The war on terror as initially envisioned by the US is lost – today Bush effectively declared the CIA ‘torture’ program illegal, upheld the Geneva conventions, promised to eventually close down Guantanamo and try the captured 9/11 terrorist leaders in military tribunals with defence attorneys provided. Now it is just an intelligence and police problem, what it should have been all along. Also in today’s speech, George W. Bush was petulantly bitter about the decision of the US Supreme Court in Hamdan vs Rumsfeld

The Hizbullah-Lebanon war has permanently tipped the delicate balance. Israel’s aura was defeated, and together with it – the last vestiges of American moral and military credibility.

Terrorists’ media productions keep Rumsfeld awake at night. The post-WWII lie-lie-lie (ad infinitum) propaganda tactics have come to an abrupt stop in the modern connected world where mainstream media is exhausted and embarrassed at trying and being repeatedly caught at suppressing news, and worldwide opinions are formed in minutes. Quite literally, the spinners are dazed and blue by the excessive spin. The ‘shock and awe’ strategy is gone. Conventional war as we knew it is effectively history – now it will be nuclear war or ‘network’ guerrilla war – something Hizbullah introduced.

So, time to face the truth, eh? And talk on the facts? What are the effects?

The Taliban resurged after learning from Iraqi mujahidin; and the CIA has wound up its bin Laden cell. He has escaped the critical five-year period in which the US had to eliminate him in order to show that ‘you cannot get away’ – an aura that they maintained since the Indian Independence drive of 1857 and the Sudanese Mahdi uprising. With this weakness shown, already jittery allies such as Pakistan just fled the artificial bandwagon. The death of Bugti has shown that killing bin Laden now will create more problems than its twin benefits of deterrence and vengeance, and Pakistan cannot push itself further, and the question being asked increasingly is: for what? At this point in time, few Muslim politicians can risk the ignominy of being declared traitors by a significant portion of their electorates if they kill or hand over bin Laden to the US without the due process of law.

In ther news today, the government of Pakistan has signed a peace treaty with the Taliban as it had no other choice. It has all but given official sanctuary to bin Laden and company. When Bush snubbed Pakistan by agreeing to nuclear co-operation with India, Musharraf said, ‘watch and see’. Being the consummate politician, he has lived up to his promise. Pakistan was at the crossroads of the South Asian, Central Asian, and Middle Eastern identities. Co-operation with India in the last few years would have cemented the South Asian identity. Pakistan is now firmly in the Middle Eastern / Islamic identity.

In other parts of the Islamic world, similar attitudes are taking hold. During the Hizbullah-Israel war, the Malaysian Prime Minister asked countries to supply weapons to Hizbullah and even the sleepy pro-American Saudi leaders threatened regional war. Iran is thumbing its nose at the UN and rightfully questioning its legitimacy, a loss that occurred with the replacement of Boutros-Ghali with Kofi Annan by the US.

At the same time, as the Islamists exert their power, they are realizing that they have to back away from medieval social restrictions, and tackle corruption. It is just a matter of time now, but the future for them is not a copy of the West – it is a combination of proud social reform that mirrors cultures and economic structures and religious paradigms. Again, Hizbullah has led the way in adopting social policies, education, technology and almost-parity for women in its structure.

Bush has lost. Bin Laden has won. Period. End of story. The bitter truth. You can spin it as much as you want, and use all the adjectives and adverbs you want, but it cannot be denied any longer. And guess why it came about? Because Bush lied, and discouraged reason and scoffed the rule of law, differentiated in the value of human blood by nationality and race, and depicted the normal hatred of an enemy as an dehumanizing characteristic. These are greater evils than all the terrorism in the world put together for they destroy the human moral fibre and civilization as we know it.

Had the US upheld the rule of law, today would have been a day of victory, and not retreat.