Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The book

So the book is released. In some way it’s very much an eye opener. From now on the general cannot claim that he is ideologically on the same side as the rest of the world is concerned in this war on terror (WOT). He became allies with the US/sane world because, in his own word, “if we do not join them, can we confront them and withstand the onslaught? The answer was no”. As a matter of fact, he “war-gamed the United States as an adversary”. Then he/they figured out that it was like committing suicide. It would have been a very interesting scenario if the war games would have resulted in any other outcome. For example, if, say his country would have had .. maybe .. a 25% chance of coming around and defeating the mighty armies of the world – what would have he chosen then? Maybe then there would never have been an unwilling ally in this WOT and maybe his country would never had to answer all the hard question – like ‘why don’t you capture OBL’ or ‘why do you have thousands of terrorists camps’ or ‘why do you let militants cross over to your territory’ and ‘why do you have thousands of madrasas teaching hatred for others’ AND it would have been much easier for the rest of the world as well – they would not be hard pressed to think which side, truly, is he on?

So the next time you say that you are not on the side of the terrorists and fighting with the world as allies in this unconventional war, watch out – we know whose side are you really on and why you are sitting on the same table as us.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

My decision was based on the wellbeing of my people and the best interests of my country — Pakistan always comes first. I war-gamed the United States as an adversary. There would be a violent and angry reaction if we didn’t support the United States. Thus the question was: if we do not join them, can we confront them and withstand the onslaught? The answer was no, we could not, on three counts.

First was our military weakness as compared with the strength of the United States. Second was our economic weakness. We had no oil, and we did not have the capacity to sustain our economy in the face of an attack. Third, and worst of all, was our social weakness. We lack the homogeneity to galvanise the entire nation into an active confrontation. We could not endure a military confrontation with the United States from any point of view. The ultimate question that confronted me was whether it was in our national interest to destroy ourselves for the Taleban. Were they worth committing suicide over? The answer was a resounding no.

In some ways I think he does not even know what he is writing - and for whom – for surely – there are 2 very distinct groups of people who will read this book. One at home and the other outside. Instead of doing the book tour in the US, he should have done it in his hometown – and if I were him – I would have done something, anything that would have prevented anybody else getting a hand on the book. This book is purely meant to be for local consumption – to bolster his image, to improve the image of his country in his own people’s eyes – a lot to do with self esteem – really.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Fact Check

So.. let’s get a fact check here.

A military general who takes over a country’s administration in a coup writes a book about how he did it all.

- About how he planned and launched an attack and then retreated (due to foreign pressure, after obtaining his objective) on a neighboring country – and then brags about it in the book.

- Calls secessionist movement in his own country 'terrorism' and the same in his neighbor’s country ‘freedom struggle’

- Blames the neighboring country’s Prime Minister (PM) ‘squarely’ for any failure of peace talks.

- Says that the power of the current PM of the neighboring country has ‘diminished’as a result of the country's establishment.

- Bashes all the other previous rulers of his own country.

- Justifies why he overthrew the previous, elected ruler.

- Advertises about his book with the President of US standing next to him.

- Creates media hype by declaring that a high up in the State Department threatened to bomb his country ‘back to the stone age’ – three days before his book is due out.

So – he goes and writes a book about all these characters. He, never himself elected to any office in the government – collects cool million dollars for this book.

All the other people he talks about – could never get their grey cells together to write a line about their own experiences with the dictator amongst other things.

Cheers general – you are the man.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Is Lalu changing the Railways?

Seems like he has found his niche – after all.

He has started from the top – where it should have been started.

The ministers, a plethora of them, their family, their friends – everybody should be given a quick fact check on who they are – not who they think they are. Ok now I am sounding like Rumsfeld.

Soren's wife, son caught without ticket, fined


Wednesday September 20, 12:47 AM

Following the directives of Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav to initiate action against all the ticketless travelers, including politicians, bureaucrats and others, Railway staff at Kanpur detained three members of Cabinet Minister Shibu Soren's family and fined them.

According to reports, Railway staff detained Soren's wife, son and a relative, who were traveling on New Delhi-Howrah bound Rajdhani Express (2302) on Railway passes of the minister and MP S Marandi late on Monday night.

Railway staff at Kanpur got information about three passengers traveling on the passes issued to MPs. Under the leadership of Assistant Commercial Manager (ACM) Rajesh Kumar Srivastava, ticket checking squad gheraoed the first AC coach of Rajdhani Express on platform number 6. Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Railway Police Force (RPF) were also deployed at the platform in order to prevent any untoward incident.

It was found that Ruby Soren, wife of Shibu Soren, his son Swajit Soren and a relative Mini were occupying seats in cabin 'A'. When the squad enquired about their status and asked them to deboard the train, they got annoyed and warned the railway staff of dire consequences. Later, they accepted that they were traveling without ticket but were refused to pay the penalty.

Ruby Soren also allegedly misbehaved with the Railway staff and warned them of dire consequences.

Srivastava, then, directed the female staff and GRP constables to forcibly bring Ruby and Swajit down. Realising that there was no escape, they paid the penalty of Rs 14,260, after which they were allowed to continue their journey. Talking to Indian Express, Srivastava said that the passengers were traveling on MPs' identity card numbers 159 and 303. "They were considered ticket-less and therefore railway realized fine from them," he added.

Meanwhile, Ruby Soren said that her husband had to come along but could not travel due to some engagement. She also said that Railway staff misbehaved with her and co-passengers. However, the train got delayed by 20 minutes due to scene created by ticket-less passengers.

In another incident, two ticket-less persons were caught traveling in first AC coach with BSP MP from Eastern UP Kailash Yadav in Delhi-bound Shiv Ganga Express late on Monday night. When the railway staff detained them, they warned the staff of complaining to railway minister Lalu Yadav. However, when the railway squad directed the GRP to put both ticketless persons in jail, they paid Rs 16,335 as penalty.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Sad Day

Today I woke up to read about the sad demise of Steve Irwin – who died doing what he loved – and killed by one who he liked. I was a huge fan of him and truly and greatly admired his free will and contagious enthusiasm for life and all things living. His confidence was legendary as was evident by his dress – khaki shorts and shirts – which he discarded for no one – not even for heads of state.

We will miss you Crocodile Hunter.