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A Prescription for Pakistan?

(Photos by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with historian Juan Cole and journalist Shahan Mufti about what’s next for Pakistan as violence between Taliban rebels and the Pakistani army continues to roil the country’s northwest and displace hundreds of thousands of civilians.

Cole, who blogs at Informed Comment, suggested that government and media reports portraying the Pakistani Taliban as a major threat are exaggerated:

"To take this threat – which is a threat locally to the federally administered tribal areas [and] to parts of the northwest frontier province – and to magnify it and say, 'Whoa, the Pakistani army is six months from falling, the Taliban is going to get their hands on nuclear weapons,' the kinds of things that are being said in Washington are just fantastical, [like] some sort of science fiction film... I think it’s cynical, and I think it’s a way for Washington to put pressure on the Pakistani civilian and military elites to do what Washington wants them to do... Saying that Pakistan is unstable, or it’s about to fall, or the nukes are in danger – all of this sort of thing – is a signal to Islamabad that you had better get serious about this because it matters to us, so this is Washington strong-arming Pakistan."

Mufti, who reports on Pakistan for GlobalPost, agreed and said that the Pakistan’s military offensive against the Taliban rebels is likely at least partially due to American pressure:

"The Pakistani army feels strong pressure to show that they are performing. So whether they’re being heavy handed [or] they’re using a lot of fireworks, it’s to prove a point to the United States. The government as well as the army, who are recipients of large American aid but also clients of the American military, feel an obligation to perform [or] at least to put up a show that they are performing, and that they’re performing well... People are obviously concerned with how their lives are changing, but this threat of the state failing – nobody in that country takes that too seriously."

What do you think?

  • Are Washington and the media exaggerating the threat posed by the Pakistani Taliban? Why or why not?

  • What strategy, if any, should the U.S. pursue in Pakistan and Afghanistan?

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    5/25/09 by Virginia M. Mitchell

    Reading about Dick Cheney and remembering his thought that we were going to have to walk on the dark side. I tried to remember where I had heard this statement before, “to walk on the dark side”. It was at a Writers conference in Bemidge State University in Minnesota in 1978 that my husband and I attended.
    The wilds of northern Minnesota near the Canadian border seemed like another world. It was the the headwaters of the Mississippi, and I could and did step over the Mississippi River and didn’t even walk on water.

    There were three prominent writers there that all used that term. J.F. Powers a Catholic writer I had read in college, John Ciardi who I had read in the Saturday Review, but the rising light was Robert Bly who later became Famous for his mythopoetics on Iron Man. He was a native Minnesotan He led the charge in use of the term the dark side. I finally asked one of them what it meant. Was it the evil side verses the good on the side of light. Strangely enough they sort of nodded but were very vague. I’ve never been sure exactly what they meant or where they were coming from.

    We did go through a period where myths were very popular. I finally read where myths were stories with a kernal of truth in them. Carl Jung was a Nazi party member who was very strong for 1. Coincidence 2. Archetypes 3. A universal mind of myths where each one tells his story. Since coming to the Midwest about 35 years ago I’ve noticed you come back to Jung sooner or later.

    Anyway Bobert Bly continued on the road to myths and spirituality. He did writing on the Persian poet Rumi who lived in the 13th Century. Persia is the present day Iran. He and his family traveled to the Ottoman Empire specifically Turkey where he was influenced by the Sufis. Who we usually know as the whirling Dervishes. Rumi’s poetry was all about love.. How we are love, and God is love. How we work through the material world to spiritual one.

    Rumi is very much alive in the present day. Deepak Chopra recorded his poems. Chopra was one of Time Magazines 100 most important men He was being considered for Surgeon General. He also influenced Eckhard Tolle who in turn influenced Oprah Winfrey. To bring it up to date the latest Smithsoian Magazine has “Sufis in Pakistan” on its cover.. The Sufis feel they could overcome the Taliban with love,and flowers and joy. Benizir Bhutto’s secular government found common cause with the Sufis. The thinking is the Sufi strain would be amenable to secular leading.

    To look at it in another way, in the May-June issue of the University of Chicago’s magazine, there is an article about Joshua Cooper Ramo, former foreign editor at Time magazine, now managing director of the counseling firm of Kissinger Associates. He writes of things from Chinese perspective to a Huffington Post Blogger. “They see everything as being the potential for collapse… The ability to see the context of a crisis Ramo writes comes from China’s violent and unpredictable history, which produced a philosophy obsessed with avoiding collision. Ancient Chinese writers would commend expert generals for attacking the strategy instead of the troops for their ability to open a ten-ton door with a one ounce key he explains. American generals, on the other hand would be requisitioning even bigger battering rams“.

    Wouldn’t it be better if Iran would soften its rhetoric . Bring out the more peaceful side of its heritage. Be less bombastic. To be more in line with our others who wanted to president rather than our last.

    With all these generals and admirals running the show in Washington , D.C. Wouldn’t it be good to have a Center for Peace initiatives for USA, Muslims and Israelis and

    Generally accurate assessment of the current situation in Pakistan and especially Swat and northern Pakistan where the military is fighting a full scale war with the Pakistani Taleban as they are called. However I am surprised that both panelists referred continuously to the terrorists as militants and not as what they are, terrorists. Also when we talk about accountability, can someone please answer why the US backed a military dictator for 8 long years when surely their intelligence told them that the Taleban in this period were increasing their presence, influence and hold in Pakistan a thousand fold? Under full view of both the US and the Pakistani government of General Musharaf. Now US universities and other institutions are inviting and paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to the same dictator who is repsonsible for allowing the mess we are in today to come to full boil on his watch!

    watch out about some comments made by Hindu fanatics who are using Muslims names.

    Finally a show that revealed the situation in Pakistan much more accurately than anything I have seen before. Mssr. Cole and Mufti are dead on about how Obama is over-stating the Taliban threat to force Pakistan into bombing its own people and weakening Pakistan.

    The Taliban are Pakistan's weapon against an Indian dominated Afghanistan- which has more embassies and centers in that Muslim country than you can shake a stick at- what are they for 'cultural exchanges'? More like military and intelligence centers to destabilize Pakistan and expand Indian power. To suggest that they, the Taliban, will take over the nuclear bomb that India and Israel want to take out but can't is ridiculous, that is like saying that Native Indians in the US or Canada that captured a reservation are going to take over Washington- ridiculous but for the average ill-informed American plausible.

    Pakistan- as the two gentlemen rightfully pointed out- has see one of the fastest rates of growth in Asia the last several years, overthrown a US-backed puppet, a large and growing Middle Class, and democratic elections that voted in a left-wing, moderate Muslim government. Compare that to India, which keeps on voting in right-wing fanatical Hindu BJP to power or substantially.

    As for the Mumbai attackes, let us remember that several of the attacks in Pakistan appear to be supported by pro-Indian groups or backed by its security services, RAW.

    The trouble in Pakistan's tribal area is largely, if not entirely, the work of the US government- both Bush and now Obama- and interference from Indian security forces using Afghan forces. The US, which has been bombing the region or forcing Pakistan to bomb that region, collectively punish those people, engage in torture and other crimes that has led some of them to rebel against the Pakistani state. If the US wants stability, it should use money and not destabilizing weapons in its foreign adventures.

    I so agree with forgetting about sending more weapons and instead help the infrastructure. Greg Mortenson has the right idea. Follow his lead!
    Thank you for an inside look that the mass media has missed or doesn't feel is sensational enough to report.

    Look at it this way: Afghanistan is the US way of self-medicating. And if you can deal heroin and cocaine and hashish while you use then, all the better. Uncle Sam has proven to be a neglectful and abusive parent, and left us living in a shooting gallery. (Notice the western hemisphere focus is Colombia. The War on Drugs is Uncle Sam arm-wrestling with himself, a clinch and a cinch. What a financial rush!)

    The idea that the Taliban poses any kind of threat is laughable. Al Queda, The Taliban, Osama Bin Laden, these are bogeymen to get the American people excited and ready for more military adventurism and imperialism. Is it possible that the US government actually wants the Pakistani government to collapse? They need an excuse for invasion (involvement, intervention, occupation). The US is itself falling apart. We have no business interfering with countries on the other side of the world.

    I do believe the the American media, and Washington are hyping up the threat for their own political/military agendas. While I do believe that there might be a slight threat to the Pakistani government by the Taliban, I also believe that the Pakistani government erred in allowing the Taliban to gain a foothold in the Swat Valley, thinking that it would be enough for the Taliban. Sadly it was not.

    While the US imperial misadventure in the Middle East was based solely in the fantasy of the "fantastic neo-cons", their inability to even comprehend the cultural differences was appalling! Was the "shock & awe" supposed to subjugate the people into really believing that the US cared about them?! The ignorance and hubris of the prior administration is amazing!

    Let us hope that the current administration is to have any sway with the people of the region, it might use Aid (with requirements to measure the effectiveness) to help rebuild infrastructure, schools, hospitals, would go a long way toward helping to change the minds of the people of that region.

    Both Mr. Cole and Mr. Mufti seemed to underplay the threat. The primary concern with Pakistan is that the "fringe groups" have allies in the establishment especially in the military establishment which has coddled them over the past two decades.
    It would be foolish given Pakistan's history to suggest that the apparent democratic gains over the past year are anything if not tenuous. Indeed, it is very likely that we will see another military takeover within the next five years (if not sooner).
    The concerns with Pakistan's stability are very real. There is no doubt that it is being played up by both governments - the US to garner support for the Afghan war effort and the Pakistani establishment which hopes that they will receive new arms from the US to prevent marginalization.
    Until the coddling and encouragement of subversive elements by Pakistani establishment is halted we should stop pretending that they are an "ally" in our so called "war on terror".

    J. Bro

    Indeed, a small determined "gang" can eventually overtake an established "government".

    We are just more used to it in the USA because our "gangs", after all, are integrated into the "economy" through "religion", politics and LAW.

    It's okay to steal as long as you "complicate" it so much that no one figures it out until after they've been robbed.

    And as we all know from the classic wild west stories, the thieves eventually turn on each other.

    The show on Pakistan was surprisingly more of the same. I was surprised by Juan Cole's responses. He kept on insisting that the nuclear technology in Pakistan is safe when we have clear proof that they have been hawking their technology to North Korea and Libya at the very least. Though Musharraf pretended that it was the nuclear scientist who was independently selling the technology, no action was taken against him. Instead, he lived in luxury at home under 'house arrest, if you will. The Mumbai bombing is a clear indication of the support offered to terrorist elements in Pakistan. What do you think is going to happen if we stop giving money to Pakistan? Are they going to go away silently or are they going to encourage their terrorist allies to attack us? Can we really trust the government and ISI? Do we really want to pressure India and bring up the issue of Kashmir? Is that going to reduce the number of terrorists parked in Pakistan? No. It is going to give them an enhanced sense of power and they are going to go after new targets. Do we really need to create more enemies in the region?

    Hi Bill,

    You had an interesting program telecast on Sunday 17th 2009 at 11am (EST) with Juan Cole & Shahan Mufti.
    While the discussion was interesting it was one sided as you did not have any people representing all of Pakistan's neighbours. It would have been more balanced and informative discussion to see a combined view on the topic. Instead we got a biased view trying to white-wash Pakistan in Western living rooms.
    Hope this helps.



    Pakistan is a tribal society. Its problems are tribal and its solutions are tribal. Talibans are not a threat but a contradiction which will be resolved with the time. Even though at one time it was part of India, it is not the same thing. East Pakistan became Bangladesh, because it was a mismatch. There will be a new Pakistan. It is still cooking, with new international ingredients.

    Mao started out with a small band of an underarmed, undernourished army. We supported corrupt Chiang KaiShek and his Nationalist army. Mao defeated that large, corrupt Nationalist Chinese army. End of story.
    Fidel Castro started out with a small band of men in the Cuban mountains. Batiste and the Cuban army lost Cuba to Castro.Batiste was our man. End of story.
    America has a track record of always backing the "wrong horse"
    We armed Osama Bin Laden in the 1980 war in Afghanistan against, Russia, those weapons we gave him now kill American soldiers.We armed and supported Saddam in the eight year war against Iran. Those arms we gave his army now are killing American soldiers.End of story. India is our true ally, is an enemy of Pakistan and we should support that country in every way and stop sending any support to Pakistan. That corrupt government and corrupt army is in bed with the Taliban, and has sold Atomic technology to North Korea and others.That is NOT the end of the story. Stanley

    We need the Pakistani
    people to help stabilize the Middle East. We are part of the problem instead of the solution. We need to support their effort to revitalize their nation.
    We need to stabilize our own economics so that we can be a nation rebuilder not a creator of hate and discontent.

    I thought the Mssrs. Cole and Mufti soft peddled the threat. It means nothing if the middle class is growing if the militants effect more and more bombings and intimidation of the population. The link between the ISI, Pak Miliary and their defacto allies the taliban is quite clear. Remember Daniel Pearl? Underestimating the uneducated madrassa 'graduates' who don't mind killing you and me in order to go to heaven would be a mistake. They don't have logical and reasoned debates. They cut off heads and torture people. The reduction in the population of the Hindu and Christian Population since 1947 through murder rape and intimidation is completely ignored but proves that the middle class cares not a whit about others rights.. will they stand up for their own against the terrorists? I think not. Have we forgotten the lesson from WWII? What population of the German people really supported the Nazis and what havok they caused is history?

    I agree with those two gentlemen. I was in Pakistan about 2 months ago. Part of the media hype
    here is the overblown importance of Taliban being
    able to control Pakistan.
    I think country needs money
    so in order to justify aid it's necessary to exaggerate the threat.

    yesterday's program covering historian Juan Cole and journalist Shahan Mufti about what’s next for Pakistan was not very well balanced. I think you wanted to show that all the news and concerns about the potential collapse of Pakistan is a conspiracy of the establishment. Just look at what is happening in Pakistan - everyday bombings, assassination of moderate politicians as well as religious leaders, lack of security for common man. 50-60% of the population is against Taliban is not enough for not being concerned. A country can go under even if 1% of the population is rebellious when the majority of the population is completely paralyzed by fear, lack of leadership and more importantly in self-denial. It may be true that the heavy handed acts of the pakistan army in Swat and NWFP under US pressure will not bring an end to the Taliban problem. Still it is an act in the right direction as pakistan is taking a stand against the ideology of Taliban. Till now the Govt, army and populace of Pakistan was in complete self-denial of the monster they created and nurtured and may be still nurturing!

    I have to say i was very much disappointed by the program for its bias. I watch Moyer's journal occasionally and had great opinion. Now I see that I have to take your comments with a pinch of salt.

    Excellent segment from these 2 voices Bill. Keep up the good work cluing Americans in on how their mass media is distorting reality to them -- found a cool site; Balkingpoints ; incredible satellite view of earth

    Mr. Moyers et al,
    Juan Cole and Shahan Mufti provide an interesting contrast to what the government publicists are saying in the corporate media. Dr. Cole, whose work I am much more familiar with, has been vindicated time after time over the past couple of decades, with his honest and candid opinions and reporting. Thank you and your guests for contributing reason and factual reporting to the subject at hand.
    I would be remiss if I did not reply, at least briefly, to some of the absurd and incoherent comments that have been posted herein. Many, if not most, are not actual responces to your program at all; they are merely the work of internet trolls who mindlessly propigate their stale and uninformed ideological foregone conclusions while hiding behind the pretense that they are participating within the forums "rules of use".
    Here are a few examples:
    *"All three people in this interview are government agents."
    *"Telescopic, infra-red and multi-spectral sights, used to aim long range sniper rifles with sound and flash mufflers manned by soldiers on the ground, inside BlackHawk helicopters or twin turboprop planes -NOT in the V-22."
    *"Bill doesn't even mention Al-Quida who are sitting there."
    It makes one wonder if some of these folks actually listened to the interview?????

    Liked your segment on Pakistan. Yes, I agree with Cole and Mufti that Pakistan has another dimension which is rarely shown. Civil society is "busting out all over" there. The media, the arts, political freedoms and all sorts of public events (marathons etc) are proliferating in the cities there. And Pakistan is a gorgeous country! There should be more reporting on these aspects from Pakistan.

    While Mssrs. Mufti and Cole are keen on downplaying the significance of radical Islamists within Pakistani civil society, they fail to mention their degree of influence within the military and intelligence services that are, politically and economically, part and parcel of the 'body politic' which, while striving toward a more liberal democracy, remains captive to the elite interests of the recent military dictatorship. My concern is that elements within that establishment may seize control before democracy takes hold. A military coup is a very real possibility, I think, should the secularizing process break down into violence. Let's not underestimate the power of an organized faction(s), within a governing apparatus, to take advantage of a deteriorating situation-- perceived or otherwise.

    Because of other obligations (work, family, civic endeavors, recreation, etc.) I have a certain amount of time each day to find out what's going on in my city, my country, and my world. I get most of this from so-called 'popular' media sources. I have little time to spend blogging. So, on this rare occasion, I want to know: Are non-military, non-government 'experts,' such as Mufti and Cole, ever consulted by our political and military leaders? Is their point of view considered rational and of value? Or, are they the kind of people who tend upset the political apple carts of those in control of our government? I realize that Bill Moyers finds guys like this to relate their experiences, but, why do I only see them on programs such as Bill Moyers and not on Face the Nation or Meet the Press?

    We can see the "WMD" crowd on American television again, the same people who told us Saddam Hussein's WMD was 30 minutes away from London. LOL. Unfortunately, I think these same scares mongers will win again and America will continue its military idiocy in the Middle East, solely to prevent China and Russia from dominating the area. It has nothign to do with keeping Americans "safe."

    As a long time fan I was surprised to see this segment because you are usually very realistic. But, in this piece you present a very limited and unrealistic view of what is happening in Pakistan. The hope that Pakistan or Afghanistan will turn into civil societies tempts us into unwise and unrealistic policies. The last thing we should do is to put India into the mix by taking on the Kashmir issue. What separates India and Pakistan is a fundamental disagreement on the basis of nationhood. India is focused on a secular state in which all of its citizens have standing. Pakistan may have a secular middle class, but its political system is justified by the principle that it is a South Asian state built for Muslims. But, there are more Muslims in India than people in Pakistan.
    Pakistan claims Kashmir but for India it is an integral part of their nation. The more important point here is not the territorial dispute or its history. Rather we need to understand that Pakistan's claim rests on the number of Muslims in Kashmir, but India cannot agree to that without going back on the very basis of its fundamental political compact which recognizes all of its citizens on equal footing--to accept a role for Pakistan in Kashmir means that India accepts that a large segment of its population is affiliated with Pakistan. That would be a contradiction of the Indian constitutional compact.

    The idea that a compromise or settlement of such a conflict can resolve Pakistan's inherent political weakness and help to defeat terrorism is unrealistic. Following that line of thought only takes attention away from the fundamental and profound difficulties of the situation. The US needs a policy that is grounded in a better understanding of the limits of our own authority and power. We need to understand that the greater good is maintaining our strong ties with the most stable and democratic nation in the region.

    btw: Horace, that is a brilliant idea. Show us the toxic assetts!!

    This military adventurism is absolutely absurd.
    Why use their terms when a more appropriate name for this is Viet-stan.
    All the Islamophobes in congress and at Council on Foreign Relations, would rather see our country collapse than see a small area in Pakistan governed by Sharia.
    Many make the case for women's rights but what rights do they have now that they are starving, displaced and watching loved ones being killed.
    This is what we tell ourselves, save the women yet 500 thousand mothers lost small children in 4 years in Iraq under US led UN sanctions that prevented common medicines entering Iraq. We see mothers in Gaza with their children, 75%, malnourished while their ghetto masters say macaroni, rather than rice is a luxury.
    This has zero to do with women's rights but everything to do with selling this folly.
    It is the US's affiliation with zion-facists, both in congress and MSM that are destroying this country and soon the world.

    Habeas Testimonium

    Tonight's program on Pakistan brings to light the notion that the threat has been exaggerated to divert our attention from what is going on domestically. Why?

    The mortgage meltdown is a Ponzi scheme. Banks only have to have 10% of their loan in reserve and can loan out the rest repeating the process over and over. Payments on a 30 year fixed rate mortgage at 7% repay the actual 10% bank investment in 15 months. Banks have not lost money on mortgages. It has also been noted that banks sold and resold the loans. If the bank sold the mortgage, it made its money on the loan whether the loan went bad or not.

    What is being referred to as toxic assets (notice the ambiguous term) can only be the “complicated financial instruments” like derivatives which are only complicated in their attempt to hide and conceal. This was totally worthless junk paper that never had the funds to insure what it was supposed to insure. Its only possible purpose was to create the illusion of a loss, but this loss was fraudulent because those issuing the derivatives never had the ability to back them up. It's like me selling you the Brooklyn Bridge. Banks laundered the derivatives by bundling them with the mortgages and selling and reselling them. The Ponzi scheme consisted in pawning them off on the government as good investments gone bad when they were never good to start with. The banks were keeping the derivatives going with money from mortgages which were designed from the get-go to go bankrupt. Bankrupt mortgages have been the cover for converting worthless derivatives into hard cash. You can also add insider trading to the mix because banks knew Congress would bail them out no questions asked.

    The proof of this scheme is what I call “Habeas Testimonium,” that is to say, you have to produce the evidence. Congress has shoveled out billions, hundreds of billions, without to my knowledge seeing the actual mortgages, derivatives, and other instruments that are the toxic assets. Certainly we the people have never seen them, and they have not been shown on the news. What do you expect? Producing the actual paper would reveal the fraud.

    This is the new version of arms for hostages: it's called terrorism for bailouts.

    US govt should focus its efforts and resources in Pakistan to help end poverty, universal access to education for all, end child and mother mortality, train an accountable judiciary, a culture of accountability.

    Most Pakistani citizens are more aware of local and world affairs then what is portrayed in US media. All they want is what an average US citizen enjoys: Justice, security, peace, and social justice.

    If US Govt was to do 2 projects in NWFP: 1) Help build massive road network in the province that covers every corner of the province. 2) Help build 3G mobile phone infrastructure & give a free video enabled phone to all the residents.

    It will go long ways to enable NWFP citizens discover the world outside their own primitive abodes.

    Their ignorance will be eliminated. They will see more economic opportunities to make life better for their families.

    New Afghan Strategy:
    1. Provide food and health care to all villages nearby.
    2. Put small Robots to work
    Test demo: Put 20 robots high on a big coliseum and, at night, send black suited experts to try to reach 3 or 4 designated places.
    The sound detectors and night vision TV used to detect intruders.
    All 20 robots run by 4-men teams, replaced by rotating teams, often.
    Sound triangulation sensors to detect soft bullets that burst on impact, to be used by the intruders.
    In a REAL valley, Mt. troops (10th, NY) place 200 robots along ridge and turn on and off a few at a time, interpersed with others on stand by. Procedure to be refined.
    Telescopic, infra-red and multi-spectral sights, used to aim long range sniper rifles with sound and flash mufflers manned by soldiers on the ground, inside BlackHawk helicopters or twin turboprop planes -NOT in the V-22.

    What a one-sided discussion - they talk glibly that the solution to the Taliban problem should involve India, Afghanistan and China, but in the discussion only Pakistan is represented? All this talk about the Taliban and not one mention of the ISI and its relationship with the Taliban?
    Just FYI, the existential threat to Pakistan, does not mean that the Taliban will take over all of Pakistan (or its nukes) - it means the Taliban will take over and break off the NWF region and that Baluchistan may also break off and Pakistan would only remain as Punjab and Sind. There is still a greater than 50% chance of that happening, in spite of the current military action.

    All three people in this interview are government agents. They are dishing out sophisticated propaganda for the "left". Indeed, they are avoiding the most significant issues at all costs.

    For example, is it the place of the United States government to constantly attack an independent country? What if China had drones over the United States and kept launching Hellfire missiles at weddings and killing civilians. What would we think? It is PURE and EVIL aggression, no question about it: immoral and illegal by all accounts. But, then again, it is not surprising for the United States in its position of moral leader of the world: torture, wars of aggression, spying on its own citizens, handing out taxpayer money (equivalent to more than our entire GDP) to supremely wealthy bankers--all with impunity.

    The Pakistani people overwhelmingly want the US government to stop meddling with their their country. The US government wants the Pakistani government to re-enforce its police state, against the recent gains of the people in that country. The US government likes to keep Pakistan in its pocket for strategic and resource-stealing purposes.

    Hey Bill, why do you want to follow the mainstream media (owned by the financial elite in the US, who also control the government via campaign contributions [who else wins elections]) by having a story about Pakistan. What about these stories:

    Government Readies Youth Corps To Take On Vets

    Tucker from Greece: Bilderbergers own President Obama

    Isn't the US turning into a police state under the control of a small group of financial/political international elite something that US people might be interested in?

    Cole goes on and on about
    the urban middle class in Pakistan. Sounds like famous
    last words of the Weimar republic. There is a huge
    population of poor people in
    Pakistan. Their male children are constantly recruited by Saudi funded madrassas for the purpose of
    building a worldwide jihadist cadre.
    That is no joke or invention. Also the
    taliban are not a movement
    confined to a small region , they are part of
    a much broader, brutal
    movement, the term
    islamo-fascism is not ill-founded. If left to their own devices, they
    will blow up more schools,
    kill more women, cut off more heads. Islamist imperialism is as bad as
    any European or American
    imperialism. ALL imperialism must be
    opposed, not indulged or


    I admire you. You have erred. Mufti is underplaying the power of the Taliban.

    The nuclear bomb in Pakistan will detonate soon and it will be not in NY but in Kabul. Both your guests will look like fools but it does not matter; because thousands of American boys would have died.

    Pakistan has 4.4% population growth rate.
    above 50% illiteracy rate. basically defaulted last year until world bank came in to save them.

    Remember Mumbai. Taj Mahal hotel attack.
    The pakistan army is implicated.

    Remember the $100000 wired to Mohammed Atta by ISI chief.

    Remember all the nuclear trade to several countries. That was pakistan army.

    Remember Kargil War. where pakistani soldiers dressed civilians fought Indian Army and when Indian army tried to return their dead. pakistan didn't take them back.

    on and on and on.

    So much for good news.

    Bill doesn't even mention Al-Quida who are sitting there.

    On one hand pakistan can beg for billions from US, World bank, China, Saudi Arabia, yet doesn't want to do what US paid them to do.

    Kashmir is not the main issue between India and Pakistan. Pakistan for 60 years have trained its people like modern day Sparta to be warlike towards India. There is no way India is giving any part of their territory no matter what.

    A good discussion, which I find little to quarrel with except that I think that in the process of correction, they may have overcorrected a bit, because I suspect the ppl of Pakistan are still Muslims, particularly in the Army, and more inclined to see India as a greater enemy than the more radical types. I also wonder about whether economic development will succeed or just fuel corruption. The point tho that we may be more concerned with our Afghanistan-bound supplies being blown up than the health of the country is I think probably true.

    It seems to me that the Pakistani government made a serious error in letting the Taliban gain effective control of Swat & other nearby provinces. Now, for numerous reasons, the government feels compelled to retake control of Swat and appears only to be able to do so by displacing large segments of civilians to refugee status. Would not it have been much better for the civilians of Swat, Buner etc. to never have been subjected to Taliban rule in the first place, and for the Pakistani government to have maintained government rule of law? Now the civilians suffer due to the previous impotence and/or lack of foresight by the government.


    Did the civilian population really think they would be/or are better off under Taliban rule?

    It seems to me that the Pakistani government made a serious error in letting the Taliban gain effective control of Swat & other nearby provinces. Now, for numerous reasons, the government feels compelled to retake control of Swat and appears only to be able to do so by displacing large segments of civilians to refugee status. Would not it have been much better for the civilians of Swat, Buner etc. to never have been subjected to Taliban rule in the first place, and for the Pakistani government to have maintained government rule of law? Now the civilians suffer due to the previous impotence and/or lack of foresight by the government.


    Did the civilian population really think they would be/or are better off under Taliban rule?

    I keep hearing things like this - often on your program (but then the other side is well represented elsewhere) & I truly worry that we are going down a dangerous path in Afghanistan (& now Pakistan). As Princess Leia said, "I have a bad feeling about this."

    I believe it is all tied to the sake of world. All these warfare going on in the middle east is necessary to keep the balance of power and world economic health.

    Haven't we heard this before from our armchair warriors while babbling in comfort in their climate controlled DC offices ?

    You must give me what I ask for to keep my multi-national corporate backers happy.

    Trillions of war dollars later, Americans are gradually realizing the evils of unregulated capitalism.

    The duplicitous behavior of Bush and Obama have lead us down the path of financial ruin trying to stimulate our economy with defense allotments because that's where the money is.


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