From Afghanistan to Libya; rethinking the role of the military

March 8, 2011

ras lanufIn a report this month calling for faster progress on a political settlement on Afghanistan, the influential UK parliamentary foreign affairs committee was unusually critical of the dominance of the military in setting Afghan policy.

“We conclude that there are grounds for concern over the relationship between the military and politicians. We further conclude that this relationship has, over a number of years, gone awry and needs to be re-calibrated  … we believe that problems in Afghanistan highlight the need for a corresponding cultural shift within Whitehall to ensure that those charged with taking foreign policy decisions and providing vitally important political leadership are able to question and appraise military advice with appropriate vigour,” it said.

During its enquiries, based on interviews with regional experts and officials, “we gained the impression that the sheer size and power of the U.S. military ensured that the U.S. military remained largely in control of U.S. Afghan policy,” it added.

It also quoted former UK special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles, as saying that conversations between the U.S. and British military “end up with things being pre-cooked between the U.S. and the UK militaries before they are subject to political approval back in London …”

“In Sir Sherard Cowper-Coles’s view, the war in Afghanistan gave the British Army a raison d’être it has lacked for many years, new resources on an unprecedented scale and a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of the U.S. following criticisms about the army’s performance in Basra, Iraq.”

The comments in the report struck me as interesting, primarily because they were included at all – “civ-mil” relations are not usually a hot topic for political debate in Britain.  Otherwise they seemed to be largely a reflection of a far more heated discussion in Washington over the extent to which the U.S. military has come to dominate American foreign policy in the years following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks and during two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. For recent articles on the subject see Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy or Franz-Stefan Gady at the Small Wars Journal (pdf)

For some time now, it has become conventional wisdom that the military has dominated strategy in Afghanistan — when the army asked President Barack Obama for more troops, they got them.  And the pundit consensus has been that Obama, after sacking two generals, had little room for manoeuvre even if he wanted to challenge the decisions made by his commander, the politically powerful General David Petraeus.

But to what extent is this actually true? Or perhaps more to the point, how far is the perceived dominance of the military a consequence rather than a cause of civilian weakness in setting foreign policy?

Ink Spots blog argues that the crisis in Libya provides an opportunity to at least reassess thinking on the perceived dominance of the military.

 ”One of the interesting aspects of the recent turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa is a reversal of militarisation. Many politicians have been calling for military intervention, particularly in Libya, and it has been the military pouring cold water on great ideas. How does this phenomenon fit into our understanding of civil-military relations at the national government level? I’m not sure yet, but I think it speaks volumes …

To extend the argument further, one of the problems in setting policy for Afghanistan (and the same applies to Pakistan, India and Kashmir) has been the lack of knowledge in the United States about the countries it aims to influence, whether by military or diplomatic means – as eloquently argued by Manan Ahmed in The National and Joshua Foust at Registan.net. Far easier, then, to rely on military might.

Yet that brings us to another peculiarity of the Libyan situation.  Few people know very much about Libya since the country has been closed off for so long. So while there are plenty of arguments out there for and against military intervention, one of the less contested points is that it would not be terribly effective if you don’t know enough about the side you are backing, or about the potential consequences of that action.  And as argued here, even a no-fly zone requires quite a lot of knowledge about what is happening on the ground if you don’t want to end up hitting the wrong targets, or jumping into unknown territory to rescue anyone who had been shot down.

So which would you say came first? Civilian lack of knowledge, or military power? As a caveat, some would argue that the military has sucked up so many resources that there has been little left to develop civilian expertise.  And that after two  major wars, the U.S. military has little appetite or resources for intervening in yet another country. But in any case, food for thought.

(Photo: A rebel fighter fires his rifle at a military aircraft loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at a checkpoint in Ras Lanuf March 7, 2011. REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)

Comments

One is reminded of Robert McNamara’s attempts to predict VietCong attacks using mainframe-based computer models. Real-life is much more messy (“non-linear”, in the words of the experts analysing why those models failed).

Perhaps India should get bolder and increase its influence in Afghanistan. If a knowledge of local languages, dialects and customs is vitally important to understanding a culture and providing reliable intelligence, Indians would arguably be better at negotiating these than a Westerner. Also, given that there is a better inherent convergence of interests between the Indian and Afghan people than between the Afghans and other parties (the West, Russia, China or Pakistan), this would be something worth exploring. Such a labour-intensive (HUMINT) rather than technology-intensive approach to intelligence also plays to India’s strengths.

Of course, it will give the Pakistanis apoplexy, but that shouldn’t be a concern.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Proxy wars are the best course to take when one cannot engage foreign military directly. For example, in Indian Kashmir, Pakistan tried direct military action and it did not help. But it started a proxy war and over a decade’s time, the tide had turned in favor of Pakistan and put India on the defensive. The Soviet Union engaged in Afghanistan directly and it was defeated by proxy war engagement. It is easier to engage two local parties against each other rather than come in directly and take the brunt of everything. In Iraq the US committed a blunder by direct engagement. It would have been easier to use Saddam Hussein to turn on the throttle against Iran and contain it rather than draw him into Kuwait and wage two direct wars against him. At the end the US achieved nothing. The Chinese always engage in proxy methods to contain its adversaries. China has surrounded itself with a bunch of rogue nations it calls as string of pearls and has quietly supported the regimes in those countries.

In 2001, when Al Qaeda attacked New York, it would have been prudent to bomb the Taliban out of Afghanistan and immediately engage the Northern alliance to complete the chase and control of the region. And NA could have been provided with all logistics and support to carry out the proxy war against the Taliban and its backers. With coercive diplomacy and sanctions on Pakistan, its efforts in backing the Taliban against the NA could have been contained. They all are locals and know the game and the terrain very well. This would have save a lot of money and efforts. Once in a while when it appears like Taliban gaining ground, a few missiles and drone strikes could have softened them up, forcing them to seek truce with NA. There would have been no need for setting up a puppet government in Kabul and chase the rats in the unknown territory.

In Libya, anti-Gadhaffi factions could have been backed using proxy elements and with time, he could have been taken out by his own people. People feared the British empire because no one could predict which side they would support in every conflict. They support one side for sometime and dump them to make new alliances. So they made the proxy groups vie with each other for British support and gained control over both parties.

Proxy wars are the way to contain territorial issues in geo-strategic hot spots. One reason why Pakistan desperately wants India out of Afghanistan is the potential for gains in the future where India will be able to weaken Pakistan’s proxy efforts. India can counter Pakistan’s efforts in Kashmir by pinching it from Afghanistan. An economically weak Pakistan will not be able to sustain proxy wars for too long.

A lot of civil wars are looming in the horizon. It would be great if people take to revolution in North Korea, China, Burma, Cuba etc to throw out autocratic governments. And they can be helped by proxy means to achieve that goal.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

@Prasad,
Could you explain the convergence of (national) interests between Indian and Afghan people in some detail. Thanks.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

Matrixx said:

> Could you explain the convergence of (national) interests between Indian and Afghan people in some detail.

I was hoping you’d ask.

For a start, it might help to see what Afghans seem to think about this, rather than go by the opinion of one (obviously biased) Indian poster on this blog.

http://abcn.ws/gfkPFj (Scroll forward to the 12th chart called “Ratings of Neighboring Countries”)

It’s actually not very surprising when you look at what these neighbours have been up to in that country. (It also says a lot about the “brotherhood” we keep hearing about. You know, brotherhood is as brotherhood does.)

And if you want more detail, the convergence of interests has to do with many things, notably trade.

Afghanistan needs roads, dams, bridges, schools, hospitals – lots of infrastructural development that India has been helping with. http://on.wsj.com/10mkFr

In return, Afghanistan can provide raw materials that India needs, because Afghanistan is rich in minerals. http://bit.ly/bUr3oI

And this is a view the US may be coming around to as well: http://bit.ly/8nQX8w

India isn’t using Afghanistan for “strategic depth” to guard against some “existential threat”, at least not that transparently. It’s more of a win-win arrangement than the patently self-serving approach of other countries, which gets reflected in popularity surveys. I guess the Afghans are not happy to be used as some other country’s defence shield. They’re happier when other countries do things for them that they want.

Defence analyst Christine Fair has a couple of pieces on this relationship:
http://bit.ly/aFXK0K
http://bit.ly/aSXqXs

That’s all still very geostrategic. At the level of common people, India has a great deal of “soft power” in Afghanistan: http://bit.ly/guJJHj

I hope that answers your question.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Singh & Parasad
Right now the whole middle-east is too fluid and Pak-American spat over Davis is going to reset the relations. So I would hold my thoughts for a few days.
Meanwhile, you work out your plans for Afghanistan.

Posted by Matrixx | Report as abusive
 

In terms of the US military, we do have to look at the last eight years. President Bush had a policy of mostly saying yes to the generals, and the pentagon. This behavior continued for eight years and the US military got used to having its way. Obama Wars by Woodward rightfully points this out. Obama was up against a whole different system when he decided to change things around in the Af-Pak policy. The generals were not used to having long policy discussions, and were not used to being asked to “do more with less”.

The author is right that US could use more intimate knowledge of the South Asian actors. However, we have to go one step further. It is well known that the US, & Pakistan have divergent interests. Unless one of the two is willing to shift their fundamental focus, no amount of intimate knowledge of each other will help anyone. In the interm, the militaries fill the gaps and execute policy. The militaries aren’t concerned with convergence, or divergence of interests. They have their mission goals, and they execute accordingly.

KP:
Proxy wars are only good in the short term, and totally effective if they can reach a tipping point. However, with bigger countries like India which can sustain localized trouble, the proxy wars because part of the cost of doing business. Case in point: Kashmir. Moreover, proxy wars are costly, and unpredictable. I would also add India to the list of countries you’ve given that might be possible candidates for civil war. There is a civil war going on in central India with the Maoists (calling them an insurgency doesn’t change the reality). But again, situation is manageable because of the size of India.

Posted by rainydays | Report as abusive
 

Biased or not, I state only my opinions and do not claim to represent anyone.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Could you explain the convergence of (national) interests between Indian and Afghan people in some detail. Thanks.

Posted by Matrixx
==

Could you explain the convergence of national interests between
(1) Pakistan and Sri Lanka
(2) Pakistan and Nepal
(3) Pakistan and China

Do you share any of the following links with either one of the above countries?:
1. Religion (?????!!!)
2. Language
3. History
4. Food
5. Shared ethnicity
6. Music

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

We can discuss the interests of Pakistani people with nationals of Nepal.

High-quality fake Indian currency printed at Pakistani government press is released into India through Nepal. Other pakistani interests in Nepal involve money laundering, drug trafficking, slipping in trained terrorists, and hosting pakistani hijackers at the Pakistani embassy to hijack Indian airlines flight.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

http://tinyurl.com/4kcev8r

According to a top US military official, Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Pakistani terrorist organization, is quickly expanding operations to South Asian countries other than India – including Nepal.

In his opening statement, Admiral Willard said, “The Asia Pacific region is quickly becoming the strategic nexus of the globe due to its economic expansion and great potential.”

In regard to Nepal, the Admiral reported, “Right now our concern is the movement of Lashkar-e Taiba, the terrorist group that emanates from Pakistan that was responsible for the Mumbai attacks in India, and specifically their positioning in Bangladesh and Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.”

Senator George Lemieux asked about the dynamics of the Indo-American partnership in combating LeT terrorism.

Admiral Willard’s response: “We are working very closely with the Indians and we are working within our own community to develop the necessary plans to counter that particular terrorist group as they migrate into the Asia Pacific region.”

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

I think the poll stats, referred by Ganesh, are most telling. It’s a scientific poll conducted 3 reputable international organizations & includes all ethnic groups of Afghanistan (not just Pashtuns or non-Pashtuns). The fact that 74% Afghans have a favorable opinion of India & just 8%, of Pakistan AND 91% have an unfavorable opinion of Pakistan whereas 21% view India unfavorably, should put to bed any argument, as to which country has the moral right to be in Afghanistan.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

One of the best analytical pieces on the US-India-Pakistan relationship, from an Indian perspective: http://tiny.cc/kf3bs

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

I think there are 3 aspects to the US-India-Pakistan relationship that are short-term factors maintaining the current unnatural equilibrium.

1. The US seems to be looking for a way to do a 180-degree turn on Pakistan without losing face, but have not yet found one. (Of course, this could be wishful thinking by an Indian, but I do hear increasing rumblings.)

2. Gen Kayani is by his own admission, the most anti-Indian general in recent times. “India-centric” is a euphemism for “I joined the Pakistan army on the eve of its greatest defeat in 1971, and I’ll never forgive you, you b******s!” To give him his due, he has so far masterfully translated this attitude into gains for Pakistan, although his simultaneous anti-US actions could be his undoing.

3. Manmohan Singh is the softest Indian PM on Pakistan in recent memory. This probably owes much to his birth in Pakistan (before partition) and his desire to achieve a peace treaty (and possibly a Nobel Peace Prize) before he leaves office. There is the real danger (from India’s perspective) that he will give away the store in pursuit of this quest. Certainly he is not exploiting India’s strengths in the shrewdest way possible.

All three factors are temporary, I believe, and will not last beyond 3 years.

1. Once the US withdraws from Afghanistan (at least substantially by 2014), they can simultaneously disengage themselves from the last vestiges of dependence on Pakistan and thenceforth say and do as they please.

2. Gen Kayani’s term (after the extension) ends in 3 years, in 2013. Hopefully, the next general will be more genuinely professional.

3. Manmohan Singh has stated he will not be seeking a fresh term. Any government after the 2014 elections will be more aware of India’s strength and more willing to use it to pursue India’s interests, unburdened by personal childhood sentiment.

The three-way relationship will then find a new equilibrium.

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

@”1. Once the US withdraws from Afghanistan (at least substantially by 2014), they….
2. Gen Kayani’s term (after the extension) ends in 3 years, in 2013. Hopefully, the next general will be more genuinely professional.
3. Manmohan Singh has stated he will not be seeking a fresh term. Any government after the 2014….”

Agree with #1 & 3, not sure about #2. Also, I hope that next Indian PM is not of the pre-1947 generation who carries the burden of the partition. We need some fresh eyes to look at Pakistan & deal with it. No more Manmohan Singhs or Advanis please.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

I, see! It’s time for venom against hinduism, now.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Pakistan Studies Model Question Paper :-)

(1)Write short notes on devadasism
( 5 marks)

(2)What the fuXX is purushamedha? Please explain how the fuXX it affects day to day lives of a paki when he is not contemplating bombing his neighbor.
(10 marks, bonus 5 marks for elucidating Quaid’s role in this holy mess)

(3)Explain varnashrama dharma in the context of current existential nightmare that is called “Pakistan”
(10 marks)

(4)Describe in detail the nuances, fundamental principles of tantra. Please explain how it affects the depraved lives of paki momina
(10 marks)

(5)Why sati is relevant to sorry paki lives in the 21st century? Explain how Pakistan studies curriculum makes you obsessed about it.
(5 marks)

(6)Describe why paki is today left to do nothing but beg and indulge in terrorism while explaining lingam and yoni
(Essay question- 15 marks)

(7)Is paki worth for anything else besides begging and terrorism in the 21st century? Please elaborate with the along the principles kamasutra
(Essay question- 15 marks)

Total marks 75.

Practical Exam 25 marks.:-)

Experiment- Demonstrate how you will indulge in suicide bombing of anyone experiencing the misfortune of living in the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Demonstrate how you will suicide bomb a Sunni, Shia, Ahmadiya, Pashtun, Mohajir, Punjabi, Seraiki, Baluchi, Sindhi, Hindu, Christian, Parsi, Sikh, or a hapless visiting gora.

Posted by netizen | Report as abusive
 

Shahid Khan,

You have to admit netizen’s latest post is at least as funny as your series of amu-Singh jokes.

What, you’re not laughing?

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

“>> KP is turning me on.” Posted by shahidkhan123

I always felt, you were somewhat queer :)

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan: “you read a lot but understand little. Muslims don’t need money or economy, they volunteer for free. Would an Indian volunteer for free? LOL LOL LOL.”

No. Indians are busy. And we want to build our wealth, improve our economy and volunteer to help when countries like yours is begging for money when floods wreak havoc.

“There will be support for Kashmirs in kashmir, afghanistan, pakistan and india itself until it is resolved.”

Looks like there is severe unemployment problem in your world. I hear many are sweeping the streets in London as well. And some might have been unemployed for generations and do not feel like working anymore. A gun or a knife comes in handy to make quick bucks. In fact your whole nation is turning into one. Amazing!

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Ganesh: “Once the US withdraws from Afghanistan (at least substantially by 2014), they can simultaneously disengage themselves from the last vestiges of dependence on Pakistan and thenceforth say and do as they please.”

In 1989 they did that. They demolished the USSR and went home to work on the new world order. Little did they know at that time that they will be forced to come back to this garbage pile a decade later. This time if they go, they will be laughed at as losers. There are enough people in Af-Pak who are experts at writing distorted history. They might decide to blackmail the US by going rogue if the US does not give them money. That is probably why they are building nukes at the expense of everything else. They can blackmail US business by pointing their Jihadist barrel at India. The US has to remove the nukes from this country. Otherwise there is going to be no peace in this region.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

The Military has a tendency to produce more balanced, sound and efficient leaders. Their physical training, mental capacity and ability to stay calm under pressure means they can handle the situations pretty well. They can be a good stabilizing force, and fill the power vaccum in countries where civilian leaders cannot take responsibility. But overdoing the role of military is equally bad. Only a balanced approach should work.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Guys please cut the crap and come back to a good debate, exchange views, ideas, share links etc. do some good. thx.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

Welcome back. We were getting worried about your safety when you went silent for a long time. (I am sincere in saying this – this is not sarcasm.)

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

The author is talking about the role of military in terms of policy making, and policy application. In my opinion, the relationship beetween the Af-Pak situation, and the Libyan cannot be made. The US already knows about Pakistan and vice versa. Both actors have fundamental differences over their objectives in Af. Contrary to what the author claims, the US military does not dominate US foreign policy. The military might be very efficient implementing the policy. There is only one country where the military has played a big role in foreign policy: Pakistan. This is because historically the military has been in charge, and the civilian framework has failed to progress accordingly.

Posted by rainydays | Report as abusive
 

The topic of this article is quite interesting. On same lines a financial analysis thrown up would be that role of military is directly proportional to the of budget spent on defence/war/military. The magical number is somehow around 10%. As soon as any country’s defence budget % croses 10% or so then only 3 paths are pursued – 1. military rule or 2. division of teritorry or 3. civil war. Pakistan has experienced the first two and afghanistan and middle-east are experiencing the last one. But on other hand if defence budgets go down below 3-5% then such countries expose themselves to risk of being bullied/annexed by more powerful nations.

So I would agree with Umair is that a balance is needed. But where I disagree with Umair is that military cannot produce good leaders simply because in starting all looks good with military dominance but as things progress the real face is seen. Lets be very clear that military men (irrespective of country, caste, religion, culture, creed , etc) are trained killers and killers should NEVER be allowed to run countries and decide fates of millions and billions. And we all can see what happens when military dominance is high in countries like Pakistan, Mynammar, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Yemen, Yugosalavia, etc. On other hand are countries like India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Turkey, Germany, France, etc where military plays a supporting role to governments and DOES NOT guide the policies of government. (I have deliberately not included US in either of the lists) The difference is quite visible. So balance is the key.

Military’s role is to assist and not rule.

Posted by 007XXX | Report as abusive
 

The biggest drawback of military rulers is that they are, by training, not capable of flexibility in dealing with delicate situations involving civilians and local politics. When dealing with civilian counterparts and citizens, there has to be the capacity to make compromises and sometimes even let go of one’s stand in the interest of harmony. The military mind is trained to seeing things and black and white, there can be no shades of grey when involved. And rightly so for their professional responsibilty which is combat. This effectively rules them out as being able able and long term administrators of civilian affairs.

To my mind the biggest blunder the US committed in Iraq was to let the Pentagon take charge of affairs there after Saddam’s fall. Had the State Department, instead of the Defence Department been in charge of day to day administration, quite likely there would have been a more peaceful and perhaps also a faster transition.

Posted by DaraIndia | Report as abusive
 

In many African countries, the Middle East and all the way up to NW Pakistan, tribal societies exist. Tribes have very strong influence on their members and tribal rivalries are deep and go back over many centuries. This is how they have evolved over generations. In such societies, tribal chiefs (who are not elected) play a significant role. They spend their time negotiating deals with other tribes and settling scores. It is very similar to the caste system in India. Loyalty to one’s tribal group is much stronger than anything else. So when a nation is formed, usually one tribe dominates the others. When colonial powers came in, they played the tribes against each other and made gains.

In Libya Ghaddaffi’s tribe dominates others. He worked on weakening the tribes on the Eastern part of his country. Typically tribal leaders fill up military ranks with their people. If there are rich resources like oil, the tribal members get first preference in all the money. This helps them dominate others. That is what has happened in Libya. What one sees there is not really a people’s revolution like one saw in Egypt. It is a large scale tribal conflict in which the tribes in the East have managed to wriggle themselves out. Military defectors belong to tribes that are different from Ghaddaffi’s. So Ghaddaffi is running the show with military members loyal to him (mostly his tribesmen) and the money he has accumulated.

Libya can go the way of post Soviet era Afghanistan if Ghaddaffi is removed. Tribes will try to regain what they lost and balance each other out. I heard on the radio that the military structure in Libya is built along tribal lines. Ghadaffi did try to diffuse this tribal loyalty, but seems to have failed. He himself is relying on it for his survival now.

In Egypt and Tunisia it was a very different phenomenon. Libya may not go the way the other two did.

Posted by KPSingh01 | Report as abusive
 

Umair,

Glad to see you & thanks for bringing the discussion back on track. I agree with you that a country’s army can play a crucial role to fill in the power vaccum during transitional periods (like currently in Egypt). But Pakistan has had a functional & legitimate democracy since it’s creation, despite the flaws faced by all democracies in developing countries (India, Bangladesh, Turkey etc). The problem in case of Pakistan, is that the army is allowed to ovver-ride the civilian govt on many issues, including foreign policy & defense spending & this undermines democracy. Ultimately, it’s the pakistani poeple who should decide (through elected representatives) about ALL major issues concerning the country & the military should take orders from the civilian govt instead of the other way around. I know that democracy can be very frustrating but have some patience. More than 90% of India’s elected officials are also corrupt & inept clowns but there have been some good ones’ as well & it’s finally paying off.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Welcome to Afghanistan,
All foreigners will be treated as trespassers and would be shot on sight or taken as hostages and would be set free against a fixed amount to be paid in cash, kaldar not Afghan currency. Afghan currency is for non Pashtoons who happen to be living in Afghanistan but have never proven to be loyal. This is a country of beautiful orchards and valleys where most warriors of the world have found a last resting place. No discrimination! Those who were braver than the Pashtoons went back to their home countries in Greece, Turkey, England, Scotland, Moscow, Petersbarg and the last one virginia, texas, and some to new york, and lastly not to forget some to European countris. The show is coming soon to close, the American military and its leaders have learnt their lessons, never to engage again their military in a muslim land. Any one who would suggest to the USA President to do so needs to have his head examined, says Robert Gates. The American power has had enough of the adventures! Now what was the discussion about India engaging with Afghanistan? Ths is something they love most, people from the past who worship statues and do not believe in God. Had they known this in advance they wuld not have destroyed their Gods in Bhamian?

What India can do is to provide some of the millions of its slaves (Indian labour Minister calls them bonded labour and denies they ae slaves) to cear up the mess the Americans are going to leave.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

“>>> Believe me you, I would unfurl that turban… shlowly, shlowly.” Posted by shahidkhan123

Would that be, before or after the stripping of your burka?

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

@Rex minor: As someone, who’s not an Afghan or a Pashtun or even from the region (as you claim), you sure have a lot of authority to speak for the Afghan people.

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

Mortal1 said:

> More than 90% of India’s elected officials are also corrupt & inept clowns but there have been some good ones’ as well & it’s finally paying off.

Considering the recent scandals, perhaps “paying off” is the right term after all ;-) .

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan123 said:

> Umair, AoA. I have to disagree here. A professional army’s job is to protect the country, deter the enemy, retrieve stolen land not run cricket boards.

Good to see some dissent on the role of the military from another Paistani. I was beginning to think all Pakistanis were uncritical worshippers of the army.

Ironically, Umair, it is on account of such dissenting opinions that I would agree with you that there is still hope for Pakistan.

But to your point Shahid, in most other jobs, if someone repeatedly fails to perform an assigned task, they are usually sacked. Since the Pakistan army hasn’t managed to “retrieve stolen land” (a task you believe they are responsible for) in 63 years in spite of various failed attempts, and has in fact lost a significant amount of land in the east thanks to its own genocidal actions, what do you think needs to be done with it?

(I suggest a change of job description to something more realistic and achievable.)

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Typo: “Paistani” should read “Pakistani”

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

“Considering the recent scandals, perhaps “paying off” is the right term after all”

Good one, Ganesh. Bad choice of words by me. The lack of accountability, of those in power, is astonishing & frustrating at the same time. I can’t wait for the day when such scumbags will be hanged for ripping off a country where hundreds of millions live without the most basic of amenities.

“give me some insider’s information”

I’m afraid, you’re completely on your own on that one!

Posted by Mortal1 | Report as abusive
 

W salam Shahid, yes i respect your opinions.

Ganesh/Mortal
Thanks for concern, though i have been busy at work lately, but spring time has arrived and weather is good in Islamabad. :)

As for the military’s role in Pakistan, since civilian democracy is infant. I always argue, democracy under the watchful eyes of the Army is the only option for Pakistan for now. I have yet to see a more patriotic institution in Pakistan than the Pakistan Army. It has given its sweat and blood for the country and earned its respect. For any of its shortcomings, i will choose the army over democracy any day. But the good thing is, the Army in Pakistan now fully supports democracy. Take care everyone.

Posted by Umairpk | Report as abusive
 

Shahidkhan123 said:

> One thing I don’t like about democracy in pakistan is people voting along ethnic or party lines. why not pick the most eligible, honest person? For this, we can only blame ourselves. the other thing i don’t like is our political parties are like family property, they get passed down through generations.

A remarkable paragraph. I only have to replace two words here (Pakistan and ethnic) to form another completely true paragraph:

One thing I don’t like about democracy in India is people voting along caste or party lines. why not pick the most eligible, honest person? For this, we can only blame ourselves. the other thing i don’t like is our political parties are like family property, they get passed down through generations.

We’re more alike than you guys like to admit :-) .

Regards,
Ganesh Prasad

Posted by prasadgc | Report as abusive
 

Umair,
You have a limited perception of democracy in Pakistan! Pakistan Democracy has time and again faled to give dignity to the people of Pakistan. Pakistan military were more sensitive to dignity, but also failed after taking the civilian Govt. task of administeration and development of the Nation. Today Pakistan is no different than it was half a century before and the state of limbo has dragged on. India is its enemy No.1, with full diplomatic relations, and the the Americans are there to help maintain the military and provide weaponry, but in real time Pakistan military has never admitted defeat at the hands of Indian miliary, though unconditional surrender is a historical document, no different from the surrender of the Third Reich. Shame on today’s Generals who are visiting Washington and calling on Colin Powel who threatend Musharaf Din the stone age. The General of Ayub’s calibre, who was the first to remove the civilian head and took over the reins of the Govt. could never have stooped down so low that today’s Pakistan has even lost the meaning of the word ‘DIGNITY’. Nor would the military continue to support clandastine operations against India and the Pashtoon Nation, almost half of them live in todays Pakistan and the other half in Afghanistan. Pakistan Govt. today is as unpopular in Afghanistan as it used to be in sixties! What Pakistan needs is the direct democracy for the people, so that legislations are made with people’s participation and not military participation. Pakistan military should be confined to barracks outside the cities.

That Pakistan future still hangs in the middle of Sardari and sharif Bros on one side and the military on the other side which is equivalent to a permanent Babylonian prison.

Rex Minor

Posted by pakistan | Report as abusive
 

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