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ہفتہ، 17 مارچ، 2012

West’s unfinished war on Islam

 The recent massacre of innocent Afghana by a US soldier was a deliberate effort by Washington to divert attention from its earlier desecration of the Holy Quran in Afghanistan. Western powers are hostile towards Islam because they fully understand its power to rule and change the world.

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The callous burning of the Holy Qur’an by bigots in the American military has spawned numerous protests across Afghanistan that hitherto has left 29 people dead and scores wounded. Obama’s half-hearted apology has only added fuel to the incessant outrage expressed by ordinary Afghans who widely perceive America’s occupation of their country as a wholesale onslaught on Islamic values. Only few weeks ago, US troops were caught on camera smiling and urinating on dead Afghans. The vilification of Afghans and their Islamic values is not limited to these incidents alone. Mutilation of dead bodies, horrific abuse of prisoners in Bagram, rape of young girls, mindless civilian massacres have become the hallmark of America’s malicious crusade in Afghanistan. No matter how hard America tries to downplay this vitriolic incident, the latest episode is a vivid reminder to the rest of the world that barbarism and not emancipation from tyranny is a hallmark of America’s war machine.

One would have thought that having spent over a decade fighting wars in the Muslim world, US soldiers would at the very least, be accustomed to the cultural sensitivities of Muslims. But no, we find the complete opposite. Wherever the American military intervenes, it leaves behind a trail of death and destruction with rancorous behaviour unworthy of a leading nation that also prides itself on tolerance. Look for instance, the indiscriminate killings of unarmed civilians by US drones and Special Forces in Pakistan, or the immunity granted to Raymond Davis for his cold blooded murder of Pakistanis in broad daylight. This clearly undermines America’s penchant for disregarding human rights it so evangelically preaches to the rest of the world. Take America’s war in Iraq as another example: the cruel humiliation of Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib and the senseless killings of unarmed civilians in Haditha are portent reminders about the fruits America’s Iraqi occupation. Yet despite such uncivilized acts perpetrated by America’s military, its soldiers are lavished with praise and their crimes against humanity are overlooked. At the end of last year, US President Obama told troops coming home from Iraq: “As your commander in chief, and on behalf of a grateful nation, I’m proud to finally say these two words.” 

Worse still, there are no serious efforts by America’s political establishment or senior officers to change the uncivilized conduct of US troops. Wherever US troops are stationed, the Pentagon immediately seeks immunity from prosecution as a mandatory condition in exchange for security pacts, or military aid. In other words, there are no repercussions for the evil acts committed by US soldiers against indigenous populations. If by chance a US soldier is found guilty, sham trials are convened by the US military (the conclusion of Haditha massacre trial early this year) to ensure that punishment does not fit the crime. The US military goes to great length to instill savagery within its personnel by making certain that barbarism is institutionalized. The recent National Defense Authorization Act passed by the US senate epitomizes such measures, which legalizes sex with animals and permits sodomy.

As the US military is committed to preserving its barbarian code and despicable values, one can only imagine what type of training the US military imparts to nations around the globe. So what is the root cause behind such reckless behaviour that defies human logic? The explanation that ‘a few rotten apples’ are to blame, is no longer plausible and does not merit a discussion. Nor can America’s military culture be held solely responsible for nurturing a generation of young men and women who show scant respect for foreign cultures and people. On the contrary, the military culture is based on the very foundations that the rest of American society is built.

The sole driver for such behaviour is freedom, which is the bedrock of America’s cherished ideals and responsible for shaping popular culture, corporate culture, social values and ethics. It is on this very basis that the military in Western countries, especially in America is responsible for moulding the attitudes of its military personnel. Men and women, fed from a young age on a diet of freedom enlist in the army as defenders of freedom, undergo weapons training and are eventually deployed overseas.. Here, they find themselves in a different environment; laws and restrictions of the home country no longer impinge on what one can say and do and the weapons in their possessions makes them feel that they can finally say and do whatever they desire. Naturally, the indigenous populations’ beliefs, values, property, life and dignity are quickly trounced upon—all in the name of freedom.

Freedom is a fanciful idea and always leads to disputes and violence. The West claims that individuals are free to do whatever they choose and indoctrinates within its populace the desire to be free. But in practice this leads to unending conflicts amongst people, as the views expressed by a few, or behaviour exhibited by some, can be interpreted as offensive and insulting to others. Hence, Western governments are persistently intervening in disputes and resort to severity of the law to protect the freedoms of some people by depriving others of their freedom to express thoughts and behave in a certain way. Often, the real benefactors of freedom are those individuals or groups whose views or conduct coincides with the interests of the government, or the powerful capitalists who possess the ability to exert influence over the government.
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  By Abid Mustafa

The writer is a political commentator who specialises in Muslim issues and global affairs.

 Pakistan Observer
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