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Saturday, September 23, 2006


A rift seems to have developed in relations between Pakistan and the US. Pakistan’s President, General Pervez Musharraf, has claimed that the US threatened to ‘nuke Pakistan into the stone-age’ if it didn’t co-operate with the US in the aftermath of 11 September 2001.[1]

But one needs to ask whether it really was the threat of being ‘nuked into the stone-age’ that brought President Musharraf to heel so quickly after the events of 11 September 2006, or more the ex-gratia payment of $50 million, authorised on 28 September 2001,[2] that ensured that Pakistan was kept on side.

Musharraf is an extremely clever politician who is adept at walking the fine and often tight line between Pakistan’s Islamic world to which most of its peoples belong, and the western world to which Musharraf has allied his nation in the Global War on Terrorism. Money and power are two commodities that seem to reign supreme for Musharraf when it comes to walking that fine tight line.

A survivor of numerous coup attempts, a method Musharraf himself favours to gain power, and assassination attempts, he hangs on to his power as every good dictator does; granting plenty of favours to other powerful people and bribery. Sometimes those granting of favours conflicts with the interests of his western allies but he is always forgiven by them because they know that Musharraf only ever does anything because it is in his interests to do so and keeping on side with his western allies is the only way that Musharraf is able to cling to his power.

It is for this reason that Musharraf has made the remarks about being threatened by the US in the aftermath of 9/11. And it is for this reason that he will get away with making these remarks without upsetting his relationship with the Bush administration too much. Such remarks are designed to keep on side with the Islamic world of Pakistan. Musharraf’s allies in the West know how important this rhetoric is to a leader in his precarious position.

The US could very well ‘nuke Pakistan into the stone-age’ but the US is also very much aware of the fact that Pakistan is the only nuclear armed Islamic nation in the world with a capability to strike back.

I doubt Pakistan was threatened to be nuked back into the stone-age.

I think the $50 million dollars paid to Pakistan, the first no doubt of many such payments, had far more to do with keeping Musharraf on side – right from the beginning. I also think that many of Musharraf’s minions were, and still are, up to their necks in perpetuating the myth of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden and the intrigue and subterfuge that became 9/11 – with a lot of help from the US taxpayer.

[1] Suzanne Goldberg, ‘Bush threatened to bomb Pakistan, says Musharraf’, Guardian, 22 September 2006. Available online:,,1878619,00.html Accessed 22 September 2006.
[2] ‘Presidential Determination: Assistance to Pakistan’, The White House, 28 September 2001.Available online: Accessed 22 September 2006.


Anonymous said...

I couldn't find in the article where you got the word 'nuke' from. Did you take it as implied from the 'stone age' reference?

Damian Lataan said...

There were a number of articles that used the word 'nuked' or 'nuke'. I'm sure with your research skills you'll have no trouble finding them.

Anonymous said...

My comment was in regards to the article you referenced in your post. The footnote seemed to imply that the article included this quote which, obviously, it doesn't.

I did a quick Google News search for the terms 'pakistan nuke stone age' and got only two results, one of which was from the 1st of September and before the story broke.

The same search for the terms 'pakistan bomb stone age' returned more than 1600 news reports.

I am sure there are places online where the word nuke was used but it certainly wasn't in the article your footnoted nor (in the context you describe) in any of the "4500 English language news sources" Google indexes each day.

Perhaps your research skills are better than mine - can you point to where in the article you footnoted it said 'nuke' or, failing that, a reputable source (a newspaper will do) where it claims this was the quote and not 'bomb'?

Damian Lataan said...

Keep looking Dylan.

Anonymous said...

Damo, YOU made the claim and YOU backed it up with a footnote that does not support your claim.

Damian Lataan said...

Nice try Dylan, but it doesn’t quite work like that especially when you only read with a right-wing eye.
Normally I wouldn’t waste my time to bother with nit-picking hair-splitting garbage such as this but I’ll make an exception just this once.
If I write something in single quotes ‘thus’, I am paraphrasing an idea that is derived usually from a collection of vague ideas. They may be from a series of articles or may be from an article and a video or whatever. I would then notate in the endnote/footnote what I considered the most appropriate of the paraphrased idea but which may not reflect the idea in its entirety. Usually that is done at the end of the sentence or even at the end of the paragraph if the paragraph in its entirety is relevant to the idea.
If, on the other hand, I write something in double quotes “thus”, I am then directly quoting verbatim and I would place the notation mark right at the end of the quote just after the closing double quote mark, and I’d do this even if the quote is just part of a sentence that is incomplete, since it maybe that I would wish to use other quotes or references within that same sentence.
Picky I know, but as you get stuck in to your own PhD you’ll soon figure out how important these little differences can be.
In this particular case to say ‘nuked (as against ‘bombed’) back in to the stone age’ is not an unreasonable assumption. First, Pakistan is a huge nation and using conventional weapons would not put Pakistan back into the stone age. Secondly, Pakistan is itself a nuclear armed nation. If the US went off half cocked with conventional weapons in an attempt to bomb Pakistan back to the stone age it would leave itself open to a retaliatory nuclear strike from Pakistan. Of course that would then be the end of Pakistan but then by the time it has got to that stage everyone has moved beyond the point of no return anyway.
I stand by what I wrote and the way I presented it. If you don’t like then… tough!