The ‘Times Square Bomber’ and the innocent dead

The news in today’s papers that the Pakistani born US citizen Faisal Shahzad has pleaded guilty to all ten charges against him relating to the attempted car bombing of Times Square should in a more sensible world urgently prompt a rethink in the US administration about its callous strategy in Afghanistan.

Faisal Shahzad told the judge yesterday that ‘I want to plead guilty 100 times because unless the US pulls out of Afghanistan and Iraq, until they stop drone strikes in Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen, and stop attacking Muslim lands, we will attack the US and be out to get them…Listen, you are attacking children with your drones in Afghanistan. I would not consider what I did was a crime. I’m aware it’s a violation of the United States laws, but I don’t care for the laws of the United States.’

Craig Murray, the former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, noted yesterday in an article about the death of the 300th UK soldier in Afghanistan that for every Afghan fighter that the US/UK governments are killing, they are also killing at least six civilians. Those are dire figures and it is a mark of just how supine much of the coverage in Western newspapers generally is that this fact is not more widely known and does not prompt outrage.

Faisal Shahzad’s attempted car bombing was without question an evil act and if it had been successful it would have devastated the lives of many families . Yet, the fruits of existing Western policy in Afghanistan are also evil and they are with every passing day devastating the lives of many more Afghan families.

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7 Responses to The ‘Times Square Bomber’ and the innocent dead

  1. Dmoloney says:

    The idea that Shahzad’s actions was guided by compassion for the Afghan people is flawed, if you are guided by compassion for a people you try to do what’s best for them or listen to what they want, Shahzad did neither.

    Most Afghans support the war in Afghanistan, they also feel that it has overall improved their lives and they do not want foreign troops to leave yet. Their is also very little support for the Taliban

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/11_01_10_afghanpoll.pdf

    http://www.worldpublicopinion.org/pipa/articles/brasiapacificra/155.php?nid=&id=&pnt=155&lb=bras

    According to a survey from Oxfam the post-Taliban era has been far less destructive to the Afghan people than the previous eras in that nation.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared/bsp/hi/pdfs/18_11_09_oxfam_afghan.pdf

    Asia Foundation found that the majority of Afghans consider themselves to be more prosperous now than they were under the Taliban

    http://asiafoundation.org/resources/pdfs/Afghanistanin2009.pdf

    The Lancet also found significant improvements in Afghanistan.

    http://www.jhsph.edu/refugee/response_service/afghanistan/index.html

    So the idea that Shahzad was genuinely motivated by the suffering of Afghans by the west’s “evil” policies is false.
    Shahzad was merely a fanatic who wanted to cause violence, like many people with an urge to commit violence he created a fantasy world in which he “the hero” was doing it for Afghan people, therefore he could commit an atrocity and feel self-righteous about it.

    “Listen, you are attacking children with your drones in Afghanistan.”

    If Shahzad was really concerned with the plight of Afghan children and the Afghan people in general why did he attempt to join the Taliban whom most of the Afghan people disapprove of and who are responsible for the majority of Afghan deaths. Even in the FATA’s in Pakistan their is evidence to show most of the people in the affected areas support the drone attacks.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/13/AR2010011303378.html

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/126602/Taliban-Increasingly-Unpopular-Pakistan.aspx

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010%5C01%5C02%5Cstory_2-1-2010_pg3_5

    Questions should also be asked as to why Inayat is comparing the US war in Afghanistan which most Afghans support to an attempt made by Shahzad to deliberately murder innocent people and cause excess pain and carnage.

  2. ‘Most Afghans support the war in Afghanistan, they also feel that it has overall improved their lives and they do not want foreign troops to leave yet.’

    Do you really think that many Afghan people are going to reveal to pollsters their true views while they are under occupation? The fact is that the US and the UK cannot win this war in Afghanistan and will soon begin leaving. It is just a tragedy that so many Afghans and US/UK soldiers will have died there in the meantime. Such a criminal waste of lives.

    • Dmoloney says:

      This is quite a weak response, your making an unproven claim that the Afghans are not giving their actual opinions, not only that but without any evidence whatsoever and against all available evidence you seem to believe that the Afghan people share your view that the war is wrong.

      Your claim (without evidence) that the Afghans feel that they cannot express their true views is highly unlikely.
      For many questions in the polls and surveys above Afghans can be quite critical of the performance of the foreign troops.
      Secondly they are also quite critical about the corruption in the government.

      “It is just a tragedy that so many Afghans and US/UK soldiers will have died there in the meantime.”

      It is indeed a tragedy that so many people have lost their lives, however the level of suffering would have been even higher if the war that you are against did not take place, as we see all available evidence shows that most Afghans prefer their lives now and the Oxfam survey showed that Afghans lost more loved ones during the rule of the Taliban.

      The fact that you support a position which would have caused excess Afghan suffering and the fact that you go against the views of the Afghan people reveals that you are an individual like Shahzad, you like he are not truly concerned with the welfare of the Afghan people, and that you only pretend to do so to cover up your real reasons, perhaps even to yourself.

  3. Dmoloney: My view is that the US/UK intervention in Afghanistan has failed in its aim of eradicating al-Qa’ida from the region – in fact, the reverse is true and AQ has spread its poison into neighboring Pakistan thanks to anger over US policy in the region.

    I am no pacifist and believe that a far better use of our military would be to threaten to deploy them against Israel unless the Israelis dismantle their illegal Jewish settlements and withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territory. I really believe that this would do much much more to reduce support for AQ worldwide and do far more to ensure our own longterm security and promote peace in the Middle East.

    • Dmoloney says:

      “My view is that the US/UK intervention in Afghanistan has failed in its aim of eradicating al-Qa’ida from the region”

      Your view against all available evidence was that the invasion was an “evil” thing, as I pointed out above the available evidence actually shows that the war overall benefited the afghan people.
      The fact that you would support a situation or scenario which would go against the wishes of the Afghan people and cause them excess pain shows that you are not really concerned with the welfare of Muslims in nations such as Afghanistan, one must even be skeptical of your claims that you sympathize with the welfare of the Palestinian people for your claims of sympathy towards the Afghan people are false.

      “I am no pacifist and believe that a far better use of our military would be to threaten to deploy them against Israel unless the Israelis dismantle their illegal Jewish settlements and withdraw from all occupied Palestinian territory.”

      I also believe that major action should be taken against the Israelis and their illegal settlements, however the fact that you consider the Israelis your major priority over the Taliban further highlights that you like Shahzad are not really concerned with the welfare of Muslims for the level of suffering caused by the Taliban was greater, therefore one would expect that actions taken against the highly disapproved Taliban would be welcomed and not be seen as a reason to murder random civilians.

  4. Dmoloney: No – I did not say that the invasion of Afghanistan was ‘evil’. In fact I am convinced it was well-intentioned. I said that ‘the fruits of existing Western policy’ in Afghanistan are evil and with every passing day Western policy in the region is devastating the lives of many more Afghan families. I think that statement is incontestable. The entire Western strategy in Afghanistan is now in tatters and has failed in its aim of eradicating AQ and the Taliban. It has done quite the opposite in fact.

    As for threatening to deploy force against Israel: I really do think that would do far far more to undermine AQ and its anti-Western narrative than any number of bombs and drone attacks in Afghanistan.

    • Dmoloney says:

      “Dmoloney: No – I did not say that the invasion of Afghanistan was ‘evil’.
      In fact I am convinced it was well-intentioned.”

      So when did western policy since the 2001 well intentioned invasion stop being well intentioned and instead became evil.

      “I said that ‘the fruits of existing Western policy’ in Afghanistan are evil and with every passing day Western policy in the region is devastating the lives of many more Afghan families.”

      The results or “fruits” have overall been beneficial to the Afghan people as shown by various opinion polls and surveys taken in the country.
      They approve of the additional troops and do not want foreign forces to leave yet. The last D3 poll actually saw an increase in the number of Afghans who see their country going in the right direction.
      If Western policy was reversed the Afghan families which you “claim” to be concerned about would be worse off.
      If one genuinely cared about the Afghan people they would acknowledge this, however they are individuals who do not really care about Muslims abroad and only pretend to do so in order to justify their wish to cause self-righteous violence or to oppose those that they are biased against.

      “I really do think that would do far far more to undermine AQ and its anti-Western narrative than any number of bombs and drone attacks in Afghanistan.”

      I support efforts to make Israel to comply with UN resolutions for it will improve the lives of the Palestinian people and will be overall beneficial to the Israelis also.

      Its possible that it might undermine AQ, but there is evidence to so show that this might not be the case.
      As shown above US actions in Afghanistan has overall benefited the Afghan people yet AQ and the likes of Shahzad ignore this, they construct a fantasy world in their heads where the US has made life worse for the Afghan people and this fantasy gives them the right to commit acts of violence against those that they dislike.
      AQ would likely just move the goal posts and be motivated to commit acts of violence due to the existence of Israel, if Israel ceased to exist they would likely come up with another reason.

      We also see how AQ and the likes of Shahzad are not really concerned about Muslims for the Sudanese government which is likely responsible for the deaths of perhaps 300,000 people, mostly Muslims has not become a major jihadist target.

      Also if undermining AQ is your goal one should not limit themselves to only one option, getting Israel to comply with UN resolutions can be done along with other options such as combating AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
      Another way to undermine AQ is to be honest and point out the lack of sincerity in individuals like Shahzad and those in AQ who claim that they are guided by compassion for Muslims, they are not.

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