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The War Nerd April 1, 2004
War Nerd vs. the World
By Gary Brecher Browse author Email

This was the week I finally decided I'm the last real American alive. Omega Man II -- the Fat Guy. I've been working up to that idea for a while. Every time I try to talk to the morons at work about what's going on in the world, I get a little surer. And this week, between the phony war in Pakistan, the latest news from Iraq, and the big shrug Dick Clarke got, I'm ready to say it out loud: the population of America is one fat War Nerd and 280 million dumb suckers.

Map of Pakistan

Let's start with the Pakistani Army's Al-Qaeda hunt in the Pushtun provinces. This was the biggest farce since the last Don King fight I saw. Watching it on CNN was like sitting through a bad remake of Starship Troopers, with dumb-ass reporters hyping the big battle in XL combat fatigues untucked to hide their fat bellies. (Don't try to fool a fellow fat man, fellas! I know all the tricks! Camo won't hide 20 years of Heinekins on the network's tab!)

The biggest lie was that the Pakistani Army would ever fight the Pushtun tribesmen for real. Even if every Pushtun man turned pacifist (which is about as likely as Michael Jackson reading Penthouse), their women, kids and wheelchair cases would be enough to rip through the Pakistani Army like a .50 round through a Nam-era flak jacket. The Pushtuns are the best mountain fighters alive, and the idea that a few columns of Paki draftees in their WW I surplus doughboy helmets were going to drive up in Chinese-surplus trucks and surround the Pushtuns and their Islamic "guests"--just bring them in like Sheriff Sharif ropin' a gang of rustlers -- it was enough to make a cat laugh. The Pushtun elders rich enough to have satellite dishes must've been coughing up their tea laughing.

The Pakis not only couldn't beat the Pushtuns, but they wouldn't even want to try. Something you need to know, something they won't tell you on CNN or Fox: the Pakistani Army and Intelligence Agency (ISI) invented the Taliban -- and in Afghan military/political terms, Taliban equals Pushtun.

The Taliban was invented by Pakistani Lt. General Hamid Gul. "Gul"--nice name, huh? Sounds like "ghoul," and that suits him real well, believe me. Gul was head of the ISI from 1987-89, and handled Afghan intelligence till '92. These were the key years when the Talibs were getting off the ground. They still call Gul the "godfather of the Taliban." He told the Talibs how to organize. They were just a bunch of ignorant Pushtun mullahs and gunmen till Gul poured in the money, advisers, weapons and intelligence. Next thing you know the Taliban, which nobody even heard of before, controls 90% of Afghanistan. It was a classic division of labor: the Pushtun provided the courage and the cannon-fodder, Gul and the ISI supplied the street-smarts, and the CIA did what it does best: dropped off suitcases full of cash without asking too many questions about where it was going.

A few years later, Gul got so crazy he turned into a liability for the CIA. For one thing, he said on the air that his friends in Al-Qaeda had nothing to do with 9/ll. His explanation was simple: the Israelis did it. That embarrassed his CIA pals so much they asked to interrogate Gul. The Pakis just laughed at that one. "Nobody interrogates the former head of the ISI, you silly Americans!" The ISI is above the law in Pakistan. They run the place, like the Mafia runs Sicily.

The US backed down, naturally -- we never got to interrogate Gul. No hard feelings, though -- the US announced this week that Pakistan is not just our friend but a major American ally "on a par with NATO." Hey, you Norwegians and Brits, you must be flattered as Hell to find out we put you right up there with Pakistan, the sleaziest, most corrupt country in the world! Can we pick our friends or what?

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Gary Brecher
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Email Gary at, but, more importantly, buy his book.
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