The opposite happened.

in General Discussion edited January 2014
Remember all of those predictions of the muslim world exploding against the west and how the US would only make things worse? Here's a situation where the opposite happened. No one likes to lose. The US just has to make sure they win much more than they lose.

Turns out these Pakistanis are not happy with the mullahs. They directed their anger where it belongs.

<a href=""; target="_blank">Religious Radicals Facing Backlash in Pakistan</a>

Families Bitter Over Fate of Recruits to Taliban Cause; Young Men Were 'Betrayed by the Mullahs'

By Doug Struck

Washington Post Foreign Service

Monday, January 28, 2002; Page A14

CHAKDARA, Pakistan -- The trucks rumbled through this dusty town in late October with a harvest of men reaped from the fervor of the countryside. Others rushed from shops and fields to clamber aboard, eager to trade the poverty of their lives for the honor of being a hero -- or martyr -- in Afghanistan's holy war.

Some say 5,000 joined the caravan; others say twice that. Wives and fathers sent them willingly. Ata Ur Rahman, 28, was among them.

Three months later, Rahman is languishing in a squalid jail in Afghanistan while his family laments its enthusiasm. "He was betrayed by the mullahs who took him," spat his younger brother, Sayed Ur Rahman.

Their anger reflects a widespread disillusionment with religious leaders who rallied Pakistanis to the side of the Taliban, and a souring of the Islamic militancy that had produced volunteers for the cause and threatened to undermine the Pakistani government's support for the United States.

Interviews with people in villages and cities, and with analysts, officials, mullahs and journalists indicate that the Taliban's lopsided defeat in Afghanistan and the abandonment of its Pakistani followers -- scores of whom were rounded up following the Taliban's collapse -- have dealt a blow to religious radicals here, who have lost much of their public support.

"The Taliban lost their credibility when they didn't stand and die for their cause. They just fled and left the foreigners there to die. People here who lost youngsters in Afghanistan feel misled," said Shireen Mazari, head of the Institute of Strategic Studies, a think tank in the capital, Islamabad.

"There is a lot of anger. The people who went just were sent in chaos," agreed Ahmad Shah, the imam, or religious leader, of a tiny farming village in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province.

Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has seized on this shift in mood to crack down on Muslim radicalism in his country, a move that observers here say would have been much more difficult a few months ago. His campaign still faces troublesome opposition from a strong minority of strident mullahs and their followers.

Some here argue that radical Islam never had a large following in Pakistan, as shown by the low turnouts at anti-government demonstrations in October. They say the influence of mullahs has been exaggerated by 25 years of government policy that gave religious figures disproportionate power.

But they agree that a decade-long souring of relations with the United States and the lure of a bold Islamic cause in Afghanistan produced a sympathetic swell of support here for the Taliban. And the mosques' call to jihad, or holy war, was a clarion for volunteers from the poor countryside and tribal areas of Pakistan.

"In the early days of the war, there was a tremendous movement to Islam. The liberals were looking for caves to hide in," chortled Hamid Gul, a conservative former Pakistani intelligence chief who had directed clandestine support to the Taliban to help bring it to power in the 1990s.

But the enthusiasm for the movement waned when the Taliban and its Pakistani supporters were defeated, he acknowledged in an interview.

"It became clear that the Americans were so ruthless, they would spare nothing" in their bombardment, he said. "The movement that was picking up in the world suddenly collapsed."

That movement was most visible here in the recruitment caravans organized by Sufi Mohammad, a religious party leader who drew much of his support from hardscrabble villages tucked in creases of the mountains rising in northern Pakistan beyond this town.

The government tried -- halfheartedly, complained the Americans -- to stop Sufi Mohammad's trucks full of fired-up volunteers from crossing into Afghanistan in the early weeks of the war. But thousands breached the porous border with him. A smaller number of volunteers -- no one knows how much smaller -- have limped back into Pakistan, leaving behind the dead and captured.

Sufi Mohammad was arrested at the border. The government says he will be charged with entering Afghanistan illegally; others say he sought arrest to avoid being lynched by angry families of his former followers.

"Sufi Mohammad let down the people," said Khisda Rahman, 35, in Chakdara. "He took all these guys and now they are dead or in prison. But he ran away and came back. People are asking why he didn't sacrifice himself."

When Sufi Mohammad organized the convoys that passed through Chakdara, "the whole town was celebrating," Rahman said. "Now they are sad they did. They will never follow him again."

In Gulibagh, a tiny village of 80 mud houses surrounded by vegetable and wheat fields, the father of Abdul Saleem, 23, said he learned of the death of his son from a newspaper. After sneaking away from home to join the jihad, the young man was killed by a missile strike on a bus full of volunteers.

Abdul Saleem's identity card shows a baby-faced man with a fringe of a beard. A few weeks after he left home, his parents got a letter from him: "I have completed my training and I am now going to the front line," he said. On the folded, lined school paper, he had written: "We will be buried in the mountains and ice will be my dress."

"We didn't know he went," said his father, Ziarat Gul, 60, a man with a creased face and rough hands from a life of prodding the earth for succor. "We are religious people and we think he has gone for a good cause. But if you ask me my feelings on the death of a son -- if you are a father, you can imagine. There are no words."

"It wasn't a proper jihad. It was a mess," scoffed Qari Saqib Shah, a teacher at a nearby religious school. Shah's 21-year-old nephew was killed -- not gloriously in battle, but riding with other volunteers in a bus that was struck by a missile near Mazar-e Sharif, he said. "People went to Afghanistan with no proper training, no strategy, no supplies, no food, not even proper accommodations."

But there still is a "seething discontent, an anger at America" in Pakistan, said Khurshid Ahmad, a leader of the Jamiat-i-Islami religious party.

This claim is key to understanding the appeal of the Taliban cause for a broader spectrum of Pakistanis, even those who would not volunteer to fight or even embrace the austere brand of Islam practiced by the Taliban, argues Najam Sethi, editor of Friday Times, a weekly paper based in Lahore.

"The people are not terribly pro-Taliban, but they are anti-American," he said. "People feel Americans abandoned Pakistan, and we became the most sanctioned country in the world. So they hoped the Americans would find themselves in another Vietnam," and cheered the Taliban.

With the Taliban defeated, that attitude has been replaced by "a heavy dose of realism," he said. "The people quickly retreated into their cynical sense, saying, 'Oh yes, America is a superpower and it was foolish to go up against the superpower.' "

The success of Musharraf's crackdown on radical mosques and religious schools, say observers here, will depend on the ebb and flow of anti-Americanism, religious fervor, moderation and realism.

"Somebody had to teach the United States a lesson," said Abdul Aziz, the mullah of a mosque in the center of Islamabad who said he still preaches in support of the Taliban. "America is the main terrorist. They look down on everyone else."

But an imam at a mosque not far away brushes aside a question about continued support for the movement in Afghanistan.

"That issue should be forgotten," said Qazi Zain Ul Abideen. "The Taliban government is dead and buried. Islam says we should not speak ill of the dead."

Musharraf insists he is tapping the majority vein of moderation in Pakistan by pursuing his crackdown.

"Whatever extremists are here are a very small minority," agreed Khalid Ulmar, an army officer-turned-historian. "All religions have their extremists, but this is not an extremist country. I can listen to Jennifer Lopez and still be a Muslim."

Mazari, the head of the think tank, said Musharraf cleverly resisted ordering a heavy-handed clampdown on the October demonstrations called by religious groups opposed to his decision to support the U.S. war campaign.

"Musharraf allowed the demonstrations to go ahead, and the low turnout showed the people didn't support" the extremists, she said. "The numbers in the demonstrations just went down and down, and then petered out."

Many here said Musharraf correctly judged that Pakistanis were weary of both the international complications brought to Pakistan by radical Islam and the deadly gunplay that has often accompanied disputes between radical factions in the country.

"Musharraf is right that people were sick of all this violence," Sethi said. "They are sick and tired of being portrayed in the Western media as a 'goner' country, with all the negative images of a radical, fundamentalist country."

"People say, yes, well look what happened to Afghanistan," he said. "We don't want that."


  • Reply 1 of 11
    I guess you're saying this is a good thing (your sarcasm precedes you sometimes ScottH). And I agree too.

    <strong>With the Taliban defeated, that attitude has been replaced by "a heavy dose of realism," he said. "The people quickly retreated into their cynical sense, saying, 'Oh yes, America is a superpower and it was foolish to go up against the superpower.' "</strong>

    This is exactly what result I wanted. Yes, some young fools thought that the Taliban were the way to go as far as in a Muslim Jihad but they didn't know how cowardly and unprepared the the Taliban were against us.

    If this conflict has sent a message to the other extremists out there, great. But I think that it will be a long, long time until things come back on track. It sucks being the superpower...ask Bill Gates.
  • Reply 2 of 11
    In another thread (and an alternate reality) BRussell argued that I sound like Noam Chomsky because I was critical of the Clinton policy in Somalia. As another example of the opposite happening here's Ronald Radosh detailing the charges of genocide that Chomsky made after 9-11 and what happened instead. You can judge for yourself if I sound anything like Chomsky. (I'm of the opinion that BRussell needs to got back on his medication.) | January 4, 2002

    <a href=""; target="_blank">The Last Word on the Afghan "Genocide"</a>

    By Ronald Radosh

    [quote]CHOMSKY UPDATE: Before the New Year, David Horowitz and I posted a column in which we detailed Noam Chomsky?s post-Sept. 11 charges that the United States was planning "silent genocide" that would kill millions of innocent Afghanistan civilians. Now, the last edition of The Washington Post for 2001 featured as its lead front-page story the final word about Chomsky?s spurious claims. "Massive Food Delivery Averts Afghan Famine," was the headline in an article by staff writer Marc Kaufman. "There will be no famine in Afghanistan this winter," Catherine Bertini, executive director of the UN World Food Program, told the paper. Indeed, her own agency moved 90,000 tons of wheat into Afghanistan in December alone, "the largest monthly total in the history of the agency."

    Kaufman notes that this actual result was far different from that given when the U.S. bombing began, when a three-year drought (due to nature, not to any nation?s policies) combined with the bombing "were said to have put 1.5 million Afghans at risk of starvation." This figure, of course, is itself far lower than the 3 or 4 million Chomsky said "we are trying to murder," or the 7 to 8 million he said were "on the verge of starvation." Indeed, the article points out that "food shipments into Afghanistan picked up in November and swelled" in December "after the Taliban was routed." While they were in power, it noted that the Taliban "banned communications" between the UN World Food Program offices inside Afghanistan and its agencies outside the country, leaving WFP officials unable to function "for three months."

    But most important to note is the fact that it is the United States that "supplies [through USAID] more than half of the wheat and money for logistics," and that the US military "air-dropped hundreds of thousands of food packets during the early phases of the war." Now, so much food is in the country that Afghanistan can actually accommodate a substantial return of the four million Afghan refugees living in Pakistan and Iran. What accounts for the different situation is nothing less than the success of the military defeat of the Taliban. As a spokesman for the new Afghan government told the Post, food was being distributed better "because the Taliban was no longer present." And that, of course, is due primarily to the US military response to Sept. 11. In addition, the article points out that famine was averted because $320 million was made available to the UN?s World Food Program "through the $320 million supplemental bill promoted by President Bush for humanitarian aid." American foreign economic policy, in other words, dovetailed with military policy in bettering the condition of the Afghan people. And now, we learn, US aid will supply sheep and other livestock, seeds for new crops and funds to repair local irrigation systems.

    The record could not be clearer. American action has not only destroyed a dangerous tyranny; it has saved the people of Afghanistan from the horror of starvation...<hr></blockquote>
  • Reply 3 of 11
    I think the reopening of the Friendship (is that the name?) bridge and also the reopening of a mountain tunnel also vindicates the US plan. The US made that region safe again for the countries to the north. Now aid and commerce can come in from all sides. They just need to deal with the Warlords now.
  • Reply 4 of 11
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    It is true that a victory of force will change peoples minds as much, if not more so, than the 'measures of diplomacy' that many of my more left leaning liberal cohorts were calling for, would have. This is the one thing that I argued with some of them about before hand (my wife among them (though she came around)) that was most difficult for them to see or understand. By somehow Not allowing the overt terrorism exhibited by 911, and the extremism exemplified there, to exist, we are actually showing those that wouldn't be able to look at their own moral positions (lets say supporters of extremism) reflexively to see that at least there is a real opposition, and that there is also the chance that they may be wrong.

    As with many people on these baords and all over the world, I think that the possiblility of being wrong is the least understood truth .... nobody even thinks its possible.

    By winning decisively in Afghanistan, we are in short showing the fundamentalists and people who may have had a tendency towards support for them that they may actually be wrong on many accounts, of course there is still the fact that in many things the US is also wrong... but not in its military action in Afghanistan (though there were many more innocent people killed than we here about or were necessary).

    There is something of the "Stockholm Syndrome" in power relations between states. And I think that this comes into play a little as well.
  • Reply 5 of 11
    outsideroutsider Posts: 6,008member
    (though there were many more innocent people killed than we here about or were necessary)

    I accept that as truth. But the same could be said for 9/11. Or Vietnam. Or WW2. Or the Civil War. But that's the price of war unfortunately.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    [quote]Originally posted by Outsider:

    <strong>(though there were many more innocent people killed than we here about or were necessary)

    I accept that as truth.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    I'm not sure I do. Al Jazeera was busy claiming everyone killed as an innocent civilian. The Taliban had staged press events. There were reports that the Taliban turned on it's own "people". We heard about a lot and yet when Kabul was freed there were 1000s of people cheering in the street. We didn't see whole blocks of houses bombed out. Just a some here and there that most often got hit by a stray that went bad.

    I'm also not sure the "or were necessary" is even true at all. From what I read the US was very careful about dropping bombs. Considering the number of bombs they did drop they did a damn fine job of avoiding the right places. Nothing's a 100%. But as always the liberal media will paint the US as the big bad brute that should defeat an entrenched army with out firing a shot. How about a dose of reality in the media?

    [ 01-29-2002: Message edited by: Scott H. ]</p>
  • Reply 7 of 11
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    [quote]Originally posted by roger_ramjet:

    <strong>In another thread (and an alternate reality) BRussell argued that I sound like Noam Chomsky because I was critical of the Clinton policy in Somalia. As another example of the opposite happening here's Ronald Radosh detailing the charges of genocide that Chomsky made after 9-11 and what happened instead. You can judge for yourself if I sound anything like Chomsky. (I'm of the opinion that BRussell needs to got back on his medication.)</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Hmm [counts on fingers], took my ritalin, my prozac, valium, thorazine, lithium... nope, I took them all.

    I actually "met" Chomsky once. I went to see him give a talk around 1990 when I was in college. I was alone walking down an empty hall toward the lecture room, and there he was walking my way, also alone. I recognized him, and I wanted to say something to him.

    I couldn't think of anything to say, so I said "what's up." I actually said "what's up" to Noam Chomsky. He looked at me in abject horror, like he'd just confronted his worst prototype of American youth, the banal, beer-drinking, no-nothing, what's-up-saying, culturally ignorant, MTV generation typical doltish American youth, and he hurried away without saying anything in return. I was crushed.

    The moral of the story is, roger, I knew Noam Chomsky, I've met Noam Chomsky, and roger, you're no Noam Chomsky.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Wow what a compliment. Please tell me I'm no Chompsky too.
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Isn't it a little too early to see the "result" of our actions in Afghanistan/Pakistan? Check back in about 10 years.
  • Reply 10 of 11
    [quote]Originally posted by CaseCom:

    <strong>Isn't it a little too early to see the "result" of our actions in Afghanistan/Pakistan? Check back in about 10 years.</strong><hr></blockquote>

    Not for the people eating today it isn't.

    Long term it's up to Afghanistan. We cant' do it for them. If they failed in 10 years it's not our fault at all. I don't hold much hope for them.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    The truth is that the (supposedly liberal actually corporate) media actually did not publish the death toll of civilians at all. It was a rather constant stream of daily numbers. A fellow did research and published his findings and has since been blacklisted as unpatriotic. I think that if the numbers are real, and they were not disputed by the group that bannished him, (it was a nominal sort of bannishment and unfortunately I don't remember the specifics) the numbers would not in themselves constitute a political agenda rather, simply, publishing what is in fact the case.

    I too agree that civilian casualties are going to happen and that that is war. I just think that more bombing went awry then we are told. And, it never hurts to not forget that we are also human just as were the civilians killed, and to acknowledge their passing with a touch of sorrow and recognition.
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