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Archive for the ‘terrorism’ Category

Never, Ever Forget

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It is hard to believe that eight years have passed since the attacks of 9/11. Like many anniversaries, it is a good time to take stock of what happened, what is happening, and what will happen.

I am dismayed by the fact that 9/11 has quickly become ancient history for many people, especially the pundits, bloggers and the rest of the commentariat. Many are complaining about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The war in Iraq, whatever its outcome, is a boondogle and never should have been undertaken. There was no al-Qaeda or weapons of mass destruction; so whatever its supporters say, it was a strategic failure. There is no arguing this point.

On the other hand, the war in Afghanistan is a “just” war, which has been treated like a neglected step-child, especially by the Bush Administration and their misguided “War on Terrorism”. Underfunded and undermanned, the war in Afghanistan has been floundering for awhile now. The Taliban, it seems, is getting stronger by the day. Osama bin Laden has yet to be found. And our chief ally in the region, Pakistan, has been wishy-washy at best.

The time has come to rethink this war and the war on terrorism.

We can quibble over how to go about it, but leaving Afghanistan is not an option. We need to fight smarter. After all, the price of peace is eternal vigilance.

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Written by niraj

September 11th, 2009 at 3:54 pm

Do You Know Who I Am

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Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan was briefly held (for two hours or so) at Newark International Airport by the Department of Homeland Security. It seems Khan’s name matched a name on some terrorist watch list, but after ascertaining Shah Rukh Khan’s identity – with the help of the Indian government – he was promptly released

Of course Shah Rukh Khan was upset by his mistreatment, especially given the fact that he is an oft visitor to the United States. And the entire country of India is upset, as well, as if the nation’s character was impugned in the process. Naturally, the Indian press is having a field day with countless articles and editorials blasting the United States for what is perceived to be a racist and bigoted slight.

It’s hard not to notice an air of arrogance by Shah Rukh Khan and his supporters. It’s the type of attitude celebrities are known to take whenever they don’t get their way.

“DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM!” This is a common refrain used by celebrities the world over, and Shah Rukh Khan is no exception.

Personally, I think Shah Rukh Khan was more upset that he was not recognized by immigration officers as the legitimate superstar that he is.

In defense of the immigration officers, they did their duty safeguarding American security: they discovered a problem, investigated it, found out there was nothing there, and promptly released the Indian actor. Khan was held for two hours. He wasn’t thrown in some hole, renditioned to Cuba, and tortured by the CIA. But according the India press, he might as well have.

I hope this incident doesn’t become an ugly diplomatic row between India and the United States, simply for the reason that it’s a petty issue.

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Written by niraj

August 18th, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Will We Ever Know Who Did It?

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No doubt the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in the Pakistani city of Lahore is an act of pure terrorism, but questions remain: who and why?

Everybody, including the entire desi blogosphere, will be bandying their own pet theories; and, naturally, I have a few of my own. The pro-Pakistani bloggers will blame the attacks on a known enemy of Pakistan. This is code for India (and its intelligence agency RAW), of course. The pro-India bloggers, on the other hand, will blame Pakistani-based jihadis and their supporters (primarily the ISI).

Most people are in a fog of information regarding these matters. And we bloggers are no exception given that we get most of our information from second-hand or third-hand sources, which is hardly ideal to get at the truth. So we filter these new sources through our biases, prejudices, stereotypes, etc.

Honestly, will anyone know the truth behind this attack?

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Written by niraj

March 3rd, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Pakistan To Get Aid To Fight Terrorism: Here We Go Again

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With the restoration of ‘democracy’ in Pakistan, the United States will reopen the aid spigot:

President George W. Bush has cleared the way for giving millions of dollars to Pakistan to fight terrorism this year, the White House said as a new government took power in Islamabad.

In a memo to the secretary of state dated Monday, Bush used his authority to exempt Pakistan from a law that restricts funding countries where the legitimate head of state was deposed by a military coup, as in Pakistan.

The waiver, which Bush has approved every year since 2003, opens the way for the United States to provide about 300 million dollars this year to key “war on terror” ally Pakistan to boost its counter-terrorism operations.

It’s not like the $10 billion given since 2001 hasn’t been put to good use or anything, so why not another $300 million, a drop in the bucket for President Bush. The returns have been spectacular after all. Let the Chinese build Pakistan’s infrastructure and profit from it while the United States takes taxpayer money and sets fire to it.

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Written by niraj

April 11th, 2008 at 3:17 pm