Obama's War Hits a Speed Bump
By John Grant
Mister Obama’s War has hit a speed bump in Times Square. The question is will the President and members of Congress pay any attention to it and slow down, or will they floor the accelerator and race into Pakistan?
The speed bump is a nobody named Faisal Shahzad, a 30-year-old, westernized Pakistani, highly educated, and a naturalized American citizen with a wife and two kids. A casualty of the US financial meltdown, a career in the finance industry fizzled and his $285,000 home went underwater and was foreclosed.
Shahzad then trekked to North Waziristan in Pakistan along the Afghan border, where someone allegedly taught him how to make a car bomb. Fortunately, that training was either inadequate or he was a lousy student.
Following on the bloody Fort Hood shooting and the failed underpants bomber, Shahzad’s action has become leverage for greater US military intervention into the rugged Pashtun areas of northwest Pakistan.
That intervention is currently limited to deadly CIA drone attacks and reluctant Pakistani army assaults under pressure from the Obama administration. Past incursions into Pakistan territory by US special ops elements caused serious disturbances in Pakistan.
The focus of all this concern is an area of Afghanistan and Pakistan populated by the Pashtun people and known unofficially as Pashtunistan. Both the Afghan and Pakistan Taliban are virtually all Pashtuns.
The Pashtun homeland was divided in 1893 by the British, specifically Sir Mortimer Durand, who drew the current border, called The Durand Line. Afghanistan has traditionally claimed the areas across the Durand Line in Pakistan, but Pakistan won’t give any of it up.
Essentially, the US has inserted itself into the middle of an ethnic conflict between the dominant, ruling Punjabi people of eastern Pakistan and the Pashtun people, who are seen by the Punjabis as backward mountain people, a prejudice that ignores a Pashtun brilliance for military strategy....
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Journalist John Grant, a Vietnam veteran and Veterans for Peace activist, is a member of the ThisCantBeHappening.net news collective.