A gathering of Forces at the Razor’s Edge
Of Gandhi’s Fourth and Nuclear War?
The crisis begins. One that could overshadow all others coming in the New Year of 2009.
Today (26 December 2008), Associated press reports Pakistani troops are heading for the border with India. The 20,000 men of the 14th Infantry Division have moved to forward positions between the towns of Kasur and Sialkot along the disputed militarized border frontier dividing Kashmir known as the Line of Control. Intelligence reports describe large Pakistani units previously fighting al-Qaeda and Taliban terrorists are pulling out of West Pakistani tribal regions heading east in preparation to man the Indo-Pakistani line. Two strategic goals of the Mumbai terrorist attacks have been fulfilled: 1.) Renew a crisis between India and Pakistan; and, 2.) Relieve the military pressure brought to bear on al-Qaeda and Taliban centers of operation in Western Pakistan along the border of Afghanistan.
Usama bin Laden, one of Nostradamus’ chief candidates for what he calls Mabus, the Third Antichrist, is the dean of global jihadist terrorism. He has trained those who trained Pakistani terrorist commandos who inflicted death and chaos in the heart of Mumbai’s financial district in November. Though he does not, indeed needs not, directly overlord or even plan these attacks, he is responsible for the evil vision and training of those who do.
A great destruction of people and animals, as Nostradamus predicted may be Usama bin Laden’s intent. It will include the martyrdom of Pakistan in a nuclear war with infidel Hindu-dominated India that is intended to unite and radicalize one-sixth of the world’s people who are Muslim to wage jihad.
The nukes and rumors of nukes being stockpiled in South Asia since the late 1980s has compelled hot headed hawks in the governments of India and Pakistan to rush to the brink of war a number of times yet so far they dare not cross that apocalyptic line. I was in India during one of those rushes to that line. It was in the first half of 1990. I reflected upon those days eleven years later in what was written below in December 2001, framing them in childhood memories of the closest time the world came to doomsday:
During the Cuban Missile Crisis I watched loved ones peer into soft October skies waiting for Armageddon to fly on contrails of missiles and B-52 bombers. The tension I experienced in India reminded me of those thirteen frightening days from my childhood. I walked in the Indian valleys in the shadow of immanent nuclear death. That feeling returns to me now eleven years later [December 2001] as I watch developments in this newest crisis. I feel India and Pakistan moving inexorably towards the dark frontiers of a fourth war [forseen by Mahatma Gandhi] on the tank treads of mobile ballistic missile launchers.
A FOURTH –AND NUCLEAR — WAR?
In mid-December 2001, eight terrorists identified as members of the Kashmiri insurgent organizations of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e Tayyaba, stormed the Indian Parliament in New Delhi. All eight men were killed along with six Indian security servicemen in a failed attempt to annihilate the political leadership of India. Soon afterwards large contingents of the 1.3-million-man Indian army and six-hundred-thousand-man Pakistani army began moving into position facing each other in the winter fastness of Kashmir along the disputed Line of Control. Farther south you see them park their tanks and set up their mortars and artillery along the partition line drawn 54 years before, dividing the heavily populated regions of Punjab. They position their anti-aircraft batteries and mobile ballistic missile launchers behind dunes in the deserts along the western edge of Rajasthan. They prepare dugouts for over a million soldiers down along an invisible line, drawn on the maps of politicians, across the Himilayan fastness of Kashmir all the way down to the salt marshes of the Rann of Kutch along the Arabian Sea.
And there those million men of India, and a half-million men of Pakistan, wait; hopeful for a diplomatic solution.
On Friday, 21 December , the Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Vijay K. Nambiar, promptly left the Pakistani capital declaring a diplomatic impasse. He had learned that Pakistan would not immediately arrest all leaders and members of Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e Tayyaba organizations and dismantle their training camps in the Pakistani occupied portion of Kashmir.
Given the new and darker world we live in after terrorists harbored by rogue nations crashed hijacked jets into New York’s skyline and the US Capital, India feels within its rights to demand of Pakistan what America demanded of Taliban ruled Afghanistan: a) arrest all terrorists within their borders; b) close down and destroy their training camps; c) seize and destroy their weapons; and, d) face a full scale military retaliation if there is no compliance to every demand.
What indeed would Americans demand of Pakistan if they where in India’s place? If terrorists from camps in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir had sprayed the US Capitol Building with grenades and machine guns in an attempt to slaughter the US Senate and US House of Representatives, what would the United States do?
By adopting the Bush terrorism doctrine, India could soon launch an attack on terrorist camps in Pakistani territory but this time, the fourth war foreseen by Gandhi could go nuclear. Current estimates place Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal at 8 to 20 atomic bombs, each with a destructive force similar to those used by the United States in their nuclear attack on Japan in 1945. India may have anywhere from 25 to 40 similarly destructive atomic weapons in its arsenal.
When Gandhi and Jinnah debated the partition of India, there were 340 million people in the balance. Fifty-four years and an explosion of population later, Gandhi’s warning of a fourth and catastrophic war places up to 1.2 billion South Asians in the balance. In the worst case scenario, history’s first nuclear “bush” war could extinguish far more people than all those lost in both world wars of the 20th century. The death toll could be in the hundreds of millions.
Mahatma Gandhi’s Prophecy, 31 December 2001
The descriptions above, written exactly seven years ago, sound like today’s news. New terrorist attacks out of Pakistan on India, this time Mumbai, compel Indian leaders to demand the extradition of culprits and the dismantling of camps. It only seems the names of these leaders and organizations have changed. Now, starting with today, begins the military buildup along the border, the ramp up of tensions that could lead us weeks or months away from the brinksmanship of nuclear conflict in South Asia, like before, if this time India moves to punitive attacks on terror camps inside Pakistan.
A report released in May 2002 entitled Disarmament Diplomacy: News Review – India and Pakistan Camped on Brink of War over Kashmir estimated a worst-case scenario death toll far lower than my estimate. The defense agency report calculated an initial 8-12 million deaths in a nuclear exchange. Millions more later would succumb to radiation poisoning which they did not wish to specify.
“That’s the worst-case scenario,” said an unamed Defense Department official, commenting on the paper, “If we have correctly guessed the number of weapons each side has, and their targets, and presuming they’re all ground bursts versus air bursts… The fatalities if they were air bursts would be slightly smaller by maybe a million, but…that’s still a very significant number…”
The report doesn’t factor in collteral death tolls from disease and famine caused by the destruction of urban Indian and Pakistani urban centers. Maybe a million? The tone of the study almost makes the unthinkable, sound possible. The possible is a view military hawks on both sides of the Line of Control push as sustainable. This mindset is immune to the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) that kept the Soviets and the Americans from fighting a nuclear war for nearly a half-a-century during the Cold War.
In Part Five of Mumbai 9/11, we ask the prophet Nostradamus for his take on a future Indo-Pakistani nuclear war. He may have described it over four centuries before it may happen.
(26 December 2008)