Mar 29, 2004
About two months ago, the news media revealed that Pakistan had been selling nuclear weapons materials and technology to other countries including two in Bush's "axis of evil," Iran and North Korea.
The third member of Bush's "axis," of course, was Iraq. And, as we well remember, one of the main reasons given by Bush for invading Iraq was to prevent Saddam Hussein from giving his "weapons of mass destruction" to terrorists. Now it has become clear that not Iraq, but Pakistan, has long been running an international nuclear weapons black market for anyone to shop at. So if Bush really believed what he had said about Hussein, now he should be cracking down on Pakistan's military dictator, General Pervez Musharraf. But Bush has done absolutely nothing; he has not even made a critical remark!
Instead, the U.S. has allowed Musharraf to uphold the absurd pretension that the Pakistani government knew nothing about this extensive black market for nuclear weapons! The entire blame was put on one person, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the scientist who directed the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Khan confessed on state television, to none other than Musharraf, who turned around and pardoned Khan the next day!
Of course, nothing about this nuclear-technology trading was a secret to begin with. Journalist Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker magazine quoted a U.S. intelligence officer who said: "This was not a rogue operation. ... Do you think he could do that without the government knowing? ... Do you think A. Q. [Khan] shipped all the centrifuges by Federal Express? ... We had every opportunity to put a stop to the A. Q. Khan network fifteen years ago. Some of those involved today in the smuggling are the children of those we knew about in the eighties. It's the second generation now."
Is any part of this charade a surprise? Where does an underdeveloped country like Pakistan get the know-how and technology to start a nuclear program in the first place? From the countries that had such programs before Pakistan did, of course: above all, the U.S. Wasn't it also the U.S. that supplied Saddam Hussein with his "weapons of mass destruction?" Isn't it the U.S. that has always actively supported such brutal dictators as well as terrorists, including Osama bin Laden, to serve the U.S.'s own foreign policy goals?
What is happening in Pakistan today is, in fact, eerily similar to what the U.S. did in past decades both with Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Just like the U.S. used Saddam Hussein against Iran, and Osama bin Laden against the pro-Soviet government in Afghanistan in the 1980s, the U.S. is now using Pakistan's military dictatorship in the ongoing U.S. war on Afghanistan.
In recent weeks, for example, the U.S. and Pakistan launched a joint military operation along the Afghan-Pakistani border. On the Afghan side, the U.S. military started what it has dubbed, in typical fashion, Operation "Mountain Storm," aimed at al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters supposedly hiding out in the area with the help of local tribes. And Pakistan is doing the same on the other side of the border. In South Waziristan, the rural, mountainous region along the Afghan border, the Pakistani military has launched an offensive against local tribes which it accuses of harboring and helping Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters.
From the time of its inception in the late 1940s, the central government in Islamabad has never really controlled the remote, tribal region of South Waziristan. Now Musharraf's regime is trying to use the opportunity of this joint military operation with the U.S. to gain more control over these tribal areas, attacking its own citizens in the process. The Pakistani military is raiding villages, bombarding and bulldozing houses, and driving the population out.
In other words, Musharraf is doing today what the U.S. now accuses Saddam Hussein of doing against Iraq's Kurdish population during the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. And just like the U.S. did then, the U.S. today is working with a dictatorship which perpetrates such crimes against a population. Not only that, the U.S. has encouraged these attacks and is participating in them!
This, exactly, is the nature of U.S. foreign policy. When Saddam Hussein attacked a neighboring country, Iran, as well as his own population in the 1980s, the U.S. not only didn't have a problem with it, but actually supported Hussein. And today, the U.S. is allied with Pakistan's dictator, Pervez Musharraf. The same Musharraf who, unlike Hussein, does have the nuclear bomb and has threatened to use it against India. The Musharraf who has made nuclear technology available to other countries and terrorists. The Musharraf who oppresses and attacks his own population. This dictator today is the U.S.'s friend and ally, just like Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden once were!
This is exactly what Bush's fake "war on terrorism" is about. It not only doesn't protect anyone from terrorism, but in fact makes this world more and more prone to war, violence, and terrorism.