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Comments

Web Developer Group

Salamz to all. I m from Abbottabad, city located in NWFP, the blamed province for fundamentals.
The pakistan, as name specifies, can't be run by democracy or some other false western way of government. The best suitable system for Pakistan is Islamci way of governence in the way of democracy. The western democracy is based on quantity not quality. You know 51 donkeies can never be superior than 1 horse, bcoz they are donkies and same with the western concept of democracy.

max

;) good news.


consolidated pakistani news at

www.pakmarks.com

Suleman Ishaq

I am from Islamabad, Pakistan. I have been to the states for my education and can well understand the mindset of an average American. Anyone who has "lived" in Pakistan would have some different and "real" prespective. I agree to Shehryar's comments though but it would be very hard to make the others understand. "Might is right" and that reflects not only in the rulers but also the national behaviors.

The post asked for "thoughts"; unfortunately what we have got in the comments have been "General Nonsense" so far :)

Shehryar A

Of Course, whatever I said was from the Western perspective. I would not like to start a rant on the fact how one might want to have the basic rights of the people of another country taken away, for their own selfish interests.

Shehryar A

Hey, I'm From Lahore, Pakistan. I haven’t read the whole comments page, but what the %^&*?

The assumption that democracy would reel in Islamic Fundamentalist is totally false. Just to clear things out, Religious parties, historically, have never won any considerable amount of seats in the national and provincial legislature. Although they did win seats in the NWFP (the province adjacent to Afghanistan in the North) in the last elections, but that too was because of the parties' stance on politics and issues, especially because of the reactionary sentiments that existed in the region because of the close social, political, and cultural ties with Afghanistan. Of course, these would have some support in these elections, in those parts again, but they cannot, CANNOT, take control of a democratically elected government. The most popular parties in Pakistan (PPP, PML) are strictly non-religious.

And also, it is very easy to assume that buttressing a dictator would serve America good. But, think of the legacy! There's an increased anti-Musharraf sentiment in the country, and Musharraf is going all haywire with the Emergency in the country. Three of my own University’s faculty was arrested inside Human Rights Commission of Pakistan's building, alongside other members of the civil society, just because they attended a meeting! Musharraf is surely turning the liberal/modest crowd against him. The Supreme Court of Pakistan was desecrated with the Chief Justice house arrested, and the rest of the judges disbanded. Justices in Provincial high Courts were beaten up by the police, and the lawyers arrested and thrown away in far flung jails. This is just a snippet of what's happening right now.

Now, would supporting Musharraf now, would actually increase the anti-American sentiments, especially in the dominantly moderate Pakistanis. Democracy in Pakistan might not be a perfect solution, but supporting Musharraf is worse.

Matt

You have touched on what I believe to be the core problem in how the west deals with the middle east. "We" need to butt the hell out and let Pakistan decide what is best for themselves. If they ask for our opinion or help we can give it, but otherwise stop meddling. It's like trying to defuse a bomb with a hammer.

AMMBD

We are better off with the reasonably behaved dictator with the similar goals than with a extremist or fundamentalist democracy. Similar or shared goals is the key, not the government style or how it got there.

Cthalion

Wasn't it through the U.S. that Pakistan got the weapons to begin with? They certainly didn't have the technical expertise or funding to do it on their own.

When/if Musharraf is finally deposed, we're probably going to get a bit of "blowback" for supporting yet another despotic regime for so long. And probably another hostile Islamic theocracy in the region.

Misanthropy Today

I read the first few comments and it looks like they are coming from your average "America has never done anything right ever, especially when we try to protect ourselves or our interests"-folks.

You ask some very valid questions and make some good suggestions. There's an old saying that "if you ask the wrong questions, the answers don't matter". I think these types are asking the wrong questions.

The questions you are asking are ways to allow us to sit here in relative safety and freedom, and leave inane comments on blogs.

Which in my opinion is no small matter.

Misanthropy Today

I read the first few comments and it looks like they are coming from your average "America has never done anything right ever, especially when we try to protect ourselves or our interests"-folks.

You ask some very valid questions and make some good suggestions. There's an old saying that "if you ask the wrong questions, the answers don't matter". I think these types are asking the wrong questions.

The questions you are asking are ways to allow us to sit here in relative safety and freedom, and leave inane comments on blogs.

Which in my opinion is no small matter.

ted

"Thoughts?"

Jeez-- you're just asking for the comments section to get flooded and degenerate into arguing trolls of all types.

Should I add anything? Dunno if it matters what I or anyone thinks on the matter, it's not as if the powers that be will listen to our ideas, even if we somehow find the magic solution.

So-- the "friendly dictator" idea, sounds great until we remember that Saddam Hussein was once one of our friendliest dictators. Who knows what the future holds-- Musharraf looks pretty good from a US perspective now, and Bhutto looks weak and Democracy might only help the Islamic fundamentalists, but who knows how it would really play out in the end. . . who knew that propping up the Shah for so many years would only empower the Ayatollahs?

What a tangled web we weave.

Steffen

I think psychologists by now should have quite successful treatment of paranoia!!!

Mush-Hater

Musharraf? A "relatively rational and reasonable dictator pretending to be an elected president, **who is an enemy of Islamic fundamentalists**"? You've made some inane statements in your time, but this one really takes the cake. I highly recommend you stick to the penis jokes. They do you far more credit than spouting rubbish about stuff you have absolutely no idea about.

Rafael

Are you serious?
I wouldn't expect this kind of comments from you. I really can't believe it.
You (I mean the US) did that stuff of "friendly dictators" in Southamerica for over a decade, and tens of thousands of inocent people where tortured and murdered with no justice at all.
There's a whole missing generation thanks to CIA actions. Remeber Pinochet? Do you really think that's a good idea?

Matt

Going into Iran won't be an issue - that place needs to be turned into a glass parking-lot anyway.

I say that since it has been proven that the USA did not go into Iraq purely for oil* and many peoples around the world are telling the USA to get out regardless of whether the job to eradicate the terrorist mentality has been completed or not, then I say to get out also - but only to a point.

I say to make the entire region a guarded zone. Lock the borders around the place and leave the stone-chuckers; the flag-burners; the goat-rapists; and the mutilators of women to their own devices and just prevent all aid getting in and all people from getting out (and coming to non-third world countries to live on Social Security while plotting to kill everyone who doesn't believe in the Cult of the Paedophile). Israel seems to be the only country in the entire region that looks to the future and has any acceptance of other belief systems - this shows maturity that virtually all of their neighbours lack. As such, Israel will be the ONLY country that will allow air traffic in and out of the region. No vehicular traffic allowed out from anywhere. Travelers who go in are left to their own devices because they are aware of the dangers, and ANY move from the tent-merchants to overrun Israel will result in a small glass parking-lot treatment.

"What about the children and the non-combatants?" There are NO non-combatants in that region. Children are raised to hate - women are raised to serve. Do the world a favour and just close off the region until the camels revolt from being tired of being the bitch of some sand-monkey.

[* If the goal was just for oil: would there not be a guarded supply line to the coast and endless ships leaving the area to the USA? If there is a thought process that suggests that the USA is just being a bully dictator in telling Iraq how to live, wouldn't they just act like a dictator and take what they want while leaving the rest of the country in the bronze age in which it seems content to remain?]

Bruce Harrison

Good post, Scott.

To answer your question directly, it's much better to have Musharraf in power -- IF your goal is to have a government that is aligned with the best interests of the US.

Have you ever noticed how it's OK for every group and country in the world to act in their own best interests, with the exception of the US? Everyone wants us to act in THEIR interest, regardless of the price to us, and when we don't, the "blame America first" crowd, both at home and abroad, tsk-tsks us and says what a horrible a country we are.

The Romans had a phrase: "Oderint dum met uant," which means, "Let them hate us, as long as they fear us." The biggest problem with our foreign policy is that we'd rather be loved than be feared. It's hard to execute a foreign policy (or a war) when our goal is to make them love us rather than to stop shooting at us. There is no way the Islamo-fascists are ever going to love us; the best we can hope is that they'll learn that the price of continuing to wage a war against us is that ultimately they'll all be dead.

The fear with a democratic election in Pakistan is that it will be a precursor for a dictatorship. Look at our democratically-elected buddy Hugo Chavez, for example. He is now "President for life." That's another word for "dictator." By the way, did you see where Juan Carlos told Hugo to "shut up?" That's way cool! Too bad we don't have the cojones of the Spanish king.

The situation in Pakistan is somewhat analagous to the situation in Saudi Arabia. The ruling Saud family, clearly dictators, have been playing a balancing act with the mullahs for decades. On the one hand, they need the US to stay their pals, because if we bail on them (indicate that we won't come to their aid if, say, Ahmadinejad decides he wants their oil), the next day there'll be an Islamic uprising to take over the country. At the same time, they have to keep pleasing the mullahs to keep them from doing the same thing -- so they've been funding the Madrassas, anti-American and anti-Jewish militant schools that turn out Jihadists by the scores.

So we're backed into a corner. Musharraf can't let us go into northeastern Pakistan to get bin Laden, et. al., because if he did, he'd piss off all the Muslim warlords and give a rallying cry to those trying to depose him (remember, they've already made something like five attempts on his life). He's trying to hold the country together, rather than let it turn into an Iran-type state that already has nukes.

Of course, we have a pressure-relief valve in the region - India. India has a lot more nukes, a much bigger army, and a much more robust economy (have you noticed that Islamic countries seem to almost always find a way to make their economy suck?). They also do not like Islamists, and would love an excuse to go in and clean the place out -- and they won't be looking to win hearts and minds -- just shoot them.

At the same time, it's difficult for us to tell them, "Hey, we'd really prefer a dictator over a free election," which is why our president is now calling for elections in Pakistan. This is a tough call for him and for the State Department -- look at what the winners of the most recent Palestinian elections did yesterday -- the duly-elected Hamas terrorists just hosed down (euphemism for shooting) a Fatah "We loved Yasser" rally, killing at least six and wounding at least 85. Probably not a good idea to replicate THAT "free election," but then Jimmy Carter did say that it was just fine.

So this is the position we find ourselves in. We either operate in our best interests, hoping it will also be in the long-term best interests of the world as well, or we let the UN dictate our actions until the terrorists nuke our major cities.

As I've said before, a Holocaust survivor said the biggest lesson he'd learned from the experience was, "When someone says they want to kill you, you should believe them." Well, I'm listening, and I believe them. The terrorists have made it very clear that they want to kill us or convert us to Islam, and then take over the world. It would be tacky of me to say "Please take France first," so I won't -- but as far as my feelings go, I say to the Islamo-fascists, "Oderint dum met uant."

sofia

hello scott,
i am new to your blog, so i don't know if you actually read the comments.
i lived in pakistan once and in afghanistan twice.
facts you may not know, since there is NO SIGN that this basic, fundamental information about pakistan is on the radar of the american media:
the biggest problem in the cast of characters in pakistan is that the MIDDLE level officers in the pakistani army are the founders, creators and supporters of the afghan TALIBAN. over the years they "culled" the afghan refugee camps to set up the taliban, and then sent them into afghanistan. they also control ALL the intelligence/spy services in pakistan. they are like an army of secret police. they are for the most part TRIBAL and RELIGIOUS and CONSERVATIVE. a tribal warrior class in army uniforms. they are a large class of people with substantial leverage and power. they ARE NOT GOING TO GO AFTER BIN LADEN.

ALL the politicians in pakistan have to manuever around them, so in that sense at least it hardly matters WHO the "president" is. this group absolutely want stability in pakistan, but they are by no means necessarily pro-american. they are NATIONALISTS. they hate afghanistan and india due to the major border disputes with both. think: KASHMIR. anyone who is president of pakistan has to maintain a tough balancing act with this powerful group in the pakistani army.
hope that gives a clearer perspective on the realities of pakistan.

loki

"it gives us a free pass to enter Pakistan".

can you imagine how that sounds to the rest of the world?

broacher

I like to support dictators of countries which provide the rest of the world (or more honestly, myself) a substantial and unique benefit-- whether it's an economic benefit (you know, Nikes by child slaves, etc.) or an economic one (mmm, mmm... love that Thai cooking!).

So... what are the good things that Pakistan gives us? And would they give us more or less of this if they were more democratic?

Maybe if you could work out a complete country-by-country list of benefits to the rest of the world, you could start to straighten out the world's problem. Or at least provide us with some interesting variety for takeout.

Either way, a Nobel nomination would be practically a given.

mjohnson

Good God man, I came back and trawled through this tirade to see if you'd posted my 5 cents worth only to discover that you had mis-citated me (is that a word). I am in shock, you have put my good name, and linked to my blog, above the words of an American. Christ on a bike, this is an outrage. Please cease and desist etc. Swap them back! I am mjohnson, my comment is listed as Mason, Mason didn't write this:

Mason Nov 10th 2007 at 08.15

I think you overestimate the danger of the extremists at the same time as overestimating the ability of the (first line).

And Mason's is listed as mine!!!!

Posted by mjohnson Nov 10 2007 at 08.11

Pakistan is potentially a closer parallel to the U.S. involvement in Vietnam than Iraq or any other Midd -THESE ARE NOT MY WORDS, these are the words of an American. (I am British).

levi civita

Yes, you have that part wrong, utterly wrong.

That part of the world has been a terrorist factory for the last 5000 years or more. They invaded the sub-continent at will...Moguls, recent invaders in history, ruled India for 300 years.

They beat the shit out of Brits, so the the Brits invented the Durand line. They beat the shit out of the USSR. And now, they are going to beat the shit out of Americans.

They are animals, leave them alone, and get the fuck out of there.

But wait, they are sitting on this possible oil pipeline...Nuke them suckers!

David Traver Adolphus

Well, given that we're a democracy run by Christian extremists with nuclear weapons (and, unlike everyone else, an actual record of using them on civilian populations), we're hardly in a position to complain.

amenot

Democracy works only for more "civilized" countries. Dictatorship or Communism, although "bad", is a better choice for places where the majority of the population is uneducated, and corruption is way of life.
Terrorism and the possibility of vast destruction from a nuke war is a natural result of an unbalanced world.
911 wouldn't have happened if the right-winged extremists were not in power.

glasnost

Some random thoughts, Scott:

1. Most of your commenters are stupid.

2. Musharraf's regime seems unrecoverably unpopular and dysfunctional.

3. The alternatives, as one Pakistani pointed out, aren't very good either.

4. Islamic extremists are unlikely to ever win fair elections.

5. The counterterrorism effort is going badly, and it endangers our country.

Thus:
6. If we'd had a brain in our heads, we should have chosen Pakistan for what we did in Iraq - swamped the place with troops and given civics lessons at gunpoint. We wouldn't have had to fight our way in, either.

Failing that:

7: We need a good plan to reform Pakistani governance and serious punishments to dole out if it isn't thoroughly enforced. It probably involves the end of Musharraf. And it probably involves US troops in the mountains of Pakistan.

Stephen W. Stanton

Assuming your premises are correct, then so is your analysis.

However, I doubt the situation is as simple as all that.

I doubt that we know OBL's general neighborhood. I doubt further that we could find his exact house if Pakistan lets us into that neighborhood.

If that is the case, Congress and the president are morons for not doing it already. If it is not the case, then our foereign policy makes a lot more sense than you might think.

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