Saturday, December 24, 2005

General Musharraf: Then and Now

Before the 2000 election, back when President Clinton was the one bombing Islamist terrorists and Osama bin Laden was not yet the monomaniacal obsession of George W. Bush, The New York Times was willing to publish straightforward reporting on the Great Islamic Jihad.

Reporter Jeffrey Goldberg enrolled in the Haqqania madrassa in Pakistan and spent some time there studying the Koran and talking to his fellow students. In June of 2000 he published his report, “Inside Jihad U: The Education of a Holy Warrior”, in the NYT magazine.
Haqqania Madrassa Very few of the students at the Haqqania madrasa study anything but Islamic subjects. There are no world history courses, or math courses, or computer rooms or science labs at the madrasa. The Haqqania madrasa is, in fact, a jihad factory. This does not make it unique in Pakistan. There are one million students studying in the country’s 10,000 or so madrasas, and militant Islam is at the core of most of these schools.
The man has guts to do what he did, since he is Jewish.
    “The only enemy Islam and Christianity have is the Jews,” [the chancellor of the madrassa] said. “It was the Jews who crucified Christ, you know. The Jews are using America to fight Islam. Clinton is a good man, but he’s surrounded by Jews. Madeleine Albright’s father was the founder of Zionism.”
“I’m Jewish,” I told him.
There was a moment’s pause.
“Well, you are most welcome here,” he said.
And indeed he was made welcome. His fellow students seemed to overcome their ideological antipathy towards America, answering his questions and introducing him to their world.

Back then the Taliban were ascendant in neighboring Afghanistan. Mr. Goldberg visited Kandahar and the surrounding region, where many of Haqqani’s alumni ended up.

His conclusion?
     And the secret of the Taliban — the secret of Talibanism — is not found inside the Shrine of the Cloak of Muhammad. The secret is embodied in the two 11-year-olds cocking their fingers at me, and in the taunts of the students in the mosque who raised their hands for Osama bin Laden, and in the person of Mullah Haji Muhammad, my 17-year-old minder in Kandahar who has no interest in any book but the Koran, and in the hundreds of thousands of young men like him at madrasas across Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are poor and impressionable boys kept entirely ignorant of the world and, for that matter, largely ignorant of all but one interpretation of Islam.
They are the perfect jihad machines.

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But the most interesting parts of the article are the quotes from the President of Pakistan. While Mr. Goldberg was in Pakistan, he had the opportunity to attend General Pervez Musharraf’s birthday party, and spoke with the General at some length.

These quotes were uttered and published before 9-11, and thus are untainted by any hindsight engendered by that fatal day.

Concerning the madrassas:

Very few of these schools are engaged in any kind of militancy. Most of them are very humanitarian. They give food and lodging to these poor boys.

On terrorism:

There is no question that terrorism and jihad are absolutely different. You in the West are allergic to the term “jihad,” but jihad is a tolerant concept.

Concerning American claims that bin Laden is a terrorist:

The Taliban has a stand on this subject. They say they need proof, which has not been given to them. We have asked for proof from the U.S. and we are in the process of getting this. From the legal point of view, I haven't seen the proof.

Concerning HUM, the terrorist group that hijacked an Indian airliner in 1999:

These people are not terrorists. They are fighting a jihad.

And, perhaps most ominously, on the question of the “Islamic bomb” being the will of Allah:

Yes, we do use the term “Allah's will.” We do consider God to be the supreme sovereign, and we do consider ourselves to be his representatives on earth. We being his representatives on earth, whatever has to be done is according to the teaching of Allah. But when we say “the will of God,” that doesn't mean we aren't using our brains, that we are trigger-happy fundamentalists.

Mind you, this is the man that the current administration considers a “staunch ally in the war on terror.” This is the regime which receives substantial fiscal and military aid from the United States. President Musharraf has been repeatedly fêted at the White House and has received the highest encomiums from President Bush.

I suppose we should be reassured that General Musharraf is not a “trigger-happy fundamentalist.” That’s a relief!

It’s good to know that he can shrewdly and cynically calculate his advantage, patiently awaiting the exact moment to execute the will of Allah.


John Sobieski said...

Excellent look back at Pakistan. There is just no question that much of our jizya we throw at the Mohammedans will come back to bite us. History shows this over and over. It reflects the obvious error of strategy - know thine enemy. Rather than trying to finance a democratization of the Islamic world, it should be spent on containment and anti-dhimmi activities. The jizya must be cutoff.

Pastorius said...

It would seem to me the Bush Administration knows about all this. I've never believed the Bush Admin. really thinks of Pakistan as an ally. I've always figured we are just taking one step at a time, while at the same time following Vito Corleone's advice,

"Keep your friends close, but keep your enemies closer."

What do you think?

Baron Bodissey said...

Pastorius --

I think the administration (with the exception of the State Department, maybe) knows very well what devil they're supping with.

The thing is, at some point they'll have to prepare the public for a 180-degree turn on Pakistan. I suppose we could be considered the advance guard on that particular operation.

Pastorius said...

Oh, what a life I have now. On Christmas Eve, I used to go to church with my family, come home, drink a glass of wine, open gifts, and play with my wife and kids.

Now, I do all those things, plus, I concern myself with the Jihad and anti-Semitism.

Hence, I end up on Gates of Vienna after church, thinking about Musharraf, and Pakistan and the reality of the coming day when Bush breaks the news to the American public that Pakistan is just as bad as North Korea. To the general public who have not been paying attention, it will seem as if Bush just keeps pulling bogeymen out of the closet. And, of course, the Left will dutifully spin it that way.

You're right, we are the advanced guard.

So, I guess we have to get the word out.

Good job.

Epaminondas said...

"Now, I do all those things, plus, I concern myself with the Jihad and anti-Semitism."

Yes and on Christmas morning as well.

Is there something more valuable for our children anyway?

Maybe in the moment there is, but not for tomorrow.

My gulf acquaintainces always say, there can't really be anti semitism since it is Allah who has determined the place for the jews. Mahathir, was only just correct, and the galatic twerp of Iran may be unfortunate in his means of pronouncements, but as we just saw with the Muslim Brotherhood, reinforcement is a moment away. David Duke's appearances in the Arab News stopped only because they were counterproductive, believe me.

Of course there is no greater self-condemnation than to proudly brandish the fact that you CLAIM it's your faith to be a member of the KKK.

And there is nothing which so clearly identifies those who truly believe this, and it's the leaders of centuries who do, as those to destroy, just we obliterated the KKK as a physical threat.

This will not be so simple.

Musharraf is practical. Period. I trust him the way I would trust a pet dog left alone with a turkey on the table. He is a symptom however.

We have to find the teachers.
You have to be carefully taught.

We have to think clearly and remember the words of Sherman, and hope it does not come to the point where we are compelled.

"We are not fighting armies but a hostile people, and must make young and old, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war…. I would make this war as severe as possible, and show no symptom of tiring till the South begs for mercy." Sherman had spent the pre-war years teaching in Louisiana. (When he said the north would need 500,000 men in 1861 they put him in a rest home). People like us are saying both. We are unpleasant harbingers of what cannot be avoided, and must be mindful of this all the time.

My gulf acquaintances say my feeling that 1-3% of muslims would be 'actors' against us, and 35% would be strong sympathizers, and contribute against us, and that most of the rest regard us as Dar al Harb anyway is probably close to the mark. Yet they say they regard 'much' (except for HAMAS?) as murder not jihad. Their conscience will not permit them to allow this, but in the back of their heads their faith tells them it's okay(?) if it happens, and somewhere inside it feels good. This comes across quite clearly.

Merry Christmas, LOL

RattlerGator said...

Epaminondas, here is your key -- and I happen to agree with the sentiment:

"Musharraf is practical. Period. I trust him the way I would trust a pet dog left alone with a turkey on the table. He is a symptom however."

He is also a comfort, if you will allow him to be. Rule number one: people are people, and his practicality is mirrored (it seems to me) throughout the Islamic world -- which, as you well know, isn't the same thing as the Arab world.

This fight has to be fought, and it seems to me we've engaged the battle well. May we continue to do so.

Anonymous said...

Twice in the past couple of years CBC Newsworld (the all news channel of CBC) broadcast a documentary on the madrassas. The series called "The Passionate Eye" often broadcasts some interesting, privately made, documentaries and this was certainly one of them. Goldberg's conclusion that they are perfect jihad machines is right on the money. It may be of interest to note the host of that series, Michaelle Jean, is now the Governor General of Canada.

moderationist said...

Islamists are cleverly substituting the word "God" for the word "Allah". Islamists worship Allah, the moon rock pagan god. The do not worship God IMO.

Unknown said...

Or maybe it is the US that is playing a double game. Jihadists were used as a spear to lance rivals during the cold war. Russia, India. They might be useful still against the next rival, China.

Baron Bodissey said...

ik -- once again, you supply more links before I have even finished the previous ones. How can I ever catch up?

The similarity, I think, would be with China. Aren't the largest Chinese enterprises state-run? -- COSCO, I think, runs the Panama Canal now, as well as many other large and strategically significant enterprises.

Jason Pappas said...

Great work, Baron. But it’s worse than we think. I posted these comments from the WSJ this past August:

In today’s Wall Street Journal (August 19, 2005, page A11), in an article titled Pakistan’s Broad Educational Ills – Public Schools May stir Up More Extremism Than Madrassas, one finds that the Islamist influence has permeated all levels of the government including governmental educational institutions. The "public schools’ failure to offer a rigorous, secular alternative to religious extremism, as well as their own biased and inflammatory teachings, make the population fertile ground for Islamist recruiters," according to the Journal.

Thomas von der Trave said...

I could never convert to a religion that doesn't believe in dining-room tables.