Huduh is good for Malaysia?


Enough with hudud

The growing number of politicians in this country who think that hudud is a good idea for Malaysia should see the video that is circulating online of the execution of an Afghan woman by her husband for alleged adultery.

HERE is a video circulating online which everyone in this country should watch:

It depicts the execution of an Afghan woman for alleged adultery. Her husband shoots her many times in the head while being cheered on by a crowd of men.

If anyone thinks this happened many years ago during the Taliban–era, they are sadly mistaken.

This gruesome event happened recently, in present-day non-Taliban-ruled Afghanistan.

The authorities are now looking for the executioner who has predictably disappeared. But really they should arrest the entire crowd that watched it, as accessories to murder.

I think this video should be shown to the growing number of politicians in this country who think hudud is a good idea for Malaysia. In particular, it should be shown to those who have just called for the same.

If they can watch the video without at least blanching and truly think that’s what they want, then I hope they will be held accountable for not only the exodus of Malaysians from this country but also for the drastic reduction in foreign investments coming in.

If they want to blow us back to the Stone Age, then they should at least be made to answer for it.

What is it with some of our politicians who seem to have taken leave of their senses?

Is the loathing for reading and knowledge so widespread that they have to show it off with such ill-informed statements?

In a world where problems are increasingly sophisticated and complicated, ishudud the only response these people can come up with?

Maybe they should get out a bit more.

They might like to travel to places like Pakistan where the literacy rate is all of 55% and where, in some areas, only 22% of women can read.

Or, go to Iran where a full 40% of the population lives below the poverty line. They might also like to notice the vast numbers of children forced to do backbreaking work in the Middle East.

Or they can stay home and instead of reading the tabloids and beefing up their knowledge on which actress is about to marry which rich man, they might like to read up on our very own Federal Constitution which basically says that not only can’t you havehudud laws, you also can’t impose it on anyone who isn’t Muslim.

Unless they have some subconscious need to lose the elections for their beloved party, then they might pause and see where this is going.

But introspection is not a Malaysian strong point.

Somebody floats an “idea” that they think will attract some press attention and next thing you know, everyone else is jumping on the bandwagon.

Never mind that none of the so-calledhududpunishments can be found in the Quran.

For years, our Government has steadily pooh-poohed the idea of having hudud in this country because that was what the Opposition (or at least some of them) wanted. For years those of us who knew that hudud did not belong in the 21st century have held on to that as our bulwark against theocratic rule in this country.

Now, however, the government supporters have changed their tune and are echoing the Opposition’s line all those years ago. They seriously think this is the way to win an election?

If hudud is to be implemented, then I hope someone realises that it has to be implemented fairly.

Therefore not only will petty thieves get their hands cut off but major-league million-ringgit bribe-takers too. And no doubt we will have morality police patrolling the streets and checking that everyone is being good.

MUSINGS
By MARINA MAHATHIR

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Drones, computers new weapons of US waging shadow wars!


AP FILE – This Jan. 31, 2010 file photo shows an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile. Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm’s way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

FILE - This Jan. 31, 2010 file photo shows an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile. Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm's way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, burn a representation of a US flag during a rally condemning US drone strikes in tribal areas and the reopening of the NATO supply line to neighboring Afghanistan, in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Friday, June 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Pervez Masih) — AP

FILE - This Jan. 31, 2010 file photo shows an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile. Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm's way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)FILE – In this Sept. 7, 2011 file photo, John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, speaks in Washington. After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile. Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm’s way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) — AP

WASHINGTON — After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile.FILE - This Jan. 31, 2010 file photo shows an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile. Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm's way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint.  (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)

Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm’s way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint.

Chart shows the number of air attacks in Pakistan — AP

It’s war in the shadows, with the U.S. public largely in the dark.

In Pakistan, armed drones, not U.S. ground troops or B-52 bombers, are hunting down al-Qaida terrorists, and a CIA-run raid of Osama bin Laden‘s hide-out was executed by a stealthy team of Navy SEALs.

In Yemen, drones and several dozen U.S. military advisers are trying to help the government tip the balance against an al-Qaida offshoot that harbors hopes of one day attacking the U.S. homeland.

In Somalia, the Horn of Africa country that has not had a fully functioning government since 1991, President Barack Obama secretly has authorized two drone strikes and two commando raids against terrorists.

In Iran, surveillance drones have kept an eye on nuclear activities while a computer attack reportedly has infected its nuclear enrichment facilities with a virus, possibly delaying the day when the U.S. or Israel might feel compelled to drop real bombs on Iran and risk a wider war in the Middle East.

The high-tech warfare allows Obama to target what the administration sees as the greatest threats to U.S. security, without the cost and liabilities of sending a swarm of ground troops to capture territory; some of them almost certainly would come home maimed or dead.

But it also raises questions about accountability and the implications for international norms regarding the use of force outside of traditional armed conflict. The White House took an incremental step Friday toward greater openness about the basic dimensions of its shadowy wars by telling Congress for the first time that the U.S. military has been launching lethal attacks on terrorist targets in Somalia and Yemen. It did not mention drones, and its admission did not apply to CIA operations.

“Congressional oversight of these operations appears to be cursory and insufficient,” said Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy issues for the Federation of American Scientists, a private group.

“It is Congress’ responsibility to declare war under the Constitution, but instead it appears to have adopted a largely passive role while the executive takes the initiative in war fighting,” Aftergood said in an interview.

That’s partly because lawmakers relinquished their authority by passing a law just after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that essentially granted the White House open-ended authority for armed action against al-Qaida.

Secret wars are not new.

For decades, the CIA has carried out covert operations abroad at the president’s direction and with congressional notice. It armed the mujahedeen in Afghanistan who fought Soviet occupiers in the 1980s, for example. In recent years the U.S. military’s secretive commando units have operated more widely, even in countries where the U.S. is not at war, and that’s blurred the lines between the intelligence and military spheres.

In this shroud of secrecy, leaks to the news media of classified details about certain covert operations have led to charges that the White House orchestrated the revelations to bolster Obama’s national security credentials and thereby improve his re-election chances. The White House has denied the accusations.

The leaks exposed details of U.S. computer virus attacks on Iran’s nuclear program, the foiling of an al-Qaida bomb plot targeting U.S. aircraft, and other secret operations.

Two U.S. attorneys are heading separate FBI investigations into leaks of national security information, and Congress is conducting its own probe.

It’s not just the news media that has pressed the administration for information about its shadowy wars.

Some in Congress, particularly those lawmakers most skeptical of the need for U.S. foreign interventions, are objecting to the administration’s drone wars. They are demanding a fuller explanation of how, for example, drone strikes are authorized and executed in cases in which the identity of the targeted terrorist is not confirmed.

“Our drone campaigns already have virtually no transparency, accountability or oversight,” Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and 25 other mostly anti-war members of Congress wrote Obama on Tuesday.

A few dozen lawmakers are briefed on the CIA’s covert action and clandestine military activity, and some may ask to review drone strike video and be granted access to after-action reports on strikes and other clandestine actions. But until two months ago, the administration had not formally confirmed in public its use of armed drones.

In an April speech in Washington, Obama’s counterterrorism chief, John Brennan, acknowledged that despite presidential assurances of a judicious use of force against terrorists, some still question the legality of drone strikes.

“So let me say it as simply as I can: Yes, in full accordance with the law – and in order to prevent terrorist attacks on the United States and to save American lives – the United States government conducts targeted strikes against specific al-Qaida terrorists, sometimes using remotely piloted aircraft, often referred to publicly as drones,” he said.

President George W. Bush authorized drone strikes in Pakistan and elsewhere, but Obama has vastly increased the numbers. According to Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal, an online publication that tracks U.S. counterterrorism operations, the U.S. under Obama has carried out an estimated 254 drone strikes in Pakistan alone. That compares with 47 strikes during the Bush administration.

In at least one case the target was an American. Anwar al-Awlaki, an al-Qaida leader, was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in September.

According to a White House list released late last year, U.S. counterterrorism operations have removed more than 30 terrorist leaders around the globe. They include al-Qaida in East Africa “planner” Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, who was killed in a helicopter strike in Somalia.

The drone campaign is highly unpopular overseas.

A Pew Research Center survey on the U.S. image abroad found that in 17 of 21 countries surveyed, more than half of the people disapproved of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders in such places as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. In the U.S., 62 percent approved of the drone campaign, making American public opinion the clear exception.

The U.S. use of cyberweapons, like viruses that sabotage computer networks or other high-tech tools that can invade computers and steal data, is even more closely shielded by official secrecy and, arguably, less well understood.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has been a leading critic of the administration’s handling of information about using computers as a tool of war.

“I think that cyberattacks are one of the greatest threats that we face,” McCain said in a recent interview, “and we have a very divided and not very well-informed Congress addressing it.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and national security officials often talk publicly about improving U.S. defenses against cyberattack, not only on U.S. government computer systems but also against defense contractors and other private networks linked, for example, to the U.S. financial system or electrical grid. Left largely unexplained is the U.S. capacity to use computer viruses and other cyberweapons against foreign targets.

In the view of some, the White House has cut Congress out of the loop, even in the realm of overt warfare.

Sen. James Webb, D-Va., who saw combat in Vietnam as a Marine, introduced legislation last month that would require that the president seek congressional approval before committing U.S. forces in civil conflicts, such as last year’s armed intervention in Libya, in which there is no imminent security threat to the U.S.

“Year by year, skirmish by skirmish, the role of the Congress in determining where the U.S. military would operate, and when the awesome power of our weapon systems would be unleashed has diminished,” Webb said.

By ROBERT BURNS, LOLITA C. BALDOR and KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press

Online: Pew Research Center: www.pewresearch.org  The Associated Press

US military still strongest in the world


Despite the impact of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the financial crisis, the U.S. military is still the most powerful military in the world, a report released Tuesday in Beijing said.

The report “U.S. Military Assessment Report 2011″, published by the China Strategic Culture Promotion Association, contains six chapters, 14 sections and three appendixes, including the U.S. strategic points, the U.S. military strength and deployment of troops, the defense budget and procurement of weapons and equipment, the U.S. structural and organizational reform, the new development of the U.S. combat theory and the U.S. joint military exercises, and summarizes the development situation of the U.S. military strength between 2010 and 2011.

The report pointed out that the internal and external environment faced by the United States has undergone major changes over the past two years. At home, the impact caused by the financial crisis on real economy has not been fundamentally alleviated; the national economy continues to decline; the budget deficit hits record highs and the unemployment keeps high. Outside the country, the United States is faced with the challenge to its leadership position brought by the multi-polarization of international forces and the rise of emerging powers.

On the occasion of withdrawing from Iraq and ending the war in Afghanistan, the United States shifted its strategic focus to the Asia-Pacific region. The Obama administration has formulated new national security strategy, defense strategy and military strategy and accelerated the global deployment of troops. It is making efforts to strengthen army building in terms of institutional establishment, weapons and equipment, combat theory and military training and enhance the ability of war and non-war military actions.

The report said that although the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the financial crisis began in 2008 had an important impact on the comprehensive strength of the United States, the impact on its military capabilities has not yet been seen. The U.S. troops are still the most powerful in the world and it still has the ability to simultaneously start two large-scale regional wars and some small-scale emergent battles. It can provide strong support for the United States to return to the Asia-Pacific region and shift the strategic focus eastward.

The report also said that on one hand, China should remain vigilant on the United States’ returning to Asia-Pacific region, intervening in the territorial disputes on South China Sea and transfer of its strategic focus eastward; on the other hand, China should also see the common interests in the deep economic integration of the two countries and in maintaining the peace, stability, development, cooperation and prosperity of the world.

In line with the spirit of mutual respect and mutual trust, equality and mutual benefit, both sides should strengthen the cooperation and exchange especially that of the two militaries and jointly cope with the challenges and threats of the 21th century.

The China Strategic Culture Promotion Association is a national non-profit civil society group composed of experts, scholars and social activists who are engaged in studies of international issues, Taiwan issue and cultural issues. The association was founded in Beijing on Jan. 5 2011, aiming at promoting security and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and encouraging the peaceful development on both sides of the Taiwan Strait through the studies, dissemination and exchange of Chinese strategic culture.

Read the Chinese version: 中国智库:美国军队仍然是世界上最强大的军队,author: Yang Tiehu

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