This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive
THE REAL LOSERS IN THE WAR ON TERROR.
If you believe the Taliban won the war, as many Pakistanis and Americans do, you could be close to the truth. You may then ask, as many Pakistanis and Americans do: why haven’t hostilities ended? That is a question that opens up the murky can of worms of today’s world, also known as the world of financiers, drugs, oil, weapons, politicians-on-the-take, and anyone else that can make a quick buck. They all operate under the cover of legitimate Governments who claim to be planning long term geo-strategic and economic advantage for their people. That war is a good business and lifts political ratings is rarely mentioned as the primary driver of policy.
Conventional war depletes national military power and shakes governments. In this long war on terror the fighting has therefore been out-sourced to the Taliban of Pakistan, Afghanistan, and America. The Regular forces are now primarily engaged in trying to contain the fighting to the border regions, but it is the American and Local Taliban who are conducting the “war of continuing terror”. And they get handsomely paid for it. They get paid by those who benefit from this long war. So who is paying them?
The Pakistan Taliban gets some money from those who want to establish the hold of Sunni political Islam and dream of the earliest Islamic state of Arabia at the cost of the people of Pakistan and Afghanistan. These include Pakistani financiers and the Gulf Arabs whose actual long term objective is Shia Iran. They get money too from unlawful acts like kidnapping and robbery. They also get substantial inputs (including technology) for specific operations from pro ISAF intelligence agencies, which in turn get their money from the drug trade that that has been allowed to expand hugely since the war started.
The Afghan Taliban are fighting a war of resistance for which funding from any source is welcome, including Gulf Arabs, drugs, and intelligence agencies of countries opposed to American military presence in central Asia.
The American Taliban are terrorists sponsored and directly funded by covert sections of the American government. These are mercenary groups such as Blackwater, XE, DynCorp, and other American companies with links to the Pentagon and CIA. They recruit nationals of any country (even former soviet republics) who want to make money and are willing to kill for it. These are “mercenary terrorists” as opposed to the local Taliban who claim the fig leaf of being “ideological terrorists”.
So the fighting continues because the Taliban of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and America are laughing their way to the bank. The question then arises “if the three primary Governments are not achieving their political objectives and are facing voter pressure to end the war, why don’t they simply pull the plug on the financing of these groups”? The answer to this question is simply that the governments are also benefitting. Or should I say that the peddlers of “death for profit” in these countries are benefitting, their military are benefitting, and their bankers/weapon suppliers are benefitting. In fact in a perverse way many sectors of their economies are thriving in this war environment.
The only and real losers are the silent majority of people of America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan whose freedoms are being usurped, whose moral standards are being savaged, whose lives are being taken, and whose livelihoods are being denied. What are these victims of war doing about it? The answer to this question lies in understanding the true nature of the modern nation state in which the masses have ceded their sovereignty to a greedy few in exchange for “protection and leadership”. The social contract of the modern state is an imposition of classic Mafia control. Standing armies, civil bureaucracy, and media have evolved in the service of the modern mafia state. Patriotism is now glorified over citizen’s fundamental rights, religion is glorified over free will, and “writ of State” is imposed by the chosen few in the name of democracy. And of course the Media’s bread is buttered to ensure public apathy and acceptance of this perverse social tragedy through mind control in the garb of “opinion making”. If you believe a new social contract to save the victims rather than the beneficiaries of war is essential, only you can answer the last question which is, “what are you doing about it”?
*The writer is Former Chief of Naval Staff,Pakistan.