Is Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power?
By A.H. Cemendtaur


Tariq Ali

War on Terror means different things to different people.  To the gullible in the West, the war is being pitched as a fight to safeguard the Western liberal democracies from the attack of the ‘militant Islam’. 

To many Muslims the war on terror is a direct assault on them and their way of life. 

To many independent thinkers throughout the world this war is a tool to extend American hegemony on oil and other resources while keeping the military-industrial complex of the West busy and profitable — even in these uncertain economic times defense-related US industries, from giants like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop-Grumman, General Dynamics, and United Technologies to smaller players like General Atomics (manufacturer of Predator drones) and AeroVironment Inc. (manufacturer of the ‘Raven’ tiny spy planes) are doing very well. 

The Muslim advocacy groups in the West are unnerved by a strong media and popular culture campaign against Islam and Muslims; furthermore, these groups do not have prominent leaders with widespread recognition in the larger society to take the anti-war message to the masses. 

Finding themselves in such emasculated position these advocacy groups look for vocal opponents of war in other quarters and marriages of convenience take place. 

Such a convergence of mutual interests was seen last Saturday in Newark when Tariq Ali, UK-based writer of socialist leanings was invited to speak to an audience gathered by PADF (Pakistan American Democratic Forum) whose driving force, Agha Saeed, has been active in Muslim causes.

Tariq Ali is currently touring the US to promote “The Duel, Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power”, his latest book.  The book is timely because with almost daily news of clashes in Afghanistan-Pakistan border area there is great interest in knowing about Pakistan.

In his speech to an audience of almost 100 people in Chandni Restaurant Tariq Ali did not say anything new.  He presented his analysis describing the historical ties between the Pakistan Army and the US and how this relationship has stymied democratic struggles in Pakistan.  How the US was responsible for promoting religious extremism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and that the US is reaping what it has sown.  And how both US presidential candidates are in favor of attacking Pakistan.

Tariq Ali’s analysis of Pakistan army’s current role in the War on Terror — that the Pak Army is using double talk: the louder voice of anger and antagonism to the US is meant for the Pakistani ears, and the softer acquiescent whisper is to the American masters -- appears to be a credible description of the ground reality in Pakistan .

Being a guest of PADF Tariq Ali was obliged to present a strategy for the Pakistani-Americans to use their influence in saving their country of origin from ravages of war -- and Ali did present a solution.  But Tariq Ali’s proposed strategy that the Pakistan-Americans should unite to influence US law-makers is not only very long-termed, it is likely to prove ineffective in the current environment of hostility towards the Muslims.

The only thing that can stop this senseless war is an opposition from within, a la the Vietnam War.  And such domestic opposition would be directly tied to the number of American casualties.  With the US Army’s growing reliance on unmanned combats the prospects for an early end of the War on Terror are slim.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.