The current administration does not seem to tolerate debate or dissent despite what they put out for public consumption. Maybe it's just me but it seems like a large number of the upper brass has left or been purged.
I so wanted the ARB ["Pub weenies" per LTC(Ret) Ralph Peters] to ask the Hilderbeast if anyone had asked her to appear on the Sunday Talk shows, and who that someone might have been. As you may recall, she went missing for weeks following those events.
He purged many very good Officers. He does many things lightning fast and so it becomes difficult to track. He moves so fast that you are always looking back to find stringers which no one cares about because that was yesterdays news.
Jared Genseran, an attorney and pro bono counsel to the International Coalition to Stop Crimes Against Humanity in North Korea, says we shouldn't ignore the gulags, and points out that dealing with the gulags is exactly the same moral issue as dealing with the North Korean nukes. He's on to something. Recommended.
[Dawn] THE ANP's proposed all-parties conference on terrorism is a decent idea on paper, but like most things that look good on paper, the reality may prove somewhat more difficult. The ANP's interest in the conference is clear and its reasons legitimate: as one of the only mainstream parties that have taken an unequivocal stance against terrorism and militancy, the party has suffered greatly. Hundreds of party activists and leaders have been killed in recent years and now the ANP faces perhaps its greatest hurdle: launching an election campaign in a climate of fear in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa ... formerly NWFP, still Terrorism Central... . Predictably, though, the ANP's move has faced resistance from the usual quarters, particularly the mainstream religious parties that prefer the politics of appeasement when it comes to terrorism and militancy. True, part of the problem with the ANP's attempt to convene an APC is the lack of a clear agenda and obvious doubts about how any new recommendations will be implemented. There already exist parliamentary recommendations for the fight against militancy and if those have gone unheeded, what chance of success for an APC?
Beyond that, though, the problem lies with the fecklessness of many mainstream political parties. Start with the JI and the JUI-F, both of which have already rejected an invitation to participate in the APC. Both have suffered at the hands of Death Eaters over the years and both will know that the first to suffer when Death Eaters take over are the mainstream religious parties for their 'collaboration' with 'un-Islamic' forces. Maulana Fazlur Rehman Deobandi holy man, known as Mullah Diesel during the war against the Soviets, his sympathies for the Taliban have never been tempered by honesty ... himself has been repeatedly attacked by Death Eaters and though it has been obvious who the perpetrators were, the JUI-F has preferred to target its rhetoric against 'foreign interference' and the US-led war in Afghanistan. Even when the Death Eaters themselves claim responsibility for spectacular, bloody attacks inside Pakistain, the JI and the JUI-F have been reluctant to denounce the perpetrators and the groups they represent.
The records of the PML-Q and the PML-N are hardly any better when it comes to denouncing all forms of terrorism and militancy, a fact made all the more troubling by the reality that Punjab is a growing centre of extremism and militancy. Imran Khan ... aka Taliban Khan, who ain't the sharpest bulb on the national tree... and his PTI have in recent months been somewhat better when it comes to at least condemning violence and denouncing some krazed killer groups, but one of the party's main electoral planks is still rooted in denial about what jihad culture has done to Pakistain. Faced with deep, almost across-the-board reluctance to even acknowledge the nature of the threat, the few in the political class who want to challenge it are helpless and impotent.
[Dawn] PREOCCUPATION with domestic issues over the past few weeks should not have prevented Pakistain's policymakers and informed sections of society from taking note of the dangerous events along the Line of Control in Kashmire. "Dangerous events" are defined in Pakistain as Indian reaction to Pak covering fire for infiltrators. Denial that the firing ever took place is stupid. Any "inability" of the govt to confirm or deny is just as stupid -- if their military can't keep track of the number of artillery rounds in a given unit they're incompetent by definition.
What led to the exchange of fire between Indian and Pakistain troops and the loss of life on both sides is not clear. But we've already established what led to it: covering fire for government-approved Lashkar-e-Taiba infiltrators. You get the covering fire, a Pak denial, and then two or three or four bad guys are shooting it out with the cops or the army in Srinagar the next Wednesday. You can set your watch by it, unless you're a Pak. However, corruption finds a dozen alibis for its evil deeds... it should not have been difficult to appreciate India's anger at the reported beheading of one of its soldiers. That's kind of the Islamist trademark, isn't it? No doubt the guy that did it has the head at home in his refrigerator.
One does regret the two sides' failure to set up a mechanism for the investigation of such incidents. Tut tut. But it actually doesn't take two sides to set up that kind of mechanism. One on each side would do, and then they could meet and trade details. No need to station intel agents in each other's command posts. Well, I guess there is, if their primary function to collect intel.
What should have caused immense anxiety in Pakistain was the sharp reaction from the Indian leadership, especially Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's declaration that bilateral relations had considerably deteriorated. I did like the "duck and cover" and "build a bunker with food for two weeks in your cellar" instructions. That sort of thing catches even a Pak warmonger's attention.
Fortunately, the foreign ministers of both countries are making an attempt at damage control but a more earnest effort to ease the tension is obviously needed. You mean, like on the side of the Pak military? Or on the part of their pet Talibs, who were promising yesterday to attack "terror training camps" of the Heathen Hindoo. Reciprocity and equity would seem to grant the same right to "violate sovereignty" to the other side, so perhaps they could end up ducking and covering in Miranshah or Mir Ali or Bara.
Whatever the provocation, ... and chopping somebody's head off is definitely a provocation...
the Indian decision to suspend the visa-on-arrival facility for senior citizens was completely unexpected. It also made no sense. Neither did chopping the guy's head off.
People on both sides had hailed the new system as the culmination of years of campaigning by human rights activists on both sides. It seemed the doors were being shut on agents of friendship and goodwill. How much "friendship and goodwill" is included under the headings of "covering fire," "Lashkar-e-Taiba," and "chopped his head off?" Think real hard now.
This impression has been altered somewhat by the explanation that certain preparations for managing the new system have to be completed. One should hope that the suspension of the new visa regime is only for a short time. "Yasss. We have certain procedures we have to see to before the program can go into effect. Please bear with us."
"How long's it gonna take?"
"How about when we get the guy's head back?"
More worrisome has been the effectiveness of the hate-driven campaign by India's communal organizations, led by the new boss of Shiv Sena, A Hindoo nationalist political movement that presents a resistance using the same nasty tactics to aggressive Islamists and that's a pain in the underwear to other Indian political parties... who is obviously keen to establish himself as a tougher troublemaker than his recently departed predecessor. Yeah. It's probably Bal Thackeray's fault.
Pak hockey players were sent back home before they had time to unsheathe their sticks, the venue of a Pak women's cricket match was shifted from Mumbai, a Pak actor was obliged to rush back home, a drama team was disallowed participation in a theatre festival and Ajoka's performance of a play on Manto at Jaipur was cancelled (though by allowing two performances of the play in New Delhi, Indian society confirmed its valuable stock of sanity). That's the sort of thing countries do to other countries with which they're miffed. Note that there's no artillery involved. Nor any meat cleavers.
These incidents should not be dismissed as infantile petulance; Because they're not.
they betray the communal extremists' fears that cooperation between India and Pakistain in the areas of the arts, sports and culture, as indeed free travel between the two countries, will demolish the walls of acrimony they and their patrons in mainstream politics have raised after years of hard labour. Uhuh. I got two words: Hafiz Saeed. Y'want three more? Qazi Hussein Ahmed. There's still a pretty good supply of words, actually. We could go on for hours, in fact.
This also underlines the urgency of redoubled efforts to promote deeper cooperation between the two neighbours in the cultural field. Maybe the country with the world's largest population of Moslems doesn't want to assimilate Pak culture.
Islamabad and New Delhi both should be aware of the challenges they face from anti-democratic and anti-secular forces in the run-up to their general elections and both need to protect whatever of substance has survived in their democratic systems after the free hand allowed to self-seekers and criminals with money bags. Indian democracy's being more resilient than Pakistain's seasonal experiments in democratic governance does not mean that New Delhi can afford to be complacent about the canker of communalism in its body politic. In Pakistain's case, the battle with cut-throats and religious snuffies has become for obvious reasons a matter of life and death and therefore it has much greater need to strengthen its defences against attacks on its constitutional order.