The welcome mat laid out for Prime Minister Jamali in the White House had little to do with America's love for Pak democracy and everything with the Bush administration's desperation.
No US president has time for first the president and then the prime minister of a begging-bowl country. So if President Bush met Gen Musharraf in New York and then took time out for Mr. Jamali in Washington, there had to be a purpose to it, especially in a land where free lunches are considered a bad investment.
The key to all this bonhomie lies - you've guessed it - in Iraq. The Iraq mess is not just another international disaster. It's getting to be another Vietnam, that too in a compressed timeframe. The almost daily toll of American lives and the billions of dollars (87 to be exact) the US Congress is being asked to cough up to sustain this holy mess now threatens Bush's re-election bid. If this mess continues in present form the next US president will not be George W. Bush.
This is the spectre haunting the Bush White House. And the only quick-fix answer to it lies in sending foreign troops to police Iraq. To ease the burden on American GIs who were eager for a quick triumph but who hadn't the faintest idea that the Iraqi sense of a ticker-tape welcome might take the shape of rocket-propelled grenades, the favorite weapon of the Iraqi resistance.
India is off the hook, there being no sign at the moment of Indian readiness to rush to America's rescue in Iraq, Secretary of State Powell admitting as much. Had it only been up to the Vajpayee/Advani government, things might have been different. But Indian public opinion is proving difficult. This leaves the other prime candidates, Turkey and, well, Pakistan.
The Turks are tough negotiators and will drive a hard bargain. Pakistan, however, is a soft target and the very soul of generosity. In fact, always has been, as far as the US is concerned, the soul of generosity: doing backbreaking and perilous duty for illegal immigrants' wages.
It's another matter the US has never appreciated this, has always turned its back on Pakistan when the dirty work was over. Which still hasn't stopped Pakistan from rushing to carry America's burden whenever higher duty has called. What price such selflessness?
Whenever American foreign policy needed Pakistan, it has been there. A member of anti-communist alliances in the 1950s, helping fly Henry Kissinger to China in 1971, helping the CIA defeat the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and becoming a launching pad for America's war on Afghanistan in 2001.
Any wonder then if it is Pakistan, more than any other country in the world, the Bush White House is working on to get mercenary troops for Iraq? President Musharraf has been on board from the start. All he's asked for is a fig-leaf which the US is now going about procuring in the shape of a new UN resolution. What remains is to soften Pakistan public opinion and to drum up visible political support for a dubious proposition. Hence the welcome mat put out for Mr. Jamali.
Did Mr. Jamali bring up other subjects with Bush? Say, the growing arms imbalance with India, Kashmir, or the dim prospects of an India-Pakistan dialogue? The only issue on the Bush administration's radar screen at the moment is Iraq and Bush's re-election bid. Between now and December 2004 nothing in the world matters except these twin objectives: pacifying Iraq and making sure Bush stays in the White House for four more years.
How does Kashmir or any other arcane subject figure in this equation?
Who would have thought Pakistan would be a factor in a US presidential election? But the furies be praised, it's come to this, Musharraf and Jamali becoming bit players in Bush's re-election strategy. If they play ball, Bush's chances suddenly look brighter.
What's more, Musharraf and Jamali lead a country which, guided by a quaint sense of chivalry, has always prided itself on performing the most stupendous tasks on the cheap.
Here's the latest sample of this generosity. Pakistan's defense secretary, Lt Gen (rtd) Hamid Nawaz Khan, returns from an arms-buying trip to Washington and breathlessly declares a "breakthrough" in arms sales. What does it amount to? A squadron or so of F-16s from Belgium - to be paid for in cash on the table. And a few other items of weaponry to be bought out of the aid package the US has thought fit to reward Pakistan with for its services in Afghanistan and cooperation in the "war against terrorism".
According to Pakistan's English daily newspaper Dawn, Lt Gen Hamid Nawaz Khan, highlighting the achievements of his Washington trip said, "The US officials had offered that if Pakistan sent troops to Iraq, then they would show 'great leniency' in the sale of equipment to it."
Furthermore: "In reply to a question what Islamabad had been given in return for extending cooperation to Washington, he said Pakistan had got security and elaborated 'the Indians would have done the same to Pakistan what Northern Alliance had done to the Taliban-ruled Afghanistan'."
In other words, we have it from the country's highest defense official that America's biggest gift to Pakistan was security and that but for the US, India would have destroyed Pakistan post-September 11.
Just to refresh minds about what we are getting from the US: a three billion dollar package spread over five years. Which is about 600 million dollars annually, half of this amount as economic assistance and the other half for military sales. That's about it. What's more, Congress has to approve this package every year. And if we send troops to Iraq, all we can count on is "great leniency" in the matter of arms sales. That's about it again. No special package as in Turkey's case. Chances are the American officials dealing with Pakistan will be the most dumbfounded at this cheap bargain.
Any fears that the troops themselves would be unwilling janisarries? Forget it. If the Pakistan military were to announce that only volunteers would be sent to Iraq, there'd be such a stampede the military wouldn't know how to handle it. Principles and honor are fine but extra dollars are tangible property.
I am also grateful to Allah (subhanahu wa ta'ala) for willing that America distribute American currency widely within Iraq. In my opinion, it shows resolve on the part of America's leaders. It is my understanding this is not something America did in Vietnam. Alhamdulillah!
I do recognize India as doing a much better job then Pakistan in developing a Government for the people. But I also worry about people like you gaining influence in that democracy. I pray that India becomes an example of harmonious diversity.
Lastly, names don't mean much in such forums (this comment section is not a message board) but to satisfy your curiosity my handle is Sikandar. I am originally from Pakistan and now I am a citizen of USA and yes John Ashcroft serves me as a public servant.
To my view it's look like Pakistan becoming another Baghdad (at the time of Mughals). When the Mughals start conquering Muslims land, rather than be united they tried to safe themselves and threw their other Muslim fellows in their hand.....and what's happen, Baghdad the biggest allies of Mughals, who help them but didn't Muslims, became history. "street was full of blood" after they reach Baghdad.
Now look like same thing will happen to Pakistan if they (government) dont' think wisley. We are brother and sister to each other. we should help each other rather in hard time rather than be on the side of nonmuslims. ... They(Kafir) can't be our friend...it's in Quran & hadith and also we have seen it and read it....
May Allah give hidayah to everyone and may Allah safe us from the kafirs plans.
Hadith: "there will be too much fitna that for a Momin (not regular name muslim) holding with Islam will be like holding a cinder (piece of coal) on their palm."
Asalam u Alykum
As usual, the fellow did not read my post. The purpose of my post was to talk about the people who posted comments on the article (that they did not even mention the refusal of India to send troops to Iraq) as was evident in the very first paragraph of my post. May be people have forgotten how to read.
It is also rather surprising that he dared not even mention his name on his post (he lives in the USA and probably is too afraid of John Ashcroft).
India has refused to send troops to Iraq even though both Vajpayee and Advani were for it. Why?
Because India is a democratic country and Indian public opinion (as well as press) is against it. And Vajpayee/Advani have to get re-elected; so they could not afford to ignore public opinion.
Musharaff does not need to get re-elected; he re-appoints himself; he does not have to face the wrath of public opinion. Moreover, throughout the history of Pakistan, its rulers have loved to be clients of US; Pakistan did not have independent foreign policy for its entire existence. India has independent foreign policy and have seen the wrath of US a few times, and accepted that as a price of independence (though Pakistan got the US wrath anyhow even though it acted as a client state).
Pakistan, have some backbone; and that is the gist of what the author of this article was saying.
This is awful....I am positive that over 99% of the common people in Pakistan are opposed to this, I know it, I have talked with them only a few weeks back. :-( It makes me sad to think what Muslims are coming to.
May God guide and defend the United States of America. May it be God's will that the United States be God's obedient servant. May the United States seek refuge in that which is good from that which is evil. May God will that the United States is rightly tolerant and rightly intolerant. May the United States be always grateful to God alone. May all glory be seen as belonging to God alone. May the results of my labors be directly awarded to those who please God. Ameen.
A'udhoo billahi min-ash-Shaytaan-ar-rajeem (I seek refuge in Allah from the outcast Satan). Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah). Allahu abkar (God is great)! Salam (Peace).
Musharraf has always said that he will not send troops to Iraq unless authorized by the UN. Being an intelligent person, he knows that the chances of that happening are pretty slim right now. If the UN does authorize troops for Iraq, I am sure Musharraf will have another good excuse for not sending troops.
As for getting concessions from the US, Musharraf is trying his best to get trade deals with the US. The US never has and never will truly support the Pakistan Army. But Musharrf is intelligent enough to have begun an agressive program for domestic weapons development.
So Mr. Amir, if you have some free time, please try to come up with some solutions to a problem for once in your life. Put yourselves in Musharraf's place, and tell us what you would have done if you were the President of Pakistan.
"The US officials had offered that if Pakistan sent troops to Iraq, then they would show 'great leniency' in the sale of equipment to it."
"I am SATAN, I'll give you what you've always wanted, all you have to do is obey me and sell me your soul."
Real Eyes Realize Real Lies
So I was thinking that, since we hear about transplanting seeds of democracy, I remember that some years back a US company tried to grow some Basmati Rice in Texas, and this isn't a joke....guess what they called it, TEXMATI RICE....lol.....unfortunately I think it sucked b/c the soil in Texas just wasn't as rich as in Pakistan and India. Obviously Texas failed America before by not making good texmati. So what makes u think they're gonna transplant seeds of democracy in Iraq and that it won't fail like Texmati did?? I mean c'mon, you have to remember, not all democracy's are the same in the world, so I guess not all seeds of democracy are the same in the world..maybe a seed of American democracy will be incompatible with Iraqi soil, anyone ever think of that?!!! ..I mean Israel professes that it is a "democracy," yet millions of Palestinians in that area aren't allowed to vote...oh yea and there's been a continous occupatoin and confiscation of the land of those people for some 50+ years...there's also another "democracy" called India, where an extremist hindu terrorist group runs the country (BJP)...and I definitely don't need to talk about the American version of democracy, i'm pretty sure most of us know what goes on in America's democracy (biggest Drug Lord of the World (CIA), Oil cronies who will do anything to get it, Nights of the Templars, Jeffery Daumer, Timothy McVeigh, and many other psycho cult guys from Texas...
Imagine if the American version of democracy is in Iraq, and to let it spread in the middle east?
Astagfurallah, Astagfurallah, Astagfurallah.
Don't buy into democracy...Musharraf is PLAYIN BALL!
In the words of another psychotic American leader with a rifle raised above his head, former NRA leader, Charlton Heston:
"WITH MY COLD, DEAD HANDS."
The US started this without thinking and shut out the international voices of reason. Whether it pleads the support of its number one ally, Israel, or not, it should finish this illegal occupation (aka Vietnam Part II) without causing other countries further harm by constant bribing and eventual lurement into a web of mistrust.
Peace and blessings (with warm regards).
The only way to get out of such inferior complex we need to really BELIEVE in Allah and start practincing our deen, and hopefully Allah will remove the fear of the enemy from our hearts.
1) Stopped watching commercial TV (has been 14 years and I don't think I am missing too much) as it is a good medium, but is put to bad us by commercial TV companies. 2) Do not go to any concerts (mostly un-Islamic) or ball games as they are heavily priced. Use this money to support your local Masjid.
3) Taking advantage of education to free us, sponsoring a child to an education and this all starts with your own immediate family. The price of education is high, but what price ignorance.
4) Try to befriend Muslims from other cultures than your own.
5) Attend your local Masjid functions and volunteer your time. Always perform your Salat even on travel.
The fruits of our Imam will be evident as our youth will eventually not put up with bad leaders and improve their lives. Allah will not abandon us if we do not abandon our Deen - This has been promised us.
Then again, why does Uncle Sam need help in the first place ? Its not as if they listened to the rest of the world. Apparently "liberation" is not going as planned.
Musharraf will a have revolt on his hands if he commits troops to this evil occupation.