Sunday, December 14, 2008

Emulate US???

After the recent terrorist attacks, people have finally woken up and are demanding action? But what is action?? What is the right path that one has to take during these trying times? Is there something called a right path?

It’s a topic where everyone has an opinion on. Most would want to emulate US of A in the way they handled the situation after 9/11. People say, “Look how well they have protected their citizens. Not one incident of terrorism in more than half a decade after 9/11…”!!!

Though what they say is true, do we really want to emulate the US? Do we really want to follow their footsteps as far a strategy against terrorism is concerned? Even though they did a credible job in protecting their shores against perpetrators of crime, in protecting their citizens against terrorists, not all that they did was right!!!

Around 3,000 people lost their lives in the dreadful attacks on the World Trade Centre in New York on 9 /11. America’s typical response was to go to war. It launched two wars. The first one was against a country that was already on its path to devastation. The Americans bombarded Afganistan day after day, month after month and as we now know year after year!! The only people who gained from the whole exercise (of course, other than America) is the Taliban. It got easier for them to recruit more people and raise millions in funds. This not only in places like Afganistan, Pakistan but also in places like United Kingdom!!!  Nearly 1,000 American solders lost their lives in Afghanistan. Countless Afghans die each month, as one of the world’s poorest states sinks deeper into devastation.

We all know how America gained from the other war, but was it worth it? It stimulates their economy but does it really help in the long run?

America fought the second war with a country that had not a single link to the events of 9/11. Close to a million human beings have lost their lives in that response. That includes 4,000 U.S. troops in Iraq. That is apart from several hundred thousand Iraqis losing their lives. Millions have suffered dislocation and deprivation in the region. It was more than a $ 3 trillion-war. Just imagine that kind of money? I mean how well we could have used that money. Every month more than $ 10 billion is being spent in Iraq. Imagine what we could have done with that money. When the auto industry asks for a $ 30 billion package the senators take weeks to decide. (And when they do, they decide to provide $15 billion package. Anyway I Digress.. It’s a nice discussion to have whether the auto corporations deserved it in the first place. Will take up this bail-out story some other time!!). But the point is no one took enough time to see whether the war would be worth it…It’s pathetic!!!

In a little over three years after that “response” began, over 650,000 Iraqis were estimated to have lost their lives. Now the US has suddenly started focusing on Pakistan. Almost every week now, the U.S. bombs some part of Pakistan — its firm ally of decades. Being an Indian I can only admire their courage for doing something that we would never do unless Pakistan “officially” attacks us (But again Kargil happens only once a decade!!). So we will never respond the way US can…Does that mean I am ‘for’ a war against Pakistan? Definitely NOT!!! That’s one mistake that we should never commit unless the situation asks for it. War only feeds terror and there is no way we can completely wipe terror out with a war (that’s what the US is finding out the hard way!). There are other lessons in the U.S. debacle. Civilians are routinely killed by this, and if Mr. Obama’s campaign promises are to be kept, this will go up. So will the appeal of fundamentalism amongst the affected. It will become a vicious cycle which can only harm the mankind.

Also, the resultant undermining of Pakistan, can only be bad news for India. More fundamentalisms, more militancy, and worse, both sides of the border.

Having said all this, there are some things which are worth noting, which are worth learning from US…

US has done quite well in terms of preventing attacks within their shores…The intense security arrangements everywhere, the strengthening of their borders and investing heavily on internal security through federal agencies is something that we MUST DO…Nothing should be taken lightly even if it means regular harassment to people, it must be done! For example not one complained about the heightened security at the airports immediately after the Mumbai attacks…It requires the will of the people, the will of the politicians.

We should do whatever it takes to strengthen our security forces, our police, our intelligence network, set up federal agency meant to tackle only terror!! We should make people accountable for their responsibilities and appoint people who deliver.

Applying diplomatic pressures is one thing, taking actual actions on the ground is another thing altogether. Diplomacy doesn’t do much. Pakistan will “house arrest” some terrorists and the terrorists will continue their dirty work under different ‘e-toeba’s’. If it is Laksher this time, next time it will be something else. They will never run out of names. So all we will be doing is asking Pakistan to ban another organization…It’s such a farce!!!

We should take strong measures from within, only then we can try defeating terrorism. Its good to be on a high alert always. You are dealing with people who have nothing to lose. They don’t mind dying. If a person looses the fear of death, what will you threaten him with? Its time we guard our shores. Its time we invest on security!!!

Update: One of the co-blogger wrote - "Pakistan puts Jaish-e-Mohammad chief, Masood Azar, under house arrest. Guess he'll be working from home now..." ;)


Rajesh Goli said...

Well written. Emulation of US will only leave us in quicksand they are stuck in.

Israel's assassination policy (a la munich, entebbe etc.) is one thing we should follow along with economic measures (

dilip said...

The article was an interesting read. The best part was its definitely doable from our side...

Nikhil N said...

Agree to all but the penultimate para! Being on high alert for our security forces is almost asking for the impossible. Security is a monotonous and boring job - they have a saying - "You need be right each and everytime, they need it to be right only once!"... and sadly for us, we cannot afford to spend a lot on technology!

dilip said...

Thats the whole point isnt it...Whats the point in talking about security everytime such an attack takes place, if we cant prevent the next one? I understaand its difficult, but then nothing is simple...
The security at my office started to check all the cars the very next day..They checked the boot, under the car for timers/bombs, baggage etc..But now after a week its been reduced to just checking under the car with some kind of mirror...I am sure by next week everything would be back to how it was before the attacks, until the next one occurs...Hmmm..

Khizzy said...

"US has done quite well in terms of preventing attacks within their shores..."

i agree. but the post 9/11 mindset and strategy of the US, the "its all about us" selfishness pretty much opened up the rest of the world turning our countries into bombing grounds.
yes, there hasn't been another bomb blast or the likes in the USA...but we'll run out of fingers to count on when we start on the bombings in both our countries.

i'd never heard of a suicide bomber before 9/11.
(atleast not with this much frequency)

dilip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dilip said...

Yep! you are right...
Further, Its the "frequency" that has also caught world's attention..!!