Excerpt from Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson.
Context: Greg Mortenson is building schools all over Pakistan, several years before the 9/11 bombing of the World Trade Centers. In this conversation, he is talking with Brigadier General Bashir Baz of the Pakistani military about the Taliban in Afghanistan and America's War on Terror. The excerpt follows:
"You know Greg, I have to thank your president," Bashir said, paging through flight schedules on his high-tech flat-screen computer monitor. "A nightmare was growing on our western border, and he's paid to put it to an end. I can't imagine why. The only gainer in the whole equation is Pakistan."
Bashir paused to watch a live CNN feed from Baghdad. Staring at a small video window inset into the flight manifests scrolling down his monitor, Bashir was struck silent by the images of wailing Iraqi women carrying children's bodies out of the rubble of a bombed building.
As he studied the screen, Bashir's bullish shoulders slumped. "People like me are America's best friends in the region," Bashir said at last, shaking his head ruefully. "I'm a moderate Muslim, an educated man. But watching this, even I could become a jihadi. How can Americans say they are making themselves safer?" Bashir asked, struggling not to direct his anger toward the large American target on the other side of his desk. "Your President Bush has done a wonderful job of uniting one billion Muslims against America for the next two hundred years."
"Osama had something to do with it, too," Mortenson said.
"Osama, baah!" Bashir roared. "Osama is not a product of Pakistan of Afghanistan. He is a creation of America. Thanks to America, Osama is in every home. As a military man, I know you can never fight and win against someone who can shoot at you once and then run off and hide while you have to remain eternally on guard. You have to attack the source of your enemy's strength. In America's case, that's not Osama or Saddam or anyone else. The enemy is ignorance. The only way to defeat it is to build relationships with these people, to draw them into the modern world with education and business. Otherwise the fight will go on forever." pg 310
A five-star book that everyone interested in America's War on Terror should take the time to read.