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Volume 3, No. 8 - January 2004

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Neocons and the Indian Subcontinent: Flunking The History Course
Subodh Atal, Ph. D.

A new book is on the stands: "An End to Evil: How to Win the War on Terror". I haven't had a chance to read the entire volume yet, but was curious about the views of Richard Perle and David Frum on our frontline ally, Pakistan. Perle is a former chairman of the Defense Policy Board and is a leading architect and proponent of the post-9/11 US foreign policy. His friend David Frum is at the Americfan Enterprise Institute, which provides the text for much of what passes as policy in the United States today.

The Bush administration has turned logic on its head, deceived itself, the entire nation and significant parts of the world, in sending billions in aid to Pakistan even though it created the Taliban (and still supports it), harbored many more Al Qaeda than it gave up, and proliferated nuclear weapons technology to all the worst declared enemies of the US. This at the same time that the haggard Saddam, who was hated by Bin Laden, and whose military might was already decimated, was attacked and forced to "disarm".

The authors appear to spend a lot of time on Saudi misdeeds, but when it comes to Pakistan, a brief few paragraphs ascribe all of Pakistan's problems to Saudi Arabia's funding of its madrassas. As per Perle and Frum, Pakistan was well on its way to becoming a "culturally Muslim" nation, with tolerance for other religions, before the Saudi jihad money started to stream in. It appears that the authors have completely missed out on what became of Pakistan's minorities upon its carving out from India in 1947. The once thriving Hindu and Sikh communities were hacked down by the millions, and those that did not escape were relegated to second-class citizen status. The minority percentage quickly diminished to near negligible. In 1965, long before Saudi money started to reach Pakistani shores, Muslim invaders were sent by Pakistan into the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir in a first unsuccessful attempt to start an Islamic insurgency. In 1971, Pakistan committed genocide in what is now Bangladesh, killing and raping in the millions before India intervened.
Unrest in Baluchistan, and among the Pashtun population in western Pakistan also preceded the Saudi money.

Before striking gold with the 1989 Kashmir insurgency, Pakistan had been inciting Sikhs during the early 1980s. The building of a fence along the Punjab border played a significant part in quelling the violence, clearly showing Pakistan's role. General Zia introduced the Sharia in Pakistan, long before Bin Laden announced that he wanted to bring the entire world under the Sharia. The "secular" Pakistani population had always been a small minority, and hatred for India was taught in its public school system well before the Saudi-funded madrassas became known  across the world as jihad factories. Back in the early 1970s, the
Ahmadiyya sect was declared non-Muslim, and its followers persecuted in Pakistan.

The problem with the world view of Richard Perle and David Frum (and their like-minded neocons) is that it is based on a limited understanding of history and a tendency to force-fit into their own ideology. It appears that they have made up their mind that the Middle  East is the source of the world's problems, and it needs to be fixed, then the rest of the world will automatically resolve its dysfunctional issues. Thus Pakistan minus Saudi money is classified in the same boat as India. In the neocon mind, squeezing Saudi money out of Pakistan will allow India and Pakistan to function closely together, and all will be hunky dory on the subcontinent. They forget that it wasn't the Iraqis or the Iranians or the Egyptians who had proliferated nukes to America's declared enemies, it was Pakistan. They don't put two and two together when the top Pakistani nuclear scientists keep on leaking out nuclear technology, and participate in jihad conferences, while Musharraf claims Pakistani nukes are in safe hands. They can't even see through the obvious thuggery of Musharraf and his ISI masters, when they hand over a couple of Al Qaeda when the heat is on. And they don't even make the logical conclusion that if it was simply Saudi money and the lack of a free trade agreement holding up the lovefest between India and Pakistan, then why did Pakistan split off from pre-partition India in the first place?

The neocon window into the Indian subcontinent is really a window into their own narrow appreciation of history outside their domains, exemplified by the rush to war into Iraq with the expectation that the occupied population would fall in love with the GIs, and democracy
would flourish in the Middle East, as well as by their incomplete understanding of Pakistan. Neocons like Perle and Frum can not prescribe an end to evil, because they haven't even read enough history, and can't free themselves from their ideological shackles, to define that evil. That is why hundreds or even thousands of billions of dollars later, the world keeps on heading towards armageddon, with dozens of Pakistani nukes still within the grasp of jihadis, and a steadily strengthening global anti-US jehad.

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