Govt owes an explanation
It must have come as a serious shock for most Bangladeshi citizens to discover, Friday morning, through the international media – in the words of top Pentagon commander speaking at a Congressional hearing – that US special forces teams of the US Pacific Command are currently in the country to assist our ‘counter-terrorism’ capabilities. As citizens of the country, we had not been made aware, through any channel whatsoever, that our democratically-elected government had taken such an important decision to team up with a foreign nation’s armed forces to, in the words of the Pentagon commander: ‘to counter and contain very extremist organisations such Lashkar-e-Taiba, to cooperate in maritime security activities such as countering piracy, to conduct disaster response planning and training, and exercise extensively, service to service.’ According to an agency report published in New Age on Saturday, we have further learnt that ‘Bangladesh has emerged as a particularly effective partner in the fighting against terror and is cooperating with “India” as well.’ It would appear that our government has taken a decision which not only directly concerns our sovereignty, but is also a clear shift in stance in foreign policy, keeping just about the entire population in the dark.
To start with, it is an outrage and an insult that a nation of 150 million people should learn about the presence of an international army on its own territory, the activities of its own security forces as well as its foreign policy initiatives, from a Congressional hearing taking place thousand of miles away in a foreign country. The government owes a serious explanation to the citizens of the country who have every right to feel betrayed. Furthermore, given the nature of the War of Terror, a war doctrine pursued by the US and its allies such as Israel, which by many definitions pursue a very narrow set of objectives to do with the global hegemonic ambitions of the US, Bangladeshi citizens have every right to wonder exactly when and how Bangladesh had jumped the bandwagon on the War on Terror. The War on Terror, often described as War of Terror even by many American humanists, is a dangerous and complex political and military exercise and the consequences of going aboard it, is certainly an important decision which Bangladeshis will face the consequences of sooner or later. It appears that the government has signed us up for it without our knowledge.
What countering terrorism is important, it is no less important to define what terrorism is and what isn’t. Besides, terrorism of the strong, say, that of Zionist state Israel, and say terrorism of the weak, say, that of Palestinians, is not the same thing. The first is an international crime and the second is a reaction to an international crime.
There is very little detail that has so far emerged from the report of the congressional hearing, sans the extremely dangerous and sensitive allusions it carries. The government needs to immediately come out in the open about what exactly it is up to with the US Pacific Command; who exactly is providing training to whom? Exactly what training is being is being provided and to what objective? The government must also explain to the citizens whether we have officially boarded the US War on Terror. The parliament, which exercises the sovereignty of the country on behalf of the people, should also immediately invite the minister in charge of defense, as well as all the chiefs of all the national security forces of the country, to explain exactly what has been going on, since when and why and inform the people adequately so that people can make a correct decision about such an important issue which carries national and international implications.
comments powered by Disqus