Obama's Nightmare on Helm Street

Think about it. The first black president takes the oath of office amidst mass hysteria akin to a rock concert, and instead of sitting with a microscope to work things out in the home lab, he points the telescope at the sky.

The clouds of fear gather. US intelligence forces known to keep the governments under control in democracies kept the fear alive. As a report states, based on information in a new book by New York Times journalist David Sanger:

Soon after assuming office in 2009, President Barack Obama experienced a security nightmare about the possibility of Taliban in Pakistan acquiring a nuclear bomb, with the fear lurking in the back of his mind that the loose weapon could be headed for a major US city…Obama's aides also worried about the leak of the news to both India and Pakistan.

The only way in which the Taliban can have nuclear arsenal is if they have a government and a nation of their own. Indeed, they have run roughshod in the Af-Pak region, but they use hand-held weapons and rudimentary bombs.

It is important to note that the President’s aides were concerned about keeping this information from Pakistan and India.

"Obama's aides worried that if news of Washington's suspicions leaked, the Pakistanis would shut down altogether and the Indians who had barely held back retaliating against Pakistan after a deadly attack in Mumbai the previous year would mobilise and put their forces on high alert," Sanger said.

This rules out Pakistan as the base and it implies that the US wanted that country badly as an ally, and not India. It was ready to keep India in the dark, an India it was to sign a nuclear deal with. It also assumes mischievously that India was going to retaliate after 26/11, when there was no such intention.

The author writes:

“Obama decided he could not take the chance that the story was false: he ordered one of the US government's nuclear-detection-and-disablement teams to travel to the region in case it was needed for the search. But they dared not step into Pakistan itself, where the government would have a tough time explaining why there were foreigners with nuclear-detection equipment wandering around."

This is amazing. Just amazing. They travel and what do they do? Hover over the ground with large metal detectors? What part of Pakistan was involved or not involved with this Taliban nuclear scare? If it is Pakistani Taliban, how would it be detected without stepping on the land? Pakistanis in the northern regions are accustomed to such foreigners with all kinds of equipments. Was the US concerned about the Pakistani government or the army, both of which it believes is in cahoots with the Taliban in large measure?

Now comes the bizarre one:

"And there was always the risk that the TTP (Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan), realising that the United States was on to the conversations, could issue a threat to make use of the weapon, even if none existed. If they included a threat to set it off in an American or Pakistani city, mass panic could follow. That could kill more people than a small explosion."

So, now the Taliban is not quite Pakistani and it has greater access to US information than the US has about it. Or about anything. But because these Talibs are such fools they will slap each other with joy and say, “Masha’Allah, the Americans are scared. Let us frighten them more, even if we have nothing”.

Does anyone realise how dangerous such stupidity is? If a “small explosion” does not matter, then why has the US been parking its forces where it is not wanted to protect its cities that are only under a false threat? If people are killed by such panic, then who is responsible? The US has mastered the art of creating such mythic threats all the time. It has been living off 9/11, and has made life hell for several countries overtly and covertly.

This passive-aggressive behaviour has been the hallmark of the Obama administration, for it then sneakily says the Taliban threat “focused on Pakistan itself”. This happens to be the truth, and all because what it accuses the Taliban would do, it has gone and done with its perceived threat creating terror in cities.

But Obama also keep alive the possibility of this “loose weapon” hurtling towards one of the major US cities. This is how he has run his term, riven by disastrous management of human dread.

Those fears have not been put to rest by ‘getting’ Osama bin Laden. It has resulted in spreading its tentacles to find fear from everywhere.

It is the tragedy of America that from xenophobia it has moved to paranoia.

(c) Farzana Versey

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