Heavy costs of a dirty war

Dushka H. Saiyid in DAWN:

THAT the world changed with the departure of Bush was borne out by Obama’s words at his inaugural address when he said, “Our founding fathers … drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man … those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake.” This is what distinguishes the western civilisation from what the Taliban and Osama are selling: it underscores the supremacy of the rule of law, and its cornerstone, that everyone is innocent till proven guilty. It was a rejection of rendition, water-boarding and other euphemisms for the torture of prisoners, incarcerated for years without trial. It is not difficult to fathom why the US, and Britain under Blair, lost their moral leadership of the world.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, a gifted man by all accounts, and son of the well-respected scholar and academic Ralph Miliband, felt that the time had come to accept that the war on terror, as conducted since 9/11, had been self-defeating, and that “we must respond to terrorism by championing the rule of law and not subordinating it, for it is the cornerstone of the democratic society”. He was articulating much the same vision as Obama, and like him mentioned the need to settle the Kashmir issue, “as that would deny extremists in the region one of their main calls to arms”. He was referring to one of the “contexts” of terrorism, as Arundhati Roy refers to it, and which must be addressed if a long-term end to terrorism is to be found.

More here.