Friday, May 8, 2009

War in Pakistan: made in USA

I just received an announcement about a demonstration that's been called for this Sunday, May 10, to protest Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari's visit to NYC, which "comes as the U.S. government is escalating the war against the people of Afghanistan and increasing attacks against the people of Pakistan," according to the call from the Pakistan-USA Freedom Forum. It continues:
Rather than ending the war for oil and conquest, Washington is launching new attacks--in the last few days, U.S. bombs have killed more than 100 civilians in Afghanistan, and Pakistan is facing a growing barrage of attacks by U.S. bombers, drones, missiles and Special Forces. President Zardari and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai were brought to Washington this week to build support for increased military action and to shore up support for the $94 billion "supplemental" bill to pay for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Pakistan.
A Workers World editorial puts it this way: "More and more, U.S. imperialism is making Pakistan a battleground in its ugly war to achieve unchallenged control of western Asia." Ugly is right. Yesterday, angry marchers in Herat, Afghanistan, chanted, "Death to America" after U.S. air strikes killed 147 civilians and injured many more.

Sunday's action starts at 2:30 at 45th Street and Madison Avenue in Manhattan.

Pakistan is certainly not an area of expertise for me, beyond some broad outlines of its history from the time of the Partition on, but for anyone looking to learn more from an anti-imperialist perspective, some of Tariq Ali's books aren't a bad place to start. His 2008 book The Duel: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power sounds on target. A few years ago I read The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity, and found it useful.

As to fiction, a few months ago I read Mohammed Hanif's novel A Case of Exploding Mangoes, which builds an intriguing argument for a U.S. role in the 1988 assassination of Pakistan's head of state at that time, General Zia.