Tina K. Russell

July 11, 2007

The Man Behind the Mosque

Filed under: pakistan, us — Tina Russell @ 1:59 pm

The smoke has cleared, scores are dead, and Gen. Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan scores another meaningless, Phyrric victory as the Red Mosque crisis ends.

First, %&#@^! the militants. They all seemed like jerkwads, anyway. Trying to impose conservative Islamic law on the nation and issuing fatwas for bear hugs, they seemed like huge idiots to me. I hate it when people issue circular argumments for why everybody should live a certain way. Because it’s Islamic law! Well, everybody has their own interpretation of that… we all talk endlessly about our “Judeo-Christian values” here in the States, but I don’t know when the last time someone was put to death for working on the Sabbath was, for instance (although we continue the practice of male circumcision–a decree that God mercifully put forth in the Torah to replace the previous practice of child sacrifice–and male circumcision has no place in a society not completely riddled with AIDS). I think it’s dumb that these people would issue fatwas left and right and try to reduce people’s personal freedoms. But also, they make me wanna cry because I know I’m the sort that doesn’t fit in, the kind of people they’d go after and declare a demon prostitute and enemy of Islam or something, and that just makes me pout. I bet some of the people they issue fatwas against, I’d feel like they’re my sisters if I ever met them, I bet. So, it all just makes me sad.

That said, I think Musharraf really screwed the pooch on this one. Being a fairly benevolent dictator–from what it sounds, the best dictator Pakistan has ever had–doesn’t really forgive being a dictator, and considering that Pakistan has the bomb I think we should do whatever we can to ensure monarchy can be phased out in Pakistan to be replaced by some form of democracy (without, you know, making it worse). It’s a delicate situation, and it must be handled with care, and though I wouldn’t support a revolution in Pakistan I think that the Bush administration is making the wrong decision by putting all their eggs in Musharraf’s basket. You can work with the guy in important matters in the “war on terror” and not have to put up with the fact that he’s a dictator… we can let him know that we support him and still nudge him towards democracy. After all, if he really is such a great leader, than he has nothing to fear in a general election. Meanwhile, by placing all our chips on Musharraf we automatically lose favor with whoever replaces him… and if there isn’t a system in place for Musharraf being replaced democratically, he will inevitably be replaced in a violent revolution, which would be an absolute disaster because it would result invariably in anti-US extremists–or worse, if you can imagine–getting ahold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. It’s pretty clear that Musharraf is trying to make himself a permanent autocrat, and that’s a dangerous game that the US should have no part in.

So, as far as the mosque goes, I’m not exactly sure what changed. I mean, if the military wanted to go in, guns blazing, they could have done so at any point, right? Why did they wait for days? I suppose the reason must have been to tire them out, since the Pakistani military wouldn’t be under as much stress, being able to take shifts and rest in comfortable homes and not have to be weighed down by the subconscious knowledge that your cause is hopeless and you ought to pack it in and become a newsanchor on “Wackos Today.” So, it makes some amount of sense. It’s just that, innocent people, students, were trapped in that mosque… Why not wait it out longer? It seemed to me like the Pakistani military had all the time in the world, whereas the militants had a limited supply of food and motivation. (Hell, when the leader’s brother tries to slip away in a burqa than you know there’s a morale problem…) Of course, the students must have had a limited supply of food, too, which is difficult. Perhaps they could have supplied the militants with food for the students, like a wheelbarrow full of sandwiches (of course the militants would have probably hogged any rations, but there’s not much of a choice when you need to make sure the students get fed), and just waited it out, waited for the militants to give up, since, after all, Pakistan could have shifted off the military for as long as it wants whereas fatigue would inevitably have set into the militants. It would have taken longer than a few days, but it would have resulted in fewer being killed.

The militants have an ironclad, fervent ideology, but that’s not everything… it’s a powerful force, to be sure, but even it runs out (hence, trying to escape in a burqa). No, I have a sinking feeling, like the parliamentarian Baloch in the article, that they were trying to appease the Top Gun, playing-on-an-aircraft-carrier faux-military ideology of President Bush and his cohorts. I can’t back that up, but it’s plausible enough to make me want to barf.

So, all in all, this was a failure, not a victory, for Musharraf and friends. Yes, those militants were crazy evil, hiding behind hostages like the cowards they were. But I think that the Musharraf government was cowardly to go in, guns blazing, before all other options are exhausted. People will say (well, they might) that I’m advocating treating terrorists with kid gloves, and I’m not… I’m against treating delicate hostage crises with a sledgehammer. And, I’m against people dying. That’s where I make my stand.

Leave a Comment »

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: