August 2, 2008

Silly Questions

What are they thinking in Washington? Here is the Bush Administration pushing and some in Congress pulling for a nuclear sales deal with India in direct violation of international nuclear laws and strictures against selling nuclear technology and materials to a (nuclear) state which has not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty. (India has 60 bombs.) The International Atomic Energy Agency gets to inspect 14 of India’s existing or planned 22 reactors, all “civilian facilities.” What about the other eight plants? What are their purposes, and why won’t they be inspected? More than likely, the remaining plants are military territory and for bomb-making. Oh, that’s okay then. We trust you now, even if you did develop a nuclear bomb in secret and started a suicidal nuclear race in the region that nearly blew up the world. This unwise deal undermining the NPT is supposed to make India a de facto member of the Nuclear Club, sort of compelling it to play by Club rules, though India has signed nothing and will receive much in return. They get new and valuable technology, and the International Atomic Energy Agency gets to inspect reactors known not to produce bomb fuel. There are loopholes allowing a “possible transfer” of bomb fuel from civilian reactors to the bombers, but, that’s okay too. (We just won’t think about it now.) President Bush’s boys are optimistically tripping off to talks in September for approval from the Nuclear Suppliers Group, a 45-nation “cartel.” That is, from those who will profit from sales of expensive nuclear material and equipment. I wonder how they will decide. We’re on tenterhooks. Stay tuned.

Will the nuclear suppliers give the go-ahead for India to be awarded an unprecedented exemption from the Treaty that 187 nations signed? (The law.) Will Bush add a merit badge to his legacy? Will Congress get another payoff? Will Obama’s policy be any different? Will Congress approve the deal? Will this strengthened alliance with India enhance our national security or endanger it? Will it lead toward, or away from, nuclear war? Don’t touch that dial! We’ll be back after this brief commercial:

Has anyone read the story how an India-Pakistan war will quickly create an enormous a hole in the ozone layer big enough for the moon to come through? (Reuters, Apr. 8, 2008.) All the experts agree it’s almost as-bad-a-scenario as “nuclear winter,” which will be the result if the Big Boys ever slug it out. Burning cities will blowtorch a hole through the thin ozone layer in no time. Millions of tons of soot will rise through the troposphere to the stratosphere and collect harmful radiation the ozone layer is there to block, eventually falling back like black snowflakes to cover the earth. (Prepare for some rapid evolutionary changes like bigger cockroaches, and a sick, rundown feeling.) Oh, and there will be less and more expensive food. Food will stop growing in fact, and we can tear each other apart for that stored in the granaries, eat the cockroaches after the food is gone, and then if we still want to live we can kill and eat one another. (Read “The Road,” by Cormac McCarthy.)

This deal is a bad idea. Yes, we’d all like for India (and Pakistan) to join the (barely) civilized nations who dimly perceive what nuclear bombs can do, but we don’t have to kiss their butts and give away the store, violating our own laws and principles. There is a procedure in place: Sign the damned treaty! India needs the upgrade, and we’ve got the hardware. What is it that stops the most powerful nations on earth from telling India (and Israel and Pakistan) to sign the treaty, or prepare for a lot of trouble? Aside from the enticement of potentially enormous profits from the sale as a persuader, the argument has been made that increased “energy needs” of India-- where we have “outsourced” our once- productive economy--is the strongest force impelling this scramble to surrender more of our principles. Quick, put the rules on hold so we can sell this stuff and maybe tip the balance our way. The move shows the US plainly tilting toward India in its conflict with Pakistan. If Pakistan is an "unreliable ally," why not abandon ship and sink it if necessary? It’s a crap game, or American Roulette. India needs more electricity to strengthen its ability to compete with American workers, and help our impoverished corporations.

“Their profits are down beyond belief!” (Dylan)

With the U.S. obviously escalating the War of Vengeance in Afghanistan by expanding it into Pakistan, relations between India and Pakistan, (50 bombs) now at an “all-time low," will worsen. Tampering with the nuclear balance there seems like a death-wish. How will Muslim Pakistan react to our upgrade to India’s nuclear programs and not their own? Tensions in Kashmir must increase as fighting (bombing, shooting, killing) increases, and every area of disagreement between India and Pakistan will become a flash-point for more hostility, aggression, violence and bestiality. Muslims already are bombing in India, and Pakistan’s 80,000-man army at the Kashmir border very recently had a shootout with the Indian Army. (Nobody said who won.) Perhaps they were only testing weapons, probing positions, sighting-in artillery and getting warmed-up.

Even the United States accuses Pakistan’s Inter Service “Intelligence” agency of bombing the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing 41. The Indian Government is in a rage. The ISI denies it of course, but no one is convinced. The U.S and Afghanistan, where President Karzai and his friends profit happily from the heroin trade, (NY Times Magazine, Thomas Schweich article)accuse the Pakistan “intelligence” apparatus of aiding the Taliban and al Qaeda. Will that faction soon openly side with the increasingly powerful “terrorists,” who apparently are the majority (numbering millions) in the northwest part of the country? (The Federally Administered Tribal Areas--FATA)

The American general in command in Afghanistan is contemptuous of recent “agreements” the Pakistan government made with a few tribes in the northwest. It’s obvious he would rather fight them. But, it turns out, the Frontier Corps of paramilitaries supposed to control things at the border have many relations and friends among the defiant Pashtuns and other tribes of the northwest. In fact, the Frontier Corps trained the Taliban to fight the Soviets! Will the new government of Pakistan, under pressure from its outraged population, sign off on the “war on terror” finally making it necessary for us to invade and fight it for them?

The fact is that Pakistan's government opposes al Qaeda too, but is unwilling to see its beautiful country burned and pillaged like Vietnam. Where are the hundreds of thousands of inevitable refugees from US warfare likely to go but Kabul and tent cities for sanctuary? There is no example of this sort of thing promoting "social order" in any part of the world. There is grumbling in Washington that Pakistan uses the expensive F-16s and P-3 maritime aircraft we sold them for posturing before India. It's hard for them to understand why Pakistanis are reluctant to use them to bomb their own country.

Didn’t someone say that Pakistan is a “democracy” and a “sovereign nation?" Sigh. It reminds me so much of South Vietnam, another “weak ally” we couldn’t save. The suicide-bombings remind me of the self-immolation of Buddhist monks in Saigon in 1965. The corruption of the Pakistan military and the “intelligence” service is reminiscent of the corruption that doomed the US effort in Vietnam. But nothing about it so reminds me of Vietnam than the shipload of lies the war is bringing home.

Pakistan has received more than $11 billion in military aid since nine-eleven, 50 times as much as all the aid the US has given since our first military treaty in 1954. The internal dynamics and tribal-power arrangements in Pakistan are as complicated and mysterious as they were in Vietnam, and no number of Beltway university graduates with law degrees, uniforms and top-secret clearances is likely to produce solutions that will have anyone dancing in the streets. There is no military solution!

The War Party is cooking quite a brew this time, folks, of cockroaches, snakes, toads and human blood, seasoned with money and stirred with lies. It stinks to high Heaven! Our (mostly) Christian soldiers are marching off to war in Pakistan now. It’s a done-deal! Why not? It’s a war of vengeance against Islam, isn’t it? A blind man can see it.

Have nuclear nations become so frightened by the expanding war as to mull an invasion and seizure of Pakistan’s nukes, fearing the bombs or bomb technology will become the property of terrorists? And how does one go about storming into a country and walking off with 50 armed atom bombs? Surely they are guarded.

Everybody knows that powerful nations somehow show more respect when even one atom bomb is in hand. I know, we must “remember 911.” Yes, they hit us first. Ignore the nasty rumor that our policies might have provoked it. Bin Laden and the Taliban don’t like us, and we don’t like them. Yes, the leaders should be rounded up and punished. Can’t the FBI do it? They know how to recruit snitches. Have you read the article about the ozone layer yet?

Another question before we leave this deadly tragedy-in-the-making: Are a million-and-a-half dead Arabs and other Muslims enough payback for the 3,000 murdered in New York? Or do we need more? You have to admit that 1,500,000-for-3,000 is a pretty good score. We don’t want it to look like bloodlust. One more: Can the American people have some say whether their government should violate our laws and principles and undermine one of our most-important treaties in a matter so vital to our own national interests and the interests of all life on earth? You decide. But what you think won’t matter anyway, because, as Noam Chomsky pointed out in a recent interview, the opinion of the American public is “irrelevant.”

I mean, do you feel relevant?

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