An excerpt from a journalist’s story

Aman [Brigadier Amanullah, secretary to Benazir Bhutto and former chief of Pakistan’s military intelligence in Sind, bordering India] noticed me looking at the painting and followed my gaze. …

“A rocket ship heading to the moon?” I asked.

“No,” he said. “A nuclear warhead heading to India.”

I thought he was making a joke. … I told Aman that I was disturbed by the ease with which Pakistanis talk of nuclear war with India.

Aman shook his head. “No,” he said matter-of-factly. “This should happen. We should use the bomb.”

“For what purpose?”

He didn’t seem to understand my question.

“In retaliation?” I asked.

“Why not?”

“Or first strike?”

“Why not?”

I looked for a sign of irony. None was visible…

“We should fire at them and take out a few of their cities — Delhi, Bombay, Calcutta,” he said. “They should fire back and take Karachi and Lahore. Kill off a hundred or two hundred million people… and it would all be over. They have acted so badly toward us; they have been so mean. We should teach them a lesson. It would teach all of us a lesson. There is no future here, and we need to start over. So many people think this. Have you been to the villages of Pakistan, the interior? There is nothing but dire poverty and pain. The children have no education; there is nothing to look forward to. Go into the villages, see the poverty. There is no drinking water. Small children without shoes walk miles for a drink of water. I go to the villages and I want to cry. My children have no future. None of the children of Pakistan have a future. We are surrounded by nothing but war and suffering…”[1]

[1] Peter Landesman, ‘The Agenda: A Modest Proposal From the Brigadier: What one Prominent Pakistani thinks his Country should do with its Atomic Weapons’, The Atlantic Monthly, March 2002. Quoted in Ashish Nandy, "Narcissism and despair." There is more on this but putting later part of his argument here will weaken the central point he was making.

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