Birds of War

Posted by sepoy on December 23, 2008 · 1 min read

fp-02The aftershocks of Mumbai continue. The incursion, last week, of Indian jets into Pakistan's airspace has galvanized the predictably jingoistic public, once again behind the Army. The Pakistan Airforce has started running low-flying sorties over major cities (Lahore, Rawalpindi, Islamabad). Newspapers are reporting that crowds cheer when the planes fly over. The major airports have cancelled flights - at least, for the duration.

Over the last two years, the armed forces of Pakistan - the titular leaders - rapidly became a dirty word. Musharraf, corruption, failure to secure the cities, operations in Baluchistan and NWFP, all contributed towards an emerging discourse of "Army is bad for the country". We saw the culmination of such sentiments in the February election and the resignation of Musharraf.

I am afraid those advances are now lost. On Pakistani blogs, the machismo of the "Pakistan, Fuck Yeah!" crowd is, once again, dominant. India is, once again, a militant target. Even the nascent student movement, which had taken to the streets during the Lawyers Movement, has donned the green colors of civil defense.


It is all frighteningly familiar. And here I was, hoping for change.


Aun | December 23, 2008

I know it's not unusual for English to be used in media of communication in Pakistan, but is there any particular reason why this poster would have been written up in English (and some Urdish, e.g. kuch karlou)?

Mario D'Penha | December 23, 2008

Is this the middle class speaking? In India, we perfected the "enough is enough" spiel in favor of middle class activism against government 'impotence' three weeks ago. Support of NGOs and rallying against divisive mainstream political voices may be clues to this. Happy Xmas (War Is Over)! (This is my favorite blog. Thank you Sepoy).

sepoy | December 23, 2008

Aun: the middle/upper-middle class is bilingual or trilingual. there was an urdu version of the poster as well; I posted this for the benefit of CM audience. Mario: many thanks and happy xmas to you too!

omar ali | December 24, 2008

Pakistan looks like a place on the verge of a meltdown. The Zardari regime is so hopelessly corrupt and inept (the justice Agha Rafiq farce is a good indicator) it cannot possibly hold things together or turn them around. Its a tragedy and I blame the two actors who had the most power to actually take critical decisions: the army, which has played a double game with America, created a jihadi infrastructure it no longer controls, destroyed all other institutions and ended the matter with destruction of the judiciary and the creation of this hopelessly corrupt manipulated democracy where they had the chance to actually allow a fair process and maybe establish a functional republic. They have cut the branch they are sitting on. The other biggest contributor is United States Embassy, which has been micromanaging this sad show for several years with predictably awful results. The "El Salvador Dream Team" led by Anne Patterson is working on the assumption that Pakistan is El Salvador on a larger scale. They dont trust the people, they dont trust democracy and they are scared shitless of the rule of law. The irony is, the United States and even its most imperial ambitions, would have been better served by supporting liberal and democratic forces instead of relying on the army and the most corrupt politicians available. As they say in the Urdu movies: ab dawa ka nahin, dua ka waqt hai...

Another Damned Medievalist | December 25, 2008


akbar | December 25, 2008

Omar your analysis is spot on for current situation. But on the lighter side we got to give the credit where it is due. Some of our tax dollars are being put to better use,such as follows

Umar | December 27, 2008

The News suggests that Swat has for all intents and purposes, fallen... This, and a couple of other editorials, place the blame fairly and squarely on the army... Kamila Hyat wrote recently that the fundos always seem to know when and where the next attack is going to be, there have been instances where the army simply hasn't attacked when it could have and should have, and there is the deplorable lack of action around Quetta even when there is at least a semblance of action up north... sadly, that too will now be wound up because of the tension on the Eastern front, tension which I'm sure the top brass in the army welcomes... I find it amusing that these new "student movement" types do not utter a word about the atrocities the Taliban are committing, like digging people out of graves and hanging them (a la Dr Najibullah)... a look at the Pakistani blogosphere makes for similar depressing reading... it is high time we got our priorities right, but if these students, who are often vociferous supporters of that wonderful, honest, upright playboy-cum-cricketer-turned-philanthropist-turned- Jamaati stooge Maulvi Imran Khan, are anything to go by, that isn't forthcoming... What a depressing holiday season...

Desi Italiana | December 27, 2008

Article written by Fatima Bhutto and Ghinwa Bhutto:

Umar | December 28, 2008

Didn't read the article yet, but I scrolled down to the comments and it shames me to admit just how inarticulate and immature the Pakistani posters generally sound compared to the Indians... decades of Mutalea-e-Pakistan (Pakistan Studies) lessons coming home to roost...

omar ali | December 28, 2008

Just today, over 30 people who had lined up to vote in a bye election were killed via car bomb. Since the army and the "militants" are equally unhappy with the concept of elections, one wonders who picked the target? In any case, if the army is not actively working WITH the militants, it still has a very warped sense of priorities. India has not invaded or captured any Pakistani land since Siachen (which was never demarcated, so maybe its unfair to count that) but just in the last 4 years, the "militants" have conquered nearly 80% of FATA and a couple of districts in the NWFP. So how come the "reconquest" of this lost territory is not a high priority for the army? The army moved into Swat over one year ago and still the militants can hang someone in public in the tehsil headquarter at Matta? And for 8 months, the army has been steadily "advancing" into Bajaur and they havent reached the end of that agency (which is about 50 miles long at most)? About 60 years of "pakistan studies" coming home to roost, the less said the better. Imran Khan is a genuine hero (one of the few we have produced). His Cricketing achievements would be enough for any one person, but he has added to that his cancer hospital and now a college/University. He is not a bad guy, but he drank the Pak Studies Kool Aid in Aitchison and look at the nonsense he can spout when he tries to launch into history and geopolitics. Sad.

Umar | December 28, 2008

You took the words from my mouth, namesake... :) I for one will never buy the army-has-ditched-the-militants argument... in the past, when the officers at least had a semblance of polish and grace, it was simply a matter of them putting their interests before the country and patronizing the militants... now, it is more sinister, with the petty bourgeois origins of the officers, and the narrow conservatism that is a part and parcel of that mentality, really coming to the fore... how many such officers can be purged? The lowly captains and majors, not to mention the JCOs and NCOs are teeming with such people, and purging them all would leave us without an officer corps... or for that matter an army... With this state of affairs, the Mumbai carnage couldn't have come at a worse time... there is this surge in support for the very army that has brought us to this precipice and looks all set to push us off it too... Like you said, time for dua, perhaps, now that all appears lost...

Aamir Ali | January 03, 2009

The army is fighting the militants in multiple locations and has suffered losses, and also inflicted losses. Instead of conspiracy theories, please support your army against militants who care nothing for your country. Additionally Pakistanis are only responding to Indian threats and blackmailing against Pakistan.

Nostalgic (formerly Umar) | January 05, 2009

Aamir, there is no doubt that our soldiers are fighting valiantly, but there is also no doubt that there is rot at the top... one finds it hard to believe that one of the largest standing armies in the world is bogged down by a ragtag bunch of terrorists... there is enough evidence, if one goes by the statements of the people in Swat and the ANP leaders, that the army is just not doing enough... dismissing them as "conspiracy theories" as you do just doesn't cut it... like you said, these militants care nothing for our country, which makes it all the more infuriating that the army is holding back... and it isn't just the army sticking to the failed theory of the terrorists being "assets" that they still want to use someday... the rightwing mindset of elements in the army is there for all to see... Also, responding to "threats and blackmailing" as you call it is all well and good, but why is there the glaring lack of any mention of the Taliban threat in the posters in the original post, and in the current chest thumping on TV and the internet?

Nostalgic (formerly Umar) | January 06, 2009

Today's editorial in the Daily Times is also eye-opening... Baloch nationalists are alleging that the army, while at least pretending to attack the Taliban in the north, is just not doing so in Balochistan... the reasons are very much a repeat of what the state's policy has been since the 70's: support the fundamentalists to undermine the secular nationalists... The editorial also mentions the straightjacket we put on ourselves with the emphasis on religion as our only binding force... this naturally plays right into the hands of those who style themselves as the representatives of God... it is time, once and for all, to ditch the nonsensical we-are-one-nation mantra, and declare ourselves a multi-national state... unity in diversity should be the new slogan...\story_6-1-2009_pg3_1

Aamir Ali | January 16, 2009

Umar: The army may be 500K but you need more than that to fight an insurgency. The army is conducting operations in Bajaur, Khyber, Darra Adamkhel, Waziristan, Hangu and even more places. The Taliban cancer has spread to more places than one. You need tools like helicopters to fight insurgencies, and the army's resources are limited in this regard. I don't give a hoot about what the ANP and other half-wit leader of Swat say. They were the same people who condemned the army operations and did "peace deals" with militants. Now that those peace deals were a predicatable failure, they now condemn the army for "not doing enough" There is no doubt that Pakistan Army has made mistakes, there is also nothing to be gained by being suspicious of it and blaming it for everything.

Nostalgic (formerly Umar) | January 18, 2009

Limited resources? It is well known by now, and even being discussed on TV here in the US, that the billions in aid that should have been used to kill the mullahs and develop counter-insurgency and guerrilla warfare abilities were instead diverted towards developing conventional warfare abilities tailored towards the "Indian threat"... if the money had been utilized better, you would have had your "tools like helicopters" and much else besides that... It is ludicrous to suggest that a half a million-strong "professional" army isn't enough to tackle a few thousand mullahs... how much more do you need? Perhaps if they started being serious, a few thousand would be enough... And peace deals? If anyone is guilty of that, it is the army itself... and the ANP is well within its rights to condemn the army for not doing enough because fighting the mullahs militarily is the army's job, not politicians'... And I beg to differ... there is everything to be gained by blaming the Jackboots for everything, because every single one of our problems has either originated with or has been exacerbated by the army... discussing its mistakes is the first step in realizing that by stoking religious fervor, it has taken us for a ride for the last 60 years... I would be the first to back the army if they really took the Taliban seriously, but the facts speak for themselves: Swat has fallen...\18\story_18-1-2009_pg3_1

Aamir Ali | January 19, 2009

The entire number of 500K cannot be devoted to one single campaign, there are other internal fronts, and Pakistan has a genuine external threat from India. The army has to pay attention to all these fronts. The insurgency that is currently afflicting Pakistan started in 2006, the aid programs started in 2001. If you know anything about foreign aid, its that the donors who decide how the money should be spent, with the receiving country having a junior vote in it. Not every dollar spent on weapons that can be used against India is wasted, for example the Cobras, the T-59 tanks and the ammunition/armor the soldiers are using in Bajaur is all originally meant to be used against India. The army has conducted operations in Swat, Bajaur, Hangu, Darra Adamkhel, Khyber and Waziristan, lost over 1,000 soldiers and suffered many thousands of casualties. If that doesn't demonstrate committment, I dont know what does. Anyone who doubt the army's sincerity, doubts it just for the heck of it. The political parties like the ANP,don't acknowledge the failure of their "peace deals", don't visit the affected areas, and don't support the army jawans who are in the line of fire. Then they have the gall to condemn the army. All that shows is that politicans are worthless, and the army is making an effort.

Nostalgic | January 19, 2009

The external threat from India, while it exists, has been blown out of proportion by the army and milked for all it is worth... a stroll down to the latest Defense Housing Society will be illuminating... You bring up the 500K figure again... admittedly not all 500K can be diverted to fight the mullahs because as discovered a few years ago, 50K or so (later reduced, to the enduring credit of the top brass) were found to be serving tea to our battle-hardened, democracy-loving officers in their humble messes or fetching vegetables for the officers' begums, those paragons of humility and asceticism... but returning to your figure of 500K, how many do you think are needed? Before the current crisis, were those numbers diverted to the tribal belt when it was obvious that more were needed? After this current crisis on the eastern front is over, will more be diverted? If aid money is spent at the discretion of the donor, as you claim, how is it that all the aid we have received from the IMF, World Bank, US, EU and around a dozen Arab countries has not brought about any noticeable change whatsoever in any sphere? If it is spent at their discretion, do they specify which politician or General gets to pocket what percentage? And if the money really was spent on Cobras and T-59s, where is the lack of resources you spoke of? And if it was spent at the donors' discretion, did they forget to specify that the money was for developing counter-terrorism abilities? Like I said in previous posts, I don't doubt the sincerity of the jawans, 1000 or more of whom have been killed like you said... I do doubt the sincerity of the decision makers in the army... the proof of the pudding is in how good or bad it tastes, not in how much apparent effort is put in, and the results, even charitably, have been disastrous: they have failed to rout out a bunch of rag-tag mullahs... sure, "operations" have been going on in the places you've mentioned, sure, our brave jawans have died, but has that stopped the mullahs from holding sway over 75% of Swat? Has it stopped the massacre of our Shia brethren in Hangu and Kurram? I will believe the sincerity of the top brass when I see dead terrorists... And even if I were charitable and ignored the lack of sincerity from the Generals, whatever happened to the famed professionalism they've thumped their chests for all these years? How is it that they have suffered "many thousands" of casualties, as you wrote, and not managed to rein in the terrorists? There were reports earlier of officers deserting their posts... how come? There have been reports of terrorists knowing when and where the next attack is going to be... why? Perhaps the ANP will venture into Swat when it knows that the terrorists won't dare blow up their homes and kill their leaders because they are actually being pursued by the army, not just for appearances' sake...

Aamir Ali | January 21, 2009

Since you admit the existence of an external threat from India, it then becomes a matter of perception. I see the threat as real and large whereas you see at small. Batmen dont fight on the battlefield, soldiers do. The entire 500K army is not made up of soldiers who fight. I will repeat that the army has to operate on external fronts as well as internal fronts, hence there is a division of troops. Just because you flood an area with soldiers, doesnt mean you will necessarily kill all terrorists as they hide in the civilian population and don't carry Terrorist ID cards. I don't know exactly how the aid money was spent, but foreign aid is spent according to the directions of the donors. Some of it on military, some of it on govt, some of it on debt-relief. Pakistani soldiers currently serving in FATA have much better armor and rations then before, so the military part of the aid has not been wasted. We have Cobras, however we don't have enough Cobras. Which is why Pakistan is buying some more. We also need equipment like NVG and communication sets, for which orders have been placed in recent years, and which are now coming into the inventory. Its not just jawans who have died. Captains, Majors and generals have also been killed in this terror war. The enemy is not a bunch of "Rag-tag mullahs". The enemy is very heavily armed with machine guns, land-mines, suicide-bombers, RPG's, explosives and even ATGM's as witnessed recently in Bajaur. Despite suffering thousands of casualties, and going against the public opinion of the ignorant masses, the army has stuck to its mission of eradicating terrorism. I call that bravery and professionalism. You doubt it just for the heck of it. The ANP's original formula for dealing with terrorists through "peace deals" was a complete failure. They won't even acknowlege that, who care what else they have to say on the subject?

Nostalgic | January 21, 2009

A matter of perception no doubt... the Indian threat, in my eyes, pales in comparison to the threat on the Western front... too bad the generals, recent statements of the ISI chief notwithstanding, don't quite agree... Have you read Khalid Hasan's recent article that has received a lot of attention? He recounts an interview with Musharraf as late as 2006 where the dictator was furious that the journalists had the gall to insinuate that the Lashkar-e-Taiba should be reined in, because in his words, "They are not doing anything in Pakistan. They are doing jihad outside". This, and other articles which mention that ISI officers admit that they've been aiding the Americans AND the Taliban at the same time, point to the sheer disconnect the generals have with reality... their efforts to get the idiots from our side who went to fight in Afghanistan in 2001 out safely, their rigging of the 2002 polls to allow the MMA to be elected in Pakhtunkhwa, their insistence that those engaged in that phony jihad in Kashmir were different from Al-Qaeda, and yes, THEIR peace deals all point to how they view the Taliban/Al-Qaeda threat... yes, "operations" continue, yes, jawans and officers die, but have the generals really taken the war on terror to heart? Have they given up their pipe dreams of one day using these mullahs as "assets" in their needless fight with India again? Have they given up hopes of using them to invade Kabul again? I don't think so... I know that batmen can't fight... the point in bringing it up was the astonishing fact that a full 10% of the army, till a few years back, were batmen or waiters... how many officers do we have? How many batmen do they need? Recall from Pakistan Studies lessons that one of the reasons listed for the decline of the Mughal empire was the opulence of the army... this seems to be the case in the Pakistan army too, more adept at real estate and coups than actual fighting... And you're contradicting yourself now... in earlier posts, you had implied that we needed more troops... I quote: "The army may be 500K but you need more than that to fight an insurgency"... but in your last post, you say that flooding an area with troops isn't the way to go either... perhaps you meant more equipment? Read on... So the military part of the aid has not been wasted, you claim? The donors don't quite agree, as the next link from the International Herald Tribune, no propagandist rag by the way, suggests... it is from December 2007, but has anything changed since then that you may want to share? What of the money that had been squandered till then? Will the generals be held accountable? And you also claim that the money is "spent according to the directions of the donors"? Again, they don't quite agree, or there wouldn't be talk of squandering the aid... If the money had been spent the way it was supposed to, you would've had your extra Cobras, Night Vision Goggles and other goodies... I agree that the terrorists hide behind human shields, but is it always the case? The Americans seem to be getting pretty good with targeting high-profile Al-Qaeda targets... the intelligence seems to come from our side, so how come we are not hitting those targets? And what of reports that militants seem to know when the next attack is going to be? Is that bravery or is it professionalism? I would be the first to support the army if it really was "going against the public opinion of the ignorant masses" (the disdain for the common man that the faujis and their supporters have never ceases to amaze) and if it really had "stuck to its mission of eradicating terrorism" (one can only "stick" to a mission if one has actually started it)... I don't doubt their commitment "for the heck of it"... the history of their association with these mullahs isn't exactly the one that forces one to trust them, to put it very mildly... If the enemy really is so heavily armed, doesn't the army bear some responsibility for that too, given how they've armed these people to the teeth until recently? If not, is it too hard to figure out where the weapons are coming from and act accordingly? Are they better armed than the Pakistan army? Is that the state of affairs after taking away a big chunk of the budget plus the foreign aid? If not, how come they are not suffering "thousands of casualties?" And if you can discredit the ANP, whose secular credentials by the way are far superior to the army, for going for peace deals, a disastrous policy no doubt, then there is no other entity in Pakistan that stands as exposed and as discredited as the army... their dalliance with the mullahs spans not a few weeks, as in the case of the ANP, but whole decades... all they've done since 2001, which I've mentioned earlier, suggests that they are unwilling to cut the umbilical cord from which the mullahs hang on to them... has anything changed in the last few days?

Aamir Ali | January 22, 2009

Let me respond to your rant paragraph by paragraph. "A matter of perception no doubt…...... Have they given up hopes of using them to invade Kabul again? I don't think so…" Indeed the internal threat from militants is greater than the one from India, which is why the armed forces, acting under the orders of the generals, are so active on this internal front. The claims made in the Western media, by "anonymous officials", against ISI and Army are trash and are part of media pressure campaigns. We have Taliban-trained suicide bombers attacking ISI employees, we have ISI agents assasinated by militants, we have generals killed in bombings, we have constant military campaigns in which jawans, lietenants,captains, majors AND generals are killed, yet somehow the army and ISI are still "helping militants". Given the enormous activity and sacrifices made by Pakistan Armed Forces as a whole in the past eight years, one had got to be a looney, or an enemy, to doubt their sincerity. "I know that batmen can't fight…...this seems to be the case in the Pakistan army too, more adept at real estate and coups than actual fighting…" Well that was a British-era practice, and has been put an end by Pakistan Army. What's to complain about here? "So the military part of the aid has not been wasted, you claim....If the money had been spent the way it was supposed to, you would've had your extra Cobras, Night Vision Goggles and other goodies…" The IHT is owned by the New York Times, a Pakistan-hating newspaper which has been complaining about the money sent to Pakistan for far longer than that. Since the publishing of this article 13 months ago what changes have the Americans made in their aid programs to Pakistan ? Nothing. You and the "anonymous US officials" mentioned in such articles also conveniently forget that the insurgency in Pakistan started in earnest in 2006, and a Cobra helicopter, or anti-insurgency troops, are not delivered or developed in 3 months. "I agree that the terrorists hide behind human shields, but is it always the case?.....And what of reports that militants seem to know when the next attack is going to be? Is that bravery or is it professionalism?" I don't know of any drones Pakistan has that can fire missiles. I also don't know of anyone willing to see such drones to Pakistan. You are correct that militants die in strikes supplied by our intelligence, which means those writing reports that militants have "advancing warning" are talking rubbish. "I would be the first to support the army if it really ....isn't exactly the one that forces one to trust them, to put it very mildly…" Since you ignore the entire actions made by the Pakistan Armed Forces for the last eight years, and since you only grudgingly admitted that jawans, captains, majors AND generals have lost their lives, you will always find some excuse not to support the Armed Forces. btw I don't know of a single American general killed in Iraq/Afghanistan but you don't doubt their committment. "If the enemy really is so heavily armed...... If not, how come they are not suffering “thousands of casualties?” The enemy is heavily armed because their weapons, which are of Eastern European/Soviet bloc variety, are smuggled across the border. This is why the insurgents near to the Afghan border are the strongest. There are many Pakistanis, who suffer from irrational hatreds, and have no problem taking money and supplying these militants. Every battle has casualties, you see the US military suffering casualties as well. The important point is that they continue the mission, which is what Pakistan Army is doing. "And if you can discredit the ANP, whose secular credentials.... from which the mullahs hang on to them… has anything changed in the last few days?" The ANP has nothing to contribute to anti-militancy, yet they will scream against the only institution that is actually fighting these militants. No ANP person has the courage to visit Swat, Hangu, Khyber or FATA, they hide in their homes and issue statements. I don't care about their statements. The Armed Forces is currently busy in Mohmand, because many militants have fled the recent operations in Bajaur to Mohmand. The army is also busy in Swat and Khyber. I see the army doing its job, you see something else due to your irrational hatreds.

Nostalgic | January 25, 2009

Predictably, the ad hominem, below-the-belt cheap shots are raining in now... In your first post, questioning the army was a "conspiracy theory", now I'm a "Loony" and/or an "Enemy" suffering from "irrational hatreds", questioning the army is a media pressure "campaign" and the IHT's comments can simply be explained away as part of an anti-Pakistan policy... you might as well go ahead and call everyone not agreeing with you a CIA/RAW/Mossad agent... just remember that when you have to resort to cheap shots at your opponents and dismiss everything going against your beliefs as a conspiracy theory or plot or campaign, deep down you know of the fallacies in your arguments... Speaking of dead generals as you are so fond of doing, how about Amir Faisal Alavi and his foretelling his own assassination and what he had to say about Army-Taliban relations? Or did he turn his back on us and become a "loony/enemy" too by virtue of being V.S. Naipaul's brother-in-law and speaking to an "anti-Pakistan" newspaper? In his words, we were "not pulling our weight" in the war against the terrorists... that is what I have been saying in my posts... I salute the officers and jawans who died fighting the terrorists, but there is plenty of evidence that there was a lot else being done by the army itself that undermined that very fight... you cannot invoke the name of our dead soldiers and claim that all is well within the army... as a matter of fact, it is in insult to their ultimate sacrifice, laying down their lives for their country, that their own institution has helped to undermine those sacrifices... but wait, journalists filing reports with such allegations are simply "talking rubbish"... I take my words back... So there are no Batmen in the army now? Only Supermen? If the Bush administration didn't change the aid package, that is because their viewpoint was that they have to tacitly agree to the wastage of money as long as some of it does get spent the right way... the fact that the aid didn't stop is no proof that the generals did not squander it... parallels can be drawn to how a different generation of generals filled their pockets in the 80's... I don't recall suggesting that we should order drones... the fact that terrorists are killed with our intelligence does not mean that other terrorists aren't given advance warning... the army has only recently said that they consider Al-Qaeda, Taliban and Kashmiri "freedom fighters" one and the same thing... could it be that the policy of differentiating between them lingers? The terrorists being killed in the drone strikes are often, if not always, foreigners... I am not ignoring the army's sacrifices during the last eight years, as you allege over and over... what I refuse to do, is to ignore their shenanigans over the last 60 years and their double game during the last eight... American generals and Iraq are of no concern to me either, so please don't put words in my mouth... Anti-insurgency troops are not developed in three months? Fair enough... even if the current insurgency started in 2006, they should have foreseen it in 2001... eight years aren't enough either? And if cobras aren't delivered in three months, how long does it take? When will they be delivered? Lets see if we see a dramatic improvement then... So the terrorists are heavily armed and our army will suffer casualties? I have no problem with that, but my question was how the army suffers from "thousands of casualties" when the terrorists are supposed to number a few thousand, and whether the terrorists are better armed than the army... better armed with Eastern European type weapons? I couldn't help but notice how you mention that people suffering from "irrational hatreds" fund the terrorists, and you later use the same term for my feelings towards the army... I do hope this was unintentional... You may not care for the ANP's statements, but I don't see how what you wrote was an answer to the paragraph in my post you were supposed to be answering... I'll repeat, if anyone is discredited because of deals, it is the army, and that it has given us plenty of reasons to suspect its sincerity in tackling the terrorists because of its chequered history...

Aamir Ali | January 26, 2009

lol...your latest rant was utterly incoherent. All I can make out is your read something in one article, linked it to generation in the 1980's, then gave another opinion on why the aid program by Bush wasn't changed, and complained that the insurgency that began in 2006, should have been forecasted in 2001...and then something about "Supermen". You malign Pakistan Armed Forces by presenting your opinions/forecasts as facts and then linking it to some article which supposedly confirms your claims. Additionally you have to be dragged kicking and screaming to admit some sacrifices of Pakistan Armed Forces, while still refusing to acknowledge their actions on behalf of the security of Pakistan. That is called cheap shots and irrationalism.

Nostalgic | January 26, 2009

Is that how you are going to Go Gently Into the Good Night, by refusing to reply, and taking another potshot while retreating? Quite the graceful exit, a la Kargil... I will, however, acknowledge my mistake in using articles to back up my claims... henceforth, I will rely exclusively on ISPR press releases, PTV Khabarnama and Mutalea-e-Pakistan textbooks like a certain someone seems to do...

Raymond Turney | January 26, 2009

As I understand it, the situation is rather confusing. There are "Talbian" who want to focus on taking Afghanistan back from NATO, "Taliban" who want to overthrow the government of Pakistan, people who just want to get even for Lal Masjid and anti-India terrorists like LeT. There are also foreigners who want to attack the US in Afghanistan and don't much care about Pakistan. What is so strange about the idea that the army is fighting the Taliban who want to overthrow Pakistan's government, the people who want to get even but aiding the terrorists who want to attack India and providing tacit support to Islamic right wing parties who support the army against democratic Pakistanis who want to reduce the power and influence of the army?

Raymond Turney | January 26, 2009

Sorry the last sentence of the previous post should have been: As best I can tell, Pakistan's Army is fighting the "Taliban" who want to over throw the Government of Pakistan and the people who want to get even for Lal Masjid. It is helping the LeT and other terrorists who are attacking India. It is mostly ignoring the Taliban who don't want to attack it, presumably on the theory that the US can take care of itself and the Pakistan army is not in need of additional enemies. Finally, the army of Pakistan is opposing democratic Pakistanis who want to reduce the power and influence of the army.

Nostalgic | January 29, 2009

It may be more complicated than that, Raymond, because the boundaries between these groups are now blurred... the Pakistani Taliban have been strengthened beyond measure by the presence of Chechens and Central Asians... reports suggest that in Swat for instance, it is Uzbeks who lead the rampage... similarly, Sunni sectarian terrorists (cultivated by, surprise, surprise, a military dictator) who were killing the Shia in urban Pakistan are now often found in the ranks of terrorists up north, ever since their organizations have been nominally banned... the same goes for the LeT/JuD... The policy to differentiate between them, which certainly existed and still does to an extent, has cost Pakistan dear, and we reap the fruits of this folly every day...

Aamir Ali | February 03, 2009

Is there any evidence that Pakistan Army aided LeT in their attack on India, or that LeT was responsible for Mumbai ? Perhaps the New York Times or Doordarshan should be consulted to find proof by a certain someone. Also the majority of terrorist in Pakistan are locals, with a few foreigners hiding among them. Baitullah Mehsud, Fazlullah, the Ghazi lunatics and others are not imports from outside. These terrorist enjoy the support of a segment of the population who provide them with shelter and recruits. The only force actively combating these terrorists is the Pakistan Armed Forces, and as Mr Musharraf said in his interview on CNN: "If you weaken the Pakistani army and ISI, you will lose the global war on terror". The rest of Pakistanis society, whether they be politicians, media, civil society or religious scholars, have never taken a firm stand against terrorists, and won't support the army either. They prefer to live in denial and conspiracy theory.

Nostalgic | February 05, 2009

Did the certain someone say anything about the army/LeT and Mumbai, or for that matter suggest that the majority of the terrorists up north aren't Pakistanis? Straw man arguments galore... I agree wholeheartedly with your last paragraph, and that is what Sepoy said in the original post too... our people live in Cloud Cuckoo Land, harbor soft corners for the Taliban and fail to see the existential threat they pose to us... we need to embrace this as our war, and our people have failed to do so... our people do live in denial... As for the army only combating the terrorists and not indulging in double games or doing things grossly incompetently, I suppose you and I can agree to disagree... "Mr" Musharraf can say what he wants to on CNN, who are only too happy to eat out of his hands, but his record says otherwise: insisting on a difference between Taliban/Al-Qaeda, peace deals, undermining the mainstream parties and giving the MMA a free hand in 2002, that deal with the MMA to extend his tenure, twiddling his thumbs as the Lal Masjid weirdos held the capital hostage, and that comment to Khalid Hasan that spoke volumes about his mindset vis-a-vis groups like the LeT... "Weakening" the army certainly won't help, but what about taming it, so that it doesn't conquer its own country again? What about reining in the officers, so that they stop treating Pakistan as a big housing society? And what about holding it accountable, so that we get to ask how many dead terrorists it has to show for the hefty defense budgets and foreign aid without being denounced for daring to do so? Are all these things wrong too? Should we wait to do all this as long as the army nominally tackles terrorists, the same way we kept our mouths shut for half a century as the army used India and Kashmir as battering rams to browbeat all resistance to its misdeeds into submission?