposes the saffronisation of the Dalit-OBC population and its consequent plight. Its focus is on the patterns of arrests and litigations since the 2002 riots. It shows how most of those charged with rioting, arson, murder and similar crimes are either tribal or Dalits and OBCs. The analysis of those arrested from 32 police stations in Ahmedabad suggests that of the 1577 detainees, only 30-odd belonged to upper castes. "Are these foot soldiers victims too? Cynically recruited, then discarded, left to rot in jails, what do the perpetrators of the violence feel today about the VHP and the BJP?"

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

It appears to be legit.

It’s amazing I haven’t seen this story in the NY Times or WP.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

I wonder is this the truth or make believe? Is this Asia Times a legitimate newspaper or a propaganda rag?

Jan 1, 2008

Al-Qaeda aims at Pakistan's heart

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

“Following the killing of Bhutto - considered by her al-Qaeda killers to be an "American asset" - al-Qaeda can be expected to launch more suicide attackers on those considered a part of the United States plan to establish a broad coalition government comprising secular and liberal elements that would change the political and social dynamics of the country and the region…

This nest of takfiris and their intrigues was on the radar of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the day after Bhutto's killing Sheikh Essa was targeted by CIA Predator drones in his home in North Waziristan. According to Asia Times Online contacts, he survived, but was seriously wounded. Sheikh Essa had only recently recovered from a stroke which had left him bedridden…”

IndianaDavid :

I hate to be judgmental, but how pathetic is Pakistani politics anyway? Installing a 19-year-old as head of a major political party just because he is the son of the former ruler? I think the problem in Pakistan is pretty clear: You need a real political system, with parties based on political philosophy rather than dynastic succession and patronage. Only then will you have an actual democracy rather than the near feudal system in place now.


if you wade through the hate-mongers- this exact subject is being discussed here-
with some very insightful comments (and of course mr patels always excellent articles)


hi- ill try this again-
a must-have bookmark


rick- during the recent armenian genocide resolution (just for the record, proposed by tom lantos, the only holocaust survivor in congress, who appened to retire today) when the US was telling turkey they werent allowed to cross their own border into iraq to pursue the (according to the US)PKK terrorists (30,000 civilans killed by them over the last 10 years)
and the turks were making noises about incirlik bases through which 70% of all US air cargo transports-

the US was casting about for an alternative-
putin (not a fan btw) stood up and declared that russian protection extended to all their friends on the caspian sea-
(the US was gazing with big eyes at azerbaijan-)

now no one ever seemed to publicly make the connection-
but one cannot help but notice that iran- sits prominently on that sea.

just an independent observation


while india may be making an investigation over this incident-

dolivia- "And Gujarat as we all know is where post-Godhra (Godhra railway station where 59 hindu pilgrims were burnt alive in a railway coach by Muslims)"

the human rights watch has made a solid determination their own investigation.

god knows muslims have their own guilty actions-
so this isnt a finger pointing exercise-
just a search for the truth-

but the government has been solidly deemed complicit and responsible for the entire incident,
and the theory (or mob-infuriating) rumor of muslims setting those fires has been debunked.

heres 39 pages of links (with about 5 links a page) and i honestly got tired after 39, who knows how many there actually are.

from the human rights watch-
(i think we can all agree that is about as neutral a source possible)

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

I just saw on CNN that the dollar is at a 9-year low against the rupee and is no longer accepted from tourists at the Taj Mahal:)

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Yes, whew! That was a lot of good information in a nutshell. I had heard the Indo-US nuclear cooperation deal was in trouble. Now I see why.

It’s good that you seem to have your large Muslim minority fairly well tamed, but don’t be overconfident. Like the Israelis are wary of their 1 Million Palestinians (25% of population) who live in the so called “State of Israel” in the event of a war with the Arabs, you should be wary of your large Muslim population if WW III (which is just around the corner) turns out to be US_Israel vs. Islam; and you are aligned with the US_Israel axis of evil. I think your non-aligned strategy would be a good idea, or your French model of being aligned with the west (sort of) but sit on the fence (like the EU would do) in the event of a US_Israel vs. Russia_China_Islam axis WW III.

It looks like the SCO may be the vehicle to shut the US out of the Middle East as well as Asia, if the Russia_China_Islam axis can bring the Suni Gulf Oil states into their orbit. They also were once aligned with Russia and could very easily be won over again given the nature of the US_Israel alignment and our loathsome treatment of the Palestinians.

Anyway we live in interesting times.

Thanks fro the post.



Always felt a sort of kinship with the Irish coz of the Empire, British rule etc.


Where will the Indian Muslims secede and go? That is unlikely to happen. Yes, there are problems no doubt to be addressed. But, the present federal Govt wants to bring in affirmative action on the basis of religion to benefit mainly the Muslims (a controversial issue with a lot of Indians). There are no large contiguous geographic areas with majority muslim population barring the state of J&K. Even in J&K this is mostly true in the Vale or Valley of Kashmir. Jammu has significant Hindu population and similarly Ladakh has Buddhist population. And the idea of an independent Muslim country within India (a throwback to what the Nizam of Hyderabad dreamed of post independence to preserve his throne) is unlikely. Democratic process in India may be creaky and slow but it works. A prime example being the state of Uttar Pradesh where a Dalit woman Chief Minister was elected in 2007 through an unlikely combination of Muslim, Dalit and upper caste Brahmin coalition. A counter example could be Gujarat where BJP and specifically Narendra Modi was elected the Chief Minister in recently concluded state elections. And Gujarat as we all know is where post-Godhra (Godhra railway station where 59 hindu pilgrims were burnt alive in a railway coach by Muslims) riots or as some prefer to call it ethnic cleansing, muslims were killed by hindus mobs aided and abetted by right wing hindu organizations of which the BJP is the political offspring. An inquiry commission is investigating the riots. Inquiry commissions in India are generally slow and take upto a lifetime (anywhere from 5 to 15 years) to reach a conclusion. Its extremely slow no doubt. However, many organizations, political parties are working to make sure the guilty are punished whatever the time taken. Currently, there is a bill in the Indian Parliament to ensure riots such as Gujarat and the ones before such as 1984 anti-Sikh riots after the then PM of India Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh security guards are not repeated. The law will have tough measures to punish the guilty and close the loopholes which exist in existing laws of India. As you see, the Churning or Manthan in Sanskrit is ongoing in the Indian society. But i have digressed enough.

As to China and Pakistan. For Indians it is old news that the Chinese actively assisted the Pakistanis in their quest for nuclear weapon with the US not raising this issue with the Chinese (i believe this was during the Clinton Administration). Ostensibly, a US China nuclear deal was on the anvil at the time with multimillion dollar deals for US companies. Plus we suspect quite a bit of the Pakistani missile technology is of Chinese origin, packaged in Pakistani colours and names. So that is old news.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation or SCO for short is the primary vehicle for China and Russia to shut out the US from Central Asia and to checkmate US energy and strategic policy for the region. India, Pakistan and Iran have observer status. And the US,EU, NATO are watching with interest the kind of animal SCO grows up to be.

Iran, Russia were/are traditional friends of India. Iran, with linkages through cultural and historical ties. Urdu the language which evolved during Muslim rule of India is based partly on Persian. In the 70s and 80s there was sprinkling of Iranian students in many of India's universities pursuing degrees in Engineering, Medicine and other fields. Russia and its predecessor the Soviet Union has been and continues to be the largest supplier of arms to India notwithstanding the increasing close relationship with Israel and now the US. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, their military-industrial infrastructure was supported largely by huge orders from India for tanks, fighters etc. Further, the cooperation is not just limited to simple vendor buyer relationship but is quite complex. For instance the first supersonic cruise missile BRAHMOS (an abbreviation for the two rivers Brahmaputra and Moskva) is a joint Indo-Russian venture with Russia providing the hardware and India the software. There are talks of a joint indo-russian production of fifth generation strike fighter. Plus the Indian Navy had leased a nuclear submarine from Russia/Soviet Union to understand the complexity and gain experience of operating a nuclear sub. By 2010 or so, the first Indian developed nuclear sub should be ready.

In foreign policy there is an ongoing debate in India as to what it should be. Traditionally we followed the Nehruvian model (aka Non Aligned) foreign policy for what it was worth. Where we sympathized and supported newly independent nations in Asia and Africa. This and the fact that we were following centrally planned economic model meant most of the intellectuals grew up thinking the socialist way and by and large adopted a pro-soviet and anti-imperial (west) attitude. At the same time, their sons and daughters went to universities in UK, US. Non-Alignment couldnt get better than this :). The end of cold war brought in much needed realism into Indian thinking and the proclivity for moral sermonizing (we were famous for that during the time of Nehru and i believe during Morarji Desai
s time in the mid 70s as well) was truly dead and buried. Some of the vestiges of old still remain, specifically the fossilized people who belong to the various communist parties. Yes, two of our states (West Bengal and Kerala) are ruled by communists. The irony of the situation is in one of the states - Kerala (whose tourism slogan is Gods own country), the minister in charge of Hindu Temples is a godless communist. Luckily, the Hindus believe in many paths to reaching God (including the godless path :) ) and so i guess we are ok :). No need to wage a holy war on that account :).

The communists are caught in a time warp and are reflexively anti-American. They carry garlic and other such talismans to ward off Americans (no they dont, i am kidding :) ). They dont like American policies or Israel, are pro-Palestinians and hated the Indian Governments decision to vote against Iran in IAEA which led to IAEA referring Iran to the Security Council. They are against Indo-US military exercises and are very much against India and US signing the Status of Forces agreement albeit it is being presented as a different creature so as not to alarm the Indian people of being a lackey of the US. But they would welcome investments by American companies in their states and their Chief Ministers do travel to the US to convince US companies to invest in their states. Again true Non-Alignment at work :). And they oppose the Indo-US Nuclear agreement. Their voice counts because they are supporting the present Congress party led Govt at the centre. Without their support, the Govt would be reduced to a minority and would have to call early federal elections. With a string of electoral losses in state elections in 2007, the Congress is in no hurry to announce elections. They will probably sacrifice the Nuclear deal to remain in power.

The fight is essentially between a pro-US foreign policy as espoused by the Congress and tacitly supported by the main Opposition BJP or tweaking and following the old independent foreign policy which served India after independence.

As the economy booms and India's confidence rises further, we will probably see a pro-US foreign policy tinged with French flavour. By that i mean, it wont be 100% aligned with US objectives, but will be like the French policy but possibly without the rudeness of the French of pre-Sarkozy era :)



Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Eureka, I have found it:

March 9, 2005

by Dr. Subhash Kapila

“The European Union, with the exception of the United Kingdom, is largely against American use of force and military preemption against Iran.

However, the strategic matrix in which Iran is perceived by the non-European key global players like Russia, China and India is of greater strategic significance and deserves detailed analysis.

The aim of this paper is to analyze the above and bring out the strategic convergences of Russia, China and India focusing on Iran…

Iran in the Russian Strategic Matrix…

Iran in the Chinese Strategic Matrix…

Iranian analysts perceive China as a natural ally, since both China and Iran are viewed by the United States as anti-America and being targeted by the United States as such…

Iran in India’s Strategic Matrix…

Iran figures in the strategic matrix of India in the following ways:

-Iran figures heavily in India’s national security interests as a nation with which a strategic partnership is most desirable.

-Iran provides India’s trade and commercial land access to Central Asian markets and Afghanistan.

-India and Iran have a strategic convergence on the political independence and stability of Afghanistan.

-Iran's predominantly Russian military inventory profile provides prospects for maintenance contracts for India’s defence industry.

-Iran offers a significant and vast market in close proximity for India’s trade and industry.
Iran offers a reliable and vital source for India’s expanding energy needs. Sizeable cooperation is already taking place.

The mutual convergences between India and Iran have resulted in asserting and crafting a “strategic partnership” as highlighted in the Teheran Declaration (2001) and the Delhi Declaration (2003).

Concluding Observations:

Russia, China and India have close ties with Iran with no conflictual record plaguing their relationship. Iran figures significantly in the strategic matrix of Russia, China and India and those cannot be subverted or subsumed to serve United States strategic interests.

Iran too has corresponding convergence of its national security interests with Russia, China and India and it is therefore not a one way street.

With the likelihood of United States employing military intervention and pre-emptive strategies against Iran’s nuclear programmes, it would be interesting to await and watch how Russia, China and India singly or jointly respond to United States veiled threats to use the military option against Iran’s nuclear weapons programme. It could be one case in which the European Union too may have convergences with Russia, China and India.

Russia, China and India cannot be faulted by the United States for Iran figuring in multiple ways advantageously in their respective strategic matrixes. While Iran may be viewed as a national security threat by the United States, the national security interests of Russia, China and India determine it to be otherwise.

Iran is not Iraq which can be subdued by American high technology warfare and military strategies of "shock and awe". It is a monolithic civilisational power with underpinnings of intense nationalism and Shia religious fervour.

Against the background above, the following questions arise:

-Can USA go it alone in enforcing its unilateral military strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities?

-Would USA's policy of engaging Iran politically through intermediaries like the European Union bring about the desired results?

-Can Russia, China and India influence Iran in any way in line with the United States strategic interests?

The answer to all three questions is NO. The United States has no choice but to engage Iran directly, officially and politically. The United States can ill afford to let its historical baggage of animosity towards Iran cloud its current decision making. Iran holds the key to West Asian stability and USA needs to recognize it.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

In searching for the previous reference I came across this excellent report by Dr. Kapila:


By Dr. Subhash Kapila

“President Putin’s visit to Iran this week (October 16-17, 2007) has taken place at a strategically significant juncture both for Iran and Russia…

Russia’s resurgence lately has been made possible and impelled lately by a combination of factors, chief of which being:

(1) Russia’s nationalistic aspirations under President Putin

(2) United States condescending attitudes towards Russia

(3) NATO’s eastward enlargement towards Russian borders engineered by the United States

(4) United States military presence in Central Asia

(5) United States Ballistic Missile Defense (BMD) deployments in Eastern Europe

(6) Russia’s increasing oil revenues facilitating modernization and up-gradation of strategic assets

(7) Russia’s intensified strategic partnership with China…

In 2005 President Putin made his first strategic foray by visiting Egypt and Israel along with meetings with Palestinian leaders.

Earlier this year, President Putin made his second strategic foray when he visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. All these three monarchial countries are strong allies of the United States in the Middle East and hosting US military presence in the region.

President Putin’s third strategic foray to the Middle East has taken place in October 2007 with a visit to Iran within eight months of his last foray. This underscores Russia’s bid to displace the United States exclusive presence from the security architecture of the Middle East that it had crafted over the years.

Within a span of eight months, the Russian President has covered both the littorals of The Gulf and the political divide that separates the littorals in the region. Iran in any case since the early 1990s was emerging as a pro-Russian state but Putin’s visit to Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan, all pro-US and fearful of Iran imparts Russia and President Putin with a rare strategic halo…

In sharp contrast to the United States image in the Middle East taking a beating because of Iraq and Afghanistan the image of Russia and the Russian President is bound to soar with the perception that Russia is an “Arab and Moslem Nations Friendly” power.

The above developments are likely to have a significant impact on American security interests in the Middle East with the changed strategic situation of Arab and Moslem countries opening up to a resurgent Russia…

Concluding Observations

The Middle East once again seems to be reviving as an important strategic chessboard for the competing national security interests of the United States and Russia.

Russia seems to be at a growing advantage on the Middle East strategic chessboard as a result of the three strategic forays that President Putin has made into this region in a span of just over two years.

With United States influence waning in the Middle East as a result of Iraq and Afghanistan [not to mention Israel] and perceptions in the Middle East that the United States is an anti-Moslem power, the strategic influence of Russia is likely to grow in the region on the rebound.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Here is an article that I was looking for but cannot find:

Dr. Subhash Kapila, "Iran in the Strategic Matrix of Russia, China and India: An Analysis," South Asia Analysis Group, March 9, 2005.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Here is an article that may bring Pakistan into the Iran-Russia-China axis.

China Reform Monitor No. 372, April 3, 2001

American Foreign Policy Council, Washington, D.C.

Iran-Russia-China axis seeks to limit US power;
Chinese nuclear scientists visit Pakistan military

March 21

“Iran has expanded relations with China and Russia to limit the role of Washington in Middle Eastern affairs, reports the Cairo Al-Ahram newspaper. Iran has relied on China and North Korea to develop strategic missile capabilities to confront Israel and rebuild its power, both in conventional and nuclear arms. Iran President Khatami's recent visit to Moscow, where he signed new economic and defense agreements, represents a reaction to the United States' efforts to contain and isolate Iran…”

March 27

“Twenty-three Chinese nuclear scientists have arrived in Pakistan for week-long talks with the newly restructured Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, armed forces Services Chiefs, and the head of Pakistan's military-run regime reports the Islamabad Pakistan Observer…”

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

You know this discussion about the apparently growing alliance between India, the US and Israel is not really off topic. It is very central to the subject of this thread on what the future holds for Pakistan, given the heated Indo-Pakistani feud over Jammu and Kashmir.

The front page news yesterday was the first ever crossing of the $100 per barrel threshold for oil. This is a 100% price increase in just the last year, and this trend is likely to continue given the increasing demand for energy in China, India and the rest of the developing world. We have already passed the “Peak Oil” production capability, so availability will decline in coming years as demand rapidly increases. This will make China, Russia and Iran natural allies as the following article notes:

June 4, 2005

“The military implementation of the George W Bush administration's unilateralist foreign policy is creating monumental changes in the world's geostrategic alliances. The most significant of these changes is the formation of a new triangle comprised of China, Iran and Russia.

Growing ties between Moscow and Beijing in the past 18 months is an important geopolitical event that has gone practically unnoticed. China's premier, Wen Jiabao, visited Russia in September 2004. In October 2004, President Vladimir Putin visited China. During the October meeting, both China and Russia declared that Sino-Russian relations had reached "unparalleled heights". In addition to settling long-standing border issues, Moscow and Beijing agreed to hold joint military exercises in 2005. This marks the first large-scale military exercises between Russia and China since 1958.

The joint military exercises complement a rapidly growing arms trade between Moscow and Beijing. China is Russia's largest buyer of military equipment. In 2004, China was reported to have signed deals worth more than $2 billion for Russian arms. These included naval ships and submarines, missile systems and aircraft. According to the head of Russia's armed forces, Anatoliy Kvashnin, "our defense industrial complex is working for this country [China], supplying the latest models of arms and military equipment, which the Russian army does not have". Russia's relations with China are not limited to military trade. In the past five years, non-military trade between Russia and China has increased at an average annual rate of nearly 20%. Moscow and Beijing have targeted non-military trade to reach $60 billion by 2010, from $20 billion in 2004. One of the key components of commercial trade is Russian energy exports to China.

In early 2005, Moscow agreed to more than double electricity exports to China, to 800 million kilowatt hours (kWh), by 2006. Officials at Russia's electricity monopoly, Unified Energy Systems, are also courting Chinese investment in the development and renovation of Russia's electricity system. In October 2004, the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) and Russia's Gazprom signed a series of agreements intended to study how Russia can best supply natural gas to China. At the same time, Russia signed specific agreements with China on oil exports.

Russia's oil shipments to China are slated to reach 10 million tons in 2005, increasing to 15 million tons in 2006. All of these shipments will be made by rail. However, this agreement was overshadowed by talks concerning the construction of an oil pipeline from Siberia to northern China. Russia has been pondering an oil pipeline to China for nearly 10 years. In 2002, plans for this pipeline received a boost when Moscow pledged to invest $2 billion in an oil pipeline running from the Siberian city of Angarsk to Daqing in northeastern China…”

The article goes on to say that at the request of Japan, who is willing to finance the entire $10 Billion plus cost of the pipeline, the pipeline will terminate at Russia's Pacific port of Nakhodka. The pipeline will still pass within 40 miles of the Russian border with China, so it will be a simple matter to add a spur directly into China.

So what we have brewing here is an alliance between China, Russia, Iran and possibly Japan. I can see Pakistan and Afghanistan joining this alliance. The question then is which way would Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and the other Gulf Oil States go? Iraq would undoubtedly go with their Shiite brethren in Iran. The presence of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine in the US_Israel_India axis of evil would probably drive the Suni Gulf Oil States to hold their nose and join the Russia_China_Iran axis.

So if I were you Dolivaw, I would reevaluate your growing ties with the US_Israel axis of evil. This would also tend to keep your large Muslim minority from attempting to secede. The future world superpowers will be in the Russia_China_Iran axis.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Hi Victoria,

I new someone was going to come down on me for that comment. Thanks for not disappointing. I’m glad it was such a gentle chastiser as you.

I made that post here by mistake anyway. It was intended as reply to your post on Saul Singer’s thread, and was way off topic here. People must have been wondering “What was that all about”?

But when you think about it, what is wrong with calling a Jew a Jew, unless you consider that term derogatory, which I most certainly do not. I have nothing at all against the Jewish people and wish that the 5 Million Jews in Israel would come to America instead of terrorizing the poor Palestinian people whose land they have stolen.

For those who may be wondering, the comment was in response to your comment that the Israelis are not helping us in Iraq, even though we have given them billions in aid. Well of course they would not be doing us a favor by joining us in Iraq and were not invited for that reason. That would really inflame the Iraqis and all Arabs in the neighborhood to have the Zionists join the Crusaders in invading and occupying another Arab country.


hi dolivia- i wanted to make plain that i and most peoples i know arent keeping track-

you know, of debits and credits etc-

i get in moods sometimes- we irish are not exactly known for our temperate natures and respect for authority-
an entire race of contrarians and rebels without a clue- (my pet name for my mom)

rick- you know i wouldnt make a gentle chastisement of you in a public forum, as i respect your views (and suspect you must have some irish in you)

just, it struck me - that the "bunch of" (insert appropriate group) may offend some-

people who dont know and repsct you like i do, may take off wrongly with such a thing

im waiting to see what musharraff has to say, ad going to peruse one of my sites right now


hey i havent seen you onfaith much
youre not missing anything

this is a much savvier crowd

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Hi Victoria,

Glad to see you’re back to your jolly sweet self. BTW, we didn’t invite the Israelis to join our “coalition of the willing”. That’s the last thing we need is a bunch of Jews helping us invade and occupy another sovereign Muslim state.

After all, everyone knows that the reason that we invaded Iraq was to install a puppet government and gain access the world’s second largest oil field for us and the Israelis. Even Alan Greenspan admits that.



alrighty then-
no harm no foul dolivia-

happy new years folks
hi rick thanks for the understanding

tom- i was teaching english as a second language at iraqi house in chicago-
there was only one person out of dozens who felt the way you imagine they do-

when the statue of saddam came down my dad called and asked if my iraqi friends were dancing in joy because of it- and i had to inform him that most saw it as a portent for US permanent occupation, and werent all that thrilled, to say the least.

although the kurds are pretty thrilled- (that is until they look at their books and figure out how bad the oil deals they are getting are)
and they are currently expressing their unlimited joy by bombing turkish civilans.

but thats ok, the turks never did anyhing for us.
(well, except selflessly and heroically be the front line against korea saving countless american soldiers lives)

but other than THAT- what have they done for us LATELY?



No exaggerated self importance for any ethnicity or disparaging of the Irish. They migrated and built most of the country and continue to do so, good and i would be the last person to say that the entire wealth is being created by Indian Immigrants, i dont think i meant that ever. I was talking about the help US has given to India to the tune of USD 55 billion and the various ways in which it is being repaid and one of the ways is through the Indian immigrants.

No disparaging of the Irish is intended or meant. A simple case of debit and credit is how i viewed it.

Well its back to work ..and so will be checking in here rather infrequently.

Peace and Cheers

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Hello Tom,

I’ll give you WW II, but Israel? No way, that is the mistake of the last century. Let’s hope we can get it straightened out this century, but I doubt it.

We don’t have to give them all to Texas, although they would be more of a plus than a minus. They are the most talented and successful people in the world. We can spread the wealth over the entire USA and Europe. But we have to pull them out of the Palestine where they aren’t wanted and will never be accepted.

Pearl Harbor was plenty of justification to jump into WW II, and 911 was justification for Afghanistan. The job was done in Afghanistan long ago. We are wasting our national wealth, prestige and young men’s lives by continuing that operation. Our military power is great at overpowering and demolishing a well defined military target, as we proven in WW II, Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq. It is terrible at fighting the insurgent who swims in the sea of the people as we proven in Viet Nam, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We should destroy a totalitarian regime if we have a valid reason (like Afghanistan, unlike Iraq) and then withdraw. If the native population allows the problem regime to return, and they continue the same behavior, then we destroy them again. They will soon learn their lesson if they know what is good for them.

As for Iraq being positive in the long run, it looks like it will be positive for Iran, al Qaeda, Hezbollah and Hamas. It has delivered Iraq into the orbit of their Shiite brethren in Iran, and is the best ever recruiting tool ever for the Islamic fundamentalists and radicals.

Ah well, I have the feeling that I am not winning you over, am I right? It’s still fun trying.

Have a great 2008.

And watch out for my best friend Victoria. She is starting the year off in a terribly foul mood.

Tom Wonacott :

Happy new year Rick

"...Most of the world disagrees with your opinion that the US foreign policy has a positive effect..."

I wouldn't expect anything else from a poll conducted after or probably even before Iraq but there has been many positive contributions to the world by US foreign policy starting with WWII. If you asked the Shiites and Kurds in 2003, I'm certain that they would have been excited to see the overthrow of Saddam. It has been a tough road since, but the results could be positive in the long run. Who knows at this point?

Our biggest contribution has been the support of Israel, however. Texas cannot afford 7,000,000 more illegal aliens. I'm sure that you will agree with that!


well, i dont think foul- just sidelining anyones accomplishments seems unnecessary-
and doesnt prove ones own-

but thats my point many times for many issues-

as i said before, no one says, yay here come the yanks-

even reagan, said something sensible one time-
the scaries words ever uttered-

im from the government and im here to help you-


rock on peeps

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Wow, my best friend Victoria is starting the year in a foul mood. You don’t have to justify your US aid/loans by proving some type of immigrant payback. I’m sure we have our own selfish interest in mind when we give you aid/loans. Just watch your pocketbook.

I must say that I appreciate your wit and good humor; especially when you turn it against my favorite target, “W”.

Have a great 2008.


Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Whatever happened to MikeB? Did we make him mad at us?


"The story of Irish Immigrants in this case i believe is not relevant. This is so because, over a period of time which may have passed or may pass some time in the future..the aid/grant given to India by US would be outweighed by the contribution of Immigrants from India in creating additional wealth and jobs. The trials and tribulations which the Irish immigrants had to go through to make America in such a context are not pertinent, without any disrespect to those pioneers. Further till the mid 20th century, Indian---"

well, yes - actually it is extremely disrespectful to dismiss a population for people whove contributed for 150 years, who built the country- and never stopped contributing to the wealth but have done so consistently -



Irish American

Total population
35,975,855 Americans
[1] 12% of the US population (2006)

( o yes, germans are the first group number wise)

Asian Indians
2,319,000 in 2005:
[1] 1% of the population (2006)

talk about an over-inflated sense of self importance!

in general - we come in here to give respect to each other- fence our different views, but always refrain from making statements of superiority based on ethnicities-

wow- its not my thing-
ill come back when you guys are back on topic-


Anon, Victoria, Rick

Have given in to the temptation of a reply, and veering away from the topic of the discussion :), but..

Kashmir first. We in India or atleast my reading of it is as follows:

We are quite happy with our part of the J&K. Not really interested in reconquering POK. Converting the LOC to an International Border is selleable to the public in India. Moreover, all or most rivers have their origins in glaciers which fall in the state of J&K. Pakistan still dreams of an Indian Bangladesh though that dream has taken a severe beating and may i add back seat after 9/11. So, the purpose of the peace process between India and Pakistan is to sell the LOC as Intl Border to Pakistan and to make it palatable to the Pakistani people.

As to sympathy and being new kids on the block. From the Indian POV, we dont want our hands constrained if and when we are attacked. Which i hope we never come to in the first place of course. The cowboy i would be worried about is a US President to whom God talks directly and believes in the Biblical Armaggeddon. The thought of W talking to God or God speaking to him directly is scary enough. Must be a long distance call though, since its a local call in Israel ( old joke). And we do have someone to blame ..both India and Pakistan.. the British. They always make a mess of things :). We (k..Indian companies) are taking our revenge by buying up British companies and establishing Chicken Tikka as the national dish of Britain. Next step, Hindi, Gujarati or Punjabi as the national language of Britain :).

I agree, everyones a shade of grey and plenty of blame to go around. All countries have permanent interests rather than permanent friends. So the US is not unique in this.

As to Indian Immigrants etc,..time will tell. The story of Irish Immigrants in this case i believe is not relevant. This is so because, over a period of time which may have passed or may pass some time in the future..the aid/grant given to India by US would be outweighed by the contribution of Immigrants from India in creating additional wealth and jobs. The trials and tribulations which the Irish immigrants had to go through to make America in such a context are not pertinent, without any disrespect to those pioneers. Further till the mid 20th century, Indian immigration to the US was prohibited by law, though some sikhs at the turn of the 19th century did manage to get in to California and have contributed to the building of USA.

Wishing all of you a Happy 2008
Live Long and Prosper !



sorry, the anonymous poster was victoria
so the tips comments etc were me-

i cannot necessarily agree as to who the cowboy with the finger on the button could be-
could be anyone-
could be america! (again)

no, 55 BILLION is ALL AID none of it is grants-
its realyl hard to track down monies given though-

even condoleeza rice, when asked what aid had been given to asia- took 9 months and a staff of researchers to come back with an answer-

as for this statement-

" As a result of the educational institutes especially IITs you could argue the indian immigrants in US have contributed significant amounts to the US economy by way of creating wealth, jobs and continue to do so. The US house of Representatives has passed a resolution to that effect. So, you have helped us and continue to do so and now you also reap the rewards of that help."

im afraid i have to not only negate it- but actually reverse it.

that doesnt even BEGIN to count
there are exponentially many many times irishfolk who have come to america, in greater numbers, and for decades longer-

who actually built the railroads, died for the union building that indians and others come and enjoy the working conditions in america

so that is a big no way-
not only has ireland never received any aid from the US, just TRY and get any kind of aid to get educated as a white irish person in america-
good luck

and germans, italians, chinese, norwegians etc etc etc...

i wouldnt trust the US either-

how much money was actually given that was pledged from the tsunami?
(india DID enjoy the bulk of that funding though)

america doesnt keep its word when it comes to promises-
unless its self interest is beig bolstered- which it really is in india presently-
time will tell

as far as i know, there are NO scheduled elections in pakistan-
no one seems to be anticipating a jan 8th election

but you kids are going to have to work it all out for yourselves without blowing each other up-

no one on this side of the world is going to have much sympathy if you guys press the button o each other

but the media will spin it to be the fault of whoever DOESNT have oil pipeline access-
thats where the real interests of the US are-

youo dont see dow chemical running back to take responsiblitiy for the bhopal chemical disasters do you?
dont get me started on that one-

personally, i live in an apartment, and my own tribes are so assimilated into the landscape as to be unidentifiable-

so in general, im not goig to be taking sides over kashmir-

there seems to be plenty of blame to go around on all sides-
i have a hard enough time keeping up with who the US is abusing (or their proxy israel)
let alone keep track of other peoples land disputes

yup, plenty of blame everywhere-
peace and happy new year all

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for your posts. Check back in from time to time. I’m sure we will have further questions for you to address. It is good to have someone to converse with who is so intimately familiar with the region.

BTW, Anon @ January 1, 2008 11:35 AM was not me. That was my best friend Victoria. She is much more knowledgeable about these things than me.

Catch you later.


The only reason i wrote earlier was to provide an Indian's perspective. My last piece in this specific forum. We can now return to regular scheduled programming :).


Havent heard about the 100 million tip as you put it for nuclear fuel. Must have escaped my notice.

The hyde act if it did provide such a carte blanche to Indians, would have been welcomed by one and all in India as a great piece of negotiation vis a vis the Americans. Unfortunately, there is a lot of ambiguity in the act which because of previous experience with the American administrations a lot of knowledgeable people in India are wary about. The Nuclear Ayatollahs (yes that's how the Non Proliferation experts are referred to as in India) would have you believe that the US administration has given in to the Indian negotiators. That and the anti-US orientation of the Communists in India who support the present Federal Govt has meant the US India nuclear act is in a state of limbo. Something which many in India and US are happy about.

About Israel, no denying the scope and level of military cooperation. You did forget to mention the Phalcon Radar which will be bolted on a Russian transport plane. As a response, the Swedes are selling the ERIEYE to Pakistan :) and so everyone is happy.

Aid to the tune of USD 55 Billion, no doubt. However, not all of it was grant. We do make payments for them. As a result of the educational institutes especially IITs you could argue the indian immigrants in US have contributed significant amounts to the US economy by way of creating wealth, jobs and continue to do so. The US house of Representatives has passed a resolution to that effect. So, you have helped us and continue to do so and now you also reap the rewards of that help.

Yes, lots of Indian Jews migrated to Israel in 60s and 70s. Better economic prospects than what India had to offer them then made a lot of sense. It doesnt negate what i mentioned. Plus very recently, a tribe in North East India has been accepted as one of the lost tribe of Israelites. So expect more migrations from that part of India.


Nuclear proliferation is like dominoes. If one country has it, many or most want to have it too. Having the discriminatory NPT doesnt help at all. So am happy that my Govt hasnt signed on to such a law and is not likely to either in the future. Apart from Israel and India, Pakistan hasn't signed it either. In the eighties the Prime Ministers of India and Sweden : Rajiv Gandhi and Olof Palme respectively had proposed a universal nuclear disarmament plan. It was however lost in the fog of cold war of the time. It may be worthwhile to dust it off and update it for the 21st century. Any other measure is perceived to preserve the law of the jungle albeit couched in sophisticated language of diplomats and such. Given the fact of nuclear China as our neighbour and our growing economic interests in the seas surrounding India and the Gulf we do see the need for weapons build up. It is not simply Pakistan centric, though the media portrays it as such.

We have a publicly announced nuclear non first use policy and being a status quo power the Asian cowboy as you put it, wont be from India. And i dont believe anyone in Pakistan is foolish or crazy enough (be they from the Military or Islamic parties) to launch a first strike on India. They know fully well what will happen to Pakistan in such an event.

If i take a cynical view of things, the US administration is so deeply involved that they have no option but to ensure the safety of Pakistan's nuclear weapons with or without the cooperation of the Pakistani military. They are paying a price for their earlier folly of turning a blind eye.

As to the possible winner of the upcoming elections in Pakistan, i will wait till President Musharraf has addressed the Pakistani nation tomorrow before commenting :).


Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Israel and Iran Share Most Negative Ratings in Global Poll

“A majority of people polled for the BBC World Service across 27 countries believe Israel and Iran have a mainly negative influence in the world with almost as many saying the same about North Korea and the United States.

Respondents were asked to rate 12 countries – Britain, Canada, China, France, India, Iran, Israel, Japan, North Korea, Russia, the USA, Venezuela – and the European Union, as having a positive or negative influence.

Canada, Japan, the European Union, and France were judged most positively. Britain, China, and India received more positive than negative evaluations while Russia was viewed slightly more negatively than positively. Opinions about Venezuela were evenly divided…”

Israel: 56% negative, 17% positive
Iran: 54% negative, 18% positive
USA: 51% negative, 30% positive
North Korea: 48% negative, 19% positive

India: 26% negative, 37% positive

Pakistan: Not rated.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Less than Half of Pakistani Public Supports Attacking Al Qaeda, Cracking Down on Fundamentalists

44% favor Pakistani troops pursuing al Qaeda.

36% Oppose.

5% favor foreign troops pursuing al Qaeda into Pakistan.

80% oppose.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Happy New Year Tom,

Most of the world disagrees with your opinion that the US foreign policy has a positive effect.

World View of US Role Goes From Bad to Worse

“The global view of the United States’ role in world affairs has significantly deteriorated over the last year according to a BBC World Service poll of more than 26,000 people across 25 different countries…

Poll conducted between November 3, 2006 and January 9, 2007.

People who view US influence in the world as negative went from 46% in 2005 to 52% in 2007.

Those who view US influence as positive went from 40% in 2005 to 29% in 2007.

73% disapprove of how the US handled Iraq.

69% believe that US presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents.

65% disapprove of how the US handled the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict.

BTW, what did you give your wife in return for your Christmas gift? She was buttering you up for something. We know that she knows that you never win an argument with a liberal.


the reagan administration basically in 79 turned a blind eye to paksitan developing nuclear capability-

fast forward to 2006, when the hyde act(indo-us nuclear deal) was enacted- now the us is playing catch up to try and keep the balance of power in asia(while also maintaining as much a hand in the pot as possible)

the buidupof waepons of all types in india is not really lending much to peaceful resolution-

ask any american living through the cold war-
the idea of MAD(mutually assured destruction) is etched indelibly iin the american psyche.

but this is not the case in india-
and in pakistan too-

with kashmir thrown into the mix- it seems almost a certainty that some irresponsible asian cowboy is going to at least try- or threaten and posture-

the best solution for the power vacuum left in paksitani politics is not paksitan in musharrafs control-

and it seems unlikely the populace will really embrace benazirs widower, Asif Zardari, is affectionately known in Pakistan as "Mr. Ten Percent," an honorable title he earnestly earned for receiving a "10%" commission from all government contracts , known and reviled for his corruption, whose already stated hes just waiting for his 19 year old oxford educated son (whos barely even been in paksitan in his life, has no touch with politics, or probably even sympathy) to come to power so he can go play golf!

what a committment to the paksitani people!

the only glimmer of hope for a democracy in paksitan seems to come from sharif, but hes vowed to boycott the elections(which arent going to take place anyway.

i have a pretty dismal knowledge fo pakistani-indian politics, but even i know this.

Anonymous :

dolivaw- the 100 million is ONLY for nuclear fuel-
its a drop in the bucket - its more of a tip- and was given in october of 2007(2 months ago)

india and israel both share the distinction of never having signed the nuclear non-proliferation treaty-
it was in 1999 that india started trading with israel and also buying weapons on a massive scale.

the hyde act of 2006 (US) (otherwise known as the indo-us nuclear pact)

basically gives india unlimited carte blanche with no oversight whatsoever- to pursue nuclear weaponry with FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE FROM THE US.

as for the history of jewry in india-
Today (2001), there are less than 5,000 Jews in India - the majority of whom are Bene Israel. The vast majority of Bene Israel moved from India to Israel, but some 2,000 are settled in English-speaking countries, such as Britain, Canada, USA and Australia. Today, more than 60,000 Bene Israel, including children born in Israel to Indian Bene Israel parents, live in Israel.

here is alist of the first wepaons deals with israel 1999

Two Dvora fast attack boats equipped with modern surveillance systems and a sophisticated gun system. Four more will be manufactured as a joint venture of Goa Shipyard Limited and Ramta of Israel Aircraft Industry (IAI).
An undisclosed number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) made by IAI, including the recent deal estimated at $230 million.
The EL/M-2080 search acquisition and fire-control radar, which was developed for Israel's Arrow anti-ballistic missile program by Elta Electronics Industries Ltd.,
Electronics suites for upgrades of the Indian Air Force's Su-30, MiG-27 and Jaguar aircraft, as well as for Mi-35 helicopters.
Thirty sea-to-sea Barak missiles in a $270 million deal with Rafael.
Hi-tech sensors to help manning the Line of Control (LOC) along the India-Pakistan border.
A large quantity of artillery and rifle ammunition, 155mm shells and other sophisticated radars.

Cato Policy Analysis No. 170 May 6, 1992

as you see, 100 million is nothing-

Foreign Aid and India:
Financing the Leviathan State
by Shyam J. Kamath

Shyam J. Kamath is an associate professor of economics in the School of Business and Economics, California State University at Hayward.


Executive Summary

With a debate now raging over whether further foreign aid programs financed by U.S. taxpayers are justified in the post-Cold War era, a review of the development experience of the recipient of the largest amount of foreign aid is instructive. India has received more foreign aid than any other developing nation since the end of World War II--estimated at almost $55 billion since the beginning of its First Five-Year Plan in 1951.(1) It has long been an article of faith among development economists and policymakers that foreign aid is a necessary and central component of economic development, yet the record of Indian economic development since 1947 belies that view.

India has had one of the lowest rates of growth of all developing countries and remains one of the poorest countries in the world after almost 45 years of aid-financed, centrally planned development. Foreign aid has directly financed and sustained India's centralized planning and control framework and thereby financed the growth of one of the noncommunist world's largest and most inefficient public sectors. In 1988-89, 101 of the country's 222 largest public-sector companies recorded losses and contributed to a federal deficit five times as large, in relative terms, as the U.S. budget deficit.(2)

as you stated-
"In the 70s and 80s whilst the Cold war was ongoing, we in India were in the throes of a socialist thinking and hence our solidarity was with the Arabs and that meant no official links with Israel. Though a lot of right wing hindus and especially BJP felt we should establish links with Israel."

and it wasnt the 80s, it was the 90s when this change occurred.


(the arabs were socialists??)
russia supplied oil to india-
when russia fell- india shifted its alliances to the US (israel)

but basically, why are we even talking about india?

Tom Wonacott :


Your last post was just crap. Your worst and least relevant post to date. Somehow you’ve anointed yourself as the beacon of objectivity, but, at least to me, you are just embarrassing yourself. Once again, I don't care how you view me.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Happy New Year Victoria and to All


Yes, you are wise beyond your years, to view your US ally with a healthy dose of skepticism. We are your friend as long as we are getting something from you. I’m not sure what it is, but I expect it is trade and a wonderful investment opportunity for our “big business” conglomerates. I know that every time I call Dell technical support to fix some glitch with my computer, I am connected to someone with a charming Indian accent.

I would advise you to keep in the good graces of your old ally Russia, China and the oil states of the Arabian Gulf. Treat Israel like the pariah of the world that she is.

This is how my crystal ball has it. We just took another step along the path to WW III. The Islamist fundamentalists (Al Qaeda and the Taliban) hold all the cards. Musharraf may or may not be making a serious effort to rein them in. He may be playing live and let live as they build their strength in NW Pakistan and continue to weaken Afghanistan.

The Zionist invader in Palestine keeps the entire Middle East inflamed at both them and the USA for supporting them. Of course our preemptive attack on Iraq and continued occupation of Afghanistan just adds fuel to the flames.

China, India and Pakistan’s thirst for Middle East oil makes them natural allies of Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and the other Arabian Gulf oil states. They will be eager to supply whatever these countries need in the way of precision guided land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) like the US Tomahawk. These are precision, Global Position System (GPS) satellite guided, low flying cruise missiles that hug the earth and can be programmed to attack Israel from multiple directions. Israel will never know what hit them. These will not be like the thousands of ballistic Katyusha rockets fired from Southern Lebanon, which mostly land in the olive orchards and sage brush fields. These missiles will each have a high rise building or other high value target and street number programmed in them like our Tomahawk attacks on Baghdad in 1991 and 2003.

Our thirst for oil and 10 Trillion dollar national debt, with much of it owed to China, puts us in a very weak strategic position. China could bankrupt us at will by flooding the market with our worthless paper IOUs. That’s why the US dollar has lost ~33% of its value relative to the Euro, which is on its way to becoming the world standard currency. The US dollar will soon be known as the US Peso.

Israel only produces ~1% of its required oil from its own oil wells, and must import 99%, 90% from Russia. Russia is anything but a reliable ally and is known to have used its natural gas supplied to Eastern Europe as a political tool in the past.

So standby for further attacks on the Zionist so called “State of Israel” and its number one ally the USA. We live in interesting times.



The UN plebiscite can happen provided the following happens:

1. Pakistan withdraws from POK
2. The part ceded illegally by Pakistan to China is returned.

Since none of the above scenarios is possible, the UN plebiscite wont take place. The best scenario is for Pakistan to accept the LOC as permanent border with India and everybody gets on with their lives. They have POK and we have J&K and that's a deal which is saleable in India and everyone gets to keep face. Any other scenario in today's world is unacceptable to India. Pakistan is hardly in a position to enforce any other solution. Not that they haven't tried violent methods. They have tried to take J&K through outright overt war, covert low intensity war and havent succeeded. Given that the monster of Islamic terrorism they bred, nurtured is now biting them back, they should learn some lessons and not cry Uncle or portray themselves as victims of terrorism.


What 100 million and nuclear weapons? If you are referring to PL 480 in the sixties else am not sure if we bother with official aid from the US or World Bank anymore. Loans from World Bank or IMF to various states yes but not direct aid. We just think the discovery of terrorism as a world problem by the West after 9/11 is a bit hypocritical given that we ve been fighting Islamic terrorism since late eighties..blowback of US/Pakistan/Saudi Arabia alliance in the Afghan war of the 80s against the Soviets. The US simply didnt believe India inspite of all evidence presented to the contrary about ensuring Pakistan is reigned in. It unfortunately took the tragedy of 9/11 to wake the US of the problem in Pakistan/Afghanistan.
In addition, the reliability of US as an ally of India is doubtful, because they do have the nasty habit of not honouring their committment. We have experienced it and so has Pakistan. The US took Pakistan's money and didnt return it and also didnt supply them with the F16s they wanted for a very long time. I am sure US Govt. has its reasons, hence there are a lot of sceptical folks out in India who think, a hug by the US is possibly worse than being its enemy.

As to Israel, yes my enemy's enemy is my friend. Also do remember, hindu kings of the past have given shelter to Jews and Judaism is the only religion of the book, which does not prolyetise unlike Christianity and Islam. So there are political and cultural affinities too. In the 70s and 80s whilst the Cold war was ongoing, we in India were in the throes of a socialist thinking and hence our solidarity was with the Arabs and that meant no official links with Israel. Though a lot of right wing hindus and especially BJP felt we should establish links with Israel. In the 90s after the first Gulf war and a tacit recognition of Israel by the Gulf states, India established diplomatic relations with Israel. And hasnt looked back ever since. Defence, Agricultural and nowadays trade in telecom equipment as also diamonds is what binds India and Israel. A lot of young Israelis after their tour of duty head to the hills of India for relaxation. Which mostly means rave parties, drugs (ganja), sex and rock n roll to get away from their daily lives.

As to no holocaust to deal with. True, nothing in the sense of what the Nazis did to the Jewish people of Europe, but dont forget the muslim or islamic invasion of India wasnt always peaceful. A lot of temples were demolished, idols destroyed and looted for the gold,diamonds etc. So we do have a collective memory handed down over the ages of what the hindus went through at the hands of muslim invaders. Many hindus converted to islam to simply avoid paying the jaziya tax on non-muslims. The islamic influence resulted in Urdu a mellifluous language, hindustani classical music, the ghazal, mughlai cuisine and possibly the discovery of 'zero' and decimal number system by arab mathematicians from the Hindus and its onward transformation to the modern decimal system we have today.

And so the churning or as we say in India 'Manthan' goes on as to the vision of India in the future. How to reconcile the Muslim past put it in context of the present including the current WoT etc. A lot depends on how India votes in the next federal election.





the us and india arent inching towards being allies-
the US just gave about 100 million to india, plus nuclear weapons, plus promises for plenty more in the near future. they're solid in purpose.

israel and india have renewed diplomatic correspondance on the premise that my enemys' enemy, is my friend.

im not buying the characterization of india as a beleaguered put upon victim-

its been working for israel for some time, but its becoming more and more unbelievable as people shed their prejudices and rea;lized no one group is wholly demonic nor angelic.

and india has given as good as its gotten- but has no holocaust to sell the whole deal with.
(victims oppressed by evil muslim barbarians)

muslims didnt secede to pakistan because they were being treated equally in india.

yes, it's history that goes a bit back past the cold war- but that is the catalyst to events being recounted here.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

MikeB and Dolivaw66

Thanks again for the referenced document. That was very informative indeed.

Sorry Dolivaw66, it looks to me like this is a typical Hatfield and McCoy feud over a property line. It appears that India is primarily at fault due to its reluctance to allow the UN called for plebiscite which would give self determination to Kashmir and Jammu which is 65% Muslim and 35% Hindu.

It was very interesting to see how the Bhuttos gained and lost power, as well as how Musharraf took control in Pakistan. It shows how strong the Army and ISI control is over Pakistan and how Musharraf uses terrorism to attain his ends when it suites him. He has supposedly renounced this behavior now, but one wonders.

As to your dispute over India’s treatment of the Christian and Muslim religious; I sympathize with India here. I never like to see the Holy Rovers coming to my door to save me from eternal damnation, and always pretend that no one is at home. The proselytizers have a way of infuriating anyone. The Muslim world certainly has nothing to complain about in this regard. I wonder how the Christian proselytizers would make out in Al Riyadh or Medina or Mecca.

Of course I don’t condone cruel treatment of anyone, and support religious freedom for all. But they should have the good sense to keep it private, and not try to force it on those who don’t want to hear it. India should make it illegal as does Saudi Arabia and enforce the law through the courts.

As for human rights violations, neither of you have grounds for complaint about that. Either of you will be the proverbial “pot calling the kettle black”.

Your property line dispute seems trivial indeed compared to the Palestinian problem. At least the Brits didn’t export hundreds of thousands of Zionist invaders to take over your land, throw the native population into horrid refugee camps, and hog 80% of the available water supply which was already in short supply. At least Kashmir is in one of the world’s best agricultural regions I believe.

Thanks again for the posts.

lonewolf :

ABSOLUTE TOTAL CHAOS!! and the end of any meaningful representative rule for the people there. when american boots hit the ground in the spring, the outlook for any type of peace for the people of pakistan will be extinguished. it will be total all out warfare "insurgency style", and american spec-ops forces will be cut to ribbons. and musharraf will most likely be dead before then. it will be a nightmare that will make iraq look like the "slam-dunk" it was supposed to be..



No blood feud, just hoping you ll read for yourself and then be informed, rather than go by what MikeB says. As to your Government, they have till recent times weighed in on the side of Pakistan, cold war history and all that. And now your Govt is fully sucked in the latest crisis in Pakistan. And with the Indian and US Govts inching towards becoming allies, we wouldnt be needing any enemies. I just hope we wont become a major non nato ally like Pakistan.



No blood feud, just hoping you ll read for yourself and then be informed, rather than go by what MikeB says. As to your Government, they have till recent times weighed in on the side of Pakistan, cold war history and all that. And now your Govt is fully sucked in the latest crisis in Pakistan. And with the Indian and US Govts inching towards becoming allies, we wouldnt be needing any enemies. I just hope we wont become a major non nato ally like Pakistan.



No blood feud, just hoping you ll read for yourself and then be informed, rather than go by what MikeB says. As to your Government, they have till recent times weighed in on the side of Pakistan, cold war history and all that. And now your Govt is fully sucked in the latest crisis in Pakistan. And with the Indian and US Govts inching towards becoming allies, we wouldnt be needing any enemies. I just hope we wont become a major non nato ally like Pakistan.



No blood feud, just hoping you ll read for yourself and then be informed, rather than go by what MikeB says. As to your Government, they have till recent times weighed in on the side of Pakistan, cold war history and all that. And now your Govt is fully sucked in the latest crisis in Pakistan. And with the Indian and US Govts inching towards becoming allies, we wouldnt be needing any enemies. I just hope we wont become a major non nato ally like Pakistan.



No blood feud, just hoping you ll read for yourself and then be informed, rather than go by what MikeB says. As to your Government, they have till recent times weighed in on the side of Pakistan, cold war history and all that. And now your Govt is fully sucked in the latest crisis in Pakistan. And with the Indian and US Govts inching towards becoming allies, we wouldnt be needing any enemies. I just hope we wont become a major non nato ally like Pakistan.

Prof. zubairi :

Benazir Bhutto did not deserve to die for American interests. Who is burying democracy where ?I wonder if you realize the doctrine of democracy involved in this Pakistan saga. Benazir’s 19 year old son and her husband inherit the leadership of the party without a single vote cast in their favor. The husband and the son inherit the leadership from Benazir who inherited it from her mother who inherited it from her husband Bhutto who came into power via a Martial Law of General Ayub Khan. More than this the joke is American democrats endorsing this in the name of democracy same as they endorse Hosni Mubarak’s son inheriting democracy in Egypt. Wake up George Orwell- some democrats are more equal than others and beware of this American export.

MikeB :

Written eyewitness history is such an uncomfortable thing, isn't it? There are any number of books written about India's denying their Muslim minority the right to vote, their children a place in public schools, or Muslim's holding any public sector job. Those, unfortunately for you, are the documented history of Indian occupation of Kashmir. (and, I might note, we haven't even begun to discuss Indian involvement in creating Bangledesh). Worse, this isn't ancient history. Bigotry, hatred, intolerance, and violence against the Christian and Muslim minority exists right up to the present day all over India. One legacy of that history, well documented, has been that it gave rise to the Taliban, Ansar Al Islam, Al Qaida and several other radical Islamic groups. This U.S. was forced into Afghanistan, by the way, when Al Qaida attacked us and when the Taliban gave them santuary and aide. I blame India and Indian treatment of the very same Pastune people thqat live in Kashmir and eventually formed the Taliban and provide most recruits for Al Qaida today.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for the interesting posts. It sounds like you and MikeB have a blood feud going here, not unlike the Israelis and Palestinians. God help us; I only hope my government doesn’t jump in on one side of the other.

BobL-VA :


When Bill Clinton lied about sex with Monica I shook my head and said, "what a creep." I know he wasn't the first man on this planet to lie about extra-martial affairs and he won't be the last. That's not an excuse for a President of the United States. We should hold them to a higher standard then Joe Construction worker in Peoria. Sitting back and listening to the James Carvelles of the world try to dance around the issue of Clinton nauseated me. Political shills don't have a clue what truth is. They only care about promoting their party at the expense of truth. Basically, they are in the business of blowing smoke up our butts and, thank you, I already have enough of my own.

This same type of shillish behavior is also exhibited daily by the Hannity & Combs and the Limbaugh's of the world. It's strictly about promoting a party and slamming the opposition. Truth be damned. I find this behavior as nauseating as I find it when democratic pundits engage in it. I don't buy it from the democrats and I don't buy it from the conservatives. I'm sure I've never believed a single word that came out the mouths of a Carvelle or Limbaugh. (Anyone who wants to take offense at my next statement help yourself) If it weren't for really uneducated ignorant people none of these shills would have an audience. That's who they play to. Frankly, I have more respect for cockroaches then I do for shills.

I have consistently attacked GW because I firmly believe he has been a terrible President. I have not attacked him becuase he is a republican. I've attacked him becuase I think he has been the most inept lying deceptive and probably criminal president in our country's history. I liked many things about Ronald Reagan. I didn't go around saying Reagan was the most inept lying deceptive and probably criminal president in our history. I thought Jimmy Carter was a nice man, but a bad president. I thought Bush Sr. was a good man, but failed to grasp the importance of the American economy and that ultimately cost him re-election. I thought Clinton was a good president, but not a good man. His moral fiber was obviously formed in an alley with a bunch of stray tom cats. Political affiliation has nothing to do with my forming an opinion of a president and it shouldn't.

Nobody, but a shill, can challenge the following facts:

1. Iraq didn't have WMD's
2. OBL is still on this planet
3. We started a civil war in Iraq
4. Hundreds of thousands of people have died
5. Contrary to "we do not torture," we do according to the definitions of torture by the Geneva Conventions.
6. Katrina was a debacle for the administration (one of my personal favorite quotes, "You're doing a heck of a job Brownie.")
7. The Harriet Miers for Supreme Court, Gonzales for Attorney General and Rumsfield at Defense were fiasco's.

There's so much more, but I think you should be able to see a pattern of incompetence here. It has nothing to do with party affiliation. It has everything to do with being unfit for the position. Any president can and will make mistakes while in office. That's inevitable, but not one major blunder after another. He has established a clear pattern of poor judgment and that alone should cause anyone to question his decisions.

While it is rare I'm ever interested in current quotes posted on this thread I am interested in your point of view. I want to know what Tom Wonacott thinks. I already know where to go to read the republican talking points and positions.



To claim that India is the root cause of Al Qaeda is ridiculous. Indian troops are not on ground in Saudi Arabia but American troops are. The main aim of Al Qaeda is the overthrow of the Saudi ruling family and establishing an Islamic caliphate which will hark back to the days of their Prophet. Your remark is way way off the base here. As to the other Islamic terrorist groups which you refer to, are products of the Pakistani Intelligence agency ISI to wage low level intensity war against India in our state of Jammu & Kashmir. Yes, the same state which the Pakistanis invaded in 1948. As to Indian and British perfidy in colluding with the Maharajah of J&K for its accession to India is a lot of hot air. The Pakistanis could not wait for him to decide and invaded his kingdom, so he acceded to India and we defeated the Pakistani invaders. And that is the genesis of the Kashmir problem. Nehru our then PM, even went foolishly to the UN and yes there is to be a plebisite for J&K, which will take place provided Pakistan withdraws its troops from POK. A fat chance of that happening. Over the next 60 years, the ethnic mix of POK (yes it is Pakistani Occupied Kashmir) has changed to reflect the Punjabi majority of most Pakistanis. Nominally there is a Prime Minister of Azad Kashmir as Pakistan calls it. But, in reality it is a sham and the military commander of the area is the absolute authority. In India, however, J&K was guaranteed a special status, Art. 370 of the Indian constitution and prohibition on non-Kashmiri Indians from owning property in that state. All workings of an ideology bent on destroying Muslim culture and heritage. So much so that in the 90s because of the terrorism against India in J&K, the hindu population of the state had to flee and become refugees in their own country. Yet, we havent changed the constitution or the prohibition on non-kashmiris owning land in J&K. Yes, there were rigged elections in the state in the mid 80s. However, the last state election was adjudged to be the most free and fair. [The Election Commission of India a govt. body which oversees all state and federal elections is a highly respected body and the 2000 US elections wouldnt have been mired in controversy if the EC of India was in charge of conducting it. Imagine close to 400 million people voting in a free and fair election, the logistical undertaking and the organization it takes is astounding.] A fact that cannot be ignored and is wantonly ignored in POK routinely. The suppression of human rights of indigeneous people of POK by Pakistani Military is not very well known by the outside world. The terrorism nurtured, fostered and actively driven by ISI in J&K was due to the diversion of hardened veterans of anti-Soviet jihadis after the Afghan war was over in 89. So for us in India, we suffered the blowback of Western folly of cutting Afghanistan loose after victory in 89 for close to ten years and still do. To add to the folly, Western Governments especially US Govt, looked upon it with a sort of benign neglect thinking, that the terrorism would never affect them. How wrong were they when 9/11 did happen. Do not forget too, the ignominy of Pakistan having to lose one half of its country after its army undertook genocide in erstwhile East Pakistan in 1970/71. Killing millions of its own citizens mostly Bangalee muslims and lots of hindus. A blot on humanity. And Zia Ul Haq was used by the King of Jordan in 1970 to suppress and kill hundreds of Palestinians. Ah yes, all Indians and Hindus in disguise. The cowardice of the Pakistani Army can be gauged by the fact that in 1999 over the frozen battle grounds of Kargil, it was the Indian soldiers who buried the dead Pakistani soldiers with the respect they so deserved as warriors worthy of respect. Their own officers had abandoned them and refused to own up that they were Pakistani soldiers.
As to your assertion that Muslims are denied education and jobs in India, is simply mis-information at the best or wilful spreading of lies at the worst. Yes, there are issues related to Indian Muslims as there are issues related to a whole host of communities in India. We debate them openly in our press and media. All sorts of opinions exist but the constitution of India guarantees equality to all. And that is working, may not be at maximum efficiency but it is working and will only get better with increased literacy and liberalization of the economy. The young people of all communities understand is the economy stupid (to use a Clinton quote). I will not shy away from the problems of hindu-muslim riots, Gujarat riots which incidentally happened because of burning of 59 hindu pilgrims alive in railway compartment by muslims and yes the destruction of the babri masjid at Ayodhya. The issues in that are complex and will reserve them for another mail. As they say in cannot clap with one hand and the culpability of riots lies on both sides in different degrees.


Hope you have an Indian's perspective on things in our region and you will come to your own conclusions by reading a lot of material that is out there in cyberspace and in print as well.

Tom Wonacott :

Victoria and Rick

Thanks for your posts. I enjoy "listening" to you two discussing the issues back and forth. Not many "countries" would want to see the Americans at their back door, but there are many people in the world that would love to be liberated from oppressive societies - no matter who did the dirty work (Victoria post, December 30, 4:14 PM).

If we picture the world 500 or 1000 years into the future, I can see the breakup of the current nations in a similar fashion as the former Yugoslavia to form smaller nation-states like Kosovo and Bosnia. There are secessionists all over the world that will use that model. It has been suggested for Iraq. A couple of examples include the Basque and the Kurds, and there are many more.

JRLR and MikeB

The book I read about Chavez is interesting. Chavez considers that the free trade acts exploit the poor and especially the poor native people of South America. Basically, he is opposed to globalization in the current format. That must bring tears of joy to your eyes Mike. If you both haven't already read the book, its worth reading as it shows Mr. Chavez in a different light ("Hugo Chavez" Nicolas Kozloff).

Thanks for your post, JRLR. The truce was mind boggling - not the truce itself, but the return to fighting after the truce.



That's right the christian missionaries are completely blameless in using poverty to convert the infidel hindus(not people of the book)to christianity. India or specifically Hindu kings in the past have given sanctuary to Jews and Parsis when they fled persecution in Europe/Middle East at the hands of Christians and Muslims respectively. Because of our blood thirsty nature, we gave sanctuary to the Dalai Lama as he and his followers fled the Chinese invasion of his country Tibet in 1959.
Please check the virulent hate which the Baptist missionaries from USA are spreading in India and demonizing Hinduism. Akin to a guest slapping and insulting his host. The Pope comes to India and has the audacity to talk about Hindus as human fodder to be harvested for Christianity. Disgusting and then you wonder why the non-proletysing religions of the Indian subcontinent (yes Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism) react so badly. BJP has asked for a parliamentary debate on religious conversion in India, but none of the other parties want that for the sake of the protecting their vote banks. By all means propagate your religion the constitution guarantees it in India. But do not use subterfuge and respect the spirit and not take undue advantage of people's economic state to increase your numbers.

The Church in India (there are various denominations) havent yet addressed these grave issues of concern and until and unless they agree it is a problem and work with Hindu representatives, the violence unfortunately will continue as a way to force the other party to acknowledge and come to an understanding. The respect Indian religions have for other religions is being misused and flung back in our face and that i believe is the crux of the problem.

mohammad allam :

Pakistani politics is like the cricket team of pakistan.No one can predict what will be next?Pakistan came out from many such debackle in the past.let hope better as it will be not loss of pakistan but an era of anarchy in south Asia.and when this will happen no one will save himself from burnt.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

December 31, 2007

Opposition Parties Vow to Proceed With Jan. 8 Election

“NAUDERO, Pakistan — Three days after the violent killing of its leader, Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s largest political party on Sunday picked her 19-year-old son to succeed her as chairman and vowed to forge ahead with elections next week, immediately creating a new quandary for the government about whether to delay the vote.”

Let’s hope he stays away from greeting the public. Television and radio are good enough.


Tom, Bobl…

I appreciate that fundamental kindness and the reconciliation mood one can feel in your respective posts, not to mention the occasional touch of humour.

What a peculiar trio we have become!

Reminds me of those three lieutenants (British, French and German – you decide which one each of you prefers to be…) who once met in a no-man’s land, in 1914, to agree on a 24-hour festive special truce which saw thousands of troops, on the Western Front, temporarily lay down their arms and meet to exchange gifts and shake hands.

I suggest we follow their example. I therefore unilaterally declare that truce in effect as of now.

Happy New Year to both of you, and all the best in 2008!

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for the reference; that will give me something interesting to read next week. I will also look for some more unbiased reading material. That is amazing. I’ve been so conditioned to believe that it is all about our military footprint in the Middle East and our support of Israel, that I must admit I can’t believe what you are telling me. However, I will keep an open mind until I do some more reading.

This statement is particularly hard to accept:

“Remove India from illegally occupying Kashmir and *most* of the underpinning for radical Islam would disappear.”

Surely you jest. The Zionist illegal invasion and occupation of Palestine, plus our illegal preemptive invasion and occupation of Iraq, and continued occupation of Afghanistan provides plenty of underpinning for radical Islam for many years to come.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Hi Victoria,

I agree with you. Tom is no bigot but he sure has some bigoted heroes, like Bush and Cheney. Of course he doesn’t see it that way; he’s just a good Republican loyalist.

Although I’m a loyal Democrat, I have to agree with Tom; they often let me down. Their blind support of Israel is the first thing to spring to mind. Their selfish support for lobbyists, who help them remain in office way too long, comes next to mind. What we really need is public financing of elections and the end of lobbyists in my opinion.

I’ve enjoyed following the discussion of “Good War/Bad War”. I usually agree with BobL and JRLR on most issues, but on this one I partly agree with Tom. We must defend ourselves when attacked, but the response must make sense.

Our initial invasion of Afghanistan was correct I think, to rout out Al Qaeda (agree with Tom here). Unfortunately, our incompetence allowed him to escape. But we stayed too long and are trying to mold the country to suit our tastes (disagree with Tom here). We should have left long ago and left Afghanistan to the Afghanis.

Our invasion of Iraq was an obvious mistake in hindsight (disagree with Tom here). Tom is wrong to call Democrats hypocritical for voting for the war initially but opposing it now. Most people (excluding Barrack Obama and me) thought the war was right at the time based on the faulty intelligence being presented by the administration and other national intelligence agencies. Barrack would be more credible if he had been in the Senate with credible presidential aspirations at the time he voiced his opposition. He had little at stake for taking his position as a state senator in Illinois. It would have been political suicide for Hilary to vote no.

In my case, I admit to being a bit of an idealistic maverick. I opposed the invasion of Iraq, even though I was sure at the time that Saddam had chemical weapons and was trying to go nuclear. I just felt that if we (and Israel) had WMD, then what grounds do we have to deny them of anyone else? I still feel that way.

Anyway, enough said, thanks for letting me ramble if anyone is listening.

MikeB :

RICK JONES, FREDERICKSBURG, VA - He has and so has the Taliban. The press over here, and the BBC, simply don't print it because it doesn't meet with their view of Indian's being "western" and the Muslim's being the bad guys. Al Qaida, Ansar Al Islam, the Taliban, all consider India to be at the very core of their problems. They (rightfully so) blame the British for creating the problem in the first place and the U.S. for continuing those policies. Remove India from illegally occupying Kashmir and *most* of the underpinning for radical Islam would disappear. If you want some interesting reading, read about the partition of India and Pakistan, how the British and Indian's got a Hindu prince Hari Singh appointed as the ruler of Kashmir when the U.N. wanted to hold a plebiscite and invited Indian troops to invade Kashmir. That plebiscite was never held and the Muslim leaders of Kashmir were murdered in cold blood by the Indian occupiers. Here is Department Of State white paper on some of this and, even though it is heavily slanted in favor of India, it will give you an idea:

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Actually, I think that Ben Laden is angrier at the U.S. and Israel over our armed forces in the Arabian Gulf countries and our reprehensible treatment of the Palestinians. I never hear him rant about India.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Thanks for the interesting post. I had no idea India is like that. I’ll have to start reading more. I thought they were a good ally.

You know, Bush wanted to strike a deal of some type with India on nuclear power issues, but India backed away from it, I thought, because the Muslim population wanted nothing to do with any type of cooperation with the U.S. I always thought that the Hindus (like the Bhudists) were very open minded and tolerant of other religions. I guess I had that wrong.

conscience-to-the-world :

To: Mr. Musharrad

Your future is over! the death of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto is the toll for you now! Your creditability with all Pakistan citizens is null! and this is the time for you to find either a coffin to stay inside or a hidden cave to hide yourself! All people in pakistan will come to get you similar to Saddam Hussein in Iraq!
In other words, your future is gone caused by your own mistake!
Tomorrow will tell you your unwanted outcome! it could be nasty as you might never want to see!

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Glenn Zagger,

Good post @ December 28, 2007 3:22 PM; thanks for the primer on Pakistani politics and society.

I like your approach:

“Droning a wedding party causes some Yemini cab driver to go to Iraq and suicide bomb some infidels or heretics. Fix the problems, recognize local borders and work with the people.”

MikeB :

It may sound strange, but I am more concerned about India than I am of any Islamic country. We have much more in common with Muslims than we do with the scramble of nonsense: Hinduism. Islam, other than a few nut cases, but we have them, too, has similar views of morality, concern for the poor and sick, and God. It is small wonder that our own ruling elite shovel millions of jobs off to India, receive million of dollars of campaign money from them (Clinton), and have sold this people of this country of the idea of India being an ally. The elite here and India have very similar ideas about morality... or the lack of same. If we really wanted to do something about terrorists, we would demand that India get out of Kashmir and treat their own religious minorities, especially Christian and Muslims, with respect. And, I want you to note that Hindu's are murdering Christian's as I write this. Mobs in BHUBANESHWAR, India, have been burning Christian homes and churches, raping Christian women, butchering men and boys simply because they are Christian's. Multiply this by ten thousand fold for Muslims, where people cannot even vote or attend public schools and you can start to get the idea. India is THE ROOT CAUSE of Al Qaida and most other Islamic global terrorist organizations. Those groups formed for self defense and in reaction to the barbaric treatment Muslims have had at the hands of India.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :


Good post @ December 28, 2007 11:52 AM:

“You want to spark Armageddon? That [any aggression against Pakistan] will do it. It won’t just be an attack on India or Western forces in Afghanistan, either. It will spark the nuclear armament of every Arab/Islamic country in the world.”

Good point, but that is just a matter of time (and not much of it) anyway don’t you think? The Islamic country of Pakistan will feel obliged to help its fellow Islamic countries who are being bullied by the U.S and Israel, and we won’t have a moral leg to stand on to deny them. If we and Israel aren’t willing to give up our nukes, then we don’t have much to say about anyone else acquiring them. And then it won’t take long for nukes to find their way into the hands of Al Qaeda. We can thank no one but ourselves for our bully boy tactics while we happen to have the world’s most powerful military.

conscience-to-the-world :

To: Pakistani people

Musharrad is the man who smartly used terrorists to kill Mrs. Benazir Bhutto!
If not this bad guy must support all needed demands as police forces and bodyguars to protect her!
This bad guy wants her to die in the hands of muslim terrorists and he will have morce chance to win in the coming election without valuable competitor!
There are so many ways to do harms to Mrs. Bhutto and this treachous plan is the worst one! and all the blame this bad guy can point to the muslim terrorists that are the active devastators and Musharrrad is the passive silent killer or devastator that has hidden in the darkness!

In other words, Musharrad let Mrs. Benazir Bhutto walked slowly into her death! as shown!
Any question asked?

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

BobL – VA,

Excellent post @ December 28, 2007 9:31 AM:

“I suggest you start looking for alternatives to military action since we neither have the money, the stomach or a sufficient lack of morality to wipe out all the Muslims who disagree with us.”

I agree with your aversion to military adventurism in general. Our unnecessary preemptive invasion and occupation of Iraq has been a disaster, and our unconditional support for Israel’s atrocities in Palestine is a national disgrace.

However, since the premise is another 911 style attack, coupled with “reliable” intelligence that the culprits are holed up at a known location in NW Pakistan; then I could support a short operation modeled after the initial Afghanistan invasion.

The flip side of that is that Al Qaeda has learned a lesson and is not nearly as revealing of its whereabouts as it was in Afghanistan with its highly visible training camps. We don’t have a clue of its precise location in NW Pakistan, or even if it is really there. So given that, you are right, a U.S invasion is highly unjustified. A key qualifier from President Obama was the availability of “actionable” intelligence. That term will have a much different meaning in his administration than in the current U.S. regime.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA :

Tom Wonacott:

Excellent post at December 28, 2007 8:38 AM; I agree with your conclusions.

“Bhutto was right on the money. Unfortunately, she had to die to get across her points:

1. Terrorist must be challenged and,

2. Musharraf must stand aside and allow democratic rule to return to Pakistan.”

However, if Musharraf doesn’t stand aside, I hope we don’t take upon ourselves to force him out, and I don’t think that we would.

Also, if we do have another 911 type attack, and President Obama decides to invade NW Pakistan to wipe out Osama Ben Laden and friends, let’s hope that his field commander is more competent than President Bush’s who sat back and let him escape at Tora Bora.

Also let’s hope that they have the good sense to do the job and be gone; i.e. don’t hang around and try to install a puppet government favorable to the U.S. as in Afghanistan.

Note that I’m way behind on my reading, but I’ll catch up with you soon.


tom- at this point, i think its fair tosay this administrations actions can be considered bigoted.
im notcalling you a bigot mind you- but definitely this admin.

its not a matter of supporting regimes -
its a matter of bullying people around the world

"If the US supports a regime, you are against it (Israel, Pakistan). If a regime stands up to the US, chances are you will post positively for that country, or at least refrain from posting negatively (Venezuela, Iran, China) Forget the human rights record of those countries."

really you must have known some deomcrats, or liberals of some questionable moral fibre and intelligence if that is what youve learned.

the US only intervenes for its own self interest

thats it-

any examples of pure humanitarianism?

if we were intervenig as humanitarians wed be sending engineers with blueprints (to rebuild for the PEOPLE THAT NEED IT- not to take over the resources of the locals)instead of soldiers with hi tech gadgets that allow them to kill without seeing the face of their "enemy"

if israel were our ally, they would send troops to help us- but dont


now im rethinking any support for chavez, as it seems hes trying to install himslef as more of a king that populist leader at this point, but time will tell.

who ever says, in the world, "yay! here come the americans! and they have guns!
freeeedom for all!!!" ?

anyone? anywhere?

Tom Wonacott :


The interesting thing about politics is that most people including Chomsky, Pilger, you and I are usually blinded by what we want to believe. We read books and articles that support our arguments. You, for example, couldn’t even give (any) credit to what the US accomplished in WWII, and, in fact, you berated the American effort, so the reality is that I have never expected anything but criticism directed at US policy under almost all circumstances. You have never disappointed.

If the US supports a regime, you are against it (Israel, Pakistan). If a regime stands up to the US, chances are you will post positively for that country, or at least refrain from posting negatively (Venezuela, Iran, China) Forget the human rights record of those countries. It doesn‘t appear to matter. At about the same time as the US was putting the Shah into power (which I have heard about on numerous occasions), China invaded a sovereign nation and has occupied it ever since (committing religious genocide against the Tibetan people). I expect nothing but the same no matter how much we discuss the issues, but the discussions, at least from my point of view, are far from pointless, as I learn quite a lot from what your post. In addition, I have learned from many posters on this site, while I disagree with most of them.

Am I any different? Not really. I support the US and our allies (like Israel) nearly constantly (despite human rights abuses). I generally post against Iran (especially), Venezuela and China, although I read a book about Chavez recently that changed my perception of him somewhat (Hugo Chavez by Nicolas Kozloff). I try to picture the world without the US and can visualize the positive US role in the world (past and present) despite some obviously dumb decisions.

Will I agree with Pilger? No doubt on many issues, he is probably difficult to dispute (as is Chomski and others), however, I am certain that I will draw entirely different conclusions on Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Israel than Pilger, you and BobL .


“…He's kind of like a nice Rush Limbaugh…”

Thanks for the complement, but I try to stay away from the pills (except flomax)

“…Bush says Muslims bad and need to die. So, Tom says Muslims bad and need to die…”

My wife gave me a coffee cup for Christmas. A definition of “bigot” is written on the cup.

Bigot - a conservative winning an argument with a liberal.

If you are implying that I am a bigot, then I completely reject your statement. If, however, you are implying that I tow the party line, then fine. I don’t care. It appears to me that these kind of statements just result from frustration because they are not an argument against anything I’ve said. Why I frustrate you is beyond me. You post with more common sense than anyone on this site. As an example, your first post on the current question is inarguable and right on the money. I read your post constantly and greatly respect your opinion (as do most people on this site who regularly post). What else can you do?

I apologize if exposing Democratic hypocrisy has offended you - but that is exactly what it should do.

Thanks to you both for your posts.

BobL-VA :


It's interesting to watch you interact with Tom. I've tried over the past year and have failed miserably. He is a die hard republican who will selectively quote conservative dogma and take ridiculous pot shots at democrats. He's kind of like a nice Rush Limbaugh. However, any attempt to elicit anything other then republicans are good and democrats are bad is an exercise in futility. Bush says Muslims bad and need to die. So, Tom says Muslims bad and need to die. Bush says we don't torture so Tom says we don't torture. No one will ever accuse Tom of letting facts and reason get in his way of supporting Bush or bashing democrats.



You know something, for some reason I much prefer it when you quote the Socialist Worker, than The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal...

This is by no means a contest as to who will throw the last (and longest) quote at the other but, alas, you did not complete your/Pilger's outstanding: "They’d like to drop bombs on people, but they don’t want anyone hurt…"

Allow me to reproduce what follows it. I just wish we could both agree on Pilger's conclusion:

"We’ve surely reached the stage where we don’t have to put up with this nonsense any more. There’s one central truth that is neither liberal nor conservative nor anything really. It’s just right and humane. And that’s that there was no justification for the killing of innocent people in New York, and there is no justification for the killing of innocent people anywhere.

The attack on Afghanistan is entirely racist because it’s saying that only the deaths of one set of civilians are abhorrent. The deaths of other civilians are acceptable. That’s the double standard that we’ve had to take as long as I can remember.

And I don’t think that people are taking it anymore. I think that throughout the world--though it may not look like this in the United States--the double standard is now being exposed...

I think it’s significant that in most of the world, according to Gallup International, public opinion is, and has been, against the attack on Afghanistan." ("John Pilger on Washington’s war crimes") ***

As that was published on December 7, 2001, the message that "there is no justification for the killing of innocent people anywhere" was obviously not heeded by the United States, in the case of Iraq. Why not heed it, next time, when we turn to Iran, to Pakistan... and the day we decide to revisit Palestine, at last, and to get really serious about what has been going on there for much too long already?


Tom Wonacott :


I agree that Ben Franklin was a great American amongst the many great Americans that contributed to the founding of this country. He was a leader in the American drive for independence and convinced the French to help the US in our war against Britain. Yes, he was a great American.

“…So “The New York Times in an editorial dated December 16, 2007 referred to Afghanistan as “the good war””? THAT is impressive!…”

I’ll give you that point. The Democratic Party is very much pro war (Under Clinton - Bosnia, Kosovo and the bombing of Iraq) and the New York Times, in my opinion, is nothing more than a wing of the Democratic party. In addition, the hypocritical Democrats have politicized the war in Iraq for political gain - while voting to go to war. Most Libertarians believe that when it comes to war, there is no fundamental difference between Democrats and Republicans. Maybe John Pilger said it best:

“…“…As for the so-called liberal commentary on the bombing [of Afghanistan], in my lifetime and during my career as a war correspondent, I’ve known no basic difference between the views of those proclaiming themselves liberals and those proclaiming themselves conservatives. In fact, I think you’re more likely to get the truth--or at least a degree of honesty--from conservatives that you don’t get from liberals.
It’s a kind of liberal thinking that wants it both ways. They’d like to drop bombs on people, but they don’t want anyone hurt…”

I must, respectfully, disagree with Pilger's (and many others) simplistic idea that we invaded both countries for oil and gas.

Thanks for the post.

cryingoverspiltmilk :

The peace of the grave is a kind of peace. I agree that WAR, by its very nature, is something every RATIONAL person should avoid like a plague. UNTIL YOU HAVE NO CHOICE! Are there good and bad wars? I believe so. A clear example of a "good" war, in my view, is WW2. In the hope for peace, France and Britain pursued a policy of appeasement which almost led to their total destruction. A "bad" war: well, Iraq is sill going on.

BobL-VA :


What an amazing quote by Franklin, "May we never see another War! for in my Opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace." I've never seen that before, but am glad you brought it our attention.

Wars, by their very nature, are intrinisically bad. Peace, by it's nature, is intrinsically good. What a great starting point in viewing the world.

I firmly believe people who are in contradiction of the above prinicple are bad people and should be held accountable for their actions. Bush and Cheney are prime examples of people who fall into this category and I pray when their terms are up they will be indicted for their war crimes. Saddam was hung on less evidence of law breaking then currently exists with Bush and Cheney. Our elected leaders don't get a free pass to break any law they want whenever they want to cause the death, destuction and torture of other human beings. Even Franklin understood this basic prinicple 300 years ago.



So “The New York Times in an editorial dated December 16, 2007 referred to Afghanistan as “the good war””? THAT is impressive!

Is it the same New York Times that “on August 24, 2006 declared this in an editorial: "If we had known then what we know now the invasion of Iraq would have been stopped by a popular outcry"”?

Is it the same New York Times on whose admission John Pilger had this to say: “This amazing admission was saying, in effect, that journalists had betrayed the public by not doing their job and by accepting and amplifying and echoing the lies of Bush and his gang, instead of challenging them and exposing them. What the Times didn't say was that had that paper and the rest of the media exposed the lies, up to a million people might be alive today. That's the belief now of a number of senior establishment journalists. Few of them—they've spoken to me about it—few of them will say it in public.”?

Not that too many people will care, but it may be worth mentioning that in all likelihood, Benjamin Franklin, one of the most important and influential Founding Fathers of the United States, would have consistently disagreed with the New York Times. *****

1. To Jonathan Shipley/Passy June 10th. 1782.

… I long with you for the Return of Peace, on the general Principles of Humanity. The Hope of being able to pass a few more of my last Days happily in the sweet Conversations & Company I once enjoy’d at Twyford, is a particular Motive that adds Strength to the general Wish, and quickens my Industry to procure that best of Blessings. After much Occasion to consider the Folly and Mischiefs of a State of Warfare, and the little or no Advantage obtained even by those Nations who have conducted it with the most Success, I have been apt to think that there has never been or ever will be any such Thing as a good War or a bad Peace… With the utmost Esteem, Respect & Veneration, I am ever my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately. B Franklin

2. To Sir Joseph Banks/Passy, July 27. 1783/Dear Sir,

… I join with you most cordially in rejoicing at the Return of Peace. I hope it will be lasting, and that Mankind will at Length, as they call themselves reasonable Creatures, have Reason and Sense enough to settle their Differences without cutting Throats: For in my Opinion there never was a good War, or a bad Peace. What vast Additions to the Conveniences and Comforts of Living might Mankind have acquired, if the Money spent in Wars had been employ’d in Works of public Utility. What … Improvements … might not have been obtain’d by spending those Millions in doing Good which in the last War have been spent in doing Mischief! in bringing Misery into thousands of Families, and destroying the Lives of so many Thousands of working People who might have perform’d the useful Labour… Your most obedient and most humble Servant B Franklin

3. To Josiah Quincy, Sr./Passy, Sept. 11. 1783/My Dear Friend,

… I … rejoice with you in the Peace God has blest us with, and in the Prosperity it gives us a Prospect of. …. We are now Friends … with all Mankind. May we never see another War! for in my Opinion, there never was a good War, or a bad Peace. Adieu, & believe me ever, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately… B Franklin

4. To Rodolphe-Ferdinand Grand/Philada. March 5. 1786/Dear Friend,

… I rejoice to hear that the Emperor and the Dutch have accommodated their Differences. Long may the Peace of Europe continue! For I am of Opinion that there never was a bad Peace, or a good War. And I think your Minister, who is so expert in composing Quarrels and preventing Wars, the great Blessing of this Age. The Devil must send us three or four Heroes, before he can get as much Slaughter of Mankind done as that one Man has prevented … My Love to all the good Family and believe me every, my dear Friend, Yours most affectionately B Franklin.

Let us never forget that Benjamin Franklin, while a leader of the Enlightenment, was both careful enough to invent the lightning rod..., and wise enough to become a member of the Club of Honest Whigs... I know, those were times when men of stature were around to be seen. Those men then knew not only “alternatives to military action” (BOBL-VA), but above all what a nation’s grandeur, i.e. its true greatness, stems from.

Thanks, Tom, for providing me with this opportunity to review briefly Franklin’s papers.


Reddigari :

A very sad and disheartening event, though not unexpected. Security seems to have been particularly inefficient. The evil-doers must be feeling encouraged and may be planning further attacks. The thing to do moving forward is to provide effective security to the remaining candidates. Too bad the US cannot, for obvious reasons, provide such protection, but how about an international team of security experts?

stpetepat :

I am very certain that I do not know what will happen next in my own bedroom, much less speculate on what will occur in the sovereign country of Pakistan. I pray that the tragic loss of Ms. Bhutto will lead to civil activism that is peacefully unstoppable and leads to greater freedom and prosperity for the people of that country.
I do know that the world is watching now and the power mad men who would scheme and murder to attain what they laughingly call Inshallah are much more rightfully fearful of conducting their brutality.
Godspeed Benazir, now it is time for you to enlighten Paradise.
St Pete Pat

Tom Wonacott :


Oh, I think its quite rational to believe that if another attack similar to 911 occurred and Bin Laden claimed credit, the President (whoever that might be) would be under pressure to invade northern Pakistan. Last time I checked, northern Pakistan is also the base of operations for the Taliban who we (NATO) are fighting in Afghanistan. Remember?

Even liberals like yourself supported the invasion of Afghanistan and the killing of thousands of (Muslim) civilians because the Taliban “harbored” al-Qaeda. The New York Times in an editorial dated December 16, 2007 referred to Afghanistan as “the good war”. No Bob, hardly irrational thinking. That, of course, doesn’t mean that an invasion would be inevitable, or even possible considering the current military situations in Iraq and Afghanistan - as you pointed out - but that in addion to our political alliance with Pakistan is the reason that I said “under pressure“. I didn’t say “inevitable” or we should nuke northern Pakistan. I was just pointing out that allowing a safe haven for al-Qaeda is a risk. Is that unreasonable? The answer seems obvious.

Yousuf Hashmi :

Bhutto was indeed the only hope in this difficult time of Pakistan.

When the US endorsed and facilitated her return it was definitely the most wise and honest decision taken by the Bush Administration for the future of Pakistan.

I am not an astrologist but I understand that in Chinese astrology 12 years cycle is important. The Pakistan came on existence in 1947. Ayub Khan Dynasty started in 1958 after 11 years; Pakistan lost the war and its east wing in 1971 which is exactly after 24 years. This is the 60th year for Pakistan.

2007 was similar as 1971 for Pakistan. I hope Pakistan will get a new face in 2008. Today after the death of Bhutto no leader is in horizon which can sail out this vessel from the stormy waters but we still believe that our inner structure is so strong that we can safely sail out to calm waters.

2007 was a year when we did not get single good news from Pakistan. But still all is not lost. This year we saw the emergence of civil society which is not corrupt, intelligent and honest to the nation.

Tomorrow when the peoples party top leader ship will have a meeting to out line its future strategy I hope they will take a decision with wisdom and responsibility. I do not see the elections on 8th January as planned but in 3rd week of February on which Peoples Party will take a decisive lead. Mr. Amin Fahim will be the possible next Prime Minister and Asif zardari will be managing the Party affairs.

The role of Army in near future will be limited to its professional duties.

An unbalanced and chaotic Pakistan is not of the interest of any stake holders of this region. I therefore believe that the situation will be corrected on all level.

On 16th December 1971 as an engineering student I was pessimistic and having no hope for the future after completion of my studies. On contrary I had a bright future ahead.

Today on 29th December 2007 I am old enough to have a wiser prediction

Don :

The most fascinating aspect of the Bhutto assassination is the response of the US Empire. Bush et. al. ignore the prime suspect in this crime-Musharraf. There is clearly a move, no doubt orchestrated in Washington, to pin the blame on anyone else. I never cease to be amazed by the amount of effort and energy necessary for the empire to keep its vassal states in line.

PakiSupporter :

Bhutto's assassination is a sad day for Pakistan. People should see that we cannot point fingers and need to come together as a nation and do anything to work against the true problem...
Why aren't we ALL muslims coming together and saying.. Islamic Militants are NOT true Muslims. Why are they corrupting the poor, while their own kids study in societies that they are supposedly "against". We need more Muslims to come out and speak against these radicals, because all they are doing is killing the poor and making life worse for TRUE Muslims all over the world! Members of Al-Qaeda and the Taliban are NOT MUSLIMS!


On 911 the yanks aided by mossad killed 3000 of their own people.

Zia was killed by CIA along with the American Ambassador.

Kennedy was killed by the yank elite itself.

Lincoln was similarly killed by the yanks.

The real terrorism is the european and yank terrir against their own.

The zionists conspired with hitler to kill their own jews.


Taliban would not be motivated to kill Benazir.

Musharraf is their bigger enemy who assisted the americans against
them with tremendous logistical support.

Her brother was killed in Karachi by the MQM. They are the most
callous, irreligious, and secular hardened killers, with no compassion
just like Musharraf. For example, who killed the registrar of the
supreme court, Hamid Raza execution style ?

They are bonded to Musharraf by the Mohajir blood.

Musharraf is a stooge of America. His ONLY son in there and so are
his brothers. He trusts them. He is being tutored personally by
Negroponte. CIA provides free consulting to him and Negroponte
personally tutors him. Ponte went there to tutor Musharraf on how to
handle the JUDICIARY in a machiavellian fashion, by inflicting a
mortal disabling wound , and that is exactly what Mush did.

The zionists and hindu are quietly watching because Mush and MQM
is doing their job and you maintain pin-drop silence when your enemy
is destroying itself.

According to the brainy NEOCONS, from the Ashkenazi or KHAZAR tribe of
Central Asia, the wise and learned authors of the protocols of the
learned elders of zion, the loyal servants of the King and Banker
Rothschild, one of whom Mikhail Khodorkovsky who looted the biggest of
Russian oil and was nabbed like a rat by Honorable Vladimir Putin of
Motherland Russia and the Fatherland, and also the master conspirators
of the Russian revolution and the establishment of the state of Israel
(An Illustrious Resume of ACHIEVEMENTS):

This is the way to handle an islamic nuclear country by making it
crumble from inside by putting a militant minority of biharis (who
were the back-stabbers to their very neighbors and muslim brothers,
the bengalis in 1971 on the basis of language and ethnicity) like the
Kallu Mush, on top of the majority in the country. Being cornered,
they will heartily and mightily fight and destroy each other with
wanton and abandon.

Being cornered, they will heartily and mightily fight and destroy each
other with wanton and abandon, AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, SRI-LANKA is a
proven case of SAVAGE TAMIL HINDU TERROR trained by none other than
the Israeli Mossad and the Indian RAW. Biharis are BECOMING
temperamentally very much like that.

We must stop the transmogrification of the Biharis by reaching out to
them by love and dialogue. Only that could work.

Musharraf and MQM believes that it is their historic opportunity
to setup a Mohajir Caliphate - forever.

The goal of CIA, Mossad, RAW is to create Tamil-Sinhalese
intensity and style hatred in Pakistan, and MQM is the perfect tool.
We must guard against it and resuscitate a hero like Dr A.Q.Khan to
serve as the bridge. It will kill many birds with one stone.

It will kill many birds with one stone.

It will kill many birds with one stone.

Musharraf and MQM dream has no feasibility, but their belief in it
will indeed make the CIA/Mossad/RAW plan not only feasible but

please visit my favorite sites


On 911 the yanks aided by mossad killed 3000 of their own people.

Zia was killed by CIA along with the American Ambassador.

Kennedy was killed by the yank elite itself.

Lincoln was similarly killed by the yanks.

The real terrorism is the european and yank terrir against their own.

The zionists conspired with hitler to kill their own jews.


Taliban would not be motivated to kill Benazir.

Musharraf is their bigger enemy who assisted the americans against
them with tremendous logistical support.

Her brother was killed in Karachi by the MQM. They are the most
callous, irreligious, and secular hardened killers, with no compassion
just like Musharraf. For example, who killed the registrar of the
supreme court, Hamid Raza execution style ?

They are bonded to Musharraf by the Mohajir blood.

Musharraf is a stooge of America. His ONLY son in there and so are
his brothers. He trusts them. He is being tutored personally by
Negroponte. CIA provides free consulting to him and Negroponte
personally tutors him. Ponte went there to tutor Musharraf on how to
handle the JUDICIARY in a machiavellian fashion, by inflicting a
mortal disabling wound , and that is exactly what Mush did.

The zionists and hindu are quietly watching because Mush and MQM
is doing their job and you maintain pin-drop silence when your enemy
is destroying itself.

According to the brainy NEOCONS, from the Ashkenazi or KHAZAR tribe of
Central Asia, the wise and learned authors of the protocols of the
learned elders of zion, the loyal servants of the King and Banker
Rothschild, one of whom Mikhail Khodorkovsky who looted the biggest of
Russian oil and was nabbed like a rat by Honorable Vladimir Putin of
Motherland Russia and the Fatherland, and also the master conspirators
of the Russian revolution and the establishment of the state of Israel
(An Illustrious Resume of ACHIEVEMENTS):

This is the way to handle an islamic nuclear country by making it
crumble from inside by putting a militant minority of biharis (who
were the back-stabbers to their very neighbors and muslim brothers,
the bengalis in 1971 on the basis of language and ethnicity) like the
Kallu Mush, on top of the majority in the country. Being cornered,
they will heartily and mightily fight and destroy each other with
wanton and abandon.

Being cornered, they will heartily and mightily fight and destroy each
other with wanton and abandon, AND MAKE NO MISTAKE, SRI-LANKA is a
proven case of SAVAGE TAMIL HINDU TERROR trained by none other than
the Israeli Mossad and the Indian RAW. Biharis are BECOMING
temperamentally very much like that.

We must stop the transmogrification of the Biharis by reaching out to
them by love and dialogue. Only that could work.

Musharraf and MQM believes that it is their historic opportunity
to setup a Mohajir Caliphate - forever.

The goal of CIA, Mossad, RAW is to create Tamil-Sinhalese
intensity and style hatred in Pakistan, and MQM is the perfect tool.
We must guard against it and resuscitate a hero like Dr A.Q.Khan to
serve as the bridge. It will kill many birds with one stone.

It will kill many birds with one stone.

It will kill many birds with one stone.

Musharraf and MQM dream has no feasibility, but their belief in it
will indeed make the CIA/Mossad/RAW plan not only feasible but

please visit my favorite sites

BobL-VA :

Almost all cases like the Bhutto assassination the initial information will be wrong. There's still conflicting information as to the actual cause of death and we can only guess which entity is responsible for it at this point. We do know the current President of Pakistan, AlQaeda and the Taliban weren't going to shed a tear on her early departure from this planet and are the most likely to have been responsible for the assassination. Time will probably tell.


Back to the logic issues. Richard Nixon once boasted he had reduced poverty in the United States. Technically, he was correct. According to the Federal Government fewer people were deemed to fall below the poverty line. What he failed to mention was with a stroke of a pen his administration had changed the definition of people who met the standard of falling below the poverty line. In this case I think the WP's Fact Checker would have given Nixon about 10 Pinnoco's for deception.

When Bush said, "We don't torture," he was being factually correct. Bush had already abolished the definition of torture prior to saying we don't torture. Hence, if we refuse to define what torture is any longer, it can't exist in a legal sense. I'm sure my republican friends can probably come up with examples of this type of behavior from Democrats as well. Obviously, the Clinton definition of sex would fall under hiding behind strict definitions for the purposes of misleading others. Clinton lied about having sex. Nixon lied about poverty in the US. Bush lied about torture.

conscience-to-the-world :

To The Entire Muslim World:

The death of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto tells the entire muslim world must stand up and go to hunt down all islamic terrorists and hang them high! Al Qaida murderers must be dstroyed and don't leave even a single one survives in this world! due to they are all devils and must live in hell with Satan! This world must never allow to let even a single islamic terrorist to stay alive!
The death of Mrs Benazir Bhutto must be a greatest chance to all Pakistanis to stand up and go hunting down all fanatic and murderous muslim militants, al-Qaidas! Destroy them all or they will destroy Pakistan society! And this is greatest opportunity to get rid of all terrorists in Pakistan by all brave Pakistanis! Do it now to make Mrs Bhutto feels happy in heaven!

glenn zagger :

I think that DI's column on BB today laid out a big truth that most people ignore, Musharraf is not the "Big Enabler" of the Jihadi's. I feel that the problem in Pakistan is the same as in the whole former Brit controlled Indian subcontinent, what should be a couple of dozen countries was let loose as one, then 2, now 3. I feel that the Muslim religion is really the only thing holding the country together. When I was there in '96-98,there were constant reports of fire bombings of Mosques and trains, with the victims being mostly Shiite, I believe, or other 'sects' (as viewed by extremists). 100's die each year in various 'rebellions' driven by religious or national minority issues. Assassinations have been rampant in both Pakistan and India's political history. To blame 'Al Q' for everything is simplistic. Yes there will be connections, but the '6 degrees of separation' concept is reduced to 3 degrees in Pakistan. Anyone who has met any bigwigs in Islamabad has likely met someone that has had contact with high ranking members of the Taliban or 'Al Q'. In the 1990's I was working for a notable Texas ultra-conservative famous for funding right wing causes around the globe. I am sure his meetings in Islamabad put him in contact with associates of radical elements, and psome of the millions he spent on an invest project ended up at least paying some future Jihadis transportation to Afghanistan. That doesn't link him to the Jihadi movements. I am not saying that Islamic radical elements didn't play a hand in BB's assassination, but the issues for her killing and its impact on the future of Pakistan run deeper than that.

For years elements in the intelligence agencies and sections of the military of Pakistan have given support and aid to various factions in Afghanistan, helped the Taliban gain power, aided the fighters in disputed Kashmir, and have spread technology and funds governments and Jihadi groups throughout the Middle East. I am sure that some of this agenda is fueled by fundamentalist ideology. But I strongly feel that many of these intervention are for 'survival' issues related to what is still the biggest threat: India. Whenever I look at a map of Pakistan, I cannot but see a future symmetry if Afghanistan and disputed Kashmir were added. More land plus more people yield better protection against India. Until 9/11 occurred, I thought that Pakistan was going to find a way to annex Afghanistan.

I think that DI's assessment of what BB stood for was fairly accurate. I am just not sure how honest she was. I mean corruption is rampant in all levels of that society, and her husband was likely the biggest crook of all. Can we overlook those types of questions? To a degree yes, because I always felt that she did play a progressive role. A Liberal? A realist who realized that she couldn't change everything? Someone in an arranged marriage to a thief and a crook who caught some bad breaks? Again, I feel that overall she played a progressive role in a country that isn't a failed state, but one that I believe was set for failure due to the effects of Partition, Zia's introduction, and the local version of the Hindu caste system. The bottom of the totem pole appears to be occupied by two potentially volatile groups, the Sindhi and Mohajirs. I think that BB's potential to mobilize the Sindhi streets (at least in the past) posed a problem to some in Islamabad.

I think that given the volatile situation in the country and BB's low security 'meet the people' campaign set her up for assassination for what she represented, because she was a woman (which had to stick in many a craw), she had a 'secular air' about her in a country that would likely end up being a theocracy except for the military.

One big question I have about Pakistan's future concerns the basic setup and various degrees of autonomy found in Baluchistan, Waziristan, NWFP, etc. I would think that many states rights conservatives in the US would cherish those forms of autonomy and independence from the central government. But if our intel says there are some Jihadis at a wedding- the US can just send a drone in with out contacting local leaders? Or the Pakistani army can launch strikes without prior discussion with the local government? Isn't that the same as Castro ordering a hit on JFK? Where is the line drawn when striking at an 'enemy'? I feel that most of the deaths in these blind cross border incidents are innocent civilians (if someones relative is a Jihadi, the entire wedding party deserves to die?) and poor bastards in sandals fighting for their country or religion (the same guys Charlie Wilson saw as heroes).

Look at the roots of the problems and try and solve them. Trace the money and weapons to their sources and deal with them. Killing Jihadis creates Jihadis. Droning a wedding party causes some Yemini cab driver to go to Iraq and suicide bomb some infidels or heretics, Fix the problems, recognize local borders and work wit the people.


"an unfortunate spin i noticed starting yesterday on american media was many started blaming bhutto herself for letting herself get murdrered."

Blaming the victim? That can't be!

Victoria... you are not raising doubts about what is made public by "The Most Trusted Name in News", are you?

We're now even told, by WP's Kayhan Barzegar, that "It does not matter who conducted this criminal act..."!!!

Nevertheless, according to Pakistan's Interior Ministry, "Benazir Bhutto died from a skull fracture suffered when she hit her head against her vehicle..."

Can't you see that in actual fact, that was nothing but "an unfortunate incident"?

You want my honest opinion, Victoria? In all likelihood, that was a suicide in disguise...

(hope I get first prize for that scoop!)


an unfortunate spin i noticed starting yesterday on american media was many started blaming bhutto herself for letting herself get murdrered.

this was reported by wolf blitzer on the progra the situation room yesterday about a "secret email" sent to him, and only to be read in the event of bhuttos death.
"This past October, Benazir Bhutto sent an e-mail to her longtime friend and U.S. spokesman Mark Siegel.

Addressing the danger she faced in her homeland, Bhutto wrote these words. And let me quote them precisely:
"Nothing will, God willing, happen. Just wanted you to know, if it does, in addition to the names in my letter to Musharraf of October 16, I would hold Musharraf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions. And there is no way what is happening, in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides, could happen without him."

At Bhutto's request, Mark Siegel forwarded that e-mail to me the day he received it. That was back on October 26. But he told me I could not report on it unless -- unless Bhutto was killed.



since the US doesnt have a very strong record of self accusation-
and even if they DO accuse themselves, and find themselves non-guilty of a non-defined issue-
oversight cannot come from within the body being investigated- well- it SHOULDNT come from within the investigated

the other thinking people in the world havent abolished their definition of torture-
and would likely be the accusers anyway

like when the world court charged the US with state terrorism in regards to the 60,000 columbians massacred by the US

the US simply withdrew membership 3 days before the they knew the charge would be levied.

so when they were charged, they US said, You cant tell me what to do! you're not the boss of me! (and they put their hands petulantly on their collective hips and stuck out their tongues)

technically, since they withdrew their membership,as they no longer recognized the(conveniently) authority of the world court-
so technically- it was true

otherwise, if an individual commits a crime and doesnt recognize that it is wrong-
the courts can decide they dont possess the ability to make a distinction between right and wrong- (they dont recognize something is a crime)

so i guess, if accused, the US could get off on an insanity plea.


For the record. ***


“GARHI KHUDA BAKSH, Pakistan — The government said al-Qaeda and the Taliban were responsible for her death, claiming it intercepted an al-Qaeda leader's message of congratulation for the assassination.

But many of Ms. Bhutto's furious supporters blamed President Pervez Musharraf's government for the shooting and bombing attack on Bhutto, Musharraf's most powerful opponent...

"We have the evidence that al-Qaeda and Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto," Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said that on Friday, the government recorded an "intelligence intercept" in which militant leader Baitullah Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act."

Mr. Cheema described Mr. Mehsud as an "al-Qaeda leader" who was also behind the Karachi bomb blast in October against Bhutto that killed more than 140 people. Ms. Bhutto had escaped uninjured in that attack.

Mr. Mehsud is regarded as the commander of pro-Taliban forces in the lawless Pakistani tribal region South Waziristan where al-Qaeda fighters are also active…

Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the government had no immediate plan to postpone the Jan. 8 elections…

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington said the agency was trying to determine the validity of a purported claim of responsibility for the attack by al-Qaeda…”


“ISLAMABAD --. Benazir Bhutto died from a skull fracture suffered when she hit her head against her vehicle during a suicide attack, not from bullet wounds, the Interior Ministry said Friday.
Authorities had said on Thursday that she died from bullet fired by a young man who then blew himself up, killing 20 other people. A surgeon who treated her said Friday she died from the impact of shrapnel on her skull.

But later Friday, Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said all three shots missed her as she greeted supporters through the sunroof of her vehicle, which was bulletproof and bombproof.
He also denied that shrapnel caused her death.
Instead, Mr. Cheema said Ms. Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull.

Mr. Cheema showed reporters a videotape of the attack, which showed Ms. Bhutto waving, smiling and chatting with supporters from the sunroof as her car sat unmoving on the street outside the rally. Then, three gunshots rang out, the camera appeared to fall and the tape ended.”

In a nutshell: “we had nothing to do with that assassination.”

As Claud Cockburn put it (quoted by John Pilger):

“Never believe anything until it has been officially denied.”


MikeB :

Atheist, Boston, USA - You just don't get it, do you? Those nuclear weapons? They have been dispersed and several have been hidden for just this eventuality. If some lunatic like Bush or Putin or one of the Clinton's and their band of Indian thugs makes a move for those weapons or a move against Pakistan one or more of those hidden weapons will be USED. You want to spark Armageddon? That will do it. It wont just be an attack on India or Western forces in Afghanistan, either. It will spark the nuclear armament of every Arab/Islamic country in the world. No number of thin horn cowboys like Bush-Cheney-Clinton nor the CIA nor Russia nor India will be able to do a thing to prevent it, either.

BobL-VA :


Have the lessons of history been lost? We're already in Iraq and Afghanistan. We're still rattling sabers over Iran and now you think,

"Another successful al-Qaeda attack against the US similar to 911 will bring pressure on the next US President to invade northern Pakistan."

Tom, why don't we just reinstitute the draft and send a million troops to the ME and invade them all? Oh yeah, 500,000 troops couldn't even secure Vietnam. Well that history lesson couldn't possibly be applicable since it would get in the way of US interests in spanking all those nasty Muslims.

I suggest you start looking for alternatives to military action since we neither have the money, the stomach or a sufficient lack of morality to wipe out all the Muslims who disagree with us.

BobL-VA :


There you go again using logic in a comparison to hatred. Silly you, they have nothing in common.

Can you really blame many Americans who are bombarded 24/7 with news stories about how horrible and unstable the Muslim world is? Remember we can not justify military intervention and overt interference with sovreign countries unless we demonize them. We've done a bang up job of exactly that.

Seeing as you are obviously fond of logic I'll leave you with this question:

Most thinking people acknowledge torture is bad.
The US is a signatory of the Geneva Accords.
The US recently abolished it's definition of torture.
Hence, can the US be accused of torture?

Tom Wonacott :


A victory for terrorism.

This is just the latest power play by radicals (and autocratic dictators) in the Middle East and other Muslim majority states to shape politics by force. Examples include the assassination of Anwar Sadat of Egypt for signing a peace agreement with Israel, the assassination of Rafiki Hariri in Lebanon perpetrated by Syria to undermine democratic rule and impose Syrian control, the coupe conducted by Hamas (supported by Iran) against the PA in Gaza to undermine the peace initiative between Israel and the Palestinians (as well as the Arab League), the assassination of Yatzak Rabin of Israel for signing the Oslo Accords (by a right wing Israeli extremist) and most recently, the assassination of Bhutto by Islamic terrorist.

Radical Islamists based in northern Pakistan have led a revolt against the government of Pakistan which was inflamed by the Red Mosque siege in early 2007. Terrorist sympathetic to the Taliban (Talibanization) have conducted numerous suicide attacks against the government over the past six months. In addition, the Taliban are waging a war against NATO to return to power in Afghanistan. The Taliban are fiercely intolerant and represent everything that Bhutto and the PPP fought against including the complete subjugation of women. Yes, Bhutto represented a threat to the seventh century Taliban and their brand of Islam. For this reason, the assassination was carried out by Islamist(s) sympathetic to the Taliban. People associated with the ISI, which has ties to radical Islamic terrorist organizations including the Taliban, should be investigated as possible accomplices to this crime.

By US standards, Bhutto represented a moderate Islamic leader (certainly, she was an extremist by Taliban standards). The popular Bhutto headed the PPP which is a center left socialist party in Pakistan. She is a pro democracy, pro US formerly twice-elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, and she was the first women to be elected to lead a Muslim state - a radical result in an intolerant part of the world. She understood that Taliban-related terrorism in Pakistan could not be allowed to expand unchallenged yet was probably killed by the same people that were schooled and radicalized in the madrassas of northern Pakistan. Ironically, Bhutto supported the Taliban’s rise in Afghanistan during her reign(s) as Prime Minister. She wrote several articles recently in US newspapers which promised a stand against the terrorist in northern Pakistan. Clearly, Bhutto understood she was in grave danger, but courageously led the charge to replace Musharraf’s dictatorship with democratic rule. When Pakistan returns to elected rule, she will be remembered as one of the catalyst.

The immediate future in Pakistan has not been decided yet. Taliban-style Islamism has flourished in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northern Pakistan. Talibanization has spread south and Pakistan now faces a civil war. Members of al-Qaeda are hidden in the mountains that separate northern Pakistan from Afghanistan, and probably are planning future targets. Presidential candidate Barack Obama’s highly criticized comment “…If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will…" is not far fetched. Another successful al-Qaeda attack against the US similar to 911 will bring pressure on the next US President to invade northern Pakistan.

Major military action should be taken against the Taliban and supporting Islamists in FATA by the Pakistani military. Terrorist have become emboldened by relatively weak military responses to their attacks and acts of intimidation. This probably resulted in the assassination of Bhutto. In a Los Angeles Times article written by Bhutto dated August 30, 2007:

“…Some argue that through cease-fires and peace treaties, one can get the extremists into the mainstream and moderate them. But the experience in Pakistan proves otherwise. Every cease-fire and peace treaty has emboldened the militants and terrorists. Nowhere was this more profoundly demonstrated than during the siege of the Red Mosque in Islamabad this summer.

The militants who holed up in the mosque had tried to impose their own laws over and above the laws of Pakistan. They kidnapped women and police officials. They intimidated and shut down entertainment shops. Their vigilante squads terrorized the women who drove cars in the capital city. Six long months of negotiations with them failed, and a bloody result ensued when the army tried to overcome the mutiny. More than 100 people were killed…”

Bhutto was right on the money. Unfortunately, she had to die to get across her points:

1. Terrorist must be challenged and,

2. Musharraf must stand aside and allow democratic rule to return to Pakistan.


let me try and get this straight conscience-

men are brutal
no argument there

evil deemed valuable
~~~~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
muslim men all dead muslims
(living children?) dead children
(living women) dead women
(living old women?) dead old women
(living old men?) old dead men
muslim men if they die?

entire muslim world? all dead people in muslim

so, im trying to figure it out-
if a muslim dies at the hands of a brutal muslim man- they graduate to being worthy of your outrage and sympathy

prior to that should i assume they havent gained your sympathy yet?

so they are not yet "good"?

thanks for sharing your rules of the universe with us-
it gets difficult judging who to hate passionately
and who deserves our sincere and heartfelt sympathy

(still not quite clear on the status of the living pre-dead muslim men though-

maybe you can clarify how to differentiate between the good potential dead male muslim innocents and the male muslim brutal evil ones?
( o yes, whats the cutoff point for children?)
or should i play it safe and just hate them all?

(except for the innocent ones being mourned)

o wait- that starts the whole cycle all over again doesnt it?

ill just wait for you to tell me who to hate then conscience

halozcel :

1400 years ago,asma bint marwan and today Benazir Butto.No change.

Islam doesnt know what Justice is.
What written in 4.135 is the *islamic justice*,not the justice which based on Human Rights

The islamic justice is the justice of *I divorce you*
The islamic justice is the justice of *Man can take four women*
The islamic justice is the justice of *Two women equals one men*
The islamic justice is the justice of *smite their necks*
Yes,the islamic justice is Burqa.
Yes,the islamic justice is *dogs,donkeys and women...*

conscience-to-the-world :

Muslim World is full with killing, brutality, and barbarous deeds! and worthless illusion and stupidity!
Muslim world is the place brutal men kill women, children, old people!
Where is Mohamded? where is allah? if existing why cannot help these innocents?

Atheist, Boston, USA :

If Pakistan erupts into violence, then an Islamic group may seize the nuclear arsenal and use it to threaten the nations of Southeast Asia. We Westerners need a third party with the guts to either destroy those nuclear weapons or to immediately stabilize the country under martial law.

Who has the guts to conduct this operation? I propose Russian special forces.

Un-marked American planes airlift 30,000 Russian soldiers (of the Russian special forces) into the heart of Pakistan. Washington and Beijing agree to look "the other way" while the 30,000 Russian soldiers have carte blanche to shoot and kill their way to the nuclear arsenal. The Russians then fire all the missiles right into the heart of the Taliban camps, turning them into a mushroom cloud.

Then, the Russians go from door to door to kill every Muslim affiliated with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. This mop-and-clean operation should be complete by the middle of January.

Free elections will be postponed until February 1.

Anonymous :

Benazir Bhutto,Nawaz Sharrif, the lawyers of Pakistan and ousted judiciary, represented the true face of moderate democratic forces in Pakistan. The Musharraf regime has no tolerance for dissent as has been displayed by the brutal killing of Akbar Bugti, the 12 May Karachi massacre by MQM mobsters, the 18 October Karachi massacre of over 120 PPP supporters. On 27 Dec the political rallies of both Benazir and Nawaz Sharrif were subjected to firing. Benazir was assasinated and more than 20 of her supporters were also killed. Four Sharrif supporters were also killed in his political rally. While Musharraf's security apparatus has been shawdowing and harrasing moderate political forces and members of civil society that oppose him, the extremist forces have gained ground. Musharraf is part of the problem. The West is fooled by his Armani suits and his rhetoric, while in reality his tenure has seen rise in terrorism, corruption, inflation, unemployment and lawlessness. He has damaged the institution of judiciary and now threatens the state itself. As long as he is in power with US backing, the people of Pakistan will suffer the violence that has been unleashed by the Mullah, Military & MQM alliance.

cryingoverspiltmilk :

On an otherwise gloomy approach to 2008, one faint light on the horizon: MUSHARAFF'S DAYS ARE NUMBERED! BY THE BY, SO ARE THOSE OF HIS ALLY AND PATRON. ALLAHU AKBAR!

cryingoverspiltmilk :

Radical Islamism, if one may use the term, was created in Pakistan by those who split India on he grounds that they wanted a MUSLIM state. A cursory look at history ought to have made it clear to the proponents of this idea in 1948 that a state based primarily on a religious belief, no matter how fantastic said belief may be, inevitably leads to intolerance. Having sown the wind, by its blind support for Pakistan, America and its allies must be prepared to reap a whirlwind. Iraq and Afghanistan will seem like child's play when Pakistan finally and inevitably implodes. 100 tribal/religious tinpot dictators; each with a nuclear arsenal. Boy, am I glad ha I don't live in India!

tom :

"If this election is not able to calm Pakistan, the UN may have to take the country under its protectorate with the help of the U.S. Marines and other international forces!"

All us good folks is just dyin' to help y'all! Got oil??

Just Wait :

شي ول بيٹ ديم

(Did I get the translation right?)

It isn't who you think; but, you will figure it out soon enough.

tom :

Pakistan has no future. It will either be swallowed up by the Taliban/al-Quaeda/Islamic fundamentalist movement or be overwhelmed by its nuclear ally, the United States, or by its nuclear opponent, India. Another major success of the Bush Administration: are we dancing in the streets yet?

shrek :

It is worst than Iraq/Afghanistan/Iran/North Korea

Pakistan Army and Police is working for Taliban&Co. Taliban&Co is working for Al-Qaida&Co. Al-Qaida&Co is working for God.

Mushraff is the CEO of Terrorist Inc. in an Armani Suite. He pretends to have switched sides, for what 12 billion $ of aid over 5 years. He and his ISI were caught red handed after 911, with no other choice he signed on to play pretend game for a pay than get bombed. All the weapons he bought with this aid are all to fight India not terrorism. After all he and ISI are Terrorism inc. ISI is comprised of Pakistan military officers moon lighting through. Point being Pak military and ISI are also connected. What he really wants? To Islamize south Asia in the long run, a reason why pakistan itself was created ,and in short run control of Afghanistan directly or its proxy Taliban.
The only confusing part is how this is in US interests.

US had just given $250 millions in aid to Pakistan (No Wire transfer FEE!). Is that proves something? Bush & Binladen are Friends by birth!!

Pakistan is a Nuclear Time Bomb in waiting. I think that the timer is getting very closer and closer....

cryingoverspiltmilk :

Pakistan is a failed state; it failed almost immediately it came into existence. The U.S. and the west have allowed short termism to drive there policies. Of course, one can hardly blame a president or PM whose time in office is determined by short term political considerations, but the fact is that short term considerations will always lead to long term disaster. The unthinking attitude of the White House regarding Iran would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The problem is not Iran, its Pakistan, and the so called ally, Musharraf. A country that already has nuclear weapons, and where large areas are completely ungovernable, boy.............

lorenzo :

amazing..Bush so worry about the not yet existents iranians atombombs..and now..we are near to offer atombombs to the fanatics talibans in Pakistan..
if was not so tragic...LOL

MikeB :

This is going to mkae thing "dicy" for the U.S. A lot of people, I note, are sitting back, treating this as if it were another "terrorist" incident. It isn't. Mussarif will either be overthrown as a result of this or he or some other military leader will be emplaced with U.S. support, placing Pakistan under a rigid dictatorship. The problem is with all of those nuclear weapons. The street rumors in Pakistan are that India and the U.S. will attempt to seize them, but radical and nationalist elements of the military have already hidden some. If the U.S. moves in with India, they will use them against Indian and/or U.S. interests. They might even use them if a U.S. propped up dictatorship is emplaced. Also, our Presidential primary even has a part to play. The Clinton's, both of them, are viewed in Pakistan as in the pocket of Indian business interests and they hated and feared. A Clinton "victory" in next weeks Iowa caucus is going to be viewed as a slap in the face and will further radicalize nationalist elements in Pakistan. And, forget just Al Qaida. Pay close attention to a little known group named Ansar Al Islam, which is Kashmiri, but has close ties to some radical Islamic Kurdish groups. If the Turk's continue to bomb Kurdistan, if we make any mis-steps, things just might blown up in everyone's faces. This just might mark the beginning of World War III. Ho, ho, ho. Happy New Year.

suresh :

Problem is Pakistan is not fit for democracy either. Let us not forget that it was democratic governments of Pakistan that created and nurtured Taliban movement and installed Taliban government in Afghanistan. It was democratic government of Pakistan that facilitated Osama bin Laden’s relocation from Sudan to Afghanistan. One of the first acts of Benazir Bhutto after coming to power in late 1988 was to approve sharing of Pakistan’s nuclear technology with Libya. Nawaz Sharif met Osama bin Laden atleast three times in Saudi Arabia. Nawaz Sharif pleaded with Osama to contribute to his election campaign in Pakistan. Sharif told Osama that Sharif was a ‘jehadi’ also but Osama told Sharif that Sharif was not a true hardline ‘jehadi’. Nonetheless Osama contributed 500 million Pakistani Rupees to Sharif’s election campaign. Osama congratulated Sharif publicly for exploding first Islamic nuclear bomb during Osama’s visit to Pakistan after Pakistan’s nuclear tests in 1998. Democratic governments used to provide Pakistani Army protection to Osama bin Laden whenever Osama visited Pakistan.

When it comes to Pakistan, democratic leaders are no better than authoritarian rulers. Pakistani Army owns the 'state' anyway.

Whom to blame :

Sahih Bukhari, Book 88:
Afflictions and the End of the World
:Volume 9, Number 219: Narrated Abu Bakra:
During the battle of Al-Jamal, Allah benefited me with a Word (I heard from the Prophet). When the Prophet heard the news that the people of the Persia had made the daughter of Khosrau their Queen (ruler), he said, "Never will succeed such a nation as makes a WOMAN their RULER..

So you see killing of benazir is justified as per the sayings of prophet mohammad


Rich Rosenthal writes: "This certainly seems like the calling card of A.Q. or other radical Islamic extreemists."

Whence that "certainly"?

HOW do you know?

Can you prove it?

If not, why discredit yourself by making that public statement?

You further add: "You must make a stand against tyranny... and kick some butt for a change."

Recognizing tyranny where you see it, you must have a Musharraf butt in mind, no doubt... If need be, I myself could suggest other butts you should consider most closely.


Rich Rosenthal :

This certainly seems like the calling card of A.Q. or other radical Islamic extreemists. So we hear of the moderate, peaceful, Islamic majority in Pakistan as well as elsewhere but I guess moderation makes them quiet as mice. You must make a stand against tyranny even if it tries to wear the cloak of Islam. Check out America's first amendment for starters and kick some butt for a change.

job :


Speaking of whack-jobs.

Sooo charming. You must be a 'bomb, kill, jail everything and everyone' Israeli.

job :


Speaking of whack-jobs.

Sooo charming. You must be a 'bomb, kill, jail everything and everyone' Israeli.

S.R. Khan :

What's next for Pakistan? I expect the US to seek another pliant civilian willing to serve US interests to join a military government -- either of President Musharraf or of some other officer --which also serves US interests.

Brian Fejer :

Have Americans ever heard of "Blowback"?

In the 1950's the U.S.A. supported a dictatorship in Cuba, in the 1970's the U.S.A. supported a tyrant in Iran, in the 1980's the U.S.A. supported Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden, in the 00's the U.S.A. supports Pervez Musharaff.

Yesterday, before the Assassination it was reported that U.S. Forces will be in Pakistan in 2008. Not to hunt for UBL or WMD, but to prop up the Pakistani Government! Sometimes people have a right to overthrow tyrannical government, just ask the infamous 'terrorist' George Washington!

troubledgoodangel :

My condolences to the Bhutto family. Benazir Bhutto was a good-looking woman who could have done a lot of good to Pakistan and the world. Now she is no more. Furthermore, her Party is now headless and a suitable substitute must be found before the elections. The candidate must be a true leader, charismatic and strong, a lover of Democracy, and someone who will be chosen in free, transparent, and fully democratic elections! Finding such a person takes some time, and thus the election must be postponed by a month! The entire world should monitor closely these elections ... and Pakistan from now on! If this election is not able to calm Pakistan, the UN may have to take the country under its protectorate with the help of the U.S. Marines and other international forces! The world cannot afford the pandemonium that has been going on in Pakistan and the threat of nuclear weapons falling in wrong hands!

Arvin - MD :

This is the end of democracy in Pakistan for quite some time to come. It is a ramification of a US alliance with a military dictatorship during the cold war and the rise of US supported Mujahedin during the Soviet Occupation of Afghanistan. The nexus between the the Pakistani intelligence services and the terrorists is the cause of this assasination. Democratic aspirations for Pakistan are neither in the interest of the terrorists, nor the intelligence Apparatus nor the Army. Mrs. Bhutto was as brave woman defying all three odds but obviously these agencies have no respect for life or liberty or democracy. The surrounding countries of regions India and Afghanistan have much to fear in the future.

a former pakistani :

pakistan + army + political leaders + administrative leaders are MURDABAD.SEPARATE ALL PROVINCES D.I.S.S.O.L.V.E IMMEDIATELY.


Perhaps Musharreff will get ruthless and jail ALL of the radical, fundamentalist clergy, and purge the intelligence services of the radical religious wack-job accomplices, and throw his lot in with the educvated moderate majority?


He's chicken, weak, and a tool.

Its too bad because this is a golden opportunity to end the leverage enjoyed by fundamentalist hypocrits in Pakistan.

parban :

Two specific details come out of this dastardly act -
1. The US's continued support of a dictatorial regime is an extension of a failed and ridiculous policy towards the muslim world and South East Asia in particular. This has made it lose two charismatic leaders - leaders who would have led their own countries out of the imbroglio they find themselves in. Ahmad Shah Masood of Afghanistan and Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan would have done great deeds for their countries and the region had they had the full support of the US. No NATO force can muster the force and charisma of indigenous leaders. When will this country learn to back true leaders in other countries ?
2. In some ironic way the state Pakistan finds itself in was its comeuppance. For more than two score years this country has been tacitly fighting guerilla wars with Afghanistan and India brazenly supporting Taliban and other extremist organizations. In the wake of 9/11 and all the mayhem, a volte face seemed like the only logical thing Pakistan could do. As this terror establishment implodes unto itself, is it any wonder then that the once complicit 'democratically elected' military leaders of Pakistan have no clue on how to control it ?

Brent Jones of Oak Park, IL, USA :

1) The military has new incentive to rule by martial law and will soon declare another state of emergency

2) The coming election will be scrapped because of violence that will start Friday Dec 28, 2007 (tomorrow)

3) The Taliban and Al Q. will celebrate and attempt assignations in more nations: Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Syria, Turkey...

4) Democracy in Pakistan is set back another generation

5) The USA will make bold statements but change no policy in the ME or Asia


i unequivocally and unconditionally condemn and revile these acts of terrorism and all acts of terrorsim done by deluded and vicious barbarians who claim they represent islam.

Council on American-Islamic Relations statement-

The “Not in the Name of Islam” petition states:

“We, the undersigned Muslims, wish to state clearly that those who commit acts of terror, murder and cruelty in the name of Islam are not only destroying innocent lives, but are also betraying the values of the faith they claim to represent. No injustice done to Muslims can ever justify the massacre of innocent people, and no act of terror will ever serve the cause of Islam. We repudiate and dissociate ourselves from any Muslim group or individual who commits such brutal and un-Islamic acts. We refuse to allow our faith to be held hostage by the criminal actions of a tiny minority acting outside the teachings of both the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.”

Do you know what our Prophet, peace be upon him, told us? He repeated thrice, "He does not believe! He does not believe! He does not believe!" Who was he referring to? "That person whose neighbour does not feel safe from his evil."

As it states in the Quran: ‘Oh you who believe, stand up firmly for justice, as witnesses to God, even if it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be against rich or poor; for God can best protect both. Do not follow any passion, lest you not be just. And if you distort or decline to do justice, verily God is well-acquainted with all that you do.’” (Quran 4:135)

Alen & Abin :

Is Bush involved in this assasination???


One can now say that in Pakistan, indecency has lost its latest fig leaf.

Things now look much more as they really are. Just as there is no “peace process” in Palestine (or “in the Middle East”, as the media prefer to put it), there is no “democratic process” to speak of in Pakistan. That at least may have become somewhat clearer to some.

Pakistani realities are: 1. a friendly military dictatorship sponsored the US; 2. a total absence of anything one could legitimately call “the rule of law”; 3. the constant threat of abuse of power through martial law; 4. lurking chaos.

What a strange present this country has received, for the New Year: a new hornet’s nest!

How one combats world terrorism with that kind of weapon remains to be seen!

BobL-VA :

I love simple questions.

However, first Bhutto's assassination saddened me immensely as I hate to see committed public servants with a head on their shoulders wiped out by people who don't even deserve to be in the same room. My sympathies go out to her family. A family that has given so much in trying to serve their country should be mourned for their losses as well as celebrated for their dedication. May she rest in peace as a new generation will try to take her place.

Now, back to the simple question at hand. Future behavior is almost always a mirror of past behavior. Hence, Pakistan will remain a complex country with the remote areas outside of government control, a country of liberal, conservative and right wing Muslims. People who want a democractically elected government and people who want a theocracy. People who oppose the radical elements in the ME and a contingent of people who support and embrace fundamentalist Islamic dogma. This diverse group will all be loosely held together by a President that is more concerned with his own power, which he understands comes from the military, then in anything that approaches a free society. Yup, after the dust settles and the inevitable violence that results from this assassination settles I think it's fair to assume we will just see more of the same.

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