The evil one

Mohsin | Chris Matthews, the liberal giant who hosts MSNBC’s Hardball, said in a recent programme: “There is a good argument out there that Gitmo and all that it represents worldwide has caused more people to sign up for organisations like Al-Qaeda to give up their lives in suicide attacks on Americans because they are so hateful of America, because they see us as the evil one. “

In an argument over “keeping America safe” with the extreme right-wing of the Republicans represented by ex-Cheney aide, Ron Christie and Jane Norton, Mathew highlighted that “it was Cheney himself” who “secretly freed two of the terrorists from Git-mo, later credited with forming Al-Qaeda on the Arabian Peninsula.

” Former Vice President Dick Cheney and his daughter, Elizabeth, keep on blaming President Barack Hus-sein Obama as being ‘weak’. The burden of their message is that Obama’s closure of Gitmo, discontinuation of ‘torture’ of suspects as a policy, fair trial for Khalid Sheikh Muhammad in the New York City federal court, and the Cairo speech to court Muslims the world over betray an inherent frailty in his approach. Being generally egocentric, they find the states-manlike lingo of their president as a down-gradation of the American power vis-à-vis the gibberish of Dubya.

No sane person can disagree with the stated correlation between the misguided aggression of the neo-cons and what the United States is facing now in Afghanistan and the world over. According to the wife of Dr Al-Balawi, who killed seven CIA agents in Khost recently passing for a double agent of his hosts/Jordanian Intelligence, the bomber had got radicalised after seeing the atrocities committed by the US forces against the ‘prisoners’ held in Abu Ghraib. What was happening to those in Bagram and Gitmo is writ large the world over. If the US heed Chris Mathews’ steer-to-the-centre advice, it would be much safer. As vicious cartels, lobbies and pressure groups dominate the US policy, the average American gets sidelined which is also due to the ‘could-not care-less’ attitude, generally, adopted by the ‘good guys’.

Indeed, the right-wing takes great pains and costs to keep burrowing the insecurity syndrome which benefited for eight years. On the contrary, President Obama, due to societal limitations if not colour, has been trying to soften policy pronouncements which have not yet created any palpable change in Iraq and AfPak. His strategy in AfPak remains a hangover of the past driving a Washington Post columnist, Nat Hentoff, to designate his article as George W Obama.

Luckily, the imprudent right-wing does not make America. As they are, generally, rich conservatives, they keep a stranglehold on the media, the econ0my etc. They are very chummy with lobbies or cartels which cherish private agendas. They, generally mislead the average American by using various instruments of the state or civil society including the media. It is because of such groups that the United States ends up, quite often, following a policy which is not in their best interest. Unfortunately this stems from the attitude of the Americans, generally, wh-ich can be defined as naïve vis-à-vis global or long-distance issues.

The American intellectuals like Noam Chomsky and William Blum are fully conscious of this aspect of their society and they also attribute the ‘Empire Complex‘ of certain elements to it which is pulling the US down, particularly since 2001. Gordon Duff, the senior editor of Veterans Today and a former Marine, has put his country’s predicament beautifully via his recent report entitled Is terrorism a game or a business? in the following words: “We have to erase a decade of insanity and corruption and build a future for ourselves, if it isn’t too late.”

No wonder, President Obama won on the promise of ‘change’ – ‘yes we can’. He has to restore the American credibility, the queer shouts of known characters notwithstanding. He has to move fast before it is too late for him, his party and the country.

While the US has big demons, some people do keep the American torch burning. Cindy Sheehan, the veteran campaigner against the Iraq war has launched a similar struggle slamming the drone attacks wherein many civilians are regularly killed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The Washington Post on January 16, 2009, projects a unique one-man protest by Muhammad Ali Salih in his column titled Why I hold a jihad at the White House.

Likewise, Richard Blum writes: “Governments have learned to label their insurgents ‘Al-Qaeda’ to start the military aid flowing from Washington, just like they yelled ‘communist’ in an article labelled as Mothers, don’t let your children grow up to be Nobel prize winners.” Thus, the society is being reminded of the foul play utilised to benefit the vested interests at the expense of taxpayers.

In the same context, Monday’s attack on the presidential palace in Kabul shows the fragility of the status quo. Accordingly, some of the elites are spreading an awakening among the US public to the dangers posed by ‘special interests’.

It is no surprise to see Jeff Gates, a great author, writing on “Will Israel assassinate Barack H Obama?” Tracing the history of murky operations carried out by the US, directly or indirectly, Gates believes that the “evil doer branding” or “pre-staging” has been the standard technique. Therefore, by connecting the relevant dots Gates concludes: “To assassinate an American president with impunity requires pre-staging. For Israel to succeed would require an Evil Doer on whom the deed could plausibly be blamed. The emerging fact patterns suggest that such pre-staging is well underway and that a Pakistani could be the perceived culprit.”

A false alarm? Pakistan, which suffers from poor governance in addition to the death and destruction, has to wake up to the possible dangers. Our president has written of a ‘dream-agenda’ in The Washington Post, without mitigating the appalling and avoidable suff-erings of the people. Ahmed Faruqui of the Los Angeles Times has, quoting Nicholas Schmidle on the subject, emphasises that Pakistan could lose to extremists, “if it continues to be led by corrupt and inept leaders.”

Undoubtedly, the Pakistan Peoples Party or the Pakistan Muslim League (N) have to stop ‘politicking’ before the people’s patience putrefies perilously paralysing democracy. An average Pakistani is exposed to the bomb threat daily and equally deadly unemployment, industrial/electricity/natural gas shutdown, terrible rise in price of food etc.

The USA’s major strength still is not its military juggernaut which projects her as ‘the evil one’. It is the intellectual freedom to amass and disseminate knowledge. The leadership has to gel their diversity and commonality of interests to an optimal level. Only then would it shed its current stigma. The United States has to find a way out with Pakistan’s help; It cannot ‘occupy’ the area nor abandon it a la 1990!

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