11:42 May 04, 2011
While most people in the United States of America were sleeping, the Navy Seals ‘brought to justice’ the most wanted Osama bin Laden. President Obama and his team of course watched the proceedings live on screen. In Hollywood movie style, the US special forces descended in small copters and stuck to their mission of wiping out the face of terror which evaded them for almost a decade. It was an operational plan in Mission Impossible style. The killing of Osama reads almost like Ludlum's novels where a small group of crusading individuals succeed beating all odds and overcoming powerful adversaries with evil intentions. A helicopter went down but no man was left behind. The operation is just another indicator of the military power of America and the technology progress including surveillance and satellite imagery. I was surprised that Osama was found not in his Afghanistan caves but in the city, enjoying the comforts of modern life, of course without a landline phone and internet.
These are bigger broader questions that need to be discussed. As a commentator on the web put it nicely - Osama was America’s creation who they decided to use in the fight against Soviets and then they turned against him and after their job was done they destroyed him. I wonder if a person criticises American policies, will Americans again take such steps to shut that voice? What if there’s a critic of Obama who writes articles after articles condemning America’s foreign policy. Will that voice be permanently silenced?
Pakistan has yet again been proved to be a safe harbour for terrorists. The war against terror will not end by just killing Osama as his offsprings and offshoots are quite a number indeed. The barbaric acts of terrorists inflicting pain upon mankind should not be used for any political mileage acts.
Coming to India, we need a national level policy on terrorism including “no negotiations” with terrorists/ hostage takers. Peace and harmony have been spoken about at length, but there is a limit to tolerance with hostile neighbours. Enough cricket has been played and we continue on a sticky wicket not moving anywhere. Our nature of being peaceful is often seen as a weakness which brings to mind the Indian classical story which goes like this. “A Bodhisattva visited a village and impressed upon the King Cobra who all the children feared to lead a peaceful and spiritual life. The snake used to repeat a sacred word it had been asked to repeat and decided not to bite anyone. It sat peacefully under the tree. When the children realised that the cobra doesn’t bite, they grew brave and started pelting stones. Seeing no violent reaction they went ahead and started beating it with a stick till it lay almost motionless. In the evening as the Bodhisattva was leaving the village, he saw the wounded cobra and enquired. When the cobra complained that this plight was because it had followed the advice of peace, the Bodhisattva turned around and told the cobra - I had told you not to bite but I never asked you to stop hissing.”
How India tackles the problem of terrorism may be more of a case study. We have shouted from the roof tops that Pakistan supports terrorism. Most sought-after fugitives read Dawood Ibrahim are perhaps staying as royal guests in upmarket locations in Pakistan. We need a bold and courageous foreign policy because we can no longer allow terror activities against us being encouraged by our neighbours.
One of the biggest perpetrators of terrorism in India is Qasab who continues to live in comfort, often relishing some biryani and chicken and why we can’t hang him is beyond the common man’s understanding. We have Qasab’s evidence on video camera and we are still waiting to follow a judicial democratic system before we hang him for heinous crimes. Why don’t we make him face the shooting squad instead of feeding him and wasting tax payers’ money? If Obama can take Osama out in Pakistan why are we not hanging Qasab?
We are already hearing voices within India if wanted Indian criminals and terrorists who are safely harboured in Pakistan can ever be brought to justice? A capitalist solution will be to outsource such “killing” activities to USA. I am sure if we dangle the carrot of a billion dollar arms deal, then the deal can easily be sealed.
I have full confidence in our armed forces and they have done a splendid job protecting our frontiers and also when needed fought against internal enemies. If there is a will, there are enough people willing to lay down their lives for our country. But it is time we take George Patton Jr’s words and act on it - The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other guy die for his.