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 Thursday, August 02, 2007

If the US Strikes the Taliban in PAKISTAN...


(Daniel R. McBride is a writer and wargame designer)

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After recently reading an excellent article in Asia Times by Syed Saleem Shahzad (“Bring 'em on: Militants in Pakistan await US” ) concerning the very real possibility that Pakistan is on the verge of joining the widening front-lines of the Middle Eastern and Asian war with the U.S. and its proxies, I did some more reading on the Pashtuns.

From my own travels in the area years ago, I can, of course, affirm the very strong militant independence of the people in western Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Pashtuns are the largest ethnic/tribal group without a homeland (numbering at least 40 million or so). The British Durand Line drawn by British colonialists to demarcate Pakistan and Afghanistan goes right through the center of Pashtun territories (and is therefore not terribly respected by the Pashtuns — something the Bush administration can’t seem to figure out in calling repeatedly for Musharraf to “seal” the border).

(The Pashtun) consider their Greater Pashtun homeland to extend from within Afghanistan right to the Indus river in Pakistan.

Musharraf is desperate to remove the prospect of the Americans striking targets with bombs and missiles within western Pakistan (read Pashtunistan) where the Pakistani government has almost no writ.

An attack there against supposed Al Qaeda or Taliban “high-value targets” would boost Pashtun militant forces fighting NATO troops in Afghanistan, and almost certainly trigger a much vaster Pashtun uprising within Pakistan, rendering the entire area even more ungovernable for Islamabad than it is right now, possibly right to the Indus river.

Even worse, in addition to the Pashtun reaction, a broader Islamist reaction within Pakistan could trigger a larger regional war involving nuclear weapons.

Many within the Pakistani military, right up to top generals, are Islamists, or very much sympathetic thereto, and the threat of a coup is very real.

The Bush/Cheney regime has precious few options left globally as they are distrusted everywhere with good reason, but they still have a last card to play in their global game of RISK—a rain of bombs and missiles from the air.

As they don't really have any spare troops for anything above small Special Forces insertions, tempting air strikes has to be the height of folly.

In any case,

  • if they don't attack the militant centers in western Pakistan they will lose the war in Afghanistan in the near future;

  • if they do attack, they will probably lose it even faster.

  • The opportunity to make good as an occupier by the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan is long-gone.

    Air strikes, if sent in, should be viewed within the context of a failed war, as in Nixon’s Christmas bombing of Vietnam 1972.

    If it occurs along with the predicted Cheney attack on Iran in August, would be Islamic regimes or anarchic regions at war with the U.S., NATO, and probably Israel, from Pakistan to Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.

    The rise of a militant "Caliphate" thereby—another bogeyman used to scare Americans by Bush/Cheney—becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

    Add another jolting terrorist attack in the U.S. "homeland" and the senatorial Gauleiters will ditch all resistance to the Bush regime and applaud or remain silent as a martial law regime is instituted.

    The "Enabling Act" has already been drafted and passed allowing Bush to do just that with no chance of avoiding it other than impeachment before it happens, or an American military putsch to remove him at the last minute.

    Sound far-fetched?

    Bush’s Martial Law Act of 2007 modified the Insurrection Act. Section 333 states that in the event of
    "….major public emergencies; interference with State and Federal law, the President may employ the armed forces, including the National Guard in Federal service, to restore public order and enforce the laws of the United States when, as a result of a natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition in any State or possession of the United States, the President determines that domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of (’refuse’ or ‘fail’ in) maintaining public order, ‘in order to suppress, in any State, any.
    Beyond U.S. borders, the prospects are even grimmer.

    An attack on Iran would "logically" have to involve small nukes to get at underground Iranian nuclear facilities. This would start WW III in the sense of an unpredictable, drawing in other countries into the maelstrom rapidly, even Russia and China in particular, and Syria certainly as it has a defense pact with Iran.

    Israel would likely be involved in the air attacks (perhaps even leading them to give the US an excuse).

    The bogus "War on Terror" launched by this sociopath in Washington remains the most spectacular public relations disaster for a government since the Germans torched Louvain in late August 1914.

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