Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Inaccurate Story of How We Were Paid Off

Has anyone wondered why Pakistan, a deeply religious country, is allied with the United States; the chief exporters of convenient looking democracies? and instead of talking about the usual BS about moral imperatives and global securities, I decided to take a crack at truthful and all that.

Money makes the world go round, round, round. And it's a principle that certainly applies to us. It's harder to buy people who have principles, rather than people who have swiss bank account bursting with space. We don't elect national leaders, we elect politicians, who have their own best interests at heart, when they coincide with the Pakistani people, it's highly fortuitous, but mostly, justifying it and spreading the wealth through their well paid militias.....I mean political activists. To be fair, when they spend their cash on sweet homes and fancy rides, that does do something for the public scenery.

We were paid off. Plain and simple. Pakistan's elite classes; the military, civil service, politicians, etc, may all enjoy a fairly western array of tastes and style, but the overarching nature is overtly conservative to the point of fundamentalist Islam. Practically, it plays well with the electorate to quote the Qurans (it's easy enough to ignore acting on it), particularly when your country's name is the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

How it Started: Military Rule

Zia ul Haq (Z-Man), Pakistan's Islam obsessed military dictator in the 80's, ruled for a solid decade and made Islamic idealism, the key feature of his blue print for Pakistan; it justified his actions, his military support in Afghanistan (why the Russian, didn't tramp on into Pakistan for a cool Murree brew is beyond me).

Z-Man channeled support to the Afghan cause by fueling religious sentiment. this is hardly an innovative ploy, but he was praise worthily effective. As part of his re-invention on Pakistan, he took that generation of Pakistani's and inculcated them with a sweeping Islamic doctrine (You can't mess with God's Law, particularly if your masses are illiterate), and we are still paying for it. All of Pakistan's modern day political head honchos (it makes me cringe to call them leaders), are by-products of that era. No new influential, democratic political voice has emerged since then.

However, at the time, this was extremely pragmatic. We were promised enough money to build a house and burn ourselves in it. The US funded the Afghani Mujahideen, and Pakistan was it's strategic ally/errand boy.
So we felt compelled to gorge ourselves on as much money as our US allowance could support (and then some). Corruption was rampant, but it was nothing new. In fact, we were oddly okay with it. A religious war was being fought after all.

When the Afghan conflict ended with the Russian troop pull out, Pakistan lost it's strategic importance as the gulf war rose into prominence and became the new battle ground.

In essence, Pakistan was laid off, contract up, with no unemployment benefits. It sucked to be us, and we had to continue managing the remnants of the Afghan problem, having only theMujahideen as our only tool, we big brothered in a crazy conservative Islamic regime with highly ascetic tastes. It appealed to the whole Islamic Republic of Pakistan image we had going.

I'm actually pretty convinced I know how that policy came into Pakistan, all strategic policy decisions are made on a lush Golf Course in Islamabad.

Corp Commander Anus: Hey guys, I'm really sorry for being late, my chopper took off late, because Colonel butt face started prayers early for some cool khutba (sermon) he heard from some Saudi Royalist, Osama something, one those Bin Laden boys....they went on forever.

Brigadier Butt: Ugh, those guys are such illiterate nut jobs, for the love of god they wasted so many missiles because they couldn't read the damn instructions on the Stingers Rocket Launchers. And then they have the nerve look at Afghanistan and see an Islamic victory, don't the realize that the 'infidels' are the ones who funded their suicidal crap. Hell, even the turbans they're wearing have labels that say 'Made in the USA', what the hell do they think that is, United Shambles of Algeria. bloody imbeciles.

General Cuntwalla: Yeah, that freaking General 'I Love the Quran' and his minions, they are always talking about Islamic piety and it's really freaking annoying, I hate to break it to that retard, but that Quran is Israeli made; they were simply cheaper. After a hard day, or well, even during a not so hard one, I really enjoy my glass of scotch (high fives are exchanged across the green), and so what if I do,go mind your own god damn business. What the Fuck difference does it make to their lives, if I'm plastered. It's not like we have nukes. ooh, I wish we could get rid of those assholes.

Corp Commander Anus: Say, I have an idea, why don't we send those cluster fucks to Afghanistan, it' s in pretty shitty state, and I can't find anyone who wants to be stationed there, there isn't a brewery for miles. They can go and live there, see how pious they'll feel after that hell hole. haha.

General Cuntwalla: Brilliant.

Brigadier Butt: Good Show, when should we tell the President.

Corp Commander Anus: eh, no need, he'll probably be replaced in a few weeks anyway, which reminds me, do any of you guys know anyone who want's to be the President? or maybe even the Cricket board chairman?

General Cuntwalla: By jove, I'll do the Cricket thing, I love getting smashed with those boys.

Golf Game Resumes

Shit Happens: Like the 90's & 9/11

That is until the late 90's when we officially became a nuclear power. whoopdee freaking doo. Because sanctions were the last thing we needed. After the sitting Prime Minister was overthrown in a military coup, we continued to remain on the fringes. Then 9/11 happened.

Our natural allies in Afghanistan refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden and the rest is history (well in the making). How no one questions the insanity of going to war over the hand over of a single person is beyond me.

But atleast the Afghan's had principles and couldn't be bought anyone. In many Islamic traditions, a guest is to be honored and protected, no matter what the cost. It's a pity that so many Afghans had to pay with their innocence, their lively hoods and their lives. I can also bet you all of the money in my (empty) pocket, that they'd do the same all over again.

What did Pakistan do? Well, it was a happy day, after all, 'We were called into Service!', the military government was given legitimacy and a fistful of dollars were thrust into our greasy palms, complete with a speech on historic allies (it brought tears to my eyes...really).

As expected we gratefully accepted. Money in the Bank (even if it was money ending up in foreign accounts, but I'm not hating on corrupt officials right now).

We Are Still At It: The Mathematics of Consistency

Fast forward the better part of a decade, we're still on the payroll of the US government. New President (well, not really), same old policy. Got to love the consistency.

If left to their own devices (assuming that they are not already), government intelligence agencies and Pakistan's military would much rather be finding ways to co-exist with the 'Taliban'. For the love of god, they are Pakistani citizens (whether we like to admit it or not). And no humane person would condone widespread military action against it's own people, unless it was out of necessity. Here is the kicker. It really isn't.

How do you make a fairly Islamic looking fellow do your bidding. You buy him off, with more money than his limited imagination can take. Once that is done, he'll have set his price, and you'll know what it'll cost you. The problem arises when you breed a groups of individuals who believein the doctrine.

Then you have a problem you cannot control. In some cases you can hide them away, send them to India and pretend that they don't exist, but the truth is that they are out there and they always will be.

I'm sure some were created as an extreme counter balance to the decades long regime of institutional corruption. This doesn't make them good or bad, but it makes them committed to the Death. Herein lies the problem. You can't create religious Zealots and take away their cause without killing them. Even if you do, your just as likely to further their cause by devoting money, personnel and blood in order to do so.

On a strategic basis, for a country like say Pakistan, this makes utter sense, once you create them and let them loose in say...Afghanistan, you can indefinitely force Nato troops to camp out there. Highly advantageous, particularly when your country, in this case Pakistan, remains loyal....and flush with cash....indefinitely.

These Islamic Fundamentalist Nazis, were not created in a vacuum, they were carefully groomed to fight in Afghanistan, Kashmir and India. Turns out they don't like being told what to do, particularly as they've been on an extended power trip post US invasion, and they've noticed the liquor cabinets; No compromises, just principles (incidentally messed up ones).

There goal isn't creating an Islamic Pakistan, it's a turf war, it's a case of 'you get out of our hood, and we'll get out of yours'. But we (Pakistani forces) can't do that, because we're still in the employ of Pentagon.

So now now we are being paid to blast our own people out of oblivion...and we call the Taliban the terrorist. At least they believe in their principles, while all we've consistently believed in the almighty dollar. Fantastic. They pay in blood for what we did for Money.

How does this end? Well, it doesn't, not until hard line Islamists gain legitimate power and placate the nut jobs. Think it's unlikely that the people responsible for murder might get elected. It happened in Nepal. Maoist rebels are now in government with the Monarchy loyalists. Go figure, everyone needs to get paid off. I guess the moral of the story is that causes die down, the crusades only went on for as long as they did because the trade routes were profitable.

Money still makes the world go round, round, round.


Anonymous said...

I like this piece. The lovely Murtaza has discovered that people can be bought with money. It's like he suddenly invented the wheel. He talks about people and events of which I know only a very hazy little, yet he talks about things we all know all too well. Did you know, incidentally, that the US considers itself a highly religious country? It has a higher church attendance than any other western state by a country mile. Yet it uses its power ruthlessly, and frequently against the tenets of its declared religion. Where its money and hegemony is threatened it acts, often stupidly and ill advisedly, but usually predictably. So where in the world is it dfferent. It's people who are ambitious, ruthless and flawed, and when they have power with few exceptions they fail us. 'Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.'

Anonymous said...

awesome piece!! loved how u described every scene with mock piety and ruthless sarcasm! u really know how to make a point :)

Alpha Za said...

Alec: Thanks man, absolute power does corrupt absolutely, hence why checks and balances are a necessary tool of good governance, no small group of individuals hold sway over the system. The difference between the US and Pakistan, is the demarcation between church and state, even though religious leaders can be elected, they are numerous constitutional checks and balances that prevent a religious agenda. The only god you'll see is on their bank notes and the national anthem (which was only added after the communism craze in the Mc Carthy era). People have always been bought with money and they've used implicit external justification for their actions. In Pakistan, we tend to do to a poor job in terms of the justification; we simple always get paid to do a job..and that's it.

Kabacha: Thanks man, I appreciate the support and the comment.

Anonymous said...

Surely you are not right that the only sighting of God in American culture is on their bank notes. Reference to God, and living life according to the faith, is a commonplace in their creed. That God is on America's side is taken as certain. But what nation or group hasn't claimed that. It's one of the more depressing things about humanity. If there is a God, and of course the whole idea is nonsense, he must be thoroughly fed up with the way each lunatic claims him as their own.

Alpha Za said...

America is a pretty religious place, if not the republicans wouldn't win so many seats on gay bashing, but in it's governance, there is a demarcation in actually enacting policy, the supreme court for example acts as such a barrier.

I think God is going to be really pissed at us regardless. Atleast in comparison, the Nutjobs make everyone else look good.

Anonymous said...

I know that the US constitution specifically forbids the establishment (i.e. state approval) of religion (2nd amendment?) but everything is shot through with religious philosophy, even the constitution ('one nation under God etc.'). The desire not to have a state religion was the result of the founding fathers being refugees from the persecution of state religions of one sort and another. Nevertheless they were themselves deeply religious, and that attitude permeates US society. It would be foolish to ignore this aspect of American society and psyche I think. Deranged, of course, but it's been adversely affecting the rest of the world for some time now.

Alpha Za said...

Well, you can't prevent someone religious from being elected, and sure that electoral makeup shapes some of their policies, for eg. there was a gag policy that foreign aid couldn't go to hospitals that even spoke about abortion. Even though it is by federal law legally permissable despite opposition from conservative politicians.

My point is that they can be as religious as they like, there are safeguards preventing religious oppression.

Pakistan on the other hand is pretty gung ho about infusing any agenda with religion, to spectacular effect

I'm not ignoring it, I'm just saying there is a difference.

Anonymous said...

I did follow your point, I think, but I was trying to convey that legal safeguards don't always translate into tolerance on the ground. Ask any black man in America. But yes, at least the legal safeguards are in place even if it's a struggle to enforce them. I just don't know much about the situation in Pakistan, except that I get that it is an Islamic republic, which tells me that religion is pretty much 'established'. Are you, incidentally, at risk for putting forward the views that you do? How regulated is the internet?

Alpha Za said...

Completely unregulated and at risk, I'm a wild man....well, then again I am a banker, so I'm theoretically as yuppie pro-secular establishment as they get.

Anonymous said...

Didn't you know? Bankers are the wild men of the world these days. From what I read they are out of control and have nearly brought the capitalist system to its knees. And never ask them for a mortgage!

Alpha Za said...

I know and we all still got paid, we are awesome.