Sunday, November 29, 2009

Who Co-wrote "the Narrative"? The US Govt. & the Jihadists Proudly Present

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Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice Blog by Professor Chithra Karunakaran is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com



Who Co-Wrote "the Narrative"? The US govt. & the Jihadists Proudly Present their Joint Venture!


http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/11/29/opinion/29friedman.html?sort=oldest&offset=10
My NYT comment #226.
EthicalDemocracy
New York City
November 29th, 2009
1:03 pm
--
EthicalDemocracy
New York City
November 29th, 2009
4:28 am

Friedman said: \"What is scary is that even though he was born, raised and educated in America, The Narrative still got to him.\"

Where to begin with unpacking this assertion? I'll try.

Q. Didn't the US govt. partly write what you call \"the Narrative?

For half a century the US has been a state sponsor of terror. The US has invaded, occupied, tortured, deposed, droned, displaced,nuked, bombed, napalmed, maimed, and in the process killed hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians in sovereign nation-states across the globe.

In the name of freedom, liberty, democracy?

On the other hand Does this necessarily mean the rest of us support that part of \"the narrative\" that has been written by the Jihadists? Not at all. The J's have imagined and then orchestrated a living disaster for us all.

If we don't acknowledge the US govt.'s continuing role in choreographing this madness,right along with the Jihadists, then we have missed the point.

You can obfuscate Friedman but you can't hide.

Satyameva Jayate -- to Truth goes the Victory. Not to you or me, but Truth itself.

Chithra KarunaKaran

http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
--------

NYTimes copyright
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/29/opinion/29friedman.html
America vs. The Narrative
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Why a cocktail of half-truths, propaganda and outright lies about America have taken hold in the Arab-Muslim world since 9/11.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Psychological Cost of War -- Iraq & Af-Pak

my NYT Comment #25.
http://ethicaldemocracy.blogspot.com/2009/11/psychological-cost-of-iraq-and-af-pak.html

additional resource link
http://www.ptsd.va.gov/

EthicalDemocracy
New York City
November 1st, 2009
8:31 am
A Psychological War

"Shock and awe" by Bush in Iraq was psychological warfare. So were Abu Ghraib and Gitmo. All the soldiers returning from "tours" in Iraq and Afghanistan are victims as well as perpetrators of psychological warfare and they will likely develop the full range of psychopathologies to show for it.

And the US taxpayer (me) will bear the medical and social cost.

Let us NEVER forget the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians who have suffered deep psychological scars in the US war against terror.

The real problem is that the US Govt. is a state sponsor of terror.

The US military-corporate complex has commoditized Terror,turned Terror into a branded product that can feed the already skyrocketing profits of the pharmaceutical industry, the media industry, the armaments industry

The psychological scars (in innocent civilian populations under US invasion, occupation and bombardment in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan) are the direct consequence of such terror. Does any govt care about these hapless long-suffering victims?

U.S. Soldiers, why are you whining? If you chose to go to war for the US and you now suffer PTSD, major depression, suicidal and homicidal tendencies, delusions and hallucinations, etc. what did you expect? Speak up against your own govt, your military, your politicians, your homegrown warmongers against innocents elsewhere.

Didn't you know what would happen before you went?

Of course, I feel sympathy for you, I hope you will get better and I most fervently hope that you will WAGE PEACE, instead of war.

However your diagnosis for a combination of psychopathologies, and most commonly Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) comes as no surprise.

Surprise = Profit for the drug industry.

And the 'legal' drug industry is part of that other 'legal' industry, the US Military-Corporate Complex (MCC).

Chithra KarunaKaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com
-------------------------------------------------
NYTimes copyright
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/us/01trauma.html
A Combat Role, and Anguish, Too
By DAMIEN CAVE

As women who suffer from post- traumatic stress disorder return to a society unfamiliar with their wartime roles, they often choose isolation over embarrassment.
Women at Arms
A Combat Role, and Anguish, Too
Chip Litherland for The New York Times

Vivienne Pacquette, who served in Iraq, is one of thousands of women who returned from war with a stress disorder. More Photos >

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/01/us/01trauma.html

By DAMIEN CAVE
Published: October 31, 2009

For Vivienne Pacquette, being a combat veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder means avoiding phone calls to her sons, dinner out with her husband and therapy sessions that make her talk about seeing the reds and whites of her friends’ insides after a mortar attack in 2004.
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Women at Arms
The Psychological Scars

Articles in this series explore how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have profoundly redefined the role of women in the military.
Previous Articles in the Series »
At War

Notes from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and other areas of conflict in the post-9/11 era.

As with other women in her position, hiding seems to make sense. Post-traumatic stress disorder distorts personalities: some veterans who have it fight in their sleep; others feel paranoid around children. And as women return to a society unfamiliar with their wartime roles, they often choose isolation over embarrassment.

Many spend months or years as virtual shut-ins, missing the camaraderie of Iraq or Afghanistan, while racked with guilt over who they have become.

“After all, I’m a soldier, I’m an NCO, I’m a problem solver,” said Mrs. Pacquette, 52, a retired noncommissioned officer who served two tours in Iraq and more than 20 years in the Army. “What’s it going to look like if I can’t get things straight in my head?”

Never before has this country seen so many women paralyzed by the psychological scars of combat. As of June 2008, 19,084 female veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan had received diagnoses of mental disorders from the Department of Veterans Affairs, including 8,454 women with a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress — and this number does not include troops still enlisted, or those who have never used the V.A. system.

Their mental anguish, from mortar attacks, the deaths of friends, or traumas that are harder to categorize, is a result of a historic shift. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the military has quietly sidestepped regulations that bar women from jobs in ground combat. With commanders needing resources in wars without front lines, women have found themselves fighting on dusty roads and darkened outposts in ways that were never imagined by their parents or publicly authorized by Congress. And they have distinguished themselves in the field.

Psychologically, it seems, they are emerging as equals. Officials with the Department of Defense said that initial studies of male and female veterans with similar time outside the relative security of bases in Iraq showed that mental health issues arose in roughly the same proportion for members of each sex, though research continues.

“Female soldiers are actually handling and dealing with the stress of combat as well as male soldiers are,” said Col. Carl Castro, director of the Military Operational Research Program at the Department of Defense. “When I look at the data, I see nothing to counter that point.”

And yet, experts and veterans say, the circumstances of military life and the way women are received when they return home have created differences in how they cope. A man, for instance, may come home and drink to oblivion with his war buddies while a woman — often after having been the only woman in her unit — is more likely to suffer alone.

Some psychiatrists say that women do better in therapy because they are more comfortable talking through their emotions, but it typically takes years for them to seek help. In interviews, female veterans with post-traumatic stress said they did not always feel their problems were justified, or would be treated as valid by a military system that defines combat as an all-male activity.

“Some of the issues come up because they’re not given the combat title even though they may be out on patrol standing next to the men,” said Patricia Resick, director of the Women’s Health Sciences Division at the National Center for P.T.S.D., a wing of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

While more men over all suffer from the disorder because they are a majority of those deployed, Dr. Resick added, “people underestimate what these women have been through.”

Indeed, at home, after completing important jobs in war, women with the disorder often smack up against old-fashioned ignorance: male veterans and friends who do not recognize them as “real soldiers”; husbands who have little patience with their avoidance of intimacy; and a society that expects them to be feminine nurturers, not the nurtured.

War as Equalizer

When Mrs. Pacquette joined the army in the ’80s — inspired by her father, who served in World War II — men often told her she did not belong. “Women were seen as weak and whiny,” she said. “Men had to go on sick call all the time but when a woman went on sick call, it was a big deal.”

Even before she was deployed to Iraq in 2004, however, she sensed what thousands of women have since discovered: that war would be an equalizer. And it was.

In early October 2004, her convoy of about 30 vehicles set out from Kuwait for Mosul, one of Iraq’s most violent cities. On the way, she said, they were hit three times with roadside bombs. One exploded 200 feet from the unarmored Humvee in which Mrs. Pacquette spent day and night pointing her rifle out an open window.

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A Combat Role, and Anguish, Too


Published: October 31, 2009

(Page 2 of 4)

Gunshots arrived, too, on a bridge in Baghdad. Soldiers took up positions outside their vehicles, and an Iraqi was killed. “It was my birthday,” Mrs. Pacquette said. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to die.’ ”
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Enlarge This Image
Ed Zurga for The New York Times

“Just admit that it happened. Then it's over,” said Heather Paxton, Iraq veteran who received a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress, and whose disability claims were rejected three times. More Photos >
Women at Arms
The Psychological Scars

Articles in this series explore how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have profoundly redefined the role of women in the military.
Previous Articles in the Series »
At War
Instead, she surprised even herself by remaining calm.

“There were guys on the ground that I was responsible for as an NCO,” she said, adding, “As a leader, I had to keep my fear inside.”

But later on, the war’s consequences began to weigh more heavily. On Dec. 21, an Iraqi suicide bomber walked into a mess tent at a base across the street from her own and blew himself up amid the plastic lunch trays, killing more than 25 people.

Then a mortar attack hit the motor pool where her unit worked. At the scene, she saw three of her friends torn up beyond recognition.

Recalling the scene nearly five years later, Mrs. Pacquette’s dark brown eyes began darting back and forth, as if looking for another rocket. She was in St. Croix, the island where she grew up, but her body stiffened like a wound coil — releasing only after her twin sister brought their faces together, in a silent hug that lasted several minutes.

Her mind had returned to the moment. And this emotional flashback is just one in a long list of post-traumatic stress symptoms that female veterans now know intimately. Fits of rage, insomnia, nightmares, depression, survivor’s guilt, fear of crowds — women with the disorder, like men, can and do get it all.

Mrs. Pacquette’s twin, Jamilah Moorehead, said she noticed it soon after her sister’s first tour. “In the middle of the night, I heard this loud noise and there was Viv,” Mrs. Moorehead said. “She was crouching as if holding a weapon and she was not even awake.”

A military doctor gave Mrs. Pacquette a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress in March 2005, but she refused treatment. “I didn’t want anyone to know,” she said.

That November, she returned to Iraq, where she said she managed to keep the disorder hidden because she often worked alone. She retired from the military in 2006, but is still struggling with how to face the diagnosis.

The worst part, she said, was seeing her personality harden. First, she lost the ability to trust the Iraqi soldiers she served with. Then at home, she said, she fell out of touch with loved ones, though her husband has stood by her side. Now simply standing in line with other people is enough to turn her into what she calls “a witch, but with B.”

Dr. Carri-Ann Gibson, Mrs. Pacquette’s therapist, who runs the Trauma Recovery Program at the James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital in Tampa, Fla., said the hardest part for women is that they often feel ashamed and guilty because “they’re not supposed to punch a wall, they’re not supposed to get aggressive with their spouse.”

Dr. Gibson said that for men, rage, paranoia and aggression are more accepted, while women are typically expected to snap back into domestic routines without any trouble.

“Women apply that pressure to themselves as well,” she said. “They live with that inner feeling of anger, and that’s why we see more events happening at home than actually out in public.”

Dr. Resick of the National Center for P.T.S.D. said much was still unknown about how the minds of men and women handle war. But at this point, she said, men and women differ mainly in how they manage similar symptoms.

“You put a man and a woman in a truck and they get blasted by an I.E.D., we’re not seeing big differences there,” Dr. Resick said, referring to improvised explosive devices. “That said, there are different context factors that affect how people cope.”

“The women — because they are not surrounded by other women, they may be surrounded by men — may withdraw more,” she continued. “The question is, Who are they with when they come home?”

Homefront Isolation

Many women traumatized by combat stress described lives of quiet desperation, alone, in just a few rooms with drawn shades.

Nancy Schiliro, 29, who lost her right eye as a result of a mortar attack in 2005, said that for more than two years after returning home, she rarely left a darkened garage in Hartsdale, N.Y., that her grandmother called “the bat cave.”

Shalimar Bien, 30, described her life, four years after Iraq, as a nonstop effort to avoid confrontation.
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(Page 3 of 4)

And for those with husbands or young children, finding a social equilibrium is especially difficult. Veterans like Aimee Sherrod, 29, a mother of two, say they constantly struggle to balance their own urge to hide with demands from loved ones to interact.

Women at Arms
The Psychological Scars

Articles in this series explore how the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have profoundly redefined the role of women in the military.
Previous Articles in the Series »
At War

Ms. Sherrod said that five years after her last deployment to Iraq, she still makes only a few trips a week outside her home in Jackson, Tenn., usually to drop off or pick up her 4-year-old son at school.

She often feels like a failure because her son pushes for what she cannot handle. “I don’t take him to Chuck E. Cheese because I’ll get angry,” she said, noting that the arcade’s bells and bangs make her jumpy. “Take him to a park? It’s a lose-lose. I don’t like open spaces.”

She can identify a handful of causes for what her mind has become. In Baghdad with an Air Force rescue squadron from the fall of 2003 to the spring of 2004, she worked on helicopters, sometimes cleaning off the blood from casualties, and regularly receiving indirect fire. “I was getting mortared all the time,” Mrs. Sherrod said. “So someone was watching me.”

She also feels damaged from her time in Jordan, at the start of the Iraq war. One of only two women in her unit, she said, she was ostracized after asking to be shifted to nights because some of the men would not stop harassing her. Her superiors, she said, broke a promise to keep her complaint quiet and after that, the men in her unit lashed out. “This one guy said if I was on fire he wouldn’t even piss on me to put me out,” Mrs. Sherrod said.

Many female veterans report being treated with respect by male colleagues, more so as they proved themselves. But several women said in interviews that some men made their wartime experiences even harder.

Mrs. Pacquette said that on her second tour, in Baghdad, she took showers with an open knife on the soap dish after seeing a man flee the bathroom trailer, having just attacked a woman inside.

In Mrs. Sherrod’s case, the harm came more from being shunned by her unit. For months in Jordan, she said, she had no e-mail access. No phone. No friends. She was isolated.

So at home, she got used to pushing people away. On her first date with the man who became her husband, she told him she had post-traumatic stress, figuring he would not stick around. He did, but they have struggled to stay together.

She always wanted to be a mother, and described her first child as a product of a whirlwind return from war. She became pregnant with her son within a month of reaching home, she said, after a night of drinking. When she later got pregnant with her daughter, who is 9 months old, she said she still thought the doctors were wrong about her stress disorder.

Now, having finally accepted the diagnosis after connecting with other veterans online, she fears her own temper more than anything else.

The other day, in the car, she lost control when both of her children demanded attention. “I can handle one or the other,” she said, “but she was crying and he kept saying, ‘Mommy, mommy,’ so in the middle of the road, I stopped the car and yelled: ‘If you do not be quiet I’m going to turn around and hit you.’

“The look on his face broke my heart,” Mrs. Sherrod said. “He just wanted to talk to me. He wasn’t doing anything bad.”

She paused, then said: “I’m like that all the time.”

Homefront Ignorance

When Heather Paxton started working at the V.A. hospital in Columbia, Mo., two years ago, she discovered something she did not expect: no one saw her as a veteran.

Despite her service in Iraq, patients assumed she knew nothing of war. A male colleague who chattered about weapons dismissed her like a silly little sister when she chimed in.

“He’d give me the stink eye,” Ms. Paxton said. “He’d just walk away.”

For many female veterans today, war and their roles in it must be constantly explained. For those with post-traumatic stress, the constant demand for proof can be particularly maddening — confirming their belief that only the people who were “over there” can understand them here.

Men express similar sentiments; combat veterans of both sexes often complain about insensitive questions like, “Did you kill anyone?”
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(Page 4 of 4)

But women say they are also treated to another line of inquiry. Would male veterans, they ask, hear friends or relatives say, “How was the shopping?” Or “In that heat, how did you wear makeup?” Or “How could you have P.T.S.D. when you sat at a desk with a typewriter?”

Female veterans say they have heard them all.

They have also seen their sacrifice overlooked, in bars, where strangers slide past them to buy drinks for men who were never deployed; and at “welcome home” events where organizers asked for their husbands.

Tammy Duckworth, a former Black Hawk helicopter pilot who lost her legs to a rocket-propelled grenade in Iraq, said such experiences show that “we’re going through a change — just like in World War II with African-Americans, the military is ahead of the American public.”

What many do not realize, said Ms. Duckworth, who ran for Congress and is now the assistant secretary of public and intergovernmental affairs for the V.A., is that in war today, “it’s not a question, Can women can do a combat job. They just are.”

Some women have found ways to at least minimize the slight.

Ms. Paxton now has a picture above her desk, showing her, her mother and her brother, all in uniform.

Mrs. Pacquette has placed a decal on her cane (like many veterans, she has damaged knees and a bad back from lugging gear) that identifies her as an Iraq war veteran.

Sometimes, though, simple messages are not enough. Renee Peloquin, 25, a member of the Idaho National Guard, had to design a bumper sticker that says “Female Iraqi War Veteran” because the basic “Iraq War Veteran” message on her car led strangers to thank her long-haired boyfriend for serving, even though he has never spent a day in uniform.

“I’m so sick of being stereotyped,” Ms. Peloquin said. “Or being ignored, that’s a better word.”

The military and the Department of Veterans Affairs have worked hard to make the public more aware of women’s roles. There are now Army recruiting advertisements featuring women in war zones. The V.A. has bought hundreds of copies of the documentary “Lioness,” which profiles female veterans in Ramadi, while producing a video of its own with Jane Pauley that shows the history of military women.

Last year, the veterans’ agency also began a systemwide effort to make primary care for female veterans available at every V.A. medical facility nationwide. At Ms. Paxton’s V.A. in Columbia, and Dr. Gibson’s in Tampa, women’s centers take up separate wings of the hospitals, as the V.A. prepares for its population of patients who are women to double over the next few years.

For some women with post-traumatic stress, like Angela Peacock in St. Louis, the V.A. has been a godsend. She said that the doctors who helped her detoxify from drug and alcohol addiction saved her from suicide.

Many others, however, insist that the military, the V.A. and other established veterans organizations have not fully adapted to women’s new roles. The military, they say, still treats them like wives, not warriors.

Some therapists, case workers and female patients also say that because military regulations governing women’s roles have not caught up with reality, women must work harder to prove they saw combat and get the benefits they deserve.

V.A. officials, including Ms. Duckworth, say there is no systemic bias. V.A. statistics show that as of July 2009, 5,103 female Iraq or Afghanistan veterans had received disability benefits for the stress disorder, compared with 57,732 males.

But the V.A. did not provide the number of men and women who had applied, making a comparison of rejection rates impossible.

At best, women are caught in the same bureaucratic morass as men; the backlog for disability claims from all veterans climbed to 400,000 in July, up from 253,000 six years ago. At worst, women are sometimes held to a tougher standard.

Ms. Paxton is one of at least 3,000 female Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans with stress disorder diagnoses and no disability benefit, as shown by the V.A. statistics.

Serving in Tikrit, Iraq, five years ago with a civil affairs unit, she took part in missions several times a week on roads regularly rigged with bombs. She worked closely with two Iraqi translators who were killed — she saw one in his bullet-ridden car just after he had been assassinated — and she came home with nightmares, depression and anger.

Though she received a diagnosis of stress disorder by a V.A. doctor, she had her first disability claim rejected in 2006. A second refusal came a year later, and the third arrived in 2008, despite a letter verifying what happened from a captain with her unit.

Her V.A. case worker, Julie Heese, said the rejections highlighted what made the benefits system so challenging. “The claims process is a tough one because you have to have really clear evidence,” Ms. Heese said. She added that it works best “with a well documented battle or attack,” not with experiences that may go unrecorded, like the death of a translator.

Newly proposed V.A. rules easing requirements for documenting traumatic events could help Ms. Paxton’s case. But she said she feared a fourth disappointment.

She said she no longer cared about getting money. After experiencing the grave shock of war and its never-ending aftermath, she would like a little more recognition.

“Just admit that it happened,” she said, her voice rising, over a meal her husband cooked at their home in Columbia. “Then it’s over.”
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APA monitor copyright
PTSD
PTSD treatments grow in evidence, effectiveness

Several psychological interventions help to significantly reduce post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, say new guidelines.

By Tori DeAngelis
Print version: page 40

It's a bittersweet fact: Traumatic events such as the Sept. 11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have enabled researchers to learn a lot more about how best to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"The advances made have been nothing short of outstanding," says Boston University psychologist Terence M. Keane, PhD, director of the behavioral science division of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and a contributor to the original PTSD diagnosis. "These are very important times in the treatment of PTSD."

In perhaps the most important news, in November, the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies (ISTSS), a professional society that promotes knowledge on severe stress and trauma, issued new PTSD practice guidelines. Using a grading system from "A" to "E," the guidelines label several PTSD treatments as "A" treatments based on their high degree of empirical support, says Keane, one of the volume's editors. The guidelines—the first since 2000—update and generally confirm recommendations of other major practice-related bodies, including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Department of Defense, the American Psychiatric Association, and Great Britain's and Australia's national health-care guidelines, he says.

In other PTSD-treatment advances, researchers are adding medications and virtual-reality simulations to proven treatments to beef up their effectiveness. Clinical investigators are also exploring ways to treat PTSD when other psychological and medical conditions are present, and they are studying specific populations such as those affected by the Sept. 11 attacks.

Though exciting, these breakthroughs are somewhat colored by an October Institute of Medicine (IoM) report that concludes there is still not enough evidence to say which PTSD treatments are effective, except for exposure therapies. Many experts, however, disagree with that conclusion, noting that a number of factors specific to the condition, such as high dropout rates, can lead to what may seem like imperfect study designs (see Sidebar).

Treatments that make a difference

The fact that several treatments made the "A" list is great news for psychologists, says Keane. "Having this many evidence-based treatments allows therapists to use what they're comfortable with from their own background and training, and at the same time to select treatments for use with patients with different characteristics," he says.

Moreover, many of these treatments were developed by psychologists, he notes.

They include:

• Prolonged-exposure therapy, developed for use in PTSD by Keane, University of Pennsylvania psychologist Edna Foa, PhD, and Emory University psychologist Barbara O. Rothbaum, PhD. In this type of treatment, a therapist guides the client to recall traumatic memories in a controlled fashion so that clients eventually regain mastery of their thoughts and feelings around the incident. While exposing people to the very events that caused their trauma may seem counterintuitive, Rothbaum emphasizes that it's done in a gradual, controlled and repeated manner, until the person can evaluate their circumstances realistically and understand they can safely return to the activities in their current lives that they had been avoiding. Drawing from PTSD best practices, the APA-initiated Center for Deployment Psychology includes exposure therapy in the training of psychologists and other health professionals who are or will be treating returning Iraq and Afghanistan service personnel (see "A unique training program").

• Cognitive-processing therapy, a form of cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT, developed by Boston University psychologist Patricia A. Resick, PhD, director of the women's health sciences division of the National Center for PTSD, to treat rape victims and later applied to PTSD. This treatment includes an exposure component but places greater emphasis on cognitive strategies to help people alter erroneous thinking that has emerged because of the event. Practitioners may work with clients on false beliefs that the world is no longer safe, for example, or that they are incompetent because they have "let" a terrible event happen to them.

• Stress-inoculation training, another form of CBT, where practitioners teach clients techniques to manage and reduce anxiety, such as breathing, muscle relaxation and positive self-talk.

• Other forms of cognitive therapy, including cognitive restructuring and cognitive therapy.

• Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing, or EMDR, where the therapist guides clients to make eye movements or follow hand taps, for instance, at the same time they are recounting traumatic events. It's not clear how EMDR works, and, for that reason, it's somewhat controversial, though the therapy is supported by research, notes Dartmouth University psychologist Paula P. Schnurr, PhD, deputy executive director of the National Center for PTSD.

• Medications, specifically selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Two in particular—paroxetine (Paxil) and sertaline (Zoloft)—have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in PTSD. Other medications may be useful in treating PTSD as well, particularly when the person has additional disorders such as depression, anxiety or psychosis, the guidelines note.

Spreading the word

So promising does the VA consider two of the "A" treatments—prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive-processing therapy—that it is doing national rollouts of them within the VA, notes psychologist Antonette Zeiss, PhD, deputy chief consultant for mental health at the agency.

"Enhancing our ability to provide veterans with the psychotherapies for PTSD that have the strongest evidence base is one of our highest priorities," Zeiss says. In fact, the VA began training psychologists to provide the two approaches more than a year before the Institute of Medicine released its report of successful treatments, she says. "We're pleased that the report confirms our emphasis on this training."

The VA system's structure and philosophy make it possible to test the results of treatments in large, realistic samples—a clinical researcher's dream, notes Schnurr, who has conducted a number of such studies, most recently in a study of female veterans that led to the rollout out of prolonged exposure therapy. That study was reported in the Feb. 28, 2007, issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (Vol. 297, No. 8, pages 820–830).

"The VA was able to support the science, so the research didn't just sit around in a journal and get discussed," Zeiss says. "They put money toward it, and they asked us to help them do a major rollout of the treatment."

Boosting effectiveness

Meanwhile, other researchers are experimenting with add-ons to these proven treatments to increase their effectiveness. Some are looking at how virtual reality might enhance the effects of prolonged-exposure therapy. By adding virtual reality, whereby clients experience 3-D imagery, sounds and sometimes smells that correspond with a traumatic event, "we think it might be a good alternative for people who are too avoidant to do standard exposure therapy, because it puts them right there," says Emory University's Rothbaum.

Other researchers are adding a small dose of an old tuberculosis drug, D-cycloserine, or DCS, to treatment to see if it can mitigate people's fear reactions. Rothbaum's team, which includes psychologist Mike Davis, PhD, and psychiatrist Kerry Ressler, MD, PhD, have recently shown that the drug helps to extinguish fear in animals, so they're hoping for a similar effect in people.

In one study with veterans of the current Iraq war, Rothbaum's team is giving all participants a type of virtual reality that simulates combat conditions in Iraq, then randomizing them into a drug condition where they get DCS, a placebo, or the anti-anxiety drug alprazolam (Xanax).

In a similar vein, researchers at the Program for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Studies at Weill Cornell Medical College are using virtual reality and DCS to treat those directly affected by the 2001 World Trade Center attacks, including civilians who were in the towers or nearby buildings, witnesses, and firefighters and police officers who were first responders.

Participants receive standard cognitive behavioral treatment enhanced with virtual reality, where they see graded versions of a Twin Towers scenario, starting with simple images of the buildings on a sunny day, and progressing gradually to include the horrific sights and sounds of that day. They also randomly receive either a small dose of DCS or a placebo pill before each session.

While neither study is complete, the researchers say the treatments appear to significantly reduce participants' PTSD symptoms. Rothbaum has recently submitted a grant proposal for a study where she plans to compare traditional and virtual-reality exposure therapies—which hasn't yet been done—in combination with DCS or a placebo.

Addressing comorbidity

Other psychologists are starting to think about ways to treat PTSD when it is accompanied by other psychiatric and health conditions. Psychologist John Otis, PhD, of Boston University and VA Boston, for instance, is testing an integrated treatment that aims to alleviate symptoms of both PTSD and chronic pain in Vietnam veterans and veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The treatment combines aspects of cognitive processing therapy for trauma and cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain.

"We think these two conditions may interact in some [psychological] way that makes them more severe and challenging to treat," Otis says. In particular, he and others posit that "anxiety sensitivity"—fear of experiencing one's anxiety-related symptoms—may increase the odds that certain PTSD sufferers have more problems than others.

Again, while the study is not yet finished, results are encouraging, reports Otis. "Many of the veterans who are getting the integrated treatment are experiencing partial or complete remission of both kinds of symptoms," he says.

On a broader scale, the National Center for PTSD's Keane believes that much more research is needed on treating PTSD and psychiatric co-morbidities such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, personality disorders and psychosis—a common situation that escalates the more severe a person's PTSD symptoms are, he says.

He, for one, would like to examine possible applications to PTSD of the concept of a "unified protocol," a theory and methodology being developed by Boston University psychotherapy researcher David Barlow, PhD, to treat concurrent problems such as panic attacks, anxiety and phobias.

That said, the recent advances promise to help many more people suffering from a condition they did not bring on themselves, says Zeiss.

"While there is still more to learn, we have taken significant steps in developing treatments that have been shown to be effective and that will be increasingly provided both in VA and other mental health care settings," says Zeiss. "Those affected by combat stress and other traumas will be able to reach out for care without feeling ashamed or hopeless."

Tori DeAngelis is a writer in Syracuse, N.Y.

Post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma in children and adolescents is one of the priorities of APA's 2008 President Alan E. Kazdin, PhD. He is forming a task force on the topic, which will be chaired by Annette LaGreca, PhD. The scope of the committee's work will be covered in an upcoming issue of the Monitor.
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Friday, October 30, 2009

TENACITY vs. PERSEVERANCE

EthicalDemocracy
New York City
October 30th, 2009
6:47 am

Tenacity vs. Perseverance

Brooks shows, not for the first time, that he is part of the U.S. war machine propaganda.

Though Brooks claims that he has called around to a few of his pro-Zionist (as distinct from pro- Israel) 'experts' in the military establishment, this opinion piece is a call to war, in his own voice, from his own mouth.

Is this responsible journalism?

Tenacity is an attribute that can make one bull-headed and possessing tunnel vision, but in contrast the attribute of perseverance, validated in research, makes it possible to pursue goals that are far-reaching and enduring.

The Rotweiler approach is not working, but Brooks advocates it.

Peace endures. Nonviolence endures. Truth endures.

All wholly attainable, wholly pragmatic ideals, if the US can stay out of other sovereign states and instead, protect itself at home -- against the hatred of those it has blatantly exploited for over 50 years.

The majority of West Asians and South Asians know what I am talking about. The hawks? no. Brooks? no.

Chithra KarunaKaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com
--------------------------------------------
NYTimes copyright
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/30/opinion/30brooks.html
The Tenacity Question
By DAVID BROOKS

Military experts say that President Obama is intellectually sophisticated, but they do not know if he has the determination needed from a war president.
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Thursday, October 29, 2009

RESPECTS -- OR HYPE?

EthicalDemocracy
New York City
October 29th, 2009
9:57 am

RESPECTS -- or HYPE?

Our current President whom I voted for, is a skillful user of the media.

I hope that standing there, watching the war dead come home in boxes, is not just hype.

If he continues to feed the US war machine in West Asia and South Asia, then that would be just hype.

Will Obama stand and pay his respects to the hundreds of thousands CIVILIAN DEAD, KILLED BY U.S. FORCES in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Chithra KarunaKaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

We the Women

My NYT comment #11.
EthicalDemocracy
New York City
October 27th, 2009
8:30 am
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/world/27germany.html
--
EthicalDemocracy
New York City
October 27th, 2009
5:16 am

We need a new Pacifist Women's Movement, real men welcome.

\"Forced to confront?\" etc. etc.? Really, are the Germans \"forced\" to?

The US, through its geopolitical invention of the NATO construct (and other strategic constructs including CENTO and SEATO, even the UN In-Security Council), has successfully managed to entangle various sovereign nation-states and their respective peoples in war arrangements.

Germany should have learned from its own bloody, unenviable history of ethnic cleansing and empire building. But Germany is entangled in the US-led NATO construct which has continued to destabilize Europe by driving a wedge between Russia and her neighbors.

The US has emphatically proven to be NOT a neighbor to anyone, except Canada. Canadians have remained rightfully wary and strenuously non-subservient though also enmeshed in NATO.

We the People are completely failing to give credence to the psychological underpinnings of war -- MALE aggression and counter aggression; thrill-seeking; hunger for power and dominance; maiming, death and destruction; desensitization to violence, wide-ranging mental disorders, ALL of which are negative human attributes and outcomes that impede civilization and civil society progress in the area of universal human rights.

The Cheneyites are still in triumphal mode, through the failed Iraq and Afpak strategies and continuing to gain ground, even in this self-proclaimed \"change\" administration.

We the Women can and must lead Change in this continuing horror equation.

Chithra KarunaKaran

Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice

http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com
------------
NYTimes copyright

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/27/world/27germany.html?ref=global-home
http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2009/10/26/world/20091026GERMAN_3.html

German Limits on War Are Facing Reality in Afghanistan
By NICHOLAS KULISH
KUNDUZ, Afghanistan — Forced to confront the rising insurgency in once peaceful northern Afghanistan, the German Army is engaged in sustained and bloody ground combat for the first time since World War II.....(more at link)
Published: October 26, 2009
==============================================================================

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ethical Reassurances vs. Obama's "Strategic Reassurances"

My NYT Comment #531.
EthicalDemocracy
New York City
October 18th, 2009
2:52 pm
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18dowd.html?sort=newest&offset=2

EthicalDemocracy
New York City
October 18th, 2009
10:43 am

Ethical Reassurance vs. "Strategic Reassurance"

I am going to posit my term "Ethical Reassurances" against Obama's "Strategic Reassurances."

Obama has declined to meet the Dalai Lama duirng his recent visit to Washington, because Obama has an upcoming visit to China -- and you know, Obama wouldn't want to offend the freedom loving Chinese authorities by playing host to the Dalai Lama, an authentic winner of a Nobel Peace Prize.

In stark contrast, India's strategy of "Ethical Reassurance" is the exact opposite of Obama's "strategic reassurance."
India's safe haven policy towards Tibetans is an example of Gandhian ethics in practice, in politics. How shrewdly ethical, reminiscent of Gandhi's game-changing nonviolent dismantling of the mighty Brit Empire.

Recently, the Indian Government allowed the Dalai Lama
to visit Arunachal Pradesh, a border state within the Republic of India,
now increasingly stridently disputed by China.
The Indian Govt did not hold the Dalai Lama back,
even at the risk of further sabre-rattling
by the expansionist Chinese.

Tibetans live in Arunachal Pradesh, as they do in every part of India.
The Dalai Lama has every ethical justification,
indeed an ethical obligation to visit with Tibetan communities
in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Chinese government finds intolerable, India's policy of offering Safe Haven to the Dalai Lama and hundreds of thousands of his fellow Tibetans, a policy that India has steadfastly followed since the late '50s, when the Dalai Lama and his followers fled Chinese oppression in their ancestral homeland.

India's Safe Haven policy towards the Dalai Lama incurred Chinese aggression on Indian territory in the Northeast in 1962, in which tens of thousands of ill-prepared Indian soldiers lost their lives.

Of course there are many un-noted geopolitical complexities in my narrative but India's strategy of "Ethical Reassurances" is the exact opposite of Obama's "strategic reassurances."
India's safe haven policy towards Tibetans is an example of Gandhian ethics in practice, in politics. How shrewdly ethical, reminiscent of Gandhi's game-changing nonviolent dismantling of the mighty Brit Empire.

Of course no one seriously expects a policy of "Ethical Reassurance" from the Chinese -- or from the US for that matter.

Obama is no different in substance (only in style and hype) from his other white male forbears in the Whites' House, with the exception of Lincoln.

Obama performs Whiteness which is a US dominance ideology, racialized of course,
in which ETHICS is consistently trumped by PROFIT -- slavery, genocide, nuclear annihilation of civilians, invasion, occupation -- you get my drift.

I guess a major difference between the Dalai Lama and Obama is that Tibet's leader earned his Nobel. So did Vaclav even though he didn't get one. Hey, neither did Gandhi.

Satyameva Jayate -- to Truth goes the Victory.
Not to you or to me, but to Truth itself.

Chithra Karunakaran
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com
--------------
NYTimes copyright
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18dowd.html
Fie, Fatal Flaw!
By MAUREEN DOWD

President Obama’s legislative career offers cautionary tales about the toll of constant consensus building.
http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2009/10/18/opinion/18dowd.html#bozoanchor
----------------------

Prague Post Copyright
http://praguepost.com/news/comments/2-dignitary-details-tibetan-objectives.html#com4304
-----------------
Reuters Copyright
http://in.reuters.com/article/topNews/idINIndia-42388820090911?pageNumber=3&virtualBrandChannel=0
By Krittivas Mukherjee

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama plans to visit soon Arunachal Pradesh, part of which China claims as its territory, an aide said on Friday in a trip that could again rile Beijing after it denounced his visit to Taiwan this month.

Chhime Chhoekyapa, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader's aide, told Reuters the Dalai Lama would be in Arunachal Pradesh in the second week of November.

"He is going there for teaching. This has nothing to do with politics, there is nothing political about it," Chhoekyapa said.

The intended visit has already sparked consternation in China, which claims about 90,000 sq km of Arunachal Pradesh along their border as part of its territory, and could become another irritant in ties already dogged by a border dispute.

"China expresses strong concern about this information. The visit further reveals the Dalai clique's anti-China and separatist essence," Jiang Yu, the spokeswoman for China's foreign ministry, said in a statement faxed to Reuters.

"China's stance on the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh' is consistent. We firmly oppose Dalai visiting the so-called 'Arunachal Pradesh'," Jiang said.

The Dalai Lama's travel plan was announced a week after the completion of his visit to Taiwan, a self-ruled island claimed by Beijing. China denounced the trip.

A visit to Arunachal Pradesh could now draw further attention to China's treatment of Tibetan activists and the Dalai Lama's calls for cultural and religious freedoms and autonomy.

China considers the Dalai Lama a "splittist" who seeks to separate nearly a quarter of the land mass of the People's Republic of China.

"TIMING SIGNIFICANT"

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, denies the charge and says he seeks greater rights for Tibetans.

"The timing of his trip (to Arunachal Pradesh) is significant. It comes while the debate over his visit to Taiwan is still hot," said Bhaskar Roy, a New Delhi-based China expert.

"Tibetans are as good at playing these games as the Chinese. They know such a visit will keep up the pressure on China."

The trip has ramifications for India-China relations as well.

India and China fought a short war in 1962 and, despite burgeoning trade in recent years, mistrust remains. Both sides jostle for resources and influence as they seek a global role.

This year, the two countries have faced off at multi-lateral forums, including Chinese objections to a $60 million Asian Development Bank loan for a project in Arunachal Pradesh.

Indian media have repeatedly reported "incursions" by Chinese soldiers patrolling the 3,500-km (2,200-mile) border, disputed at various stretches.

In response, India has begun modernising its border roads and moved a squadron of strike aircraft close to the China border. Arunachal Governor J.J. Singh said in June up to 30,000 new troops would be deployed in the area.

"From India's point of view the Dala Lama's visit will restate Arunachal Pradesh as Indian territory," said Roy.

The Dalai Lama fled Tibet through Arunachal Pradesh, which has a substantial Buddhist population.

(Additional reporting by Yu Le in BEIJING)
==================================================================================

Saturday, October 17, 2009

U.S. Media -- Free but UNINFORMED?

A FREE but UNINFORMED US media is a global threat, worse than Al Qaida and the Taliban combined.

An example is this Wall Street Journal Editorial (evaluate for yourself)

Not So 'Smart Power'
Congress sticks a gratuitous thumb in Pakistan's eye.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574471502060909532.html#articleTabs%3Darticle


---
My comments appearing on the WSJ online Site:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704107204574471502060909532.html#articleTabs%3Dcomments
* Chithra KarunaKaran wrote:

WSJ Editorial lacks "Smart Power" of Kerry-Lugar and Berman

This WSJ editorial lacks the "smart power" of informed, critically logical
writing based on verifiable factual evidence.


House Democrat Howard Berman phrased it inelegantly but accurately when he said he did not want to see US taxpayer dollars go down a "rat hole" in Pakistan.

My Q: What objection could the WSJ possibly have to ensure that US taxpayer dollars are wisely spent and prudently protected, especially during the extended economic downturn?

Is the anonymous WSJ editorial implying that the 152 members of the US Congress are a proxy for the Government of India? The 152-member mis-named India Congressional Caucus (in US neo-imperial discourse all locations are colonized,) stood together to ensure that Pakistan's fragile attempt at civilian government would be protected from
the marauding efforts of the ISI, and increasingly dissident sections of the Pakistan
Army, who now are reported to be joining AlQaida and Tehreek-e-Taliban
Pakistan (TTP). That is good for both India and Pakistan. Of course let us be clear eyed and recognize that the US Congress can do absolutely nothing to control corruption in South Asia, least of all in Pakistan. Any ordinary civic-minded Pakistani will tell you that. The US cannot even control corporate corruption at home!

The strings-attached-approach by Berman and Co. actually protects Pak's
civilian government, weak and ineffectual as it is. I am not arguing that
it deserves that support, please note. Pakistanis can be self-reliant and handle their own affairs, without US meddling, which began in the early '50s.

But in the end, Can we blame Pakistan's leaders for this mess? Only partly.

Pakistan is a Paid Political Prostitute (PPP) of the US. Has been for 50+ years.

Let's look at Secretary of State Clinton's cosmetically enhanced assessment of this relationship after her return from Pakistan at the end of October:

‘I’ve admitted to mistakes by our country going back in time, but I’ve also reminded people that we’ve been partners and allies from the beginning of Pakistan’s inception as a country.’

‘Pakistan has helped us on several important occasions, and we are very grateful for that. So let’s begin to clear the air here.’
I rest my case.

How did that happen, that Pakistan became a Paid Political Prostitute (PPP) of the US?

Pakistan, weakened by Brit-driven Partition and by the decisions of a few of its
own narrowly focused leaders, became subjugated by the US Department of State beginning in the early 50's, under John Foster Dulles.
Pakistan became a client-state of the US.
Note: Israel is also a client-state of the US, but unlike hapless Pakistan, Israel enjoys de facto MFN status (Most Favored Nation)with the US.

Pakistan has been servicing the US Govt. for almost 50 years.

Pakistan has loyally, shrewdly done the US's dirty work.
Pakistan has grown terror on its own soil for the US and importantly, deployed Terror as an instrument of state policy against India, the world's largest democracy.
This fact has been publicly admitted by both Musharraf and Zardari, civilian and military leaders alike.
WSJ editor, please read the news stories submitted by your own reporters.

Pakistan sowed the wind largely at the behest of the US and now Pakistan is reaping the whirlwind.
Pakistan is now killing thousands and displacing million plus of its very own people under orders from the US. and as a consequence of its own cross-border terror policies, mainly thru the efforts of Pakistan's ISI, trained by agencies of the US govt.


The Mujahideen (during the Cold War invented by the US to bring down the Soviet economy everywhere,)those US-trained Mujahideen under the supervision of Pakistan's ISI (itself trained by the US), those Mujahideen were deployed into Indian Kashmir and in the attack on India's Parliament in New delhi, those mujahideen who now are variants of Taliban factions were once ordinary peaceful residents of Pakistan and Afghanistan, living traditional lives shaped and influenced by local culture. Until the US stepped in and ruined their lives and destabilized Pakistan.

Q.Who messed up Pakista, and Afghanistan? The neo-imperial, expansionist US for whom nation-states are a commodity to be consumed for profit.

Indians and Pakistanis are sisters and brothers, blatantly manipulated in the past, by Brit Divide and Rule colonial Strategy and now by the neoimperial US "Strategic Depth" operations in our South Asia region. The damage has been done, so WSJ is greviously mistaken to argue that the damage has to be exacerbated by giving Pak FREE unfettered access to U.S. TAXPAYER money. That's my
money you're talking about WSJ.


Finally, I thought WSJ was a media entity that
HELPED taxpayers manage their money prudently. How irresponsible of you then,
WSJ to advocate fiscal irresponsibility by Congress in its foreign policy
legislative initiatives.

A FREE but UNINFORMED US media is a global threat, far worse than Al Qaida and the Taliban combined.
------------

My private response to Elizabeth Bumiller on her NYTimes piece abt Afghanistan since public romments were not provided for on the NYT site.

in 1970, When I arrived from India to study at Columbia's overrated Graduate School of Journalism, I remember feeling uncomfortable and resentful at jokes, mainly by the predominantly white (Jewish of course) male faculty male white students, about "being sent to Afghanistan" as a fate equivalent to death for a budding journalist.
Now US journalists are fighting each other to go there to get a book (or a nostalgic article) out of it.
In your article you fail to include ANY mention of the CIA in Afghanistan undercover with USAID, possibly beginning in the 50's, which is abt the same time that the US State Department, under John Foster Dulles, subjugated Pakistan and turned it into a client state.
The US Govt. capitalist system INVENTED the Cold War with the Soviets, and Afghanistan became a theatre to enact that strategy.
The US is heavily complicit in all that has since happened in the western part of South Asia.

The verifiable factual evidence of US complicity and duplicity in South Asia(Af in particular) is conveniently left out of your story. In fact there is a pro-Zionist subtext running through almost every story in the NYT about South Asia or West Asia (the latter known to yu folks as the Middle East -- Middle of what? East of Where?)
cheers
Chithra KarunaKaran
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com


Professor Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York(CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com
==================================================================
Dawn online newspaper copyright

(My Comment on DAWN, Pakistan's foremost English Language Daily)
http://blog.dawn.com/2009/11/02/hillarys-headache/


Let’s look at the FACTUAL HISTORICAL EVIDENCE rather than what Hillary is SAYING (she is a pro-Israel politician after all).

The main interest of the US is to gain “strategic depth” in South Asia.

Why? To threaten Iran. And monitor Russia and China. This is the new geo-political nexus of power for the US.

The US is interested in selling as many weapons and will not refrain from destabilizing as many nations as possible in its quest for excessive profit and global influence.

This is dangerous for EVERY South Asian nation-state.

The US turned Pakistan into a client-state in the 50’s, so that Pakistan could conduct war on behalf of the US.

Those Mujahideen were once ordinary peaceful residents before they were morphed into the Talibans of various stripes, mainly through US militarization and training.

Hillary was my Senator before she ran against Obama. She is following the exact same policy that John Foster Dulles started in the ’50’s in the State Department — to turn Pakistan into a client-state of the US.

In its relentless quest for dominance, (even though the US economy is in the doldrums), the US has successfully gained a foothold in South Asia.

Wake up Pakistan. Don’t blame yourselves.
Only the ordinary people of Pakistan can make that happen. Pak’s leaders are too corrupt and have become cynically dependent on US billions. None of the money reaches the common man.

Wake up Pakistan. Say NO to US money and US control. Say YES to SELF-RESPECT and national Sovereignty.

Chithra KarunaKaran
New York, NY

Some Pak blogger-journalists buy the US media and US Govt. HYPE -- and doubt their own media and civil society -- CKK (see below)
---------
Hillary's Headache
Posted by Asif Akhtar in Featured Articles, Pakistan, Politics on 11 2nd, 2009 |

It seems the Pakistani media has learned a couple of new chic and trendy phrases like ‘charm offensive’ and ‘trust deficit’ from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the highly skeptical and very paranoid Republic of Pakistan. The trip seemed to have been inspired by a long overdue initiative to ease tensions with the Pakistani masses that have been having second and third thoughts about their ‘use and abuse partnership’ with the US since its inception in 2001.

Unprecedented by the likes of such high-ranking US officials in the past, Clinton’s trip attempts to bring the highly controversial, and largely misunderstood ‘AfPak’ policies of the confused US government to the Pakistani masses in Barack Obama’s signature style of addressing town halls and public gatherings in informal question and answer sessions. While the inclusion of the public at large in the discourse on US foreign policy seems like a revolutionary step away from more clandestine approaches to manipulate political will through figureheads, for now we will only have to wait and see if this approach is fruitful in changing Pakistani public opinion about the United States.

Though clearly designed to open up dialogue on a range of issues, most of Clinton’s public and televised meetings were haunted by the $7.5 billion elephant in the room formally known as the Kerry-Lugar act. A communication disconnect was evident when the roomful of television anchors bombarded the Secretary of State with complaints on the language of the bill, prompting her to respond that the language in the bill was in fact written for a quick sell in the US Congress and wasn’t designed for endless debate on news talk shows.

The gap in communication became even more apparent when the Urdu news channel anchors attempted to use their well honed skills of conjuring highly emotional diatribes to try and melt a very pragmatic US Secretary of State into ceding all conditions. They did, however, succeed in prompting Clinton to declare that far from being dispatched, the money had only been set aside, and if the Pakistani people didn’t want the money they didn’t have to take it. The open-ended question reduced a cackling room to pin-drop silence, almost embarrassing the anchors for pursuing that line of questioning in the first place. It seems none of the haughty anchors were ready to make the billion-dollar blunder by ticking off the Secretary of State and losing all that aid money.

As much as Clinton would have liked to close the chapter on the Kerry-Lugar act, it continued to pop up in almost every subsequent discussion revealing an even deeper layer of social and cultural misunderstanding. While Clinton herself admitted that Washington was perturbed when they heard the huge public outcry over the tripling of US aid to our war-torn country, the message that the Pakistani masses were attempting to send to the Obama administration was apparently lost in cultural translation. The nuance I equate this whole media-catalysed row over the aid is more akin to the interaction between a shop-keeper and a customer, where the customer has inadvertently said something to dishonour the shop-keeper, causing the annoyed shop-keeper to tell the customer to take his money and leave as he doesn’t want to have anything to do with him or his money.

Likewise, it seems we, as a nation, are just sick and tired of the war we agreed to fight in 2001, and now we want America to keep their money, pack up, and just leave us in peace, as if that would immediately revert things back to their happy-go-lucky pre-2001 state of affairs. To add to an already perturbed American’s confusions, the issue isn’t as simple, because as soon as there is talk in Washington about cutting and running, Pakistan seems to let out a bellow filled with agony at being betrayed by those godless Americans again.

The national outcry over the US wanting to steal our much cherished sovereignty through a crafty piece of legislation must have befuddled many in Washington as well. If the idea of one country conning another out of its sovereignty through legal jargon isn’t absurd in itself, the idea of feeling more comfortable and territorially sovereign with non-state actors squatting in our front- and backyards must be mind-boggling for people in the US State Department.

In fact, the idea of a legal document taking away Pakistan’s sovereignty should strike a Pakistani Muslim as even more preposterous. Anyone who has even pursued the constitution of Pakistan should know that it is clearly stated in the Objectives Resolution that ‘Soveriegnty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.’ How can any bill, regardless of whether it was drafted in Washington or New Dehli, even dream of stealing something which belongs to Allah?

Legal metaphysics aside, it is a fact in political science that most pieces of international legislation, including trade deals, and membership in international organisations such as the United Nations, impinge on the idea of absolute national sovereignty. The case is similar to an individual giving up certain rights and liberties to live in a civilised society. As rational actors we should readily accept any form of monetary incentives to root out destabilising entities while gaining a foot-hold in the development queue.

In between frequent bombardments of questions relating to a range of controversial topics from drone attacks to Blackwater/Xe Securities, whenever Hillary got a chance for a breather she must have felt like a local pir or fakir as people decided to dump a wheelbarrow full of Pakistan’s numerous problems on her as if she had the magic cure for everything from Kashmir to women’s empowerment. While she must have really felt like she was in the ‘you’ve broken it, now you’ve bought it’ situation, she handled most of the questions and concerns with a calm and a poise people would have never expected from her predecessor Condaleeza Rice, who would have been more comfortable carrying out the offensive without the charm.

While a gaping US-Pakistan communication disconnect does exist, most of it seems to be caused by the deceptive practices of our own popularly elected government representatives. The confrontation of Clinton and the public at large, and given the issues that have revolved around this interaction just goes to show how much the Pakistani government dissimulates before its own people, saying one thing to US law makers, and saying something completely different to the public on issues such as drone attacks, foreign aid, private security, the power crisis, among numerous others.

Given the circumstances, this attempt by a US official at bridging the gap between Pakistani opinions and US policy is commendable. So far this Obama-style tour de force has only gone as far as to open the floodgates. It will be interesting to note in the coming months whether the US actually acts on the many suggestions Clinton has received from Pakistanis from all walks of life.

asifakhtar80x80 Lahore-based Asif Akhtar is interested in critical social discourse as well as the expressive facets of reactive art and is one of the schizophrenic narrators of a graphic novel. He blogs at e-scape-artist.blogspot.com and tweets at twitter.com/e_scape_artist.







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Dawn online copyright
Somersaults on air
Posted by Nadeem F. Paracha in Featured Articles, Pakistan on 10 29th, 2009 | 50 responses

Talking to DawnNews, veteran journalist Agha Murtaza Poya called America, India, and Israel an ‘axis of evil out to destroy Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan.’

There is absolutely nothing new or original about Poya’s grand ‘geopolitical’ assessment, but when such unsubstantiated claptrap comes from a respected journalist, what common sense or responsibility can one expect from the hoards of TV anchors and print journalists whose figurative 15 minutes of fame have already overstayed their cacophonic welcome.

It is a ‘fame’ gathered from cheap fist-clenching demonstrations of populist nonsense and so-called political discourses that are thoroughly anti-intellectual in nature and akin to deal more in sardonic barbs and thrilling sound bytes for an audience that seems not to have the patience, or for that matter, the capability to enjoy a more rational discourse.

TV screens and the pages of some newspapers are choked with hosts, journalists, and ‘experts’ dishing out the most worn out clich├ęs that can be wonderful fodder for fast food spy fiction, consequently announcing the demise of any semblance left in this society to actually understand international and local politics as a dynamic science instead of reading it as a rapid-fire script of a racy James Bond film.

Accusations are conveniently floated about ‘corruption’ and ‘foreign hands,’ and not even once have they been proven as something more concrete than drawing room gossip or obsessive finger-wagging.

Thankfully, those sickened by such baloney have gotten down to systematically dismantling the many myths and conspiracy dribble that are smugly rolled out as ‘facts.’

Take the books written on the subject of Islamists and terrorism in the region by well known author Ahmed Rashid. In Decent into Chao (2008), Rashid uses reliable sources to turn the already known narrative of Pakistan being its own worst enemy into an elaborate and convincing intellectual and journalistic exercise.

But myth-busters – including Rashid, Dr. Pervez Hoodbhoy, Dr. Mubarak Ali and others – may seem ‘too dry’ in their style compared to the many compelling babblers, journalists, and columnists who have turned spouting populist twaddle and worn-out conspiracies into an industry. Now, however, the myth-breaking brigade have found their own shock troopers.

This is a vital development in which sanity in this respect seems to be evolving a muscular side to challenge the sheer brawn of gaseous drawing room jocks such as Zaid Hamid, Aamir Liaquat, Mubashhir Luqman, Shahid Masood, Ansar Abbasi, et al.

Urdu columnist and TV host Hassan Nisar and investigative journalist Aamir Mir have been the frontline shock troopers. They have continued to dent the jocks’ numerous theories not only with arguments rooted in facts, but also with a punch.

In his book, Talibanisation of Pakistan, Mir, like Rashid, uses the most convincing investigative tools, smartly gathering on-ground facts from various competing intelligence agencies in Pakistan to lay out a harrowing narrative that puts Pakistan’s many schizophrenic intelligence agencies smack-dab in the middle of all that has gone so terribly wrong with Pakistan in matters of extremism and terrorism.

Mir’s book is a warning, but without the holier-than-thou approach that many of his detractors usually take.

The more we remain in denial about our own agencies’ historical dabbling in civilian political matters, and the many deadly games that these agencies played moulding armies of fanatical and violent Frankenstein Monsters, the deeper we shall tumble into the bottomless pit we have managed to dig for ourselves.

Interestingly, every time certain awkward truths about our own political and societal failures start to become a hot topic among the amoral chattering classes, there are always those who suddenly up the ante of their respective TV shows and their newspaper ‘scoops’ and columns, diverting the attention of the people either back to the wrecking and scheming ways of ‘foreign hands,’ or, of course, the Kerry-Lugar Bill and the NRO.

I’ve been associated with both investigative and desk journalism for more than 15 years now, and I know how vulnerable to exploitation journalists can get; quite like the politicians we so self-righteously bash. And even though I have very little experience with electronic journalism, one can quite easily point out the cynicism that cuts across it.

In 2007, the army (for the TV news channels) became the villain and the lawyers our saviours; terrorists were dealt with velvet gloves, even glorified as men who were creatures of circumstance instead of the cold-blooded murderers that they really are.
The same year, when late Benazir Bhutto met with Pervez Musharraf, she was mocked and put down as a ‘puppet of America.’ Soon after her tragic death, she suddenly became a heroine, and whole documentaries were dedicated to her.

In 2008, the army was still the villain and democrats became supermen. Terrorists were still seen to be fighting a noble war against America, and those who were blowing themselves up in mosques and schools were ‘Indian agents.’

In 2009, after the government and the army finally took decisive action against the terrorists, the army returned to the TV screens as heroes. Terrorists, meanwhile, became an elusive cross between barbarians and men funded by foreign powers. Last year’s supermen, the elected democrats, on the other hand, become ‘corrupt,’ ‘incompetent,’ and a laughing stock.

Suddenly, for TV news channels in Pakistan, it seems democracy isn’t all that cool anymore. They’re back indulging in Pakistani journalism’s all-time favourite pastime: looking for those ‘dark clouds’ of army intervention to ‘control corrupt politicians.’ They just never tire of this hollow, reactive exercise. It’s been going on ever since 1958.

The electronic media claims these somersaults are undertaken in the fine name of ‘democracy,’ and ‘freedom of speech.’ But the truth is, much of our electronic media is simply driven by what is better described as a mobocracy! Even a casual glance at any ‘talk show’ should suffice as proof.

nadeem_80x802 Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.




50 Comments »

1. avatar
Chithra KarunaKaran Says:
November 1st, 2009 at 16:37
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24/7 on the Air

The entire world media has entered the realm of 24/7 air and digital news, so are we surprised that Quantity frequently trumps Quality?

Agha’s use of Bush’s “axis of evil” metaphor makes him a Bush follower? How ironic. At least 24/7 media exposed Agha’s paranoia.

Here in the US, 24/7 news ’somersaults’ can give you a migraine.

Solution? Suck it up, turn it off, get over it, get a life, take a jog, help others, don’t be corrupt, participate actively in building civil society. That’s democracy.

I get a lot of my news from Dawn online and I really appreciate it.

Chithra KarunaKaran

Ethical Democracy As lived Practice
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com
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Hillary’s headache
Posted by Asif Akhtar in Featured Articles, Pakistan, Politics on 11 2nd, 2009 | 27 responses

It seems the Pakistani media has learned a couple of new chic and trendy phrases like ‘charm offensive’ and ‘trust deficit’ from the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to the highly skeptical and very paranoid Republic of Pakistan. The trip seemed to have been inspired by a long overdue initiative to ease tensions with the Pakistani masses that have been having second and third thoughts about their ‘use and abuse partnership’ with the US since its inception in 2001.

Unprecedented by the likes of such high-ranking US officials in the past, Clinton’s trip attempts to bring the highly controversial, and largely misunderstood ‘AfPak’ policies of the confused US government to the Pakistani masses in Barack Obama’s signature style of addressing town halls and public gatherings in informal question and answer sessions. While the inclusion of the public at large in the discourse on US foreign policy seems like a revolutionary step away from more clandestine approaches to manipulate political will through figureheads, for now we will only have to wait and see if this approach is fruitful in changing Pakistani public opinion about the United States.

Though clearly designed to open up dialogue on a range of issues, most of Clinton’s public and televised meetings were haunted by the $7.5 billion elephant in the room formally known as the Kerry-Lugar act. A communication disconnect was evident when the roomful of television anchors bombarded the Secretary of State with complaints on the language of the bill, prompting her to respond that the language in the bill was in fact written for a quick sell in the US Congress and wasn’t designed for endless debate on news talk shows.

The gap in communication became even more apparent when the Urdu news channel anchors attempted to use their well honed skills of conjuring highly emotional diatribes to try and melt a very pragmatic US Secretary of State into ceding all conditions. They did, however, succeed in prompting Clinton to declare that far from being dispatched, the money had only been set aside, and if the Pakistani people didn’t want the money they didn’t have to take it. The open-ended question reduced a cackling room to pin-drop silence, almost embarrassing the anchors for pursuing that line of questioning in the first place. It seems none of the haughty anchors were ready to make the billion-dollar blunder by ticking off the Secretary of State and losing all that aid money.

As much as Clinton would have liked to close the chapter on the Kerry-Lugar act, it continued to pop up in almost every subsequent discussion revealing an even deeper layer of social and cultural misunderstanding. While Clinton herself admitted that Washington was perturbed when they heard the huge public outcry over the tripling of US aid to our war-torn country, the message that the Pakistani masses were attempting to send to the Obama administration was apparently lost in cultural translation. The nuance I equate this whole media-catalysed row over the aid is more akin to the interaction between a shop-keeper and a customer, where the customer has inadvertently said something to dishonour the shop-keeper, causing the annoyed shop-keeper to tell the customer to take his money and leave as he doesn’t want to have anything to do with him or his money.

Likewise, it seems we, as a nation, are just sick and tired of the war we agreed to fight in 2001, and now we want America to keep their money, pack up, and just leave us in peace, as if that would immediately revert things back to their happy-go-lucky pre-2001 state of affairs. To add to an already perturbed American’s confusions, the issue isn’t as simple, because as soon as there is talk in Washington about cutting and running, Pakistan seems to let out a bellow filled with agony at being betrayed by those godless Americans again.

The national outcry over the US wanting to steal our much cherished sovereignty through a crafty piece of legislation must have befuddled many in Washington as well. If the idea of one country conning another out of its sovereignty through legal jargon isn’t absurd in itself, the idea of feeling more comfortable and territorially sovereign with non-state actors squatting in our front- and backyards must be mind-boggling for people in the US State Department.

In fact, the idea of a legal document taking away Pakistan’s sovereignty should strike a Pakistani Muslim as even more preposterous. Anyone who has even pursued the constitution of Pakistan should know that it is clearly stated in the Objectives Resolution that ‘Soveriegnty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.’ How can any bill, regardless of whether it was drafted in Washington or New Dehli, even dream of stealing something which belongs to Allah?

Legal metaphysics aside, it is a fact in political science that most pieces of international legislation, including trade deals, and membership in international organisations such as the United Nations, impinge on the idea of absolute national sovereignty. The case is similar to an individual giving up certain rights and liberties to live in a civilised society. As rational actors we should readily accept any form of monetary incentives to root out destabilising entities while gaining a foot-hold in the development queue.

In between frequent bombardments of questions relating to a range of controversial topics from drone attacks to Blackwater/Xe Securities, whenever Hillary got a chance for a breather she must have felt like a local pir or fakir as people decided to dump a wheelbarrow full of Pakistan’s numerous problems on her as if she had the magic cure for everything from Kashmir to women’s empowerment. While she must have really felt like she was in the ‘you’ve broken it, now you’ve bought it’ situation, she handled most of the questions and concerns with a calm and a poise people would have never expected from her predecessor Condaleeza Rice, who would have been more comfortable carrying out the offensive without the charm.

While a gaping US-Pakistan communication disconnect does exist, most of it seems to be caused by the deceptive practices of our own popularly elected government representatives. The confrontation of Clinton and the public at large, and given the issues that have revolved around this interaction just goes to show how much the Pakistani government dissimulates before its own people, saying one thing to US law makers, and saying something completely different to the public on issues such as drone attacks, foreign aid, private security, the power crisis, among numerous others.

Given the circumstances, this attempt by a US official at bridging the gap between Pakistani opinions and US policy is commendable. So far this Obama-style tour de force has only gone as far as to open the floodgates. It will be interesting to note in the coming months whether the US actually acts on the many suggestions Clinton has received from Pakistanis from all walks of life.

asifakhtar80x80 Lahore-based Asif Akhtar is interested in critical social discourse as well as the expressive facets of reactive art and is one of the schizophrenic narrators of a graphic novel. He blogs at e-scape-artist.blogspot.com and tweets at twitter.com/e_scape_artist.

The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily represent the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

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My response to Dawn Blogger ( scroll below)
The CORE problem is the US.

Not the people of Pakistan but the US. And the leaders of Pakistan who are kissing US ass.

Q. Why don’t Pakistan’s leaders tell the US to stop interfering and GET the HELL OUT of Pakistan?

The US is a State sponsor of Terror, has been for at least 60 years, in Nicaragua, Cuba, El Salvador, Israel, Palestine, you name it, the US has been there to destabilize sovereign nation-states.

Now the US is destabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been subjugated by the US since the John Foster Dulles era of the State Department in the ’50s. Pakistan became a CLIENT-state of the US at that time.

Pakistan’s successive govts., mainly military dictatorships, RULING WITHOUT THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE colluded with the US military establishment and the military-industrial complex that runs the US govt, to WEAKEN Pakistan’s civil society institutions. Pakistan, most regrettably has become a paid political prostitute (PPP)
of the terror apparatus of the US govt. The leaders in Pakistan and the US are making millions while the common people who make civil society, are starving and dying in bomb blasts.

Remember, there were NO so-called terrorists UNTIL the US became embroiled in SOUTH ASIA.

I am a US citizen and that’s my analysis.

Dr. Chithra KarunaKaran
City University of New York (CUNY)
Ethical Democracy As Lived Practice
http://EthicalDemocracy.blogspot.com

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Dawn copyright
Attacking our way of life
Posted by Murtaza Razvi in Featured Articles, Pakistan, Politics on 10 28th, 2009 | 80 responses

Amidst the mayhem gripping Pakistan today, there is also a deafening silence pervading the corridors of power and the ranks of the opposition on the prevailing security situation. That silence, too, is being heard now. Pakistan is at war, and this is a war that is being fought as much in our cities as on the frontlines in Fata.

Wednesday’s attack on a Peshawar market, selling mostly women’s merchandise, is an attack on our way of life more than anything else. It is not a statement of the Taliban’s anti-Americanism as Hillary Clinton lands in Pakistan, nor is it a sign of their hatred against the Pakistan Army, which is carrying out a military operation in South Waziristan. It is aimed at women, as you see that a big number of those killed in Peshawar are women shoppers; shoppers that the Taliban want confined within the four walls of their homes. It is an attack on our way of life as we have lived it in Pakistan.

But back to the silence first: President Zardari met Mian Nawaz Sharif over dinner in the security of the presidency on Monday, and the two leaders did not even utter a word of concern about what the people are having to go through in wartime. Islamabad is a city very much under siege; Lahore and Peshawar are no different. And if you ask parents with school-going children in Karachi, they will tell you the situation in the Sindh capital is no less alarming.

Bickering aside, what Mr Sharif told Mr Zardari at their meeting, that the people were becoming acutely aware of the lack of governance, would have made more sense if he had also said the same thing addressing the chief minister of Punjab. The lack of governance and security failures in that province where his own party rules the roost is equally appalling. This is just bad politics at a time when the people need to see their leaders showing more concern about the challenges staring them in the face.

Opening after a week of closure, many private schools in our cities have installed CCTVs, deployed snipers, and placed sandbags around their buildings as local police patrol the areas during school hours. A sense of fear grips parents dropping off their children at school; not a day goes by without terrorists trying to attack security forces’ personnel, amidst reports that all vital installations, media organs, and educational institutions are in the bull’s eye as far as extremist militants’ top targets are concerned.

Schools offering co-education have received threats from terrorists, which have to be taken seriously because of the history of attacks on and threats against schools and colleges in Swat, Peshawar, and across Fata. In Lahore, the Punjab government keeps shutting down schools which in the government’s view have not made adequate security arrangements. In Karachi, many schools ignored the government’s directive to reopen on Monday, choosing instead to wait until they have the security cover in place that they feel they need under the circumstances.

This, while there is little sense of newsworthiness attached to what’s happening in our cities, even when buildings and installations are not being attacked or security personnel made hostage. The media must share some blame for this state of apathy. Why is the war on terror, which has now come to our doorstep, not the primary concern of the prime time talk shows?

Instead, popular hosts keep inviting politicians to wash their dirty linen in public. Is it not the people’s war that is being fought today? Won’t the people of Pakistan be the biggest losers if we fail to win this war that is aimed at annihilating our diverse cultural norms and the social value system?

Yet, it’s just the number of casualties every day that now seem only to casually make the headlines; the media’s mainstay remains internecine party politics which seem to have little to do with the bigger reality marred by fear and depression gripping the whole nation. There are thousands more families that have been displaced by the ongoing military action in South Waziristan, and nobody talks about them. Millions of parents with school-going children have lost their sleep, and there’s little mention of the fear gripping the people in the face of the threat posed to everyday life in our cities.

The failings are staggering, and dangerously enough, they will be seen by many as the failure of democracy yet again. We are at war, finally seeking freedom from the forces of regression and a medieval, extremist way of thinking, and there is enough freedom of speech in this country to voice disgust and repulsion against this mindset, if only one would. The obtaining security situation has left no one untouched. Yet, surprisingly nobody comes forward to voice that sentiment of the silent majority.

The people want to go back to their mundane routines. Youngsters want to go out to the parks, to the beach, to bowl, to eat out. Women want to go shopping unescorted, and men want to go about their daily chores without worrying about families left at home. This is not happening anymore. People look tired and depressed; while many count their blessings that they are safe, some have had close encounters with terrorism; relatives, friends and acquaintances have been killed and injured, or had to leave their homes.

There’s little sense of an imminent end to the mayhem rattling the people’s minds. The citizens want their sense of security restored. They look to their leaders in askance for at least some soothsaying at this time of uncertainty and turmoil. What they get to hear instead is bickering and mudslinging.

Both the government and the opposition leaders need to come out to voice the people’s concerns and give them hope. They need to own the war being fought against the anti-people forces in Fata, and in our cities – as Wednesday’s attack on a women’s market makes amply clear.

Murtaza Razvi is Editor, Magazines, of Dawn.
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1. avatar
Chithra KarunaKaran Says:
November 3rd, 2009 at 17:34
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“The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily represent the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group. ”

If you already have the above disclaimer, why censor reader comments?

I was disappointed with Dawn editors to see my comment was CENSORED.

My comment was neither off-topic or in any way abusive.

I sincerely hope you have the courage to print this.

Chithra KarunaKaran
New York, NY
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2. avatar
JR Says:
November 3rd, 2009 at 13:45
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I am quite surprised that I am actually reading this in Dawn blog. Because for a change this is a superbly crafted commentry that eschews the run of the mill (government must do this; zardari should do that) and makes compellng points in excellent language.

My favorite bits:

‘the idea of feeling more comfortable and territorially sovereign with non-state actors squatting in our front- and backyards must be mind-boggling for people in the US State Department’

and

‘To add to an already perturbed American’s confusions, the issue isn’t as simple, because as soon as there is talk in Washington about cutting and running, Pakistan seems to let out a bellow filled with agony at being betrayed by those godless Americans again.’

Need I say more?
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3. avatar
Faraz Ali Says:
November 3rd, 2009 at 10:57
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Beggers are not the choosers! That was the hidden message in Mrs. Clinton’s answers to our Media. They were speechless in front of her.

Basically as a nation we are corrupt. These leaders are also from our own society. They are not aliens. If you and I think that we are not corrupt but only others are than this is wrong.

The fault is at our own end. The only thing what we lack is honesty with our country as a nation.
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4. avatar
Haroon Says:
November 3rd, 2009 at 10:34
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It was refreshing and very good piece of writing. We as a nation are in the habit of blaming others for our mistakes, although it is something natural to put some blame on others. I frequently tell my friends that our lives are very simple as we put everything on God and Satan. If something good happen it is gift of God otherwise for all the evils Satan is present. Again will say very good effort.
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5. avatar
Abul Mohibullah Says:
November 3rd, 2009 at 8:45
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People’s power can change everything. It was people’s power which elected Obama in the USA. Unfortunately for Pakistan the People’s power has to be demonstrated on the road as they did in restoration of the judges. It is high time that people must show their power to protect the rights of their children. What is surprising is that they are not ready to stand up for the sake of their own children and future generation? Even the animals fight for the protection of their children. If millions can change the fate of Iran, definitely millions can get rid of all the corrupt & unstable administration.
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6. avatar
Facts Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 21:55
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Problem is not the US, India or any other external force or nation. Problem is our invincible faith in corruption, i believe majority of Pakistanis do not think twice before an act of corruption they have become so used to it that they don’t see it different from honesty. One can blame all they want to (Americans) but when you compare honesty, social responsibility, retribution for corruption, caring for fellow beings regardless of color, creed or religious belief we (the nation of One God) dont measure up our actions don’t stack up against them.

It just shocks me when I see an army officer with pride and ego of being superior to any civilian and our leaders, president or prime minister talk at length about how the rights and sovereignty is at stake then at the same time ask Americans for aid. I was shocked to read that our leadership stated that they hope that US will disburse the funds while issues around the language of the bill is being straightened.

We need education and follow Sir Syed’s advice get educated and do not get bogged down by shame that mullah’s have set up for us. Islam is the most liberal of the religions in the world. Islam was the first to give women rights to be a witness, rights to file for divorce, to be a legal heir and eduction was mandated for every Muslim man and woman and here we sit and listen to mullah’s who gave false statements about the religion.

I wish there is a day when we are all educated and no corruption.
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7. avatar
Hammad Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 21:43
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Very well written and wisely delivered.

Hammad
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8. avatar
anaonymous Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 21:37
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“Anyone who has even looked the constitution of Pakistan should know that it is clearly stated in the Objectives Resolution that ‘Soveriegnty belongs to Allah alone but He has delegated it to the State of Pakistan through its people for being exercised within the limits prescribed by Him as a sacred trust.’ I say how can any bill, regardless of whether it was drafted in Washington or New Dehli, even dream of stealing something which belongs to Allah?”

Please keep religion out of the constituion. It is what leads to a Taliban like mentality, eventually. As a Pakistani I would like for us to revert back to Jinnah’s vision of being a secular state. Unfortunately I realise that this is a dream for me.
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9. avatar
Aritra Gupta Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 21:25
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Hi,
Your article exposes the downright spuriousness of both the government, and the media which always claims itself to be the ultimate upholder of democracy. Media should act as a source of firsthand information and facts unbiased, they mould the facts and display it to the public in a way that may suit the interest of the controller. Free media is the feedback mechinery of a democratic system to keep the concept of democracy intact and we the general people must rise up to keep it that way.
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10. avatar
Ahsan Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:25
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Its quite clear to me that they have looked at us like beggers on the street. Its like we give them money or we can scold them or say whatever we want. Where is the self esteem? We have to take care of our own country and our own economy to earn respect in the world. We have all the resources in the world and incredibly gifted people. We just have to make good use of them.
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11. avatar
Adnan Ahmad Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:22
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Great article!
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12. avatar
Richie Rodrigues Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:20
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A good article regarding the US aid pakistan should take it i dont think Usa can moniter where the money goes to a cent

regarding the Pakistan’s sovereingnity i dont think that is possible, they are occupying afganistan and still cannot control it so how can they control pakistan ?

pakistan should use usa as usa is using pakistan.

Regards

Richie.
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13. avatar
farhad ahmad Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:18
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Excellent blog. I wish more people can analyse like you. I agree with you wholeheartedly. There is one of the most sovereignty called, Economic Sovereingy. If you do not have this sovereingy, you lose respect and in danger of losing your political sovereingy. It is so sad that most of Pakistani media, print and electronic do not inform facts, just disinformation, vested interested, and propaganda. How about our all weather friends, China and Saudia Arabia, how much money they donating to save from financial crisis?
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14. avatar
Ali Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:16
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The blog in its general tone to me at least seems Pro-America cleverly disguised as a criticism of the general failing of us as a nation . I find myself lately having the same criticism of Dawn in general as well. Why are we so quick to point out our own flaws while giving the American and the British the benefit of the doubt? Why are we not as critical of them as we are of ourselves. The simple answers is that our flaws are easier to see and point as they are in front of us while other who are far away are more difficult to judge. Maybe the author and the journalist who fell silent when Hillary said it was Pakistan’s choice to take the aid should have answered can we also choose not to fight your war?
Why are we not getting the same amount of aid per person as Israel who is not even fighting America war. Why do they get American weapons without preconditions when they have clearly even used them against civilians. Its not about Sovereignty its being treated as equal it about Pakistani blood being as precious as that of an American or British Solider.
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15. avatar
mehdi Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:03
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well written! it is good that Mrs. Clinton has to come to Paksiatn to find out the peoples opinion. On the other hand salute to Mrs. Clinton for facing this tough task and handling it well. I completely agree with the writer, lets see what is in action going forward from Washington.
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16. avatar
Fazal Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 19:01
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While popular sentiment is to blame USA for saddling us with their war, I think Pakistani’s need to realize that if not now then at some point in the near future we would have been fighting this war anyway, that is unless we prefer living under Taliban style “Islam” which was slowly entrenching itself in our society anyway thanks to our wonderful army and ISI.

The fact is that Pakistan has for quite sometime harbored terrorists and provided safe haven to them. The US is not responsible for that, Pakistan is. Yes I know the CIA helped set this up in the 80’s and ditched, but since then we’ve had ample time to dismantle these networks. Instead we chose to nurture them to use them against India. Please accept some responsibility. This is our war as much as it is USA’s.

The fact is we really should be embracing US help in getting our country rid of this problem. I much prefer Obama’s style of accountability for aid money vs Bush’s blank check approach whereby Gen. M. used the money to his personal use or what so ever purpose. There is a reason our “leaders” are up in arms about Kerry-Lugar and that is because it’s harder for them to line their pockets with the people’s $$$. The intent of that bill is to provide maximum benefit to the people of pakistan not it’s corrupt politicians. Personally I’m glad Pakistani diplomats failed to get a word in about the language of the bill because I sincerely doubt they give much of a care about anything but their personal bank accounts.
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17. avatar
Chithra KarunaKaran Says:
November 2nd, 2009 at 18:07
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Let’s us look at the FACTUAL HISTORICAL EVIDENCE rather than what Hillary is SAYING. Hilary, after all, is a pro-Israel politician. She represented the great State of New York in the US Senate. Could she have won election in New York as a Senator is she were not pro-Israel? NO, NO, NO. The pro-Israel lobby is way too powerful. Local POLITICS become Global POLICY.


The main interest of the US is to gain “strategic depth” in South Asia. It has succeeded, thanks to Pakistan's corrupt politicians and military. Pakistan's feudal elite/military complex colluded with the formidable US military-industrial-corporate complex in which Pakistan was reduced to being a client-state of the US, beginning in the early '50's.

Israel is also a client state, but with one huge difference. Israel enjoys MFN (Most Favored Nation) status because of formidable and sophisticated Jewish support in the US for Israel, through think tanks lobbies and money. Checkbook Judaism, (instead of a hate religion based-politics of suicide bombers), is a a powerful strategy.

Why does the US seek 'strategic depth"? To threaten Iran. To monitor resource-rich Russia and expansionist economic giant China. To prevent a real dialogue between Pakistan and India, by injecting itself as a third party into South Asia. South Asia is the new geo-political nexus of power for the US.

The now successful US strategy is dangerous for EVERY South Asian nation-state.

In its relentless quest for dominance, (even though the US economy is in the doldrums), the US has successfully gained a foothold in South Asia.

Wake up Pakistan. Don’t blame yourselves.
Only the ordinary people of Pakistan can make that happen. Pakistani leaders are too dependent on US billions. None of the money reaches the common man.

Wake up Pakistan. Say NO to US money and US control. Say YES to SELF-RESPECT and national Sovereignty.

Chithra KarunaKaran
New York, NY


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