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October 1, 2001
Bush's five mistakes
President George Bush has committed five major mistakes in the handling of the terrorism crisis which might cost America dear in the long run:
1. He has made the Arab attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon a matter of national ego. 'How dare a few arrogant terrorists strike at the heart of the great, mighty, and proud United States?' But Bush forgets two things: The first is that, however, spectacular and deadly these assaults were, America is not the only nation to suffer from terrorism. Countries like India lose thousands of lives to Islamic fundamentalism each year, without the Western world taking any notice.
Secondly, apart from its political angle, the aggression reminded America that capitalism, with all its flamboyant ego, is no more an answer to the world's problems than was communism. We have to find another way to a more equalitarian and spiritualized society. The frenzied and hysterical reaction of the United States and Western powers (how long is CNN going to brainwash us with its 'War on terrorism'?) is also completely overdone. What does Mr Bush mean by 'an attack on freedom'? Did not Western nations often support bloody dictators such as Pinochet or Mobutu who produced bloodbaths on their people, sometimes more deadly than the WTC attacks?
2. George Bush has more or less ignored India, a vibrant, democratic, pro-Western nation. Why? The Asura, which the Mother of Pondichery called the 'Lord of Nations,' seem to be presently actively at work in the world. It is 'he' who makes men perceive what is true as false and who gives an aspect of truth to what is fundamentally false or even evil; it is he who precipitates countries into war; it is he who was the voice which Hitler heard dictating him what he had to do. Is it this same Asura which makes America think that Pakistan is the answer to solving their problems with terrorism?
How do you eliminate terrorism with terrorism? Because Pakistan is at the root of terrorism. The Taleban came out of Pakistani madarasas and were able to take nearly the whole of Afghanistan with the help of Pakistani officers. Pakistan has made jihad a national enterprise, not only hitting India, but also training militants who struck in the US, Bosnia and Chechnya. By lifting the economic sanctions on both India and Pakistan, the US has also -- once again -- put on the same footing two nations which, whatever their respective merits (all is not evil in Pakistan), cannot be compared.
India, a giant of a nation, is a bastion of freedom in an Asia torn by fundamentalism and the shadow of Chinese hegemony. Pakistan, a small country, always on the verge of bankruptcy, has been for most of its independence under military dictatorships. This equating Pakistan and India is an old perverse English strategy which had the purpose of dividing Muslims and Hindus so that the British could rule. It is sad to say that 200 years later this policy is still alive in the minds of Western leaders.
3. The third error is to think that by killing Osama bin Laden and bombing Afghanistan, he is going to solve -- partly or fully -- the problem of Islamic fundamentalism. Bush has also invited Muslim leaders to the White House, telling them that his fight is 'not against Islam, but against terrorism.' The first thing Bush should understand is that the problem is not with Muslims, who are like all other human beings in the world -- some of are very good, some are okay and some are bad -- but with Islam, a religion which teaches that there is only one God and that jihad is justified to convert others to the true religion.
4. The fourth error is to perceive bin Laden as a simple terrorist. If you look at the man's eyes, you will notice a certain softness, a mystical glow even, that is not far from recalling some of the great Sufi saints. The man has incredible faith and whatever the murderous consequences of that faith, it has to be respected. The US might ultimately succeed in killing him, but will not other bin Ladens surface elsewhere in the world?
You cannot ignore the fact that Islam is the most rapidly spreading religion in the world today when Christianity is on the decline and capitalism shows its ugly, selfish and crass uniformity all over the planet. If only Islam would accept the fact that it has to adapt itself to the world, it could become a wonderful religion. Does it not care for others as no other faith does? It is enough to say anywhere in the world Salam u alli kum, to be treated like a brother, fed, clothed and sometimes helped financially. All Muslims belong to the Ouma, the great universal Muslim brotherhood. Also the pure of Islam do not smoke, do not take drugs, do not drink alcohol; and this is why the Shariat is so successful in Muslim countries.
5. Finally, there is one factor which Bush has completely overlooked. What is China going to do?
At the times of the attacks, Beijing was on the verge of strengthening its ties with the Taleban. Since then, it has closed its borders with Afghanistan for fear that some of the terrorists might spill into Xinjiang and worsen the already simmering Islamic problem there.
But China is a cold calculator and it will do only what serves its interests regardless of the moral consequences. We have seen how it armed Pakistan to counter India and gave Islamabad the technology to build nuclear weapons -- and even the capability to deliver them, thanks to North Korean M-11 missiles. Will China ultimately side -- even if temporarily -- with the Muslim world, when it starts uniting against American imperialism? Only then will the possibility of a third World War really emerge.
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