Sunday, March 8, 2009
I think it is time the US and Nato launched a massive invasion of the Pakistan-Afghan border areas. I will try to make the case for such a military action below:
1. The Taliban-Al Qaeda combination attacked the US on its own soil on September 11, 2001. That itself would seem adequate for the US to go after the Taliban and not rest till this menace has been totally eliminated. When Japan attacked the US at Pearl Harbor, the US (a) identified the enemy and (b) went after it ruthlessly, not hesitating to even use nuclear weapons to force a full and unconditional surrender, followed by a total dismantling of the ideology of Japanese imperialism. Why is it hesitating now? September 11 took more US lives than Pearl Harbor. So why the US ambivalence?
2. The Taliban represents the greatest danger to the ideal of women's rights in the world today. Under the Taliban, women were reduced to nothing more than domesticated animals. Again, this reason by itself would suffice for a serious military strike. The world cannot watch indifferently when women are degraded this way, and humanity is mocked.
3. The Taliban is gaining strength (their own words - see the video above), and preparing essentially for a total takeover of Pakistan. They have already brought significant parts of Pakistan under their control. Pakistan is a nuclear power. The Taliban having nuclear capability does not seem far fetched anymore. Another 10 years? And then what are we going to do? The time to act is NOW.
4. Once the Taliban has nuclear capability, such a capability will essentially be purchasable with the same ease that a fake Ak-47 is in Taliban held territory. We could enter an era of rogue nuclear powers that even include non-state players.
5. The US invaded Iraq - a country that had really nothing to do with 9/11 and had been essentially emasculated long before the US invasion. If the US can do that, why can it not invade the area which houses the real perpetrators of 9/11, instead of watching them thrive?
6. One of the claims of the Obama Presidential campaign was that it would get tough with Pakistan. But since Obama entered the White House, the US policy on Pakistan has become softer, if anything. The US condoned the Pakistan-Taliban pact allowing the latter to operate freely in Swat and impose Shari'a law there. Was Obama sincere when he said what he did or was it just something to cover up the accusations that he had hidden sympathies for the Islamic world. Last week, Obama said that he would try to reach out to "moderate factions in the Taliban." That is like saying "moderate Nazis." There is no such thing. The Taliban follows an ideology that is anything but moderate. The only way to face such an ideology is to call it for what it is - pure medieval evil - and deal it a death blow. That is how the world dealt with the Nazis, and this is no different. We must not be ambivalent in the face of this scourge.
7. If one deciphers the current US policy towards containing the Taliban, one quickly uncovers a frightening (and at the same time, somewhat amusing) conclusion - that the US is relying on the Pakistani Army to contain the Taliban for them! Yes, you read that right - the US thinks that the Pakistani Army, which actually gave birth to the Taliban and nurtured it into the demon that it is, will contain the Taliban. The Pakistani army has been thoroughly Islamized since the time of General Zia-ul-Haq, and all senior positions in both the Army and the ISI are filled with Islamists. Does the US really think these Islamists will fight the Taliban for them? No, they will merely play a double game - pretend to the US that they are fighting the Taliban in order to get US aid, and then use this very aid to help the Taliban.
The world must not wait on this threat any longer, nor must it be bluffed by any Pakistani double-game in this matter. Remove Pakistan from the picture, and go after the Taliban. Every day that we wait, this threat grows, and increases its power to douse civilization. A forward policy is needed - one where we (a) call this threat the pure evil that it is (b) declare total war upon it and (c) chase it from all its hideouts, including Swat, Waziristan, and all the rest. It can be done. The myth of these primitive tribesmen being able to face up to the US war machine is just that - a media myth. Remember that the Taliban was routed in 2002 when the US only gave some support to the Northern Alliance. The Taliban's epitaph should have been written back then. It is because the US looked the other way when the Taliban was on its knees that they were able to regroup. 2002 showed that the Taliban are weak, and can be destroyed, but it will take sharp focus to finish the job.
The time to finish the job has come.
PS: Baron, at Gates of Vienna, has asked on his blog whether the Indian armed forces will join this noble effort. I feel we should. India will soon be fighting the Taliban, who are merely 5 hours away from our borders, anyway. Indeed, every single day our security forces fight Jihadis in various parts of the country who come from the same manufacturing plant that produces the Taliban. Better fight them on the Pak-Afghan border than on Indian soil. If the US were to take up the matter of destroying the Taliban with the seriousness that it deserves, then it is India's duty (I feel) to fight this war side by side with them.