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Whose War Is It Anyway?

Analysis by Gareth Porter

asif-zardari-image2Asif Ali Zardari, widely known as ‘Mr 10 Per Cent’, was the husband of former Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Mounting public dissatisfaction with President MUSHARRAF, coupled with the assassination of the prominent and popular political leader, Benazir BHUTTO, in late 2007, and MUSHARRAF’s resignation in August 2008, led to the September presidential election of Asif ZARDARI, BHUTTO’s widower. He represents the typical corrupt comprador bourgeoisie the US normally allies with to better exploit or control a nation, that is, when it doesn’t jump into bed with a military tyrant. Is it a ny wonder that we are despised by the masses in every country we try to subjugate?

WASHINGTON, May 7 (IPS) – The advances of the Taliban insurgents beyond the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in recent weeks and the failure of the Pakistani military to counter them have brought a rare moment of truth for top national security officials of the Barack Obama administration.  [READ FULL ARTICLE]

  1. From Poets’ Basement Counterpunch

    In Afghanistan
    (May 22, 2006)

    For doing what they say is inevitable
    they consider themselves important men.

    They strut, speak into cameras, huff and puff,
    trying to ignore the fact that what they do

    is bomb mudhuts filled with families.

    I want to apologize now to the children
    of the uselessly murdered, should there be

    survivors or relatives. I want to acknowledge
    to them, should they ever be able to read this,

    that we, the population, knew what was happening.
    But we were indifferent. There is no better word.

    Or maybe I am speaking to my own children,
    or the children of my children. Make no mistake,

    they did not die so that you might live,
    nor were they killed so that you would live

    in freedom. Better to say we are clients
    to an empire and it is the function of some,

    the ignorant privileged among us, to ensure
    that we pay appropriate tribute: perhaps

    in wood, perhaps in water or uranium,
    currency manipulation or banking law,

    and sometimes, with the bodies
    of our young, but always, with

    commitment to support the killing.

    I know there have been ages where truth
    and honour were esteemed: ours is not one.

    Ours is an age of rampant hypocrisy and
    mechanized cruelty. We destroy people

    for trying to improve their lot.

    We point to our sacred writing and corrupt
    political processes and ask them to be like us

    or die. Warplanes bombing mudhuts.
    Don’t look away. See it. Smell it.

    There was a time – Guernica – we thought
    that horror at horror was appropriate, but

    it isn’t anymore. It is, I am told, a
    humanist nostalgia. I want to say clearly,

    with words that will last, with words
    able to etch themselves on stone,

    our warplanes bomb their mudhuts.

    Over and over. Over and over.
    The stone is our heart. The stone

    is our mind. Thick. Hard. Unmoving.
    I, who inherit the metaphysics

    of Donne, the wry humour of Chaucer,
    even the imaginative grip of Homer,

    know that my words now must be
    simple to represent this western culture.

    We support the bombing of mudhuts,
    killing the gathered families, and

    labelling all dead men as enemies,
    and all dead women and children

    as accidents. Why is that?

    It is not for our safety, nor theirs.
    It is not for our freedom, nor theirs.

    Is it for our pride? our economy?
    our internal politics? the need for

    war to prove one’s use? the role
    of fear to ensure one’s place?

    Or is it sexual after all, a desire
    to kill as a tease to the dull.

    Let these words last. Let them
    be heard and understood and

    memorized. We agree that airplanes
    should bomb the families gathered

    in their mudhuts. We are proud of
    doing so. We are proud of our right

    to pay tribute and show obeisance.
    We are not barbarians ransacking Rome,

    we are more arrogant than they, more
    cruel, and less understanding. Our one

    insight is to pretend there is no choice
    while claiming we are fighting for choice.

    We join the despicable of the ages.

    MICHAEL SPRINGATE lives in Vancouver, British Columbia and can be reached at


    I thought that this poem is particularly relevant to Mr Porter’s article. Thanks for this page which gets better and better with its mix of serious political comment and art.

  2. Thanks for the compliment, Mary.

    And, for sharing that sad, trenchant and extraordinary poem.

    I’ll contact Michael Springate and see if he’ll contribute something to us directly.

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