India looks at the monster in the mirror
Summary: This is the third in a series about a special kind of person, people who just want to see the world burn. It’s not about India, or specific religions. These people find homes on all sides of every 4GW conflict. These are our enemies. The practitioners of real-politics who ally with them betray our civilisation and do us no good. See part one here. Part two is the first part of this interview, here.
What is condition of India as a nation-state? To use a metaphor, what is the condition of its soul?
Giving us one perspective on this is Arundhati Roy’s essay, “9 Is Not 11 (And November Isn’t September)“, Outlook India, 22 December 2008 — Hat tip to Tom Engelhardt’s TomDispatch. I strongly recommend reading this powerful essay in full, a valuable perspective on our world.
This is the second excerpt from this essay, the first being 4GW in India – more people who want to watch the world burn (19 January 2009).
The monster in the mirror
How should those of us whose hearts have been sickened by the knowledge of all of this view the Mumbai attacks, and what are we to do about them?
There are those who point out that US strategy has been successful inasmuch as the United States has not suffered a major attack on its home ground since 9/11. However, some would say that what America is suffering now is far worse.
If the idea behind the 9/11 terror attacks was to goad America into showing its true colours, what greater success could the terrorists have asked for? The US army is bogged down in two unwinnable wars, which have made the United States the most hated country in the world. Those wars have contributed greatly to the unravelling of the American economy and, who knows, perhaps eventually the American empire. (Could it be that battered, bombed Afghanistan, the graveyard of the Soviet Union, will be the undoing of this one too?)
Hundreds of thousands of people, including thousands of American soldiers, have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. The frequency of terrorist strikes on US allies/agents (including India) and US interests in the rest of the world has increased dramatically since 9/11. George Bush, the man who led the US response to 9/11, is a despised figure not just internationally but also by his own people. Who can possibly claim that the United States is winning the war on terror?
Homeland security has cost the US government billions of dollars. Few countries, certainly not India, can afford that sort of price tag. But even if we could, the fact is that this vast homeland of ours cannot be secured or policed in the way the United States has been. It’s not that kind of homeland.
We have a hostile nuclear weapons state that is slowly spinning out of control as a neighbour, we have a military occupation in Kashmir, and a shamefully persecuted, impoverished minority of more than a hundred and fifty million Muslims who are being targeted as a community and pushed to the wall, whose young see no justice on the horizon, and who, were they to totally lose hope and radicalise, end up as a threat not just to India, but to the whole world. If 10 men can hold off the NSG commandos and the police for three days, and if it takes half-a-million soldiers to hold down the Kashmir Valley, do the math. What kind of Homeland Security can secure India?
Nor for that matter will any other quick fix. Anti-terrorism laws are not meant for terrorists; they’re for people that governments don’t like. That’s why they have a conviction rate of less than 2%. They’re just a means of putting inconvenient people away without bail for a long time and eventually letting them go. Terrorists like those who attacked Mumbai are hardly likely to be deterred by the prospect of being refused bail or being sentenced to death. It’s what they want.
What we’re experiencing now is blowback, the cumulative result of decades of quick fixes and dirty deeds. The carpet’s squelching under our feet.
The only way to contain (it would be naive to say end) terrorism is to look at the monster in the mirror. We’re standing at a fork in the road. One sign says ‘Justice’, the other ‘Civil War’.
There’s no third sign and there’s no going back. Choose.
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To read other articles about these things, see the FM reference page on the right side menu bar. Of esp interest these days:
Other posts on the FM site about India and Pakistan:
- Is Pakistan’s Musharraf like the Shah of Iran? (if so, bad news for us), 8 November 2007
- Terrorism in India, a roster of incidents, 16 May 2008
- NPR tells us more about America’s newest war, in Pakistan, 14 September 2008
- Pakistan warns America about their borders, and their sovereignty, 14 September 2008
- Weekend reading about … foreign affairs, 19 October 2008
- To good a story to die: eliminate legitimate grievances to eliminate terrorism, 9 December 2008
- About the 4GW between India and Pakistan, 6 January 2009
Posts on the FM site about military theory:
- The 2 most devastating 4GW attacks on America, and the roots of FM 3-24, 19 March 2008
- A key to the power of FM 3-24, the new COIN manual, 20 March 2008
- Dark origins of the new COIN manual, FM 3-24, 23 March 2008
- Insights about modern war from the NIC’s 2020 Project, 11 April 2008
- How often do insurgents win? How much time does successful COIN require?, 28 May 2008
- COIN – a perspective from 23rd century textbooks, 10 June 2008
- A lesson in war-mongering: “Maritime Strategy in an Age of Blood and Belief”, 8 July 2008
- Is COIN the graduate level of military hubris?, 30 July 2008