The president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, has a nation divided by distrust, religious and secular anger and grief and makes his point on Thursday, Pakistan time. The bloody siege at the Red Mosque ended in a hail of gunfire; leaving more than 70 dead along with the Muslim cleric, Abdul Rashid Ghazi. The cleric led a violent revolution for installing a Taliban-style management in Pakistan. Did Musharraf's intelligence service, ISI, let him down or tell him no problem, it was a slam dunk?
There are angry vows of retribution over the destruction of the mosque from Al Qaeda. From somewhere close by, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the Egyptian and the number two the US can't find, has vowed vengeance for the destruction of the mosque by the Pakistani commando units.
This comes atop the American Homeland Security Chief, Michael "The Gutsy Predictor" Chertoff abusing this nation's trust by announcing he thought there were going to be spectacular terrorist events but he had no specific credible information for this summer. No worries; it was a gut check, that the White House is running away from as fast as it can. That comes atop the same day the Bush Administration announced a strengthening threat from al Qaeda, which seems to be a catch all de facto name for all armed people against the US now. Talk about mixed messages!
Understanding the ISI and the predicament Musharraf is in, are well documented and Pulitzer Prize winning books. Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll, documents the ISI's history and the heavy influence from Saudi Arabia. Also, The Looming Tower: Al Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 by Lawrence Wright has excellent biographical and rationale detailed that upends everything learned from the traditional media. Anything by Karen Armstrong goes a long way to explaining spiritual underpinnings. But my favorite book on explaining religions is by Huston Smith, aptly titled The World's Religions and is written from the perspective of practicing that religion. What other sources for enlightenment would you add?