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Are Rulers Creating Justification For Another War?

By       Message Muhammad Khurshid       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   3 comments

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There are some indications that US rulers with the cooperation of their Pakistani colleagues have been trying to create an Iraq-like situation. Then they will have the justification of launching another war in Pakistan.

There is great confusion in the society. No one knows what is happening in the country. This situation is being used by the terrorists for strengthening themselves. After the establishment of a state of terrorism the US rulers will find the excuse for launching a plan. There will be no denying the fact that the US can play a role in pacifying the situation --  if it desires so.

Rafia Zakaria, a Pakistani living in the United States has written a beautiful article on the situation. According to her, in a recent editorial in the New York Times: US strategists Robert Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon waxed on the prospect and near-necessity of a US invasion of Pakistan. The article in question was rebutted in Ejaz Haider’s subsequent column “Think goes into the tank” (Daily Times, November 21). Yet Kagan and O’Hanlon’s views about Pakistan represent only one instance of the continuing demagoguery of pundits who see invasion as the singular weapon in US foreign policy.

Similar rhetoric has been bandied about for months in relation to Iran. A recent article published in an American magazine detailed the efforts of “Freedom Watch”, a neo-conservative advocacy group, to lay the groundwork for an invasion of that country.

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The article detailed efforts of the pro-war advocacy group to test the continued efficacy of now-hackneyed semantics like “victory and patriotism”, “do what we have to do” and “failure is not an option”, that can be used to wheedle the American public into supporting another war.

Freedom Watch is hardly alone in the neo-conservative initiative to promote an invasion of Iran. In a recent debate, Norman Podhoretz, the editor of a well-known US magazine, wrote that the United States “had no option but to go to war with Iran” to deter Iran’s nuclear capabilities. The martial speech-making goes on and on, and now, as has been seen in the recent spate of editorials and debates such as the recent O’Hanlon and Kagan piece, the focus has expanded to include not simply Iran that may develop nuclear weapons but also Pakistan, which already has them.

Yet there is scant little solidity to the rhetoric that builds itself on the presumption that the United States has essentially inexhaustible military capability which could easily be stretched to accommodate not simply the ongoing debacles in Iraq and Afghanistan but new wars against Iran and Pakistan.

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One conveniently ignored facet of this debate is the increasingly devolving military capability of the United States and the immense physical and monetary toll that the ongoing military invasions have taken on the world’s superpower. A recent report published in the US Army News says that US Army desertions are now the highest since 2001. According to figures, nearly 5000 enlisted soldiers deserted the United States Army, a 42.3 percent increase from the previous fiscal year.

The rate of desertion is an indicator of the tremendous stress faced by the US Army, which, in order to provide the manpower to fuel the engine of invasion, has had to resort to a variety of incentives. Maintaining enlistment numbers has required not only thousands of dollars in bonuses provided to recruits and those voluntarily re-enlisting but also “moral waivers” that allow individuals who have been convicted of crimes to enlist in the army.

Also notable is the fact that the educational qualifications, which used to require high school diplomas of all recruits, have been lowered to keep the numbers up. The increased stress is recognised by army officials. Roy Wallace, Director of Plans and Resources for the Deputy Chief of Staff for manpower and personnel programmes, agreed that many soldiers are walking away even though desertion is a felony under military law which in wartime is punishable by death.

The stress on the US military is recognised even by top army officials who, unlike the rhetoric-packed ideologues spewing out editorials, have to actually contend with reality and the logistical demands of warfare.

In a recent television interview to NBC Nightly News shortly after news of the spike in desertions was released, Retired General Barry McCaffrey stated, “The force is under enormous stress. You know, a lot of these new soldiers we are bringing in are facing units that have been deployed three or more times into combat, and they’re right on the verge of going again.” Similarly, Lieutenant Colonel Daniel Darden admitted that the stress of combat was one of the reasons for the huge spike in Army desertions.

And yet desertions are only the tip of the iceberg in terms of fuelling future invasions. Even more crucial is the increasingly gargantuan cost of war that has left the American public increasingly repulsed at the talk of more invasions.

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According to the Congress Joint Economic Committee, the war in Iraq (excluding Afghanistan) has cost 1.6 trillion dollars and the ongoing cost of maintaining post-surge troop levels in Iraq would be a whopping 4.6 trillion dollars. Not surprisingly, this mounting cost has played well in the ongoing political campaign for the 2008 Presidential elections in the United States. Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul reminded the US public that the same money spent on Americans would have meant a check of $46,000 dollars being presented to every family of four in the United States.

In the wake of rising military casualties and a seemingly never-ending war in Iraq, statements such as these are increasingly popular with an American public sick of having their tax dollars fund invasions. This is a welcome contrast to the martial virulence of those that are on the broken bandwagon still pushing the faulty logic that invasions are the only means of assuring the security of the United States.

As early as last week, the United States Congress failed to pass a USD189 billion additional funding Bill requested by the Bush Administration because it failed to provide a timetable of when the troops would be brought home. The US Congress’s failure to approve the spending will, according to Defence Secretary Robert Gates, require the closing of various military bases around the country unless alternate funding is found.

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is also (more...)

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