how the world sees america

Ahmed Rashid: Bush Didn't Listen

Bush-Musharraf.jpg
Does Musharraf guide the Bush agenda?
Lahore, Pakistan - “I’ve promised myself I won’t go back to America until the Bush administration leaves . . . It’s hopeless with them there,” PostGlobal panelist and Taliban expert Ahmed Rashid tells me in his bulletproof library outside Lahore.

For three decades, Ahmed has been investigating the nexus between the Pakistan military and extremist groups, roving tribal lands in between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Over the years, his books and articles have been translated into all local languages, spawning many enemies “bearded and non-bearded” who accuse him of undermining his religion and his state. He’s received so many death threats that he lives in a house encased in sheet metal. A spindly man with a fat shotgun guards the iron gate entrance.

Knowledge is a dangerous thing for Ahmed. When I told the Pakistani Press counselor in DC that I would be visiting Ahmed, I was told "not to put that in writing because Islamabad won't accept your request." Ahmed's family shares the burden. Over a pasta lunch, Ahmed’s Spanish wife tells me with a laugh how anxious her family back home still is about her safety, two decades after she left Spain. Their eighteen-year-old daughter chuckles, and pets one of their three dogs.

Ahmed believes his research is worth the risk. The mountains and valleys surrounding Afghanistan are among the least understood parts of the globe, he says. And he believes his findings help policymakers understand and alleviate tensions in the volatile region. He's shared his research with the world and has had high hopes, particularly for successive U.S. administrations. In recent years that hope has been dashed.

Until Bush came into office, Ahmed thought his words mattered to America. In the 1980s, he discussed Islamic resistance with ambassadors over tea. In the 1990s, he collaborated with policymakers to raise Afghanistan's profile in the Clinton White House. But during the Bush administration, he feels his risky research has been for naught.

The administration has "actively rejected expertise and embraced ignorance," Ahmed told me inside his fortress. Soon after the Taliban fled Kabul in late 2001, Ahmed visited Washington DC's policy elite as “the flavor of the month.” His bestseller Taliban had come out just the year before. The State Department, USAID, the National Security Council and the White House all asked him to present lectures on how to stabilize post-war Afghanistan.

Ahmed traversed the city’s bureaucracies and think tanks repeating “one common sense line”: In Afghanistan you have a “population on its knees, with nothing there, absolutely livid with the Taliban and the Arabs of Al Qaeda . . . willing to take anything.” The U.S. could "rebuild Afghanistan very quickly, very cheaply and make it a showcase in the Muslim world that says ‘Look U.S. intervention is not all about killing and bombing; it’s also about rebuilding and reconstruction…about American goodness and largesse.”

Many lifelong bureaucrats specializing in the region shared Ahmed's enthusiasm, and they agreed that after decades of violence, America could finally turn Afghanistan around through aid. But the biggest players in Bush's government, Ahmed says, had already shifted their attention to Iraq "abandoning Afghanistan at its moment of need."

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America has done the same thing to Pakistan, says Ahmed. After 9/11, the current administration embraced Musharraf’s military regime unquestioningly because it waved a big stick and assured Bush it would smash terrorists with it. America took Musharraf at his word. Meanwhile the dictator "pursued a dual strategy," hoarding U.S. funds while letting pockets of extremism grow.

For years Ahmed has been accusing Musharraf of deceit and calling for America to pressure him to democratize. Now, Ahmed says, America’s vocal, singular focus on terrorism makes it "virtually impossible to convince average Pakistanis that the war against extremism is not just America’s war, it is theirs too.” This lack of local buy-in exacerbates the threat of transnational terror.

From Ahmed's hazardous vantage point, short-sighted political appointees have overruled America's foreign policy bureaucracy, making expertise like his less relevant -- and that has created a more hazardous region for everyone.

Still, Ahmed hopes the U.S. will start listening to people like him and take a long view in their engagement with Pakistan and Afghanistan, beyond the current 'War on Terror.' Otherwise, Ahmed says, history will keep catching up with the U.S., especially if the Americans in charge ignore it.

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Comments (96)

MOHSIN GONDAL:

Dear Sir / Madam
I am 46 years old, Canadian citizen and native of Pakistan (muslim). I was an immigration consultant in Canada and also member of Canadian Bar Association as part of my business , I had an office in New York. During 2001 immediately after the Sept 11, event the US govt arrested me on Oct 25, 2001 on anonymous call, as a material witness for the 9/11 world trade centre terrorist attack. A detail investigation by the FBI and USA Naval intelligence dept was conducted and I was cleared, but even then govt put me in front of Grand jury , and I was cleared and the case was dismissed by the Grand jury of the US Federal Court . Approximately after 2 weeks , before I was released from custody the US Govt imposed a new charges of Fraud and money laundering , under the advice of my attorney , I pleaded guilty and I was sentenced to prison for five years (which was four years more, what I pleaded). In which I had already spent 3 years in Detention jail, during the case , I had about 14 months left to finishing my sentence ,(instead of appealing, I preferred to applied for Treaty Transfer to Canada, because if the case is in the appeal, defendant is not eligible for transfer back to his home country). While at prison, I learned from the case manager Miss Hause, that my citizen was incorrect in the FBOP's (Federal Bureau of Prison) computer system as Pakistani instead of Canadian. Its important to note , that all of my Canadian identifications (passport , citizenship card , S.I.N , Health card , Driving license etc) were under FBI's possession, with a great deal of concern, I wrote a letter to the Canadian Consulate in Buffalo, N.Y to notify such mistake and requested them to fix this problem. This is especially important for Treaty Transfer back to Canada. The Canadian Consulate official sent a letter to the jail to correct my citizenship status, however FBOP ignored the request and the citizenship status in the FBOP computer still reflect Pakistani instead of Canadian (Note:- I would be required to obtain visa to visit Pakistan) .In contrast , the deportation letter received from US Immigration dept, Contained the correct citizenship status of Canada. At the hindsight, I believe that the FBOP intentionally left the citizenship as Pakistani, so that they could retained me at their facility, while the govt is planning to file new charges against me 3rd time. Approximately six weeks before my released date on Jan 30 ,2006 I was notified by the FBOP that I was being transferred from Allenwood , PA to MDC (Metropolitan Detention Centre) in Brooklyn N.Y, it was explained to me, that the purpose of this transfer was in preparation for deportation back to Canada, (after few days, I signed the immigration deportation papers, with my consular Miss Chen). But immediately after my arriving to MDC Brooklyn, I discovered during a phone call with my family in Montreal, that RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) official had contacted my sister and brother-in-law regarding the whereabouts of my wife and my current situation, there was no explanation given by the RCMP official to the purpose of the call and he left his phone number and asked my wife to call him back immediately, my wife called the RCMP official and left messages in his voice mail. Then the official contacted my brother-in-law again and had asked him to tell my wife not to call again, because there is nothing good nor anything bad. Meanwhile the AUSA ( Astt United States Attorney) office Investigator and FBI brought me to their office to be interrogated without an attorney present, even AUSA told in the court to the judge on March 16, 2006 that he arranged attorney for me before my arrival from Allenwood PA to MDC Brooklyn, N.Y, on Transcript; page 11, Transcript line No: 14 to 23. AUSA:- He (Khalid Awan) was writ in the cause of a grand jury investigation. He clearly had criminal exposure. So to protect his interest I made an application to the duty magistrate for counsel to be appointed. THE COURT:- Initially he was brought here by a Court to testify before the grand jury? AUSA:- That is correct, Your Honour. THE COURT:- When he arrived here, you made arrangements for an attorney to be pointed to request him? AUSA:- Yes, Your Honour. This interrogation started with the AUSA office Investigator stating that my family will be arrested in Canada if I refused to answer their questions. At this point I am certain that my family is in great danger for reasons that I am not aware of. I was scared that my family would be harassed by these people along with the Canadian RCMP official, I strongly believe that the RCMP is doing this intentionally in collaboration with FBI official to further harass me to admit charges, that I never committed. Without knowledge of the reasons why the Canadian RCMP agency was involved. I was surprised that RCMP official directly approached my family instead of me without proper explanation, and its also shocked for me, that how RCMP got the phone number of my family (because before my arrest, I don't have any single record in any police dept, of any country). I was intimated and pushed to the edge during this interrogation, I was determined to provide anything these USA officials wanted to make them happy even is the questions made no sense, because I want them to stop the harassment to my family. On March 15, 2006 I completed the term of my imprisonment and was to be released from American Custody and deported back to Canada. Before that I was arrested again 3rd time, and charged with providing "material support to a foreign terrorist" and money laundering (to a organization and person, which are not designated by the USA govt and belongs to Sikh religion) , and with whom, I don't have any single common interest, because we both are from different countries and different religions. These charges emerged while I was still in prison and without the capability of providing any type of support. It was even difficult for me to get enough financial assistance to pay legal fees. I could not have provided any material support while I was in prison for five years and I could not launder any money because I did not have any. AUSA filed three counts of indictment against me. Conspiracy to provide material support. Provide a material support to the foreign terrorist. Money laundering to support terrorism. (Please note, that in my previous case govt charged me for money laundering and fraud from Jan 1999 to 2002 and "its mentioned in the plea-agreement by the AUSA that no further money laundering charges will be brought against defendant from Jan 1999 to April 2002" even then govt indict me for money laundering from 1998 to Nov 2001 (Which is double Jeopardy and violation of 5th Amendment of U.S Constitution.) In Oct 2006, during pre-trial hearing on the motion's filed by my attorney the first two counts of my indictment were dismissed by the judge, stating that there is a lack of facts and figures. After two weeks AUSA re-indicted me again. I believe this is a desperate act of the AUSA to cover up a huge embarrassment . Further this hastily drawn indictment was full of factual errors and creative legal theories. Since I was first arrested by the American govt, I believe that I have been singled out, isolated `and discriminated against primarily because of my race and religion, in addition to the fact that I don't know any information that the American govt is trying to pressure out of me. I do not understand the American laws and this is what led to my pleading guilty in the first case. I have difficulty understanding the new charges also. I have been charged under, section 2339(a) of Title 18 of the United States code, which makes it illegal to provide material support to a foreign terrorist. Please understand, I am not a terrorist, I do not know any terrorist and I have had no connections with or to any known or unknown terrorist. I have been incarcerated for last 5 years and I had no money to provide or launder. The law enforcement have in America is pressuring me to provide information to them that I really do not have or know. I am a Canadian Citizen and nearly all of my family is in Canada, including my wife and kids. I don't know any information to tell them to help their investigation. Because of this , I am being treated unfairly and my rights under the American constitution are being violated. I am being held here in further detention against my will for crimes which I could have never committed, because I was in prison. I believe, that I am a victim of the discrimination that was outlined in the July 3, 2006 issue of Time magazine (Page 29, column 3). In this article section 2339(a) & (b) are discussed and criticized "as most suspects are charged under these two sections. However, the justice dept here in America admits that of the more than 218 guilty pleas that it has obtained, most are for minor investigation issues that are uncovered deeding the course of their terrorism investigation. This suggest, according to the article that the Attorney General's office have is not concerned about the rights or fairness or the manner in which it achieves convictions for the people they arrest. Furthermore, criticizes have noted that one of the patterns to emerge from these domestic prosecutions is that suspect seen too incompetent to carry out the deeds they are accused of. The Deputy Attorney General acknowledges that the Dept of Justice's goal is " preventions through prosecution's" and this is done with no regard for an individual's rights. I agree that these guilty of terrorism should be prosecuted . But as the above mentioned article suggest , innocent people should not be targeted because of their race or religion. I am not a terrorist and I should not be targeted and treated unfairly and unjustly. I need your assistance desperately in my case, as I believe that I am being treated unjustly here. I would like to send you my attorney's contact information and provide you with legal documents related to my case, so that you may become more familiar with my situation. Please also note, that I appeared in the court , for no guilty of my 2nd superseding indictment on Aug 02, 2006 and on Aug 03, 2006 FBOP officials placed me in the SHU (Segregation Housing Unit) out of these months, I placed in the SHU isolation from Jan 03, 2007 to March 6, 2007 for unknown "Pending Investigation" in these 215 days of my segregation and isolation, I don't have a single phone call access to my family, no legal calls to my attorney and Canadian Council, my legal mail opened in my absence, no medical treatment for my injured shoulder (even I went for hunger strike for 3 and half day) I harassed by the various jail officials and lot of other problems too which already been submitted in the attention of the FBOP higher authorities, but no action taken on them, after writing the court, instead of receiving the response or any action on my complaints, jail officials removed /moved me from MDC federal facility to Nassau County Jail . My suffering has gone on for far too long, and I need your help to bring my suffering to an end. I want to return home to my family, because my imprisonment was injustice and will remain a great injustice forever. May God bless you and be with you in your efforts to champion the cause of human rights, and the suffering of innocent prisoners and restore hope, faith and love to peoples all over the world. Sincerely, KHALID AWAN FBOP NO. 50959-054
see these news links;-http://www.nysun.com/article/37251

Darren7160:

It really is possible in today's world of informaton to find out more about a person in an article before determining whether or not the limited scope of this article gives you enough information.

There is enough information available to rightfully say that Bush DID favor his gut feelings of what his cronies said over the expertise of people who were't Bushies. A cardinal sin which automatically meant you were "wrong" and "evil" or at the least, supporters of "evil."

I too want to eliminate (yes, kill, but I do not do it gleefully. Sorry... somethings might HAVE to be done, but that does not mean I have to gain personal pleasure from it.) terrorists and their enfluence in the world... Which is why I supported the invasion of Afghanistan...

Not because I get joy out of killing(and encoraging more to become terrorists) like some do. It is the people who "LOVE" killing terrorists that blurr the definiton and come up with wonderful names for their blood lust carnage, such as "collateral damage."

My general observation is that most of these people are cowards who think that others should die, and others do the killing so they can feel safe.

Oh, and I am a disabled-vet who is also a liberal so I am used to being called an anti-American traitor and hater of our military by people who have never served or actively avioded service.

Anonymous:

Here's Colorado Koolaid, Folks!

"I'm tired of being made to feel that I am responsible for their well-being. Take responsibility yourself and maybe I'll feel generous towards you."


Wow! We invaded Iraq, decimated and humiliated their prople, and COlorado feels no remorse or desire to fix Bush's inredible idiocy! Let's make Colorado the new icon of neo-con idiocy. Keep him on a pillar as a reminder to all of us what one looks and acts like so we can avoid it in the future.

Aslam:

Is bomming always the way out ?

http://www.diabeticcorner.com

Camouflaged:

This discussion has become boring.
What's new about that? A Paki and a hindu have shifted their conversation to throwing mud at each other. Good Job. How about both of you go to hell. This is not Times of India or Paki Express. This is Washington Post. Stick to the topic. If you can't then call each other and argue. NOT HERE! FREAKING DESIS.

Tim:

The Administration has a clear and lamentable record of one dimensional choices regarding both countries. Revisiting those makes for fascinating discussion, however, the time at hand calls for a united effort to hunt down the Taliban without regard for borders, and for meaningful integration of Afghanistan and Pakistan into the world economy.

Tim:

The Administration has a clear and lamentable record of one dimensional choices regarding both countries. Revisiting those makes for fascinating discussion, however, the time at hand calls for a united effort to hunt down the Taliban without regard for borders, and for meaningful integration of Afghanistan and Pakistan into the world economy.

Tim:

Clearly, there is a lamentable record of one dimensional choices by the Administration with regard to both countries. Revisiting those makes for lively reading and discussion, but the time at hand calls for a truly united effort by Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and the rest of the world to hunt down the Taliban without regard for borders. Let us get on with integrating Afghanistan and Pakistan into the world's economy.

Tim:

Clearly, there is a lamentable record of one dimensional choices by the Administration with regard to both countries. Revisiting those makes for lively reading and discussion, but the time at hand calls for a truly united effort by Muslims (Sunni and Shia) and the rest of the world to hunt down the Taliban without regard for borders. Let us get on with integrating Afghanistan and Pakistan into the world's economy.

Amar:

Mike McGovern, thanks for the recommendation. I'm looking into it.

mujh:


Well have gone through the article of Ahmed but the main thing with Bush is that he only listens to the last person he meets therefore the choice he's left is it has to be big Dick (I mean dick chenney).

What else to write infact it is already a chaos in Afghanistan with the rapid growth of Opium and the involvement and the hold of Talibans in that area, so it is time that US chalksout some schedule of pulling out of this area as you have to remember the previous history of these Pathans as there is noone they are going to spare.(READ MY LIPS).

mujh:


Well have gone through the article of Ahmed but the main thing with Bush is that he only listens to the last person he meets therefore the choice he's left is it has to be big Dick (I mean dick chenney).

What else to write infact it is already a chaos in Afghanistan with the rapid growth of Opium and the involvement and the hold of Talibans in that area, so it is time that US chalksout some schedule of pulling out of this area as you have to remember the previous history of these Pathans as there is noone they are going to spare.(READ MY LIPS).

Aqil Sajjad:

The problem is not limited to the Bush administration alone. Both republicans and democrats are equally responsible for the mess in Afghanistan and the mainstream American media must also share the blame for not asking critical questions and allowing the government to make a mess.

For those interested in learning some facts about Taliban, here are two links (one from Berkley and the other from BBC) and an interesting quote from the first one (you can read the details by going to these links yourself)
http://ist-socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/q7.html

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/west_asia/37021.stm

The quote:
"In November 1996 Raphel told a closed meeting of UN diplomats to work with the Taliban: "It is not in the interests of Afghanistan or any of us here that the Taliban be isolated" (Rashid, 178). A US diplomat told Ahmed Rashid two months later that "The Taliban will probably develop like the Saudis did. There will be Aramco, pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that" (Rashid, 179)."

Have any important questions been asked in the media about this? Why did the American govt support the Taliban in the mid-1990s? Was it the Bush admin then? What was the role of unocal and CIA in providing funding for Taliban? Has any honest post-mortum been carried on the mess in Afghanistan and Pakistan or has it only been about finding convenient scapegoats? Will the officials involved in the policy blunders in Afghanistan and Pakistan be discredited?

Aamir Ali:

Jai Khosla:

Now you are writing your own Quran and making up your hadiths! Hadiths come straight from the prophet's mouth himself, they are not narrated by Jews or others.

These "official" numbers are propaganda from the 1970's. What is not propaganda is that Indian trained the Mukti Bahini, then took advantage of Mukti-Bahini and Pakistan army fighting to invade Pakistan. Now those are some facts.

Aamir Ali:

Jai Khosla since you accuse Muslims of being in denial when confronted with fact, from where did you find this "fact" that Pakistan colluded with Taliban and alqaida to launch 9/11? The 9/11 report does not say that.

can you tell us from where you got his "fact"?

Jai Khosla:

Aamir Ali

The facts about your prophet are there in your books: Koran, the first biography Sirat Rasoolallah and the hadiths. In Bukhar there is hadith in which a Jew tells how he escaped being killed by Muhammad. Muhammad murdered every Jew who was part of the Banu Qurayzah tribe if the male had pubic hair. This Jew narrates how he had not grown pubic hair and was spared by Muhammad.


regarding the killing of 3 million Hindus and the 10 million who fled to India , these are official numbers , not from India but from Bangladesh.

Aamir Ali:

Jai Khosla:

you made up more figures and fairy tales. These are not called facts. Your knowledge of Prophet Muhammad and East Pakistan is very very poor.

Sam: The Indian govt has itself acknowledged training and supporting the Tamil Tigers. It happened in the 1980's. India also trained and supported the Mukti Bahini. india may not have directly trained the Nepalese maoists, but it turned a blind eye to weapons and funding for the Maoists from supporters in India as well.

Point is when Indians accuse Pakistanis of supporting terrorism, they should look in the mirror.

Sam:

Aamir Ali,

I am not sure about what happened with the Nepalese Maoists, but I have a friend who teaches in Nepal and from what he had to say, I don't believe that India ever trained the Maoists, but had some some favorable feelings for them.

In any case, I am from the Southern part of India where I grew up before the LTTE problems in India became a major issue in SriLanka. I personally know that there are many Tamil people who felt supportive about LTTE and the struggle of the poor Tamil people in SriLanka. (Not sure if you knew, most of the Tamil people in SriLanka were poor Tamils from India who migrated there to work in the tea plantations a long time ago). But many who felt supportive about them weren't once things turned violent. However, I can vouch for the fact that there was no India sponsored training for the LTTE in India unlike the terrorists in Kashmir, trained by Pakistan. You need to check your facts or ask someone who may know about this personally!

Sreedhar:

Excellent work!

Jai Khosla:

Aamir Ali

The figure of three million killed are official numbers, from the Bangladesh Govt.

Yahya Khan and Bhutto had a daily question for the troops " Aaj kitnay Hindu katl kiye"? " How many Hindus were killed?"

The reason the Bangldeshis rebelled was mainly because they were tired of being treated as second class. When the West Pakistanis did not allow Mujibur Rehman to be prime minister even though he had the majority of the votes in Parliament to be the leader. The resentment started when the traitor and thug Muhammad Ali Jinnah insisted that Urdu, a derivative of Hindi with an Arabic face, be the national language, even though less than 5% of Pakistanis claimed Urdu as their mother tongue.

West Pakistani Muslims looked down upon East Pakistani Muslims because they were darker and did not have the Arab origins that West Pakistani Muslims have, allegedly.

Had India not intervened all Hindus would have been killed or thrown out of East Pakistan by the Muslims.

Regarding the ten million Hindus who fled, that is also fact and official numbers from Bangladesh. I can prove it mathematically, in a way.

Right after partition the Hindus were 35% of East Pakistan. Assuming the same birth rates among Hindus and Muslims, in 1971 when the population was about 60 million and before the Muslims started to massacre Hindus by the millions, there were about 20-25 million Hindus in Bangladesh.

3 million Hindus were butchered by the Muslims and 10 million left for India, never to come back. That left about 12 million Hindus in Bangladesh. The population of Bangladesh today is about 120 million or double that in 1971 and Hindus are 16% or about 20 to 25 million. Had Hindus not been massacred and driven out by Muslims, Hindus would have numbered about 40 to 45 million in Bangladesh.

The point is that percentages match up.

Now let us take West Pakistan. Before being driven out by Muslims, Hindus including my grandfather, along with Sikhs numbered about 8 million out of a population of 27 million or roughly 30%. In Punjab Hindus and Sikhs were only a slight minority, 45% versus 50% Muslims.

7.2 million Hindus and Sikhs were driven out from Pakistan by Muslims. The Muslims who went to Pakshaitan went there because they had fought hard for Pakistan, their promised land. Unfortunately 30 million Muslims stayed back back in India and are now causing problems for India.

Today there are hardly any Sikhs left even though both Lahore and Amritsar should have been part of a Sikh state within India.

When presented with facts that are not pleasant, Muslims always go into denial.

Take the example of Muhammad's fondness for sex with children. He was approaching his sixties when he sexually abused Aisha, Rayhana, Maria, Saffiyya and Juwariyah. Civilized societies call that rape. Yet Muslims will make up convoluted explanations to deny Muhammad's sexual perversions, the rapes he committed. Recetly I had a conversation about Aisha witha Muslim. After a long lecture he raised the age at which Aisha married Muhamamd from six to ten years old, as if a ten year old child is ready for sex with a powerful religious warrior nearing sixty years of age.

Another example is the massacre of the Banu Qurayah Jews. Muhamamd killed 800 male Jews of banu Qurayzah tribe. The test for an adult male was if he had grown pubic hair. Even 12 year old Jewish boys were not spared. All this is narrated in the Sirats and the hadiths. Muhammad then sold all the widows except the teenager Rayhana and all the orphans into slavery and his take was 20% in accordance with the dictates of Allah in the Koran. Muhammad then stole all of the land and other property of the Jews and finally all Jews were ethnically cleansed from Arabia. But Muslims will make up implusible explanations for the masacre and justify it.

sadna:

A government or a group follows a public policy because they think it is in their best interests to do so. So the Bush administration invaded Iraq and messes around half-heartedly in Afghanistan on one hand because they thought that was in someone's best interests. On the other hand worldwide, insurgent and terrorist groups target the West for the same reason. They all perceive their waging of war to be in their own best interests.

But if you sit a three year old in front of a typewriter, you can't expect him to churn out a novel, even if doing so is in his best interests. He is just not conscious enough of reality to do so.

If a government or a group is similiarly not just not conscious enough of realities to understand what precisely they are doing when they wage war, what then? Bush did not know Sunni from Shia when he invaded Iraq. He did not know Musharraf's name when he came to office. His advisors are by choice unconscious of everything except pressing imperatives of domestic politics and ideology in international relations. Bush's jihadi opponents and their advisors are even less educated and even more determinedly ignorant about their opponents and the world both. Do you think Mullah Omar, for instance, has any informed consciousness of what precisely he is fighting an armed jihad against? He and fellow jihadis are even more sold on imperatives of their domestic politics and ideology in international relations.

Both sides are determined to be ignorant
This so-called war of civilisations is a war between determined ignoramuses. An Army of Ahmed Rashids will not help either side.

Sculapios:

Bush says Musharaf is an allied, period. This is all it counts for our ever shallow media and think tankers. They ignore a whole world exists beyond the Rio Bravo and the Canadian border and that Santa Claus is not real.

ALiNyC:

Is this the atmosphere under which serious world issues are discussed these days?

"User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site."

I believe that that's the only thing I can catch my eye upon in here.

If this is the way the educated and enlightened discuss issues, I just wonder what will ever bring peace on earth.

Mike McGovern:

Amar,

When you return to India, there is a village in Uttar Pradesh that I recommend you visit. It is called Bhaisawli and is adjacent to a town known as Barhalganj. The nearest big city is Gorakhpur.

The region is very agricultural yet the population is now struggling with globalization. The people are worth meeting and spending some time with to learn their stories of transition. Traveling there is not for the faint hearted. But it would be worth it.

Regards,
Mike McGovern

HeyYOU:

Bush is the reason Hamas, a horrible terrorist organization won the Palestinian elections. Enough said. I fear for your future America. During the 80's the Reagan cabal embraced the Muhjadeen and THAT gave us 9/11. What hell has Bush brought on America? What hell indeed.

Aamir Ali:

Jai Khosla Chacha:

Read the 9/11 report, the attack was Alqaida plot, even the Taliban didnt know about it. You talk about Pakistan! Whew

Also read Indian history, the training of Mukti Bahini began in 1969, their guerilla war began in early 1971. India used the violence between its proxy Mukti Bahini and Pakistan Army to invade East Pakistan. You didnt do it out of compassion for anyone. The figure of "millions dead" is also a lie.

You can also read up on how India created and trained the Tamil Tigers and how the Nepalese Maoists get most of their ammunition and funding from India as well. If you care to read that is.

Will in Seattle:

Three things: First, Pakistan is NOT our ally. Second, Saudi Arabia is not only NOT our ally, they are the primary source of funding and volunteers - over 90 percent of both - for al-Qaeda. Third, GWB is a moron at best, and an unpatriotic one at that.

Can we leave Iraq now? Time to go.

Proud Liberal:

We told you so.

-

Kay:

I have been following Ahmed writings for some time....

He is:

1. A Musharaf hater regardless what he does good or bad

2. His aim has been to get a job in white house as adviser

HE IS ANOTHER DRAWING ROOM EXPERT ON "TALIBANIZATION" WHO HAS NOT SEEN THE FIELD

Bakhsi, don't be his recruiting agent and ask him about:

"His source of info, once he's not been in the field"

IT'S ALL ASSUMPTION BASED....

Kay:

I have been following Ahmed writings for some time....

He is:

1. A Musharaf hater regardless what he does good or bad

2. His aim has been to get a job in white house as adviser

HE IS ANOTHER DRAWING ROOM EXPERT ON "TALIBANIZATION" WHO HAS NOT SEEN THE FIELD

Bakhsi, don't be his recruiting agent and ask him about:

"His source of info, once he's not been in the field"

IT'S ALL ASSUMPTIONS....

Ashley Fairburn:

Perhaps President Bush could put Brownie in charge.

Stupid people:

Stupid people should not be allowed to post on this site. Dissent is not Bush hating, grow up, idiots.

Not crazy about Busharraf:

Those who equate dissent with treason, or opposition to Bush’s policies to Bush hating are silly. Not everything in this world is black and white. Afghanistan was the battleground where America defeated Russia with the help of Pakistan.

Ahmed Rashid is not asking for anything, neither is asking to give Pakistan any aide or money. What he is saying is that don’t support a dictator, it is that simple. To conclude that everyone in Pakistan is a terrorist is just wrong.

It would be nice if critics read and issue at hand.

Philip Antopitov:

I've been reading these comments, and now a song is running through my head. The song is "Send the Marines" by Tom Lehrer. It is about another intervention long ago in the Dominican Republic. The part I keep remembering goes:

They've got to be protected
Their rights must be respected
Until someone we like can be elected.

Philip Antopitov:

I've been reading these comments, and now a song is running through my head. The song is "Send the Marines" by Tom Lehrer. It is about another intervention long ago in the Dominican Republic. The part I keep remembering goes:

They've got to be protected
Their rights must be respected
Until someone we like can be elected.

Rock:

The only country we have not cut and run from is Israel, other than that our committments are weak and waivering. Israel gets more support than Katrina victims! The Kurds, Afgans, Bay Of Pigs, and others we don't hear about. We are not dependable. It is not the military, or about American will and resolve. We lack leaders with principal, integrity, and real morality. Of course we could have (helped) rebuild Afghanistan, of course we could lead in Darfur, of course we could ensure our own have some health coverage. But trillions and godzillions are wasted on a war that Bush Sr. did not get into even when we had 200,000 troops at the door. Pakistan is just another of a long list of sorry dicisions and misdirection,

TWstroud:

Where ignorance is bliss...

jadish trollwallah:

Well, if a prophet be fighting general and ambush a merchant caravan, and then go on to defeat the troops sent to save the merchants, then, surely it is no surprise that a general launched an ambush on empty pillboxes high up in the Himalayas, going on to win the Greatest Battle of Kargil against 10,000 Indian troops with his 700 ,er, tribesmen?, can dream of prophesizing his own elevation to President for Life of Pakistan?

jagdish trollwallah:

This Aamir Ali comic is a delightfully rabid pro-dictator Musharraf flunkey as well as a fine reusable condom. He is the sort of hyper patriotic Pakistani who will be very happy to see his country looted clean if he can get a small share of the loot from Dictator, sorry, President Musharraf.

Jai Khosla:

Aamir Ali

India did not conspire with the Taliban and Al Qaeda to attack the USA. Pakistan did.

Regarding the Mukti Bahini, India had to go into East Pakistan because the Muslims were killing Hindus.

By the time they were defeated by India, Muslims had killed over 3 million Hindus and had driven pout 10 million Hindus into India, most of whom are still in India.

the next was will be over the part of Kashmir that is rightfully India's and currently occupied by Pakshaitan.

Tarquinis:

I cannot believe that the western powers can succeed in their strategic goals for Afghanistan. Honestly ask yourself: If we only think in terms of the “Taliban” label, do we understand what may be a far more complex situation? Can the western backed and funded Kabul administration, whose writ barely extends to the limits of the city, gain effective control of the country if it is seen by many as a foreign imposition? Can western military forces kill enough Pashtun to accomplish a successful outcome? Can air strikes on guerilla forces blending into the population that also kill large numbers of civilians on a regular basis, crush the will of the armed resistance? Can infrastructure projects engender Pashtun acquiescence if they see things in terms of foreign armies forcibly and fundamentally changing their culture? Can we uproot the narco-based economy which now funds the resistance if it is almost entirely the basis of their very survival? Can the government of Pakistan forcibly alter any part of this equation if it too is increasingly seen by Pashtun on both sides of the Durand Line as a western proxy and cannot even control its own ungoverned areas where of course, most Pashtun reside, not to mention bin Laden? Are these fair questions? What am I missing here? If this is the Good War, how exactly will we win it? Maybe I am just a pessimist, but this smells like quagmire to me.

Tarquinis:

I cannot believe that the western powers can succeed in their strategic goals for Afghanistan. Honestly ask yourself: If we only think in terms of the “Taliban” label, do we understand what may be a far more complex situation? Can the western backed and funded Kabul administration, whose writ barely extends to the limits of the city, gain effective control of the country if it is seen by many as a foreign imposition? Can western military forces kill enough Pashtun to accomplish a successful outcome? Can air strikes on guerilla forces blending into the population that also kill large numbers of civilians on a regular basis, crush the will of the armed resistance? Can infrastructure projects engender Pashtun acquiescence if they see things in terms of foreign armies forcibly and fundamentally changing their culture? Can we uproot the narco-based economy which now funds the resistance if it is almost entirely the basis of their very survival? Can the government of Pakistan forcibly alter any part of this equation if it too is increasingly seen by Pashtun on both sides of the Durand Line as a western proxy and cannot even control its own ungoverned areas where of course, most Pashtun reside, not to mention bin Laden? Are these fair questions? What am I missing here? If this is the Good War, how exactly will we win it? Maybe I am just a pessimist, but this smells like quagmire to me.

mauisurfer:

Rashid's views have been expressed in detail elsewhere, e.g. http://www.nybooks.com/articles/19098
See also:
* The Resurgence of Central Asia: Islam or Nationalism?, St. Martin's Press (May 1994), ISBN 1-85649-131-5.
* Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, Yale University Press (March 2000) ISBN 0-300-08340-8.
* Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia, Yale University Press (January 25, 2002) ISBN 0-300-09345-4. (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2002)
* Al Qaeda in 2007: Striving to regain the initiative, published on 29 December 2006

Tarik:

Jai Khosla
Ted Baines.

Prove to me from the pages of History (not religion-every one is entittled to his beliefs), who you think has achieved more than Mohammad.
Otherwise your arguments are hollow.

The Battle of Badr was a turning point in his career and it was an outstanding achievement when he led his band of 313 men against a 1000 strong cavalry of the Meccans. They left behind 76 dead (Mohammad lost 14 men)and withdrew from the desert spring at the foot of the mountain which Mohammad controlled.
He could have sued for peace or asked the people of Medina to extend support or he could have retreated into the desert.
But he choose to go out and fight. This was a well calculated move. The Meccans had travelled 100 miles in summer and he knew the first thing they would need is water. By the time they got near Medina to the only Oasis at the foot of the mountain Mohammad's archers were already waiting.

He was a Prophet. Indeed the last of the great Prophets of the Middle East.

The West continues to depend on Middle East Oil and Middle East Prophets.
Sometimes I wonder why Europe or American did not have its own Prophets.
Even the American Joseph Smith (of the Mormons)who claimed Prophet hood is clinging on to Jesus for support and legitimacy.

But here's the most interesting part of the story.
What is the total number of people killed in his great undertaking to unite all of Arabia under his banner? Historian's will tell you : surprisingly less than a few hundred.
He was not only a Ruler or a General or a Law giver but also a Politician. The conquest of Mecca 10 years later is the hallmark of political sagacity. He took no revenge and honored his arch enemy Abu Sufyan with the proclaimation that any one who seeks refuge in the house of Abu Sufyan has nothing to fear.

He called himself only a messenger and did not claim any divine rights.
He prohibited his sculptures or depictions to be made.
So that European Muslim doesn't have to paint him with golden hair or blue eyes (the way the West has depicted Jesus).
He accepted the miracles of Jesus and accepted his virgin birth. He accepted the miracles of Moses and the parting of the Red Sea.

Islam is a Universal Religion. It has followers from hundreds of nations and different linguistic and ethnic groups all over the world.

It is the world's fastest growing religion.
Man has been on planet earth for nearly 13million years and we only have about 3-4000, years of recorded history.
Mohammad was born an orphan, his mother died when he was 2 years old his grandfather died when he was 12. His uncle Abu Talib became his guardian.
The fact that Abu Talib did not covert to Islam is one of his lasting regrets. ("Uncle I will continue to pray for you.."). Just goes to prove that not all of his desires were fullfilled.
Also he had no sons.
It is hard for a Arab Beduin to be without a son. But God consoles him "Atena kal kausar" 'I have given you the eternal spring' : for your followers will carry your name for ever.
He was illiterate.
Yet he is the sole author of the Koran. A book of 6666 verses. Probably the most recited book in human history. Passages from the Koran are recited when 1.5 Billion Muslims pray every day. His name is proclaimed from every Mosque 5 times a day.
And there are thousands called "hafiz" who have memorised the whole Koran.

Mohammad means the praise one.
In deed the Times of London( heard on NPR) noted that Mohammad is the 2nd commonest name for new born in England after John and may over take it.


Finally Mohammad has much greater hold on his followers than any one else in History.
He is indeed the Messenger.
He is indeed the praised one.
He is indeed the all time Great of human History.

Michael:

Now these guys want to Attack Iran after botching Afghanistan and Iraq. Hey, why just screw up two countries when we can screw up a whole region in turmoil due to our leadership's incompetence and ignorance. Why listen to logic when the goal is Armageddon from our own nut cases.

Thank you Karl Rove for giving us morons to wreck our economy (surplus to deficits in one year) and America's reputation worldwide.

Come to think of it, the Bushies makes morons look like geniuses.


Wolfvorkian :

One of the few comments that made any sense to anyone other than a those who wear American blinders and view reality through John Wayne filters was by suresh.

No one is going to 'fix' Afghanistan other than the Afghans. Money isn't going to do it, neo-con moronic ideology isn't going to and on and on.

And Bush really isn't the problem. It is the fools who elected him. Over half the country is dumber than a hundred head of sheep, there is where the problem lies.

jime:

Why is it, we have the most inept and corrupt admininstration of our times, yet we don't take them out. We let them continue. Someone comes out against them, and they are ridiculed, WHY??????
As colorado stated,"look around you at everything he's done, like it's wonderful. Wake up!

Aamir Ali:

Jai Khosla:

Your suggestions were quite amusing! Bush should have bombed India as well for sponsoring Mukti Bahini in East Pakistan in 1971, Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka in 1980's and Maoists in Nepal in 1990's.

Aamir Ali:

Ted Baines:

The caravan that the Muslims raided, contained goods stolen from them when Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) and his followers fled Mecca. The Muslims took back what was theirs.

When the idol-worshippers came to Medina to kill the Prophet, he fought his first battle. Moses also fought battles and so did many other prophets of God.

Aamir Ali:

Ahmed Rashid is yet another bookworm who believes he has the solution to the world's problems and will tell you if you pay him. Such folks are found on the Washington Post op-ed pages every day.

Such folks have also solved zero problems in todays world.

jerryvov:

***Until Bush came into office, Ahmed thought his words mattered to America***

Until Bush took office one and one made two and reason and logic were valued...the Boy Idiot and his henchmen turned it all upside down because they wanted to play in their own sandbox...

Simple Observer:

Mike,

I am hardly "One of those really angry liberals". Did I demonize Colorado Kool Aid? You bet. I won't appologize for that. I don't however simply rely on the admittedly liberal media. I make a point of seeking sources of news from many differnt sources, from commentators from all points of view, liberal and conservative, and from news sources both from over seas and domestic. In addition, I take the time to read the history of th reagion, research religious connexts, and do my best to understand the societies being discussed. BTW, my stomack is full, I have cash in my pocket, and probably more guns in my closet than Dick Cheney.

I supported the invasion of Afganistan, but the administration too quickly turned thier attention away. Over and over again, they have tried to force policies and concepts onto a population without regard to their needs or an understanding of their culture. Our policies in the middle east have been short sighted, poorly conceived, and often fool hardy. That statement applies to many of the administrations over the last 40 years.
Too often, those who have set policy have failed to heed good advice, and we now find ourselves mired in a conflict in two countries that I believe will result in greater animosity towards America, and require us to shed lots of blood and spend lots of money to rectify.

Maybe I'm wrong, in fact, I hope I am. Unfortunately, there is little that I can see that would indicate that I am wrong.

suresh:

The problem with Ahmed Rashid's analysis is that he thinks democracy is the answer for Pakistan's woes but democracy has NOT helped Pakistan as history has proved time and again. Rashid is forgetting that it was Benazir Bhutto who built up Taliban, reignited Kashmir terrorism and approved sharing of nuclear technology with Libya. Nawaz Sharif's campaign was financed by Osama bin Laden to the tune of 500 million Pakistani Rupees and Sharif came out openly in support of Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Thus democracy has not helped much Pakistan in the past and it will not in the future either. Pakistani Army owns the country. So Pakistan will continue to gyrate between military and civilian rule, surviving on US handout thanks to her nuclear weapons becoming an easy blackmail chip to America.

Mike:

Simple Observer -

Your nickame is appropriate. Your "narrow view of the world" is just a list of talking points from Daily Kos. Apparently, you're one of those really angry liberals who have to demonize anyone who doesn't share your enlightened outlook.

Calm down. You are being manipulated into hatng those who don't share your narrow vews, which re in fact just talking points pounded into your head by the media. Try finding some information sources that don't simplify policy debates into good and bad. Its absurd.

Simple Observer:

Colorador Kool Aid, it is simple ignorance such as yours that has brought this great nation to the point we are today. You sit in your comfortable chair and rant on about others taking reaponsibility for themselves when we have failed to take responsibility for the outcome of our own actions. Actions we took without understanding the first thing about the culture, the realities on the ground, or what drives the ideology of terrorism. I can't speak to the advise Mr. Rashid may or may not have given, but our leaders clearly did not take the time to consider anything but thier own narrow view of the world. We were justified in invading Afganistan to remove the snake's nest that allowed Bin Ladin to act against us, but to wash our hands of the whole sorted afair afterwards was inept and short sighted. We will pay in blood and in gold 10 times over for our foolishness.

Try picking up a book and understanding the reality rather than presume you know best because you have a full stomach, a pocket full of cash, and a big gun in the closet.

Mike:

Wow, Bakshi found someonewho wants to blame his country's problems on America!

Stop the presses!!!

This column is pathetic. Can the Post shock us all and find one "journalist" who doesn' suscribe to the left's mantra of "America bad, Bush worse".

For all of the gripes about Bush living in bubble, the Post has done nothing to demonstrate that they take into account a variety of viewpoints.

Amy:

If only we had individuals with regional expertise such as Rashid's formulating our foreign policy instead of ideologues who have no intellectual curiosity about the country and the people under discussion, we would be in a much better place as a nation.

I also applaud Rashid's enormous efforts to educate the world about this incredibly misunderstood, yet incredibly important region through his research.

Hewitt:

It is a delight to see the comments of Joe and Aamir run side by side. They are mirror reflections of contempt for the simple truths of Ahmed Rashid.

Anonymous:

"In the 1980s, he discussed Taliban resistance with ambassadors over tea."

MR.BAKSHI GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT FIRTS. TALIBAN DIDNT COME IN EIGHTIES.THEY ARE PRODUCT OF BRUTAL REIGN WARLORDS AND DRUG BARONDS WHO ARE CURRENTLY BEING HAILED AS DEMOCRATICA AND ENLIGHTENED.

TALIBAN SURFACED IN MID 90S,BUT MAY BE ON PLANET RASHID THEY CAME EARLIER.

FINALLY, BUSH ADMINISTERATION DID A GREAT JOB IN INGNORING LIKES OF MR.RASHID WHO ALWAYS KEEPS HALUCINATING ABOUT DUAL STRATEGIES AND ROGUE INTELLEGENCE OFFICERS IN PAKISTAN.

IF HE IS TRUE THEN HOW HE EXPLAINS LOSS OF MORE THAN 1000 PAKISTANI SOLDIERS, AND COUNTLESS SUICIDE BOMBINGS BY TALIBAN IN PAKISTANI AREAS.

IT IS ONLY WASHINGTON POST AND OTHER ANTI-PAKISTAN ELEMENTS WHO FIND MR.RASHID USEFUL IN THEIR PROPEGANDA AGAINST PAKISTAN.

JRLR:

You're very kind, Amar.

Wishing you well, always.

Amar:

JRLR, Nice to have you back!

gillis:

its too bad the opinions of experts always seem to be on the fringe of the story. They are sometimes overlooked or replaced by the opinions necessary to reach the specific goals of our leaders and the corporate interests which shape those goals. Amar, thanks for media that works to shorten the distance between voters/citizens and people who actually are close to important issues

BV:

I do not want to make this post so personal. But I think there is some value in sharing one of my principles in doing business with people. If I meet anyone, who thinks they are better than me before we start discussion. I judge that person as ignorant. There is no point in having a dialogue with that person anymore. He/She can only understand the language of power and money. I will see whether I can use power or money to win that person, if he is worth it. If the person sits there with you with an appreciation of what you have to say, I invest my time, attention & money with the person to foster a relationship with that person, because that relationship brings mutual rewards.

You cannot discuss anything with a person if he things his religion, his opinion, his god is the only one out there and everything else is not worth considering. We cannot advance a discussion or start mutual learning.

Bush administration had that arrogance in their first term. They thought their idea is the only one out there. Now they have paid their price!. The same thing went on for Taliban, they paid price too. (Sorry, I do not even begin to think Bush admin and Taliban on par on this issue. Bush admin have not degraded to that level!). Religious extremists think that way and history has proved them wrong.

Many of the comments/postings of the religious fundamentalists of Bakshi's series do think their religion is the only one worth considering. When you have that mentality, power is the only thing they understand. Then bombs, war and funds flow is the only solution. Unfortunately many people are of that sort, that their thinking is the only thinking!. So are the unfortunate events in the world. Individuals are the ones to change and get educated and knowledgeable, not administrations. Administrations and leadership is a reflection of peoples’ thoughts.

CKAI:

correction: "listen to geo-political, economic, and military experts, instead of hacks."

colorado kool aid's ignorance:

I just couldn't let this slide. Look at the fifth or sixth comment. It is so funny:

"how about some advice regarding the personal responsibility of Afghans and Pakistanis towards their own countries?" translation: it is their fault we bungled the occupation, not ours. when we meddle in the affairs of others (including conquering them), the bad results are their fault.

"I'm tired of being made to feel that I am responsible for their well-being. Take responsibility yourself and maybe I'll feel generous towards you. Until then, you're just another person asking me to do for you. Grow up! I like the killing of terrorists and hope we keep doing it -- and am happy to help you rebuild if you stop embracing terrorists. Until then, I'm not interested in sending you gobs of money -- it just gets sucked into the wrong pockets and helps the jihadists' war on me." See, this ignorance is the EXACT point made in the article. Pakistan's leader claims to fight terrorism and we give him money, even though he is not fighting terrorism. We do this because our leaders are ignorant in this EXACT way. Afghanistan needs more aid and we blame them. In Pakistan, we prop up a corrupt leader because of lip service because our administration has no understanding, and when bad results follow, we clamor for "some advice regarding the personal responsibility of Afghans and Pakistanis towards their own countries." If we want them to be responsible, stop meddling so they can overthrow corrupt Musarif, if we want to act in their country, then let's do it in a skillful and strong way - not in an ignorant incompetent way. And the guy does give advice that you should have been able to figure-out: stop pooring ten-times as much into Iraq as into Afghanistan, fund Afghanistan more, stop funding Pakistan's current leader, listen to geo-political, economic, and military leaders instead of hacks.

Anonymous:

ahmed rashid is very couragious. I am very sorry that his advice has fallen on deaf ears. what else would you expect from a guy with over subsidized texan cotton balls in his ears. had that village idiot not gone into iraq the situation in afghanistan would be much better. yes, the taliban are profiting vastly from the sale of heroin to finance their cause. het!, colorado kool-aid, lace it with something nice, like cyanide!

Joe:

Good points, Ted. I had also read in Journal of Military History (cover: The First Insurgent) which says Mohammed robber civilian caravans (mostly pagans) passing through his town.
Mohammed fought at least 9 major battles in his lifetime. The author said that if Mohammed was not such a capable fighter, Islam would not have come out of the 7th century AD.
I guess everyone likes a winner, even though he may be a mass killer.

Ted Baines:

Readers please note in my post above, I quoted " Robber community".

Muhammad earned his living through armed robbery. He robbed the Jews and the Meccans and produced a revelation from his god Allah that he was allowed to keep one fifth of the booty and his Muslim marauders kept the rest.

Ted Baines:

"Of any moralising or demoralising effect that Muhammad's teaching had upon his followers we cannot say with precision. When he was at the head of the Robber community, it is probable that the demoralising influence began to be felt; it was then that men who had never broken an oath learnt that they might evade their obligations, and that men to whom the blood of their clan had been as their own, began to shed it with impunity in the "cause of god". And that lying and treachery in the cause of Islam received divine approval. It was then too that Moslems became distinguished by the obscenity of their language. It was then too, that the coveting of goods and wives possessed by Non-muslims was avowed without discouragement, in fact encouragement, from the Prophet...."

- D.S. Margoliouth in Muhammad and the rise of Islam

Jai Khosla:

Bush's biggest mistake was choosing Musharraf as an ally when it was well known that Musharraf had colloborated with the Taliban and Al Qaeda. Bush should have bombed Afghanistan and Pakistan to smithereens as a lesson to all other countries that support terrorism. Then he should have brought the troops back and banned immigration from:

Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Egypt, Iran, Morocco, Sudan and Algeria.

Te above listed countries are the prime sponsors of terrorism.

By going into Iraq Bush made it a "vs. Islam" war for which there was no need.

Aamir Ali:

This Ahmed Rashid is an anti-Musharraf fanatic as well as a liar. He is the sort of Pakistani who will be very happy to see his country bombed, if he can make money out of it.

Joe:

Another Muslim railing and ranting against America.
Did you ask him why there are no minorities in 55 Islamic nations? Why Pakistan produces so many terrorists...?

Billoo Bhai:

Amar, thanks for giving details of a good interview with Ahmed Rashid. His comments mirror those of John Snow, First Treasury Sec. of Bush and those of Colin Powell; Bush and his close knit neo-cons were not willing to listen to anyone's advice. John Snow says this in his White House memoirs. Powell is still writing his. Bob Woodword in his trilogy of Iraq War shows how people outside the intelligence community were "sexing up" the dossiers to go to war. Tony Blair held similar beliefs, he too was commanded by God, to join the crusade against Afghanistan and Iraq. They wanted to see the "shock and awe" of bombs blowing up innocent citizens. Rumsfeld was proud of it.

Like a banana republic politics of impunity is letting off those who led US into the disasterous Iraq War. With nearly 4000 US dead and over 30,000 wounded coupled with 600,000 plus Iraqi and Afghan killed, God knows how many wounded, it would have been better if policy makers in Washington had listened to writers like Ahmed Rashid.

But then listening is an art of the gifted and there aren't many of those in Washington.

Eric:

Maybe they are listening but they don't agree. The President has access to information from so many areas. They cross referance data and form conclusions based their ability to confirm. They only act on fact, not speculation.

It's difficult for me to believe that any group in the world has a better abilitity than the US military to collect information.

Bangalee Babu:

Gunaratna, Dinesh D'Souza, and Ahmed.

All experts, all so well endowed with the ability to understand terrorism, you name it, it amuses me!

Gunaratna ignores the Tamil problem, Dinesh cannot see the poverty and ignorance in his own homeland, and now Ahmed who lives behind bulltproof glass and steel but has a man with a shotgun protecting him.

No word if it is single bore or double bore!

almaden:

Bush and his neoconservative entourage revelled in their own ignorance, they exalted it, they were prideful advocates of "gut feeling" and preconceived notions driven by fixed ideological biases. They were predisposed to falsity that dovetailed with their ideology. They were tone deaf to truth. Their very identity was linked to mendacity. Recall. the notorious White House advisor's admonishment: "We are an empire now and we make our own reality; you of the reality-based community can sit and watch what we do." Quotes from Bush's henchmen are rife with that hubris. Cheney: "Irrefutable proof of WMDs"; Cheney: "Last throes of the insurgency"; Bush: "We have found the WMDs"; Rumsfeld: "We know where they are, north, south, west, east of Baghdad"; Powell: "Evidence for WMDs is not supposition but fact"; Rice: "Mushroom cloud, smoking gun"; Bush: "The surge is working." In all these years, we have seen a brazen disregard for fact and truth that is calculated and deliberate. not delusion or madness. They have never apologized. They need their lies, they exult in them, and they need to infect other Americans with them. They are armed and dangerous. Their ilk must never be allowed in power again. IMPEACH CHENEY FIRST LEST HE BOMB IRAN AND MAKE THINGS EVEN WORSE.

Colorado Kool Aid Kid:

I loves me some George Booosh. George Boooosh should lines up you america haters and mows you down. I follow Buuuusssssh anywhere I would. You see his success ALL AROUND YOU you are hipocrit liberal trash! We don't need educated people to make good decisions. I don't got a college deee greee and I aleady own a trailer!

babaloo:

What do you expect from Bush? Intelligence!!!!!!!!The guy is the biggest moron ever to occupy the White House.

babaloo:

What do you expect from Bush? Intelligence!!!!!!!!The guy is the biggest moron ever to occupy the White House.

babaloo:

What do you expect from Bush? Intelligence!!!!!!!!The guy is the biggest moron ever to occupy the White House.

babaloo:

What do you expect from Bush? Intelligence!!!!!!!!The guy is the biggest moron ever to occupy the White House.

babaloo:

What do you expect from Bush? Intelligence!!!!!!!!The guy is the biggest moron ever to occupy the White House.

shaman7214@sbcglobal.net:

Interesting. We have been fed lies for so long, we believe a lot of them. But we're starting to get wise. I continue to be mystified that no one even questions 911 anymore, the big lie that got us into all the rest. The foundation of the war-on-terror, which has excused war, torture, domestic spying, etc. etc. Now people seem
to be willing to excuse it all as incompetence and ignorance. But if we stop and reconsider 911, anyone can see a design taking shape.
How did a bunch of Bedouins pull off the military strike of the century? Disable Norad, the most sophisticated defense system in the history of the world? Plant tungsten, used in controlled demolitions, all through the WTC debris? How did they manage all the stock market manipulation that went on that day? And how did they make off with the ten billion in gold in the WTC vaults that has never been found? None of these questions have been answered, or even addressed. What if the culprits are Bush/Cheney/Rove?

JRLR:

It is truly sad to see a man with Ahmed Rashid's courage, dedication and passion for truth, entertain such naïve expectations vis à vis the US.

Power is exclusively Machiavel's business, as US imperial history has amply demonstrated this last century. That has been fully documented and made public ad nauseam by Americans of stature and by non-Americans alike.

Most of the time, naïveté is endearing in both infant and child, but it never is in an experienced journalist and world correspondent.

There is, in children, a seriousness so impressive, one wishes to find it in each and every mature student of the power game.

Puerto RICO:

Sad but true. But you misunderestimate what Bush is capable of. There is a terrorist in the White House. And the blowback won't be undeserved.

shvitz:

Hey Colorado, go right on and keep drinking the kool aid.

shvitz:

Hey Colorado, go tight on and keep drinking the kool aid.

ChuckV:

We have a president who is ignorant, knows it, and thinks he is better off that way. Knowledge is just an impediment to action. A "higher father" tells him all he needs to know. With God giving advice, what else could he possibly need?

Profpaul:

Karl & Co. made all decisions based on how they'd win elections and advance the Bush/Republican agenda. Short-term poliitcal gain, long-term harm to the very nation they praise one another for serving. It gets worse and worse.

Joe Long:

We stood at a pivotal point in history within minutes after bin Laden orchestrated attacks on our country from the sanctuary of a Taliban-ruled Afghanistan. Almost without exception, the world stood with us, united in a determination to fight terrorism for so long as was required. George W. Bush stood on the threshold of greatness as the one to lead this fight.

Within those same minutes, however, forces within the Executive leadership put a long awaited opportunity in motion and rebuilding Afghanistan was never a part of their vision. Its not rocket science to know who wanted what, where, and when. The result today of that misadventure is a president with a rotting albatross named Iraq around his neck with no possible escape from his missed opportunity.


Mr. Rashid, God Bless you for your wisdom and your attempts to share it, but you came to an audience only concerned with politics, but seldom policy. Sadly, it is likely that the legacy of your president and our's will someday lay in "history's unmarked grave of discarded lies."

NAIL ON THE HEAD:

Article and comments hit nail on the head. Dropping such expertise (we gave them the bureaucratic two-step), holding no curiosity about region's reality, displaying no tenacity in then adjusting our experiences to reality, and you get...the sad posiiton we are in as a nation (U.S.), and the sad situation people in the affected region are in. Seems to me we have lost the support of far too many of these champions of integrity and the able people of the region because we (U.S. efforts) have not shown intelligence or wisdom. We passed one (positive) tipping point in 2002, and got a worthy, respectable thing going, and then goofed off and neglected region and experts, failed to asknowledge errors and come up with Plan B in time, and have now all backslided very far. Proof of this is in the pudding. Author deserves credit for putting spotlight on this.

colorado kool aid:

there's no substance at all to this article -- just an assertion that we are supposed to take at face value . . . why? I can see that the rabid Bush haters eat this sh*t up, but then they never see sh*t they don't want to eat. If his advice was to abandon Israel and embrace the idea behind sharia law, maybe THAT is ignorant. Without revealing what the advice was, how can anyone judge if it was a bad idea to ignore it? If his advice was "rebuild" . . . well, that is taking place -- how about some advice regarding the personal responsibility of Afghans and Pakistanis towards their own countries? I'm tired of being made to feel that I am responsible for their well-being. Take responsibility yourself and maybe I'll feel generous towards you. Until then, you're just another person asking me to do for you. Grow up! I like the killing of terrorists and hope we keep doing it -- and am happy to help you rebuild if you stop embracing terrorists. Until then, I'm not interested in sending you gobs of money -- it just gets sucked into the wrong pockets and helps the jihadists' war on me.

barjrose:

The article is more of the same..and again is indicative of the principle by which Bush rules...jettison expertise and replace it with and ideology which simply stated is: I know better..results? Always disaster...which he calls some sort of success..

ABC:

Ahmed Rashid is an honest man reviled for his honesty while everyone around him lies through their teeth to whitewash the Taliban regime of the past, 'oh but they ended poppy cultivation'(for only 10 months of a total 6 odd years profiting from it while simultaneously holding on to stockpiles), 'Taliban were only protecting women because they couldn't give them security'(Yeah right) 'Taliban are fighting for disenfranchised Pashtuns who are not being given a stake in power by other ethnicities'(majority of Karzai's government is Pashtun) 'Karzai is an American puppet and the President of Kabul'( Mullah Omar never even showed his face in public much less presided over a Parliament and you didn't hear the Pakistanis complain then)

Ahmed Rashid has written honestly about those years and today calls deceit deceit. One salutes him for it.

LAWO:

It's not that President Bush hasn't listened to Ahmed; it's that he didn't know which Ahmed he had to listen to.

Ann:

Credible story. I hope people in white house are reading this article.

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