Dr Farrukh Saleem
On December 8, 1941, the United States officially entered World War II – and from that day onwards everything within the US changed. All internal political actors ended their peacetime conflicts. All labour unions went all out to support their armed forces and even signed a ‘wartime no-strike pledge’.
The FBI arrested thousands “suspected of loyalty to Germany, Japan or Italy”. Hundreds of US citizens who were “accused of supporting Germany” were publicly tried. Hundreds more were detained without trial. Under a presidential request, an all-volunteer United Services Organisation (USO), comprising Hollywood celebrities and well-known entertainers, was established. The USO’s goal was to provide “morale and recreation services to US uniformed military personnel”.
On December 19, 1941, the Office of Censorship was established as “an emergency wartime agency”. The Office of Censorship issued the ‘Code of Wartime Practices’ that directed both the print and electronic media against printing or airing material that would be of “value to the enemy”.
In Britain, Churchill formed a coalition government in order to secure cross-party support for British soldiers. In Japan, a ‘wartime regime’ was established that pulled together politicians, intellectuals and the press into one pool. In the west, wartime politics have often produced ‘war cabinets’ for an orderly ‘execution of the war effort’. PM Churchill formed a ‘war cabinet’ in which he held the portfolio of the minister of defence. The Australians had also formed a ‘war cabinet’ during WW II. In 2001, President Bush had also formed a ‘war cabinet’ to fight America’s ‘war on terror’.
For the record, America held two elections during the six-year, one-day war (WWII). In the US presidential election of 1940, Franklin Roosevelt won but the defeated candidate became a ‘roving ambassador’ for Roosevelt.
Over to India. The Sino-Indian War began on October 20, 1962. According to B Raman, of the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), “Before the outbreak of the Sino-Indian war of 1962, there was considerable opposition criticism of the way Jawaharlal Nehru, the then prime minister, and VK Krishna Menon, the then defence minister, were handling our differences with China. But once the Chinese troops invaded India, all the opposition parties stopped their criticism of the government and supported it and our armed forces in a total mark of solidarity.”
Pakistan is at war – at war to save its soul. In the western theatre, the Pakistan Army, under attack by violent non-state actors (VNSA), is fighting a 4G war. In the eastern theatre, the Indian Army has its ‘cold start doctrine’. Within Pakistan, our mainstream politicians, having lost out in four martial laws, seeking to tilt the civil-military balance in their favour, are now targeting their own army. The judicial organ of the state, in an overzealous undertaking to guard its new-found ‘independence’ is somehow ending up harming its own army’s chain of command.
Pakistan is up against existential threats but, intriguingly, ‘Operation Target Pak Army’ is in full swing. No army on the face of the planet can fight a war on its own. The three things that an army needs to win are: chain of command, unit cohesion and support of the people.
Remember; “war does not determine who is right – only who is left.”
P.S. The inspiration for this article came from an op-ed piece published in the Sri Lanka Guardian.
The writer is a columnist based in Islamabad. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: The News