Reaction to Mumbai
There are no words to express the horror, the disgust, and the rage I felt as I was glued to the television set on Wednesday night, Thanksgiving and the day after and the day after that. While I did enjoy the company of good friends on Thanksgiving dinner, and although my family and friends are primarily in Chennai and Andhra Pradesh, far from the carnage on the other side of India, my thoughts were not far from the country of my birth. What struck me Thanskgiving evening was the strangeness of so many of my friends asking – why? Who? I felt like asking, What would you have me say?
As if we don’t know. How can we not know? Have we come so far from 9/11 that we don’t know the who or the why? It was simply sad to perceive the grasping at straws that I saw in my conversations – is it because of poverty, or lack of opportunity? Of course we know why – there are people in this world who believe they should be in charge, are angry that they are not, and are unhappy at the happiness of others. The who is even easier – radical Islamic fundamentalists are at war not just with Americans, Israelis or Britons, but with Indians, Thais, French, Australians, Iraqis, and many Africans. And these radical Islamic fundamentalists train in Pakistan (and parts of Afghanistan), are equipped in Pakistan likely by elements within the Pakistani ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) and military, and are funded by oil money from Saudis through Pakistan. And sadly, they probably receive some cut from the $10-11 billion President Bush has authorized to Pakistan in the last 7 years in the name of the war on terror.
So what do we do? Some would say India should behave as America did after 9/11 and go to war. At a gut level, I would probably concur. But at a cerebral level, realistically India should not risk nuclear war over this. But India can and should demand Pakistan extradite the known kingpins of terror in Pakistan:
- Omar Sheikh (released by India after the 1999 Indian Airlines hijacking and the murderer of Daniel Pearl and the likely giver of $100,000 to Mohammed Atta in August 2001, and supposedly serving prison time in Pakistan),
- Dawood Ibrahim (a key organized crime figure responsible for earlier terrorists attacks in Mumbai),
- Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar (also released after the 1999 Indian Airlines hijacking and founder of the Al-Umar Mujahadeen
- Maulana Azhar (released by India after the 1999 Indian Airlines hijacking and founder of the terrorist group Jaish-e-Muhammed),
- Hamid Gul (a former Pakistani general, former chief of the ISI, and pivotal figure in the creation of the Taliban)
While India is at it, America should demand the hand-over of A.Q. Khan, the wheeler-and-dealer of nuclear technology to North Korea, Libya, and who knows who else. When Pakistan refuses all of these, India should pursue an escalating response set:
- Cut off all trade and transportation links with Pakistan
- Ask the International Monetary Fund (i.e., America) to not give the $7 billion in loan guarantees sought by Pakistan
- Ask America to cut off all military and non-humanitarian aid to Pakistan
- Cut off the headwaters of the Indus which originate in India
- Blockade the Pakistani ports of Karachi and Gwadar (obviously the American supply lines to Afghanistan will be at issue, but increasingly Pakistan blocks those supply routes anyway)