New Trend Magazine

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Afghans/Pakistanis Considered America Friend: Had no Fight-Back Plan
Understanding the Popularity of Conspiracy theories about 9/11

New Trend has completed a near month-long visit to Pakistan. Our report is based on interviews, discussions study of the views of people from numerous walks of life, ranging from the poor to the middle class and the rich, from the dedicated religious ones to the marginally Islamic to the cynically secularized.

1. The Afghans and the Pakistanis had one point in common: They did not expect the ferocity of the U.S. bombing campaign. They were shocked by its ruthlessness and by the use of B-52s and bombs the size of 'daisy cutters.'

2. The idea of fighting America is not yet part of the Islamic psyche. The Afghans and the Pakistanis had ABSOLUTELY NO PROGRAM or plan to fight America.

3. Pakistanis think that America's anti-Muslim actions emanate from the Jewish control of U.S. policy making.
3a. Thus Pakistanis oppose U.S. Zionists but not the U.S. power structure.

4. Pakistanis think that America is a moral power and is amenable to moral pressure. This was part of the reason for the numerous demonstrations against the U.S. The mistake here was three-fold. The Muslims thought the U.S. would take note of the demonstrations, Musharref would give pause or withdraw and EVEN the United Nations might take notice! The U.S. saw the demos as "15% extremists."
4a. Hence the demonstrations remained peaceful. No attempt was made to overthrow the government. In fact there was NO VIOLENCE even in cities where 50,000 people demonstrated.
4b. No attempt was made and no program was produced to shut down American economic ventures in Pakistan. One KFC was burned down in the sole violent incident of the protest movement but other KFCs, McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts etc flourish. Coca Cola and Pepsi are common as are American cigarettes.
4c. Muslim hospitality to Americans, including women (such as Ashley Banfield), continued though these women were doing dirt on Pakistan and Islam in their vicious broadcasts from Pakistan on a daily basis.

5. Within that context, try to understand the Pakistani acceptance of conspiracy theories about 9/11. In general Pakistanis believe that the attacks could not possibly have been carried out by Muslims and were the work of Jews (4000 of whom are widely believed to have not turned up on Sept. 11 at the WTC). Why did the Jews do it? Because they wanted the U.S. to get on their side and hunt the Muslims. (Pakistanis have just begun to realize that the attacks were powerful enough to destabilize America's entire economy.)
5a. Pakistanis are correct when they say that the U.S. has not been able to produce any evidence against Osama Bin Laden. (New Trend would add that the taped messages of Osama do not constitute evidence which can be used in court. If Osama says that he knew of the attacks or that he approved of them or even that he signalled them, that still does not constitute guilt beyond a doubt that he ORGANIZED the attacks. Also, tapes can always be doctored. In any case, it is the task of the U.S. to produce its evidence: not Osama's task to prove himself guilty through smuggled tapes.)
5b. Pakistanis have not considered the possibility that Muhammad Atta and the 18 with him might have been an autnomous Islamic unit taking revenge for the genocide of the Palestinians or for the slow death of one million Iraqi children or for the slaughter of 10,000 Somalis. (Gradually this possibility is sinking in.)

6. The acceptance of conspiracy theories (even by Islamic leaders like Dr. Israr and Prof. Khurshid) was an indirect way of saying: we mean America no harm. We as Muslims could not possibly have attacked America when we consider America our friend. (We only want to fight the Zionists.) Most upper class and middle class Pakistanis have friends and relatives in the U.S. and Canada and are horrified about being seen as suspects by the U.S.

7. At the back of their minds, Pakistanis know that Israel ("that sh--ty little country" in the French ambassador's words) exists owing to U.S. support and owing to funds, weapons and veto power exercised by the U.S. on behalf of Israel. But Pakistanis have not been able to face the fact that the U.S. power structure could well be hostile to Islam and be using Israel only as one of its many tools. Pakistanis (like many Arabs) think that if they can convince the U.S. of the immorality and evil of the Jewish state, the U.S. would cut back on its blatant support for Israel.

8. Afghans of course had very little idea of what was going to happen to them but the Afghan RESPONSE WAS MUCH FASTER THAN THAT OF PAKISTANIS. The Taliban quickly realized that the U.S. would obliterate Afghanistan if they resisted. The U.S. saw the Taliban as the "fish in the water" (the guerrilla in the civilian population in maoist termiology) and hence wanted to drain the water through bombing. The Taliban were otherworldly enough to sacrifice their government to save the masses from bombing. Hence their rapid and unexpected withdrawal when they had suffered no significant casualties.

9. The Pakistanis did not realize the ruthlessness of the U.S. bombing campaign. They crossed by the thousands into Afghanistan with rudimentary military training and suffered more casualties than the Taliban (although the Taliban had told them that manpower was not needed).

10. WITH THE BOMBING CAMPAIGN and the gradual realization that the U.S. air force has killed tens of thousands of civilians (estimated at 60,000 dead), deep anger and numbing pain has settled into the Pakistani psyche. Hatred for the U.S. has started to become a reality among millions of Pakistanis.

11. It is quite probable that if the U.S. does not withdraw from its role of bomber and Great White Father, the Pakistanis will begin fighting back. The Afghans and the Pakistanis are re-evaluating the entire situation and trying to mentally cast the U.S. as the enemy, a position they had given only to India. It's a difficult change of psyche but it is happening.

Hence New Trend's evaluation is that Afghans, Pakistanis and Muslims in general have not even started to fight the U.S. FINAL POINTS:
1. Pakistanis say:if the U.S. is fighting terrorism, it must take the route of law and prove its contention that Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were involved. It could go to the World Court with its evidence, if it has any.
2. If the U.S. is actually fighting Islam under the guise of fighting terrorism, the chances of the U.S. winning are very slim. Islam is undergoing a worldwide and irreversible resurgance which is powerful enough to involve nearly a billion people in the next decade. If the U.S. does not soon withdraw from the Arabian peninsula, "saudi" Arabia might once again become the Arabia of the Prophet (pbuh). Any danger from U.S. power to the holy cities of Makka and Madina would unite the entire Muslim world against the U.S.
3. There is no question of the recognition of Israel by the worldwide Islamic community. The Jews will have to go back to where they came from. The more the U.S. tries to use the Israeli pawn, the more it will backfire. {Even totally westernized, cynically anti-mullah Pakistanis feel personally insulted if you accuse them of supporting Israel.}

2002-01-30 Wed 07:23ct