Sunday, January 27, 2008

Leaving A Mark

Somebody must have reminded President Bush that the US is engaged in another war because suddenly there is a flurry of activity and agitation over Afghanistan, the forgotten war.

In an AP report this morning, we learn that the US is going to "re-energize" the battle in Afghanistan:

In a shift with profound implications, the Bush administration is attempting to re-energize its terrorism-fighting war efforts in Afghanistan, the original target of a post-Sept. 11 offensive. The U.S. also is refocusing on Pakistan, where a regenerating al-Qaida is posing fresh threats.

It is far from certain that U.S. combat troops will set foot in Pakistan in any substantial numbers. On Friday, Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, said his country opposes any foreign forces on its soil. "The man in the street will not allow this - he will come out and agitate," he said. Musharraf said the U.S. instead should bolster its combat forces in Afghanistan.

And therein lies the rub: Pakistan is not interested in a US military presence in country, which is really not too hard to understand. Musharraf has enough trouble keeping the lid on his country without that kind of unpopular distraction. In fact, President Musharraf made that point quite clear to the US several weeks ago, according to this article in today's NY Times:

... in the unannounced meetings on Jan. 9 with the two American officials — Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director — Mr. Musharraf rebuffed proposals to expand any American combat presence in Pakistan, either through unilateral covert C.I.A. missions or by joint operations with Pakistani security forces.

Feelings are running high against President Musharraf in Pakistan, but so are feelings against President Bush. In fact, it appears that much of Mr. Musharraf's problems are linked to his relationship with Mr. Bush, a man so despised that he was the subject of one of the more insulting (and delightfully snarky) diatribes I've read in a long time. It was published January 25 in Pakistan's The Nation. Here's a taste:

Bush loves soldiers. But he hates being a soldier himself. He loves the American soldiers who die in the battlefield for the country’s glory. But he hates himself to be a battlefield martyr for the country’s glory. He loves to die in his bed for the country’s sake. ...

Bush is a religious man. He loves Christ. But he does not like Christ’s teachings. Christ, in his Sermon on the Mount, says “If someone hits one of your cheeks, offer him your other cheek as well.” As against the Sermon, Bush believes if anybody has done no harm to you, you must kill him unceremoniously. Innumerable innocent men, women and children are killed by Bush’s bombs in Afghanistan and Iraq just because they had done no harm to Bush. The innocent men, women and children who are still alive in Iraq and Afghanistan must be apprehending that they could be blown out of the world any moment by American bombs.

It is no wonder that President Musharraf wants no part of any US military plans for his country. And so, because Mr. Bush decided to concentrate his Global War On Terror on a country that had nothing to do with 9/11, while totally ignoring a war he started that at least had some tenuous connections, he may leave office with the dubious distinction of being a president who lost two wars.

The op-ed in The Nation finishes with this:

Bush’s tenure is about to expire. It is a good omen for the world peace.


358 days to go.

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