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Drums of war

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Nara

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Nobel peace prize winner Obama is all set to announce escalation of troops to Afghanistan. This means more doors kicked down, more innocents killed, more anger towards America and its allies, more American treasure wasted both in $ and lives, and much more misery for ordinary Afghans.

Every $ spent in this unwinnable war is a $ snatched away from the poor and needy. Every life American/Afghan life lost is a blot on all.

Read BOB HERBERT's opinion piece in NY Times today.

A quick quote from that piece,
“I hate war,” said Dwight Eisenhower, “as only a soldier who has lived it can, as one who has seen its brutality, its futility, its stupidity.”
I feel despondent. Will this never end?
 
i am with you nara.

this is the most stupidest thing that obama could do ie escalate into afghanistan.

i thought he read history. afghanistan has been the graveyard of empires - alexander, persian, british, soviet. and all of them at their prime were much more stronger than the u.s.a. is currently now.

i am not sure what is forcing his hand this way.

but then, one thing i find, is that as a nation, the average american loves to go outside the country and fight.

so you have a country, rural wise warmongers. it is only the urban elite and the jews who are peace prone through common sense.

we can discuss further later...especially as his speech is supposed to include plans for disengagement too.

the eggs that ronald reagan laid to destroy ussr, has finally come home to roost. it is those same guns that the u.s. supplied with so much glee in that proxy war, that is turned against the americans.

let the usa make a extra large order of body bags with their chinese supplier (after even the body bags for the u.s army comes from china, i hear) :(

you should have called this thread 'dogs of war'. miserable dogs.
 
USA has got into a situation of `catching a tiger's tail'. If they vocate Afghanistan, Taliban will take over. If they don't. they have to put the war bill affecting the already problematic US economy.

Obama is no Mahatma Gandhi.

Some out of box thinking is required to solve the problem.

Americans cannot afford global policing job in the future. They have to think of reviving their economy first.

Both Pakistan and Afghanistan are historical baggages which they cannot afford to drop just like that.

All the best
 
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we can discuss further later...especially as his speech is supposed to include plans for disengagement too.


Hello Kunjuppu, just finished hearing Obama, what a disappointment!

It was a Bush-worthy speech, delivered with Obama's rhetorical skills. There was not much about disengagement. All he had to say about that was, "After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home."

What does that mean?

He also talked about Taliban in the border regions. He says Pakistan is nuclear armed and that Al Queda wants nuclear weapons and will use it if they get their hands on one. What is he going to do about that? Is he going to send US troupes into Pakistan? What a disaster that would be!!

All in all, it was a completely muddled speech with nothing clear cut on ending this madness.

But he had a lot to say about American exceptionalism, the only time he got applause from the cadets. It seems he wanted to prove to the saber rattling crowd he is not a wimp.

He said right makes might, but what right does he think will come out of this adventure? How many more lives must be lost before he realizes that this mission is not going to have a "mission accomplished".

An instructive aerticle from a woman who faced the wrath of Afghan warlords in person here.

A quote from this article:
Now Obama is pouring fuel on these flames, and this week's announcement of upwards of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan will have tragic consequences.
 
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Dear Sri Kunjuppu Ji,

With all due respect, may I request you not to charecterize the middle America as 'rural wise warmongers'? I also do not appreciate you calling Americans 'mad dogs'. I do not think you understand my country well enough to make these types of cooments. You may not agree with the general policies of the US, residing in a pacifist country like Canada, but sir, you do not understand the traditions of the military in this country as well as why and how they have been used. Without the Americans, you and I would be speaking German or Japanese and will be plying a coolie trade.

To Professor Nara Ji,

Mahatma Gandhi's view on war:

Q​
"Don't your duty in war and belief in peace contradict each other?"
A​
66.gif

While war and non-violence do sound contradictory, they are both conflict resolution vehicles. I have said time and again that Satyagraha (non-violent struggle) is not same as making peace. It is still a fight that has to be fought as bravely as a soldier in a war -- just the weapon is different. Many people mistake non-violence as compromise or avoidance of conflict. It is not. On the other hand, it is standing up for what is right (truth) and justice. Fighting a violent war is better than accepting injustice. So, really there is no contradiction in fighting a just war, and believing in non-violence. Both are duties to be carried out to preserve justice and truth.
99.gif

Source: Ask Gandhi - Gandhi on War and Non-Violence

Regards,
KRS
 
Folks,

A pacifist's constant refrain is, if only there are no wars! If only people understand and hug each other! From the dawn of time such a thinking has led the human kind in to more wars and not less. Because of this weak mindedness, adharmic forces feel free to act. A glaring example is the second world war, with English PM Chamberlain believing that he could somehow win over Hitler by talking peace!

In the US Congress building, there stands the national seal, a bald eagle, with one foot clutching an olive branch and the other a bunch of arrows. This country could have annexed the countries it conquered, but unlike Russia and others, it never annexed them, contrary to the wishes of the locals. Germany, Japan, South Korea are but a few examples.

Regards,
KRS
 
Dear All,

May be Obamas act of sending the force may drill a big hole in the US economy, nevertheless, it is necessary for America's own safety. After the arrest of Headley and the shooting spree by a Muslim army man, America has to wipe out islamic radicals (breeding ground) from Afghanistan. Remember Kandahar?.

What I like most, is the engagement of Pakistan in this mission.

"Set a thief to catch a thief".
I also liked Mrs Clinton's salvo in pak.

Its ok for my country. Its OK for China too.

Regards
 
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Dear Sri kunjuppu Ji,

You have said 'I thought he read history. afghanistan has been the graveyard of empires - alexander, persian, british, soviet. and all of them at their prime were much more stronger than the u.s.a. is currently now'

Sorry! Afganistan is a graveyard only if someone wants to subjugate it against the wishes of her tribes. For a good reason. A foreign power can never hope to rule this country from a central power.

But that is not happening now. The mission is clear. Work with the Afghan government to defeat the influence of a resurgent Taliban using anti insurgent tactics. This has nothing to do with conquering Afghanistan.

I think the real strategy behind all this is to root out the Taliban (both Afghan and Pakistani variety, as well as al-queda) from Pakistan's border regions as well as from the Kandahat, Helmund provinces. The real aim is to make sure that the nuclear arsenal in Pakistan do not fall in to these groups' hands.

By the way it was President Clinton who took his eyes off of afghanistan (not President Reagan), calling it a 'Peace dividend' to cut down in to the muscle of both the defence and the spying organizations like CIA and FBI, resulting directly in the attacks on USA in our own soil by the emboldened muslim radicals. Radical muslims understand only one thing they respect: raw power.

Regards,
KRS
 
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Dear All,

May be Obamas act of sending the force may drill a big hole in the US economy, nevertheless, it is necessary for America's own safety. After the arrest of Headley and the shooting spree by a Muslim army man, America has to wipe out islamic radicals (breeding ground) from Afghanistan. Remember Kandahar?.

What I like most, is the engagement of Pakistan in this mission.

"Set a thief to catch a thief".
I also liked Clinton's salvo in pak.

Its ok for my country. Its OK for China too.

Regards
folks,
i just saw live speech of obama in msnbc...he is clear about his mission....but its very difficult in afgan/pak border...

regards
tbs
 
i dont claim to know history nor do i have knowledge of america's domestic compulsions re : afghanistan.

and i am no war monger either.

no one likes or wants a war. not just because it drains $ but because it affects innocents.

but are we not doing some disservice to the memories of those who have been brutalized by the jihadi terror ?

how do we respond to the jihadi threat ?

picture this : this is a threat germinating from ossified, intolerant scums who dont battle an eyelid before killing anyone who does not believe in what they believe. they cant be handled through any legal process. the only way is to speeden their meeting with their allah so that they can claim their 'houri'.

calling them animals would be a huge disservice to the animals and hence i call them beasts.

do these beasts deserve to live ?

it is time that we stop opposing things that are easy to oppose. with all the respect at my command, i ask prof nara and sri kunjuppu as to whether they can 'guarantee' that these beasts will be exterminated by their respective governments ?

kindly dont forget pakistan is a country born out of hate. save for exceptions being a pakistani is a passport to being a terrorist, the visa is just the time of convenience.

the less said about afghanistan the better. with the number of splinter groups they have and a ramshackled system what can they achieve against these beasts ?

now kindly dont go into the history of who created the taliban et all. that's part of the history textbooks and certainly we risk the future generations for the 'payback'.

taliban has to be dealt with, now.

and sirs, dont box america into the corner of 'just another country'. it is not. it will never be.

america perforce has to lead this fight against terror. the interests of the world is at stake and not merely the 260 million americans. it is time the americans start thinking the 'global impact' of what they are doing in afghanistan and stop looking only at their domestic problems.

the losses in wall street can be recouped in some time but leaving these beasts on their own is catastrophic to the entire world.

the world needs america in afghanistan now more than anytime.

a tailpiece : kamran shafi is a columnist with the dawn, a pakistani newspaper. he recently wrote his column about how the dreaded ISI (pakistan's "state actors" of terrorism to put it mildly) should be headed by a civilian.

the reaction was an attempt on his life along with his family.

DAWN.COM | Columnists | In it, up to our necks

do you still believe that pakistan and afghanistan can be sincere and strong enough in their "supposed" fight against terror ?
 
do you still believe that pakistan and afghanistan can be sincere and strong enough in their "supposed" fight against terror ?

Well said HH ji.

Nope, Pak or Afghanisthan can never be trusted.

Pakistan is an ace player of double games (talking peace while moving troops as in Kargil) and escapism (Zaradari's comments on non-state actors before turning silent with the evidence of Kasab being a Pak citizen).

Pakistan is the epicentre of all terrorism on earth. It wud be about time that the US moved as heavily into Pak as it is doing in Afghanistan (hope it does). Otherwise, India will continue to be hit by Pak sponsored terrorism.

Am curious abt Iran as a vassal of Russia - why is Russia building nuclear reactors in Iran and why is Russia using iran to create animosity with the US?
 
hari, krs,

i hear you.

as someone who always wishes the usa well, i hope this initiative by obama succeeds.

not that, i think, he had much choices here.

it is always easy to get into a war, as the u.s. found in vietnam, and the soviets found in afghanistan.

krs, i was not calling anyone 'dogs'. unleashing the 'dogs of war' is a quote for escalating fights. that is all.

personally, i think, the u.s rural is more willing to fight overseas than the urban. i think an overwhelming percentage of u.s. army is from the rural areas, with south dominating, and out of proportion of soldiers from the minorities. i may be wrong here.

the officer cadre is overwhelmingly white. i think.

best of luck for the initiative. canadians are not all that pacific here. i think there will be some more involvement. our parliament has mandated than canada vacates afghanistan in 2010, i believe.
 
Hello everyone!

There are many voices in support of this recent escalation. So let me address this to everyone.

I apologize in advance, this is anther long one from me.

I don't know whether I am a pacifist or not. But I am sure no one here will have any grudge if somehow human race gets rid of wars as a means of resolving conflicts.

Less than 4000 people died in the ghastly attacks of 9/11. As a result, the Afghani civilians and Iraqis had to bear the brunt of the justifiable anger, neither of whom had anything to do with the 9/11 attacks.

We have been at war now for 8 years, and in more than 6 of them in two fronts. It is not surprising that a certain amount of war fatigue has set in. A majority of Americans now think the Afghan war is unwinnable, whatever "win" means. ABC News/Washington Post poll says, "Among all adults, 51 percent now say the war is not worth fighting..."

Yet, according to a media watchdog group called FAIR, there is a near blackout of opinion in opposition to the war. If you look at the opinion pages of the corporate media you may think there is a broad consensus for the Obama strategy for escalation. FAIR looked at the opinion pages of two powerful corporate media outlets. They say, the so called liberal bastion NY Times had 5 times as many opinion columns urging escalation viz a viz opposing it. In Washington Post the ratio is 10 to 1.

I do agree, Taliban are beasts. Their beastliness did not bother the US just as long as they perpetrated their beastliness on their own innocents. When Taliban was in power they were recognized by three governments, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. All three were and still are staunch allies of the U.S. In as much as Pakistani ISI was Taliban's only benefactor, it was U.S. who acted as Taliban's sugar daddy while they were hanging women and preventing little girls from going to school.

Now that beast is gone. Good riddance indeed, but sadly Bush and the chicken hawk Cheny (he took 5 deferments from serving in Vietnam because he had other important things to do with his life) wanted to fight another war. Now the Taliban is resurgent and threatening both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

With one beast gone, we have another beast now. The new beast is supported to the hilt by the U.S. and several western countries with life and treasure. It is this new beast that wanted to execute a mentally unstable person for the alleged crime of apostasy. It is this new beast that passed a law requiring a wife to give in to her husband's wishes, if they belong to the Shia sect. The law states, among other things,
"Obedience, readiness for intercourse and not leaving the house without the permission of the husband are the duties of the wife."
This is the nature of the new beast. This new beast may be under the US leach, but it is a nasty and corrupt beast, unconcerned about the ordinary Afghans.

America is the only remaining hegemonic power. In that sense it is indeed not an ordinary country. It does not use any of the crass techniques of bygone era. The methods they use now were quite openly touted by Bush/Cheney during their time. Now we have charmer. He charms his way. But not everyone is charmed. Look at the way he is handling Honduras. As we speak a Western Saharan activist is on a hunger strike to return to her homeland. She is near death as her strike is now on the 18th day. Her crime was refusing to sign a paper that she is a Moroccan. Secretary Clinton has praised Moroccans for their human rights record of all things.

In the din of all this rhetoric not many are concerned about what the ordinary Afghans want. According to the ABC news poll released in April 2009, all the indicators are moving in the wrong direction. An overwhelming majority of Afghans are still opposed to the old beast, but this opposition is slowly eroding with increasing NATO air-strikes, civilian casualties, and no tangible improvement in security. In spite of their opposition to the old beast, they want the new beast to negotiate with the old beast and come to some sort of understanding so that their suffering can end. This is what the Afghans want, if anyone cares. They don't want more troops, more war, more death and destruction.

We are not going to be rid of the jihadists anytime soon. That requires a sustained and nuanced strategy. Results will not be quick and will not be 100%. But one thing is sure, when it comes to jihadists threat, this escalation will only serve their cause.

From an Indian POV there is a tendency to view this in zero sum term. Anything that harms Pakistan is good for India. I think most Pakistanis are good people just as much as in India. I think it is a mistake to think of them Muslims. Think of them as our brothers and sisters. If only we can find a way to get along.

Cheers!
 
Afghanistan in the long run holds no strategic value to the US. In the short term, the terrorists who were emboldened in Pakistan on the border pose a threat to the Pakistani government and pose the real danger of getting their hands on the nuclear arsenal. Eliminating these neanderthals would benefit USA's, Pakistan's and India's interests.

Afghanistan may benefit in the long run or may not. Seems to me the anti insurgency startegy will help protect the population from Taliban control. Yes, they did not support indiscriminate bombing by the US in the past - no sane population would. That is why a protective operation like this will succeed as it has in many parts of the world where terrorism have been defeated in the past.

I agree wars are ugly. But common people pay for the sins of their leaders. Happened throughout history and will keep on happening as long as power hungry, dictatorial and adharmic leaders exist. World will not change by dharmic leaders practicing dharma. It will only change when adharmic forces are defeated employing all four means of Sama, Dhana, Bheda and Dhanda. As long as such forces exist, it makes no sense to give up the Dhandam unilaterally.

Regards,
KRS
 
Dear Sri Kun juppu Ji,
Because the US military is now a voluntary force, people who join are generally from lower middle class and below. Except for families who traditionally send their children to join the military. There is no rural/urban bias in this. Nowadays the blacks and the hispanics are joining the military after high school disproportionate to their population, because of career opportunities.

The officer training colleges are quite different. The congress men/women need to sponsor local candidates to be admitted to West Point, Colorodo Springs and Annapolis (the acadamies). 75% of the seats are admitted this way. Because of diversity programs more and more minorities are getting admitted (although not at a pace one would like to see).

I think the perception that 'red necks' are predominant in the military is not correct. It is a very professionally trained force.

Regards,
KRS

hari, krs,

i hear you.

as someone who always wishes the usa well, i hope this initiative by obama succeeds.

not that, i think, he had much choices here.

it is always easy to get into a war, as the u.s. found in vietnam, and the soviets found in afghanistan.

krs, i was not calling anyone 'dogs'. unleashing the 'dogs of war' is a quote for escalating fights. that is all.

personally, i think, the u.s rural is more willing to fight overseas than the urban. i think an overwhelming percentage of u.s. army is from the rural areas, with south dominating, and out of proportion of soldiers from the minorities. i may be wrong here.

the officer cadre is overwhelmingly white. i think.

best of luck for the initiative. canadians are not all that pacific here. i think there will be some more involvement. our parliament has mandated than canada vacates afghanistan in 2010, i believe.
 
prof,

i have no intention to take you on, but i do wish to state

we need to address the issue on hand rather than going back to the bygone era. the taliban is a creation of u.s, no doubt but we should also remember that it was the era of the 'cold war'.

the cold war is behind us and there has been a paradigm shift in the world.

so in my opinion the fact that u.s created taliban or were silent supporters when taliban pursued their inhuman agenda does not hold water.

u.s was as much a mute spectator when india famously over turned a supreme court order to deny a muslim divorcee her maintenance (shah bano).

the fact remains that the 'treatment of women' and the 'attitude towards other faiths' is as shameful in islam as it can get much like the despicable caste discrimination in hinduism.

i hope you are not saying that u.s colluded with the taliban to perpetrate the atrocities. it didnt have anything to do with the 'back to the caves' ordinance of president karzai.

the association u.s had with taliban does not in my view preclude it from taking on them.

i also think that we are 'overplaying' the sentiment of 'innocent' deaths. the reasons are :

a) the respective governments should have resettled those who live close to the scene of action

b) most of those who live along with the taliban are 'hardliners' themselves.

the war is not just against those who are armed. in my view it is as much against those who have not taken up arms but are sympathisers of taliban and endorse their activities. i dont think even these beasts deserve to live.

so let us not take the broad brush of 'innocents' and paint across the board.

if you consider as to how pakistan 'reluctantly' joined the fight against terror, the importance of bush saying that 'we will bomb you back to stone age' shouldnt be ignored.

prof, i dont have to tell you sir - 'laathon ki bhooth baathon se nahin maanthi'

as to the growing anti-u.s sentiment in afpak, it is the responsibility of the govt to explain the people. fundamentalists should not be allowed to use the anti-u.s sentiment to regroup and pursue their extremist agenda.

forbes list of powerful people places the u.s president at the top of the heap. how can we argue that he should abdicate his responsibility to the world....not just the united states ?

good luck to you sir, if you think a pakistani is trustworthy.....water has been found on the moon...but a trustworthy pakistani ????? well, let me keep my fingers crossed !
 
USA is very much responsible for the present position of both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Now USA cannot withdraw from the scene and wash of their hands.

Pakistan is now a failed state. Nobody knows who is in control of power. President, Prime Minister or Army Chief.

Since India is the immediate neighbour, it is worst affected by the developments in Pakistan.

If USA solves the problems in Afghanistan which it created long back by breeding Taliban against USSR, it is better for the entire world.

Let us hope for the best
 
The barnarians deserve this and.....

We have not forgotten the immense mkischief making capacity of Afghans. The Khandahar is still green in our mind. And if proofs are needed we have just keep travelling backward in history. The 24 cuts carefully made on the pupil of the moghul scion and the CAOH poured on those cuts to make sure that - in case...,The communist leader(not just a leader but a deposed ruler of the country) who was hanged upside down from a street lamp post and beaten to death, the threat to seize the control of the nuclear button,there are many more such horrendous things keep haunting you. If going to war is not the way to deal with this pestilance what else is? The US reluctantly joined the war earlier once when the war ultimately came and knocked on its door in Pearl Harbour - and the war ended. Now again it takes up the whip in its hand, the war is bound to come to an end. All wars are nasty affairs. There will be death and destruction. Chearges will fly left right and in all directions about innocents getting killed by napalms, crops being wiped out by chemical weapons, still born babies,war excesses ala My Lai,taxes,compulsory military service and possible death, a generation brought up on hatred diet. But it is all unavoidable because the dragon does not see reason. I am in India and being an Indian my POV may be a little different from that of an American citizen. But if I were American I would support Obama to the hilt. I would go to the extent of saying Obama should use tactical nuclear weapons if the need arises in Afghanistan and Pakistan- Pakistan? yes, because it is not going to keep quite americans are banging the life out of Afghans. Up to a point Pak will play. After the point it will join afghans than US. That is when you defuse the nuclear wires in Pak. India too is going to be drawn into this quagmire. But it would be wise to join the war than to sit in the fence. Obama's effort may bear fruit and war may not be necessary really. Let us see.
 
i don't think obama had a choice to pack up and leave afghanistan right away. the supporters for this escalation is lukewarm from both major political parties.

the democrats want him to get out. the republicans think that he has not 'surged' enough. to be termed as 'weak president' would be the death knell of obama's presidency. and no chance to get re elected 2012. after all obama is a politician.

i understand the fervent hopes of many folks here supporting the u.s. escalation. incidentally, i read, that manmohan singh himself advised obama to escalate.

having said that, my only doubt, is whether the u.s is capable of defeating this enemy. the jihadists are elusive and the terrain is horrid for regular soldiers.

while not much is heard of the u.s. troop morale, the jihadists appear to have the entire arab world support in spirit and money. money comes from saudi and UAE. these are supposed to be west's 'friends'.

the 9/11 attackers were mostly saudis. i still do not understand the logic of it all. it will be good for india, to get the jihadists under control. i agree with hari, dispatching them quickly to their rewards in the garden of allah should be the prime goal.

otherwise, an emboldened jihadist will next turn their eyes on india. we don't want that.
 
Dear Shri Hariharan, Greetings!

i have no intention to take you on, but i do wish to state

Why not Hari? I hope you engage me in a spirited discussion, I would love that.

we need to address the issue on hand rather than going back to the bygone era.
This is indeed a fair point. At the same time a critical understanding of the history is necessary, won't you agree? Couple of weeks ago I watched on Bill Moyers Journal LBJ's path to war. The similarities of the predicaments LBJ faced and the current situation Obama is confronting are eerily prescient.

i hope you are not saying that u.s colluded with the taliban to perpetrate the atrocities. it didnt have anything to do with the 'back to the caves' ordinance of president karzai.

You are correct, I am not saying that. All I am saying is that the new guys the U.S. is supporting now is just as bad, may not as ghastly as the previous one.

i also think that we are 'overplaying' the sentiment of 'innocent' deaths. the reasons are:

I am unable to agree with this. The scene of the action is all over the country. Resettling is impractical. Counter insurgency by its nature involves violent interruption to ordinary civilian's lives. This does more harm than good.

You may very well be right when you say, "most of those who live along with the taliban are 'hardliners' themselves." But being a hardliner is not reason enough to consider them expendable in pursuit of Taliban leaders. To get one Taliban or Al Qaeda leader, how many of these hardliners can be expended?

Obama said in his speech,
"Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future."

So, defeating Taliban is a priority only to the extent it is likely to advance the above goal. Al Qaeda is the primary threat. The best estimate of their strength in the border regions is said to be in the hundreds. So, a smarter approach to achieve Obama's goal is to disrupt Taliban -- Al Qaeda axis. For this, huge American military presence is not necessary and may even be counter productive.

Afghanistan is not the only possible safe haven for Al Qaeda. There is Somalia and Yemen. It is impossible to uproot all enclaves of support for Al Qaeda. Some say Al Qaeda is like a cancer, but a better medical metaphor is diabetes. It is impossible to eliminate it. But it is critical that it is carefully and constantly managed, and never allowed to go out of control.

As they say, war is a blunt instrument. War makes more enemies. War to end all wars gave us an even greater war. Even if escalation finally turns out to be successful, it is going to come at a heavy cost. There are alternatives.

IMHO, identifying the less extreme Taliban and bringing them into a coalition government is a better approach. The benefactors of Taliban must be targeted and pressured to influence Taliban. ISI can play a role in this. May be all this was tried, may be not.

prof, i dont have to tell you sir - 'laathon ki bhooth baathon se nahin maanthi'
I am sorry, I have no idea what you have said. My school days were the time of தமிழுக்கு என் உயிர், இந்திக்கு என் ம... . Whatever little Hindi I know is not helping me here.

good luck to you sir, if you think a pakistani is trustworthy.....water has been found on the moon...but a trustworthy pakistani ?????

:) you are using a broad brush here, but I understand your frustration. Perhaps it is this frustration that is making my friend Raju to suggest the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

But, IMHO, it is in the long term interest of India to make sure Paksitan is a stable state. Solving the major irritant between the countries, namely Kashmir, will go a long way in this regard.

Cheers!
 
Why not Hari? I hope you engage me in a spirited discussion, I would love that.

well, let me just say that discretion is the better part of valour and hence i wouldnt risk taking on a knowledge colossus like you. :) :)

but in the true spirit of receiving குட்டு from a மோதிர விரல் like you, i try again.

I am unable to agree with this. The scene of the action is all over the country. Resettling is impractical. Counter insurgency by its nature involves violent interruption to ordinary civilian's lives. This does more harm than good.

the action is perhaps all over. but the moot point is are the u.s forces "reckless" in their action ?

i have often wondered why the angle of 'innocents' is never brought into question when the suicide bombers blow themselves up killing unsuspecting innocents.

i have tried to argue this with an 'over-the-board-humanist' in another forum which mr kunjuppu knows ; war according to me cannot be bracketed alongwith terrorism.

for the simple reason that war is done by a state ; is known ; any civilian damage is collateral and sought to be minimized. terrorism is the exact opposite of this.

when i said resettling i meant those in tora bora et all where in any case they didnt have a great livelihood.

i admit that counter insurgency is intrusive but can we abandon it all together ?

can we for instance close down police stations because they are excesses ?

one of the biggest success stories of counter insurgency, we neednt go too far, is in j & k. i know that there have been army excesses but that is no reason to leave the poor people at the mercy of the militants.

You may very well be right when you say, "most of those who live along with the taliban are 'hardliners' themselves." But being a hardliner is not reason enough to consider them expendable in pursuit of Taliban leaders. To get one Taliban or Al Qaeda leader, how many of these hardliners can be expended?

you may be tempted to think that i am a misanthropist but i certainly feel that we can "afford" to expend as many hardliners as we can.

these are the kind of hardliners who are tomorrow's terrorists.

So, defeating Taliban is a priority only to the extent it is likely to advance the above goal. Al Qaeda is the primary threat. The best estimate of their strength in the border regions is said to be in the hundreds. So, a smarter approach to achieve Obama's goal is to disrupt Taliban -- Al Qaeda axis. For this, huge American military presence is not necessary and may even be counter productive.

i will have to agree with this. i am not certainly suggesting that more troops are the order of the day ; my support for the additional troops is because it reflects the committment of u.s to uprooting terrorism.

Afghanistan is not the only possible safe haven for Al Qaeda. There is Somalia and Yemen. It is impossible to uproot all enclaves of support for Al Qaeda. Some say Al Qaeda is like a cancer, but a better medical metaphor is diabetes. It is impossible to eliminate it. But it is critical that it is carefully and constantly managed, and never allowed to go out of control.

your metaphor of diabetes is on the spot. it is not uncommon to resort to amputation to save a diabetic...so we must amputate the al qaedas so that humanity can survive.

IMHO, identifying the less extreme Taliban and bringing them into a coalition government is a better approach. The benefactors of Taliban must be targeted and pressured to influence Taliban. ISI can play a role in this. May be all this was tried, may be not.

identifying good and bad taliban was tried and in the end it was a choice between a rock and a hard place.

good taliban is an oxymoron sir.

pakistan's isi is hand-in-glove with these extremists as their sole agenda is to inflict a 1000 cuts on india.

and in hindi i was just saying the rough equivalent of அடி உதவுகிற மாதிரி அண்ணன் தம்பி கூட உதவ மாட்டான்

:) you are using a broad brush here, but I understand your frustration. Perhaps it is this frustration that is making my friend Raju to suggest the use of tactical nuclear weapons.

yes i am using a broad brush here...because to trust pakistan one has to be either brave or very pious. i am neither.

nuclear weapons is out of the question since both countries have the credible deterrence.

i honestly think india should finish off pakistan, diplomatically and economically.

But, IMHO, it is in the long term interest of India to make sure Paksitan is a stable state. Solving the major irritant between the countries, namely Kashmir, will go a long way in this regard.

Cheers!

this is what we have been saying for the last 60 years with little effect. india does not harbour any territorial ambitions ; it is pakistan which is playing the religious card.

i am not sure settling the kashmir issue will bring about a change of attitude in pakistan ;not for a minute am i suggesting we should not hence resolve it ; we should, by all means.

infact i would recommend giving off kashmir to pakistan.
 
Dear Hari, greetings!

well, let me just say that discretion is the better part of valour and hence i wouldnt risk taking on a knowledge colossus like you.

You mean knowledge colossus like Google... :)


The terrorists target innocents, while military action that comes as a response, results only in collateral damage. This is true. At the same time, I am sure you will agree, that civilized nation states have a different set of standards than the terrorists they are fighting. Here I give a quotation from an article I read in The Nation magazine by Jeremy Scahill.
If there's one person they're going after and there's thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die.
Leaving the moral angle aside for the moment, utter disregard for collateral damage like the above is the reason today's hardliners are turned into future terrorists.

The Al Qaeda presence is supposed to be mainly in Pakistan's mountainous and autonomous provinces. Obama says that the main reason for the current escalation is target the insurgency and secure key population centers. That is mainly the southern provinces. In other words, targeting of Al Qaeda/Taliban leadership will continue only as before, via unmanned drones.

Counter insurgency is not an end, it is a means to achieve certain goals. My fear is this measure will only exacerbate long term stability. This is why we must look at history and learn.

Is Indian counter insurgency in Kashmir a success? May be it is, only time can tell. Yesterday there was a news item about discovery of a mass grave that included civilians. New thinking for solving Kashmir is necessary.

I agree that there is no good Taliban. In international politics it is wise to make deals wherever you can so that overall violence is diminished and common people benefit. I think US must try to negotiate with sections of Taliban who are willing, through ISI perhaps, and marginalize the more extreme Taliban and Al Qaeda. Hope this is happening in secret.

Cheers!
 
Dear Shri Hari

"infact i would recommend giving off kashmir to pakistan..."

Many times, I used to think like that, despite the plight of kashmiri pandits. But once it is given to Pakistan, they will share with China, taking the strategic positions.

In our country there is a saying " Even 100 criminals go unpunished in order to save one innocent, its Ok..."

But new saying seems to be " It will be OK if 100 innocents die in order to kill one terrorists..." because that one terrorist will kill those 100 or 1000 anyway if he is not checked.

These innocents anyway will die because of terrorist acts. (are we not seeing bomb blasts in Pakistan recently even in girls university, and last year Mumbai siege) by the terrorists.

Regards
 
Dear Shri Nara,

"Is Indian counter insurgency in Kashmir a success? May be it is, only time can tell. Yesterday there was a news item about discovery of a mass grave that included civilians. New thinking for solving Kashmir is necessary."

Lets wait for the full report. It is really very difficult to define the civilian in those areas. We have received reports from NGO's. I have my doubts that if at all our army kills civilians, they will bury at one place like this.

Regards
 
Hi everyone!

It is now abundantly clear that the start date for withdrawal from Afghanistan is no more than a red herring -- a bone thrown to the corporate media, and boy they went after it with gusto from both sides, as if the only thing that mattered was that meaningless date.

The so called surge in Iraq came after ethnic cleansing of the provinces was already mostly complete, and the Sunni war lords were already bought and paid for. Nothing of that sort has happened in Afghanistan.

Protecting population centers means patrolling cities. Just the very sight of foreign forces entering their villages and towns with their guns drawn is enough to send even the most docile of brahmins to rise up with anger, let alone fiercely militaristic Afghans. Nothing good is likely to come out of this.

After sending 30,000+ additional troops into a nation that can never be a threat to the U.S. and a depleted Al Qaeda of around 100, an estimate given by none other than the Chief of the joint staff Adm. Jones, president Obama is headed to Oslo to accept the peace prize. Reality is stranger than fiction!!!
 
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