Courage and Cowardness

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive!

Editor’s Note: This article is not the usual run of the mill one comes across in papers & on blogs. It is different. The writer, shares his own experiences of war and the terrible scars it leaves on a human being, this,with a view on the Foreign Policy of USA-makes an absorbing read.The personal flashes reveal the feelings of the writer, making this a piece that sets itself apart from the ones churned out daily.

By: Archie Hasse

“The opposite of Courage is not Cowardness it is conformity.” “Even a dead fish can go with the flow” – Ex Texas politician Jim Hightower.

I have a few aspirations for the world, this is just one. All those who work for government in areas of responsibility not unlike foreign policy take their job as being a sacred trust. The opportunity to serve the nation’ s people. Not to serve themselves.  I am not a historian; however I feel a large portion of earth’s nations/cultures passed on because of indifferent elite governmental autocrats. Governments functioning well today ,are kept honest alive, and breathing by government employees who work hard for the people they represent, themselves second. This may not be true concerning many elite US foreign relation functionaries.

Concerning hard working employees working for people. I am afraid this is not the case for many government employees in my own country. (USA)  If anyone is courageous enough to read my words I ask them to read an article written by Joshua Kucera in Foreign Policy Magazine December 1, 2010.  He brings up some good points for discussion. I agree with most all what he says. At least he questions what has became the status quo the last 30 years, and to me Kucera article has humorous overtones. Always fun on topics so serious.

I am an old soldier.  Actually a former US Marine.  I fought for my country in the Vietnam war. In Vietnam I was wounded, and hospitalized for eight months from wounds I received in combat. Later in the late 70’s became an advocate for forgotten soldiers who fought America’s wars. I am talking about former combat soldiers needing financial and medical help after the obvious physical wounds of war healed.

Because of this I know the arrogance of self-absorbed government people. I hate to think how this type of worker affects our US foreign policy. To make my point look at American foreign policy today: “The proof is in the pudding”.

During the late 1970’s and very early 1980’s I was active in getting Post Traumatic Stress Disorder recognized, supporting compensation for veterans suffering from PTSD.  I had to deal with comfortable elite Alzheimer policy makers in the US government after the Vietnam War, who continuously insulted American combat veterans. These insults came from the mass media smearing all Vietnam veterans as misfits.

We veterans are patriots who hate senselessness incompetent governmental workers handling the reins of government. This lack of common sense and indifference by government workers with their lack of compassion regarding returning veterans. was led by elite thinking politicians and bureaucrats. Making life hell for combat veterans trying to recover from their wounds of war. And scars of the soul!

I can only imagine how insolated these people in the US State Department are at wars suffering distant lands from Washington DC. For example drone strikes against alleged terrorists. “It was an unfortunate error.” This is the common statement made by those in government insulated from war concerning collateral damage. I do not know about you, the reader, but I learned to hate this phrase:Collateral Damage.

My sense of international justice and injustice came to me while studying Refugee Law with regards to International Law from the renowned Professor “Dr. Vera Gowland  Debbas” in Geneva ,Switzerland. I am sure she would be surprised I learnt anything. But I did, and I thank her! She gently told me International Law is not all about America. Thank you Vera!

Since sitting in Dr. Gowland’s class, and the tools she gave me, I look at the world in a different way. At the moment I look at how my government operates. Who is in control. I look also how the effects of decisions made by employees concerning foreign relations effect the rest of the world.

Since Ronald Reagan, and accelerating under the last Bush, the US government is now run by  the Corporations with support from Christian ideologies. Clearly —- Wall Street should have influence in Washington because they provide jobs for working class America. However, the executives running Wall Street today no longer provides jobs as their chief motivation. Their main inspiration is providing  of profits for their global miserly few top of the heap stock holders.

When the Cold War ended G.H.W. Bush talked about a new world order, and new jobs for the CIA protecting Wall Street, and Americans in global business. They forgot to remind that American business was no longer American, it was global. Consequently American soldiers are no longer protecting American interests in Afghanistan or Iraq. They are protecting global bankers financial interests.

The focus was taken off the average American’s security. It is now focused on special interest security, be it Wall Street, or giving Bible based Christian faith more power in writing domestic, and foreign policy legislation.  You see today in Washington  &Wall Street and it’s statistically miserly few use conservative Christian values as a tool to gain and hold onto power. Making sure people like GW Bush and Sarah Palin or the likes get elected, if not elected then at the least drive the talking points away from how just corrupt and selfishly narcissistic Washington and Wall Street seem to be.

Pakistan and Afghanistan are not alone trying to keep radical politics away from religious zealots.  Let me drop a few names to Google—- Pat Robertson, and Reverend John Hagee, read. It should clue readers into just how sick and fanatic these shadowy dark forces in Biblical Christianity are to peace. So far they are not planting road side bombs. But who knows in the future. With a few more stolen US elections they might be in charge of America’s nukes. Sarah Palin.

What really amazes me is how Wall Street executives bamboozle fundamentalist Christians in the US to support their self-indulgent corporate profits. Unfettered little oversight Free Market! (I see this also a growing problem in Latin America and across the world in regards to this new world order G.H.W. Bush talked about).

They tie Bible based Christianity to Wall Street earnings. This runs at the same time as the crusade against Muslims.  To all who read this, this is against long held American values!  Many Americans like myself hold the historical values passed down to us by Thomas Jefferson dear. These new crusades, and new American values are wrapped up in radical corporate mega church Christianity.  These Christians believe deep in their heart they are saving America, and the world. The battle cries of these American Christian patriots are to mobilize those who are the financially challenged, and to support tax breaks for the rich, and no abortion. In the United States all you have to do is keep Americans stupid keeping the talking points dim-witted?

I even had one woman tell me Americans should attack, and control Venezuela’s oil fields. Why? Because it was God’s intention to keep Americans a top global broker. Amazing they tie together Christian stuff like abortion, and anti gay anger to tax breaks for the rich, all the while sending other people sons and daughter off to fight in corporate wars in Iraq. I can only guess Wall Street operatives in control in Washington politics are trying to find profit in Afghanistan or Pakistan.

The United States since WW 2 believed in a sort of moral “certain” truth. It is in our belief in “Manifest Destiny”.  Because of this certainty US foreign policy has been at times more destructive then helpful to the broad global world.  American foreign policy caused great suffering to those at the end of America’s gone astray moral principles sword. Done in by people hiding behind an insulated comfortable political, and diplomatic life in Washington DC.

Amazingly when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan the American government stood tall in front of

World’s global media talking about the immoral Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Hiding from responsibility for the collapse, including the rebuilding of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal. It was okay for these comfortable insolated policy makers in DC having Pakistan full of Afghan refugees living in tents for decades.

There is a former diplomat; a former ambassador in the State Department tied to this sorry tale of the betrayal of the Afghanistan people, and by proxy Pakistan, this former diplomat is also the divorced spouse of a US Ambassador who died years ago in a airplane crash killing Pakistan’s then president Muhammad Zia ul Haq.  Today this person works for Obama in AfPak region. Not even embarrassed, just promoted.

This diplomat met with the late Ahmad Shah Massoud leader of the Northern Alliance to surrender his forces to the Taliban where they could jointly rule with Al Qaeda.  See what I am talking about when it comes to governmental employees? This retired diplomat was never fired in fact was promoted.  Still advising Obama on Afghanistan and Pakistan. In elite circles of US diplomacy, you are not shamed you are transferred or promoted.

Google April Glaspie another US diplomat.  Spin as she and US State Department did in regards to giving Saddam Hussein a green light to invade Kuwait. Frankly she did not do her job, and it cost thousands of human lives. Another example of someone in the US state Department insulated from their actions.

Today we are confronted with the need to rebuild Afghanistan and stabilize Pakistan. We also have a need to bring an end to the India -Pakistan standoff. In order for this to happen true transparency in dialogue needs to happen.  Americans need to find balance.  Afghanistan and Pakistan need to find balance. If we are in the US and Europe are going to criticize Muslim extremists taking power in Asia then we need to make sure our diplomacy is insulated from our own home grown narrow special interest extremism.

“Wherever the people are well informed they can be trusted with a good government.” – Thomas Jefferson 1789.

(The writer is a Pacifist — US Marine combat with 2nd Bn 4th Marine Regiment in some of the heaviest fighting of America’s involvement during the Vietnam war.He has Worked with the Roma population (Gypsy) in Prague CZ addressing human rights abuses. Alumnus School for International Training Brattleboro Vermont).

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  • Faisal Malik  On December 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    written with heart and soul.

    although i’d like to add one more point.

    the recent “permission” to allow homosexuals to work in the US military forces is certainly not to make the Corporate christians happy. its for somebody else.

    apart from that, every point made hit its mark.

    well done.

  • S Turkman  On December 28, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    It tells, which direction USA is heading and what kind of illiterate people oppose Pres. Obama. Even an Opposition Politician does not know, ‘Cowardness’ is not a word. Its ‘Cowardice’.
    God bless America …!

    • Archie Haase  On December 28, 2010 at 3:50 pm

      The word cowardness was used by Jim Hightower one of the last good Texas politicians. In Texas as should be the world communication and understanding what someone is telling you is more important then grammar and spelling!

      Texas used to be full of politicians with integrity. Hightower was one.

  • Archie Haase  On December 28, 2010 at 3:43 pm

    This christian military acceptance of gays was a compromise. Half the mega church christian church seems like is ran by at least bisexuals. Every month a new outing of the closet mega christian preacher happens.

    Politicians never felt anti gay on their own. Their anti gay stands were politically motivated and was for their constituents. In fact some of the most anti gay politicians we find out now are gay.

    The new distraction from real domestic international and domestic issues has become Muslims in America and around the world terrorism. This the Muslim world needs to stand firm and fight this!!

    • Faisal Malik  On December 28, 2010 at 4:22 pm

      so very true.

      unfortunately, the common man in the muslim world at this moment, especially the focal point, Pakistan, is busy in other things. the basic necessities are becoming more important and people have to literally fight for survival every day.

      the electoral system is more corrupt than the stolen process as you mention.

      and with corrupt leaders, the people and the policies are astray.

      i wish, more and more people become aware of what’s going on around us, and wake up.

      the awareness is growing, but still loads needs to be done.

      and i am hopeful that things will turn around, for good.

      • Archie Haase  On December 28, 2010 at 4:36 pm

        Faisel Thanks! —-I feel grief most of the people in the simple Muslim are too busy trying to feed and protect their families to think about real political change. I am sure to these people thinking about change is the luxury of the rich and safe.

        This is my hope comes in prayers politicians in places like Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan step forward giving hope to their peoples. That is why they are in government if they should be reminded.

  • Archie Haase  On December 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    S Turkman Cowardness is my poets right! 🙂

  • am malik  On December 28, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    Thanx yasmeen for a well selected article

  • Saeed Piracha  On December 28, 2010 at 5:20 pm

    Hitler wasn’t a Muslim he was a fanatical Christian.What these Christian fanatics are doing is riling up the masses of idiots who believe the propaganda to believe that Muslims are evil, are a disease spreading thru the world.
    There was a time when OUR race conquered the world, took over its cultures and assimilated it’s populations to believe what we wanted or we killed them. In those days, it was an Empire, these days, its called extremism… go figure.

  • Summaya  On December 28, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    British journalist and politician Ian Gilmour has cited the historical case of the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre in 1572, a beginning of Roman Catholic mob violence directed against the Huguenots (French Calvinist Protestants), as an instance of religious terrorism on par with modern day terrorism, and goes on to write, “That massacre, said Pope Gregory XIII, gave him more pleasure than fifty Battles of Lepanto, and he commissioned Vasari to paint frescoes of it in the Vatican”.
    It is estimated that 2,000 to possibly 25,000 Huguenots (French Protestants) were killed by Catholic mobs, and it has been called “the worst of the century’s religious massacres”. The massacre led to the start of the “fourth war” of the French Wars of Religion, which was marked by many other massacres and assassinations by both sides. Peter Steinfels has cited the historical case of the Gunpowder Plot, when Guy Fawkes and other Catholic revolutionaries attempted to overthrow the Protestant establishment of England by blowing up the Houses of Parliament, as a notable case of religious terrorism.
    And NO.Most Christians are great people.
    BUT, to brand all Muslims as terrorists is like branding all Christians as terrorists.
    The wars of today are wars for greed & resources.
    Well written Hasse.
    Salut to Pakpotpourri for posting such a Gr8 piece.

    • Ronald Turner  On December 28, 2010 at 5:32 pm

      Every nation has a mandate – a protocol – that defines its purpose and cause. For America, it is her stance against tyranny. Simply put – one knows what a nation stands for by what it stands against. Yet, America is about to cross a line from which there is no return; she is about to abandon her mandate that has defined her just purpose and cause and made her exceptional amongst all the nations in this world – her stance against tyranny.
      In 1776, America’s Founding Fathers proclaimed that they would never again be bound by any of tyranny’s decrees. With that as their benchmark, they crossed the bridge to freedom and entered liberty’s universe, whereby a new Constitution replaced tyrannical heresy as the sovereign of a new Republic. It was not just any Republic that they created, but a “Never Again” Republic in which the individual’s right to stand up and defend himself against any forces that would subdue his inalienable rights was activated, and, with it, the conflict between a new nation of democracy and nations which embraced totalitarian systems of oppression was set in motion.
      It is becoming increasingly clear from his foreign policies that President Obama has abandoned the failsafe strategy that is needed to win the war against terrorism. One must remind our President that without benchmarking America’s departure towards building a world filled with greater transparency as the goal that must be reached for seeking final resolution of these types of deadly global conflicts, we will fail to uproot the seeds of derision that have plagued all of humanity throughout history.

      It seems that President Obama is confused as to whether he is the President of the United States of America or the head of the United Nations, an international “peace” organization. Unlike the United States, the United Nations is not mandated by decree or charter to end the reign of tyranny in this world in order to achieve a peaceful co-existence among nations.

  • Ronald Turner  On December 28, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    “The United States has been guilty of supporting obnoxious regimes for its own selfish purposes, notably in Latin America, the Middle-East and South-East Asia.”
    “Introduction to International Politics” by Heater & Berridge (1992)
    The USA intervenes in one of two ways:

    Supporting existing regimes and building them up
    Aiming for ‘regime change’ and removing existing governments
    Sometimes the USA can play an absolutely essential role in forcefully keeping a legitimate government in power when it is threatened. For example in World War Two the USA joined the allies and helped repel occupying German forces from Europe. The USA is often a savior and a saint, supporting valid democracy across the globe. See “Why We Need the USA” by Vexen Crabtree (2002).
    But sometimes the tactic of supporting a regime goes terribly wrong. When it does go terribly wrong it is often the civilians and innocent population that suffer, causing widespread resentment and hatred of the USA for its intervention. In some countries, the only knowledge they have of the USA is of failed interventionism and (seemingly) tyrannical imperialism. This has occurred especially in the Middle East.
    Despite the consistent trend that USA support of a government, for economic or military purposes, breeds contempt amongst the populace who can only be kept in the dark for so long, and who always resent their government being effectively bribed.
    The more influence the USA has and the more pressure it exerts, the stronger the backlash is against the foreign influence, and the less democratic the replacement government that is created in response! From this, we can only conclude that very frequently the USA does not understand foreign people or their nationalism. Despite the USA being a patriotic country, it appears to underestimate the power of patriotism in other countries.

  • Saulat Khan  On December 28, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    It was the Americans, after all, who poured resources into the 1980s war against the Soviet-backed regime in Kabul, at a time when girls could go to school and women to work. Bin Laden and his mojahedin were armed and trained by the CIA and MI6, as Afghanistan was turned into a wasteland and its communist leader Najibullah left hanging from a Kabul lamp post with his genitals stuffed in his mouth.
    But by then Bin Laden had turned against his American sponsors, while US-sponsored Pakistani intelligence had spawned the grotesque Taliban now protecting him. To punish its wayward Afghan offspring, the US subsequently forced through a sanctions regime which has helped push 4m to the brink of starvation, according to the latest UN figures, while Afghan refugees fan out across the world.”

    Seumas Milne (2001)
    Saudi Arabia is one of the countries with which the CIA agreed, in 1986, to provide Muslim troops for training; used to bolster the most extreme factions of the mujaheddin in Afghanistan.

    “All this shaped the most extreme mujaheddin factions, including that of Mullah Mohammed Omar, who later emerged as the Taliban’s supreme leader. […] Since 1979, the US had turned a blind eye to the mujaheddin’s massive opium trafficking and smuggling rackets, which the contras had developed in collaboration with senior officers of the Pakistan military, the ISI and Pakistan-based mafia.”
    Norm Dixon (2001 Oct 10)
    Notably, the huge stockpiles of arms and, especially, surface to air missiles, left in extremist hands by the USA and the UK (who have an equal share of blame in the creation of the Taliban, have been used predictably enough, by these extremists against USA invading forces across the Middle East.

  • Archie Haase  On December 28, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    The reality of today in the US Muslims are confused with terrorists. In the past if congress wanted a smoke screen just talk up gays and homosexuals.

    My feeling is this: this stupidity is going to replace gays and homosexual’s attacking family values as a battle cry for America’s extreme right Christians.

    It is all a smoke screen to cloud incompetent US politicians domestic and international agendas..

    • Saulat Khan  On December 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

      Well said Mr Hausse!

  • Laila  On December 29, 2010 at 2:51 am

    You write:
    “We also have a need to bring an end to the India -Pakistan standoff. In order for this to happen true transparency in dialogue needs to happen.”
    I disagree.
    What is needed is to settle the issue of Kashmir that is the bone of contention,between both.
    The question is, can they figure out a joint solution to the Kashmir conflict?
    There are other questions: about energy integration, for example, pipelines going from Iran to India. India and Pakistan are now joint observers of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which, if it works, will tend to bring about closer integration of the Asian countries altogether. So is Iran, and the Central Asian states, China of course, and Russia too. So it’s basically the whole region except for South Korea has joined. And Japan probably won’t join.
    Let me bluntly state,owing to USA’s geo political interests in the region, she has not faced or tried to face the Kashmir issue-USA is propping India for her own interests & thereby this policy of Evasion suits them fine!

    • SAMEEH  On December 29, 2010 at 4:29 am

      It is not Pakistan that needs to “do more” but USA.
      They have utterly failed to act as an “ally” to the war on terror.Instead they have used the shield to serve their own regional interests.
      The question of Kashmir has its roots in the founding identity of the two countries: religious in Pakistan and secular in India. Islamabad claims the territory on account of its majority Muslim population. India, meanwhile, bases her claim on the legal status of the instrument of accession to Indian union, as signed by the Maharajah of Kashmir, Hari Singh, in 1947. Its direct result was the first Indo-Pakistan war, which ended in 1949 with the division of the territory into a Pakistani Kashmir (Azad-Kashmir and the Northern Territories), which was absorbed without too much difficulty into Pakistan, and an Indian Kashmir (Jammu and Kashmir), whose integration into the Indian Union has turned out to be more problematical. Two subsequent wars, in 1965 and 1971, failed to produce any change in this de facto frontier between the two Kashmirs.

      • Archie Haase  On December 29, 2010 at 1:46 pm

        Laila I am quiet not because I do not believe your words. I am quiet because I am learning so much about this region, and anything I say would sound so misinformed and ignorant. Of which by habit I am some of the time.

        My simple way of looking at Kashmir is this. India has a hard time getting a handle on it’s own nation in which it has control over. Why would they want to add to their burden adding Islamic Kashmir? Has to be profits to be made? ?

        My instinct here writing on this, and any kind words I say about Pakistan against India is this.

        How can a nation that institutionalizes racism in it’s caste system be taken seriously in our world ruled by human rights?

  • Tarah Sarwar  On December 29, 2010 at 4:34 am

    Written from the heart.American policy makers must read this!

  • Anthony  On December 29, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Hello Yasmeen,

    Interesting, but still he can write, towards the end:

    Today we are confronted with the need to rebuild Afghanistan and stabilize Pakistan.

    What he, of all people, should have learned is that the United States needs to get-the-Hell out of Afghanistan and Iraq and stop killing people with drones, in Pakistan. The United Nations, as bad and corrupt as it is, has to be the ‘policeman’ not the United States.

    Clean up the U.N., get rid of the veto-votes and turn it into a democracy. It’ll never happen, but that should be the aim.

    Take care, and a Happy and more Peaceful New Year,


    • Archie Haase  On December 29, 2010 at 11:11 am

      Thank you Anthony. Good points! I lived in Geneva for almost a year. My friends and the people I knew there socialized with they all worked for the United Nations, or an (NGO) Non Governmental Organization supported by generous international financial donors.

      The people I liked were the people who worked away from Geneva in the field those having direct contact with people they were helping. Good People!!!!

      Not all the people embedded with the UN and NGO’s in Geneva were like US State Department Employees, but many were doing not much more then collecting tax free money (in the UN and NGO’s case)and Housing Allowances in nice locations. Sorry for the cynicism.

      What needs to be done is streamline and watch what this UN donated money and going to the UN and NGO’s goes to. I have a feeling much of it is a big scam where much of it is put in private Bank Accounts.

  • Inam Khan  On December 29, 2010 at 4:58 pm

    Americans, in their eyes , are doing very noble job by killing people in Afghanistan and elsewhere.Because they are world’s only super power,they feel their action are correct and without any fault,that’s satanic attitude……………………Inam Khan

  • Baltimore Bob  On January 1, 2011 at 11:58 pm

    I believe that 75% of Americans are Cowards.
    That 75% of People’s Parents and Grandparents
    are Cowards.
    And it was those Cowards that allowed Vietnam to happen.
    Almost 59,000 Americans were murdered by
    their fellow Americans in Vietnam.
    Half of those were KIDS less then 21 years of age.
    Your an adult when you can drink at age 21.

    Baltimore Bob

    • Archie Haase  On January 2, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      To me Bob Americans during the Vietnam war were busy chasing the American dream working their tails off so they could live a better life. They did not have time for the understanding intrigue of international politics. A little naive maybe.

      My concern in this small article is not addressed at the United States and it’s people, as much as those who are employed with the purpose of protecting and serving the best parts of America.

      I want those in the media, also in government to pay attention. I want them to risk their jobs doing what they think is right for their country and yes the world not their career.

  • kourtnie  On January 15, 2011 at 5:17 am

    sign me up

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