US should apologise to Pakistan, NATO pay reparations to soldiers: Congressman Kucinich

Published: December 7, 2011

Kucinich says "We need to apologise to the people of Pakistan, NATO must pay reparations to the families of the soldiers." PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON: A United States Congressman from Ohio has called on his government to apologise to Pakistan, and for NATO to pay compensation to the families of 24 soldiers killed in a NATO air strike on a Pakistani border check post on November 26.

Speaking at an event organised by the Association of Physicians of Pakistani Descent of North America (APPNA) Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, a Democrat, said relations with Pakistan was a critical issue. “We need to apologise to the people of Pakistan, NATO must pay reparations to the families of the soldiers.”

His remarks come a day after US Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham called for Pakistan’s funding to be reviewed.

(Read: Key US Senators urge review of Pakistan funding)

Pakistani doctors face visa wall to working in US

Dr Zaffar Iqbal, a member of the 17000-member strong APPNA said “Last year, only 90 doctors came to work in the US.”

Speaking to The Express Tribune on the sidelines of an event organized by APPNA at the Rayburn House Office Building to highlight to Congressmen the issues faced by Pakistani physicians applying for visas to work in the US, Dr Iqbal said numerous young physicians applying for visas to work in the US are facing delays or are being rejected by the US embassy and consulates. “They don’t get their visas on time, and hence can’t join their residencies that they’ve been offered.” Dr Iqbal said that hospitals then become reluctant to offer residencies to Pakistani physicians.

He added that due to less Pakistanis being given visas, the number of Indian doctors coming to the US to work has more than doubled in the past few years.

Dr Manzoor Tariq, President of APPNA, said that they had held meetings with the State Department and Homeland Security to urge them to facilitate the process.

The event also saw a number of members of Congress attending, and looking at APPNA posters highlighting statistics of the decrease in Pakistani physicians coming to the US. APPNA says that a majority of Pakistani doctors work in the rural areas of the US, and provide a vital service to the country.

Addressing the event, Congressman Kucinich said, “I’m aware of complexities around US-Pakistan relations, but you are our brothers and sisters, and we need to help facilitate those who want to take care of people here”.

Paying tribute to the Pakistani community in her district of Nevada, Congresswoman Birkley added that the US was facing a shortage of medical professionals, and offered her support to APPNA to push for more visas for Pakistani doctors.

Other members of Congress who attended the event and lent support to APPNA included Senator Bob Casey, Claire McCaskill, Congressman Guthrie and others.

Addressing the event, Tim Lenderking, the head of the Pakistan desk at the State Department, said that it was important to talk to the Embassy. “Pakistan has done a great job in contributing to healthcare in the United States, and we want to support that.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly quoted Dr Iqbal that this year 90 doctors from Pakistan came to the US. Also Congressman Kucinich was listed a Republican. This is incorrect. The error is regretted.

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Reader Comments (57)

  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Dec 7, 2011 - 12:41AM

    America still have some sane voices.We trust they will continue to pursue what they have said in Washington DC before APNA members.Recommend

  • Peace
    Dec 7, 2011 - 12:46AM

    One same voice.

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  • Mirza
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:01AM

    Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich, has always been my favourite person in the US congress. What a cruel joke ET, you wrote him a “Republican”! Nothing can be more insulting to Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich and his supporters. He is one of the most peace loving and liberal congressman in America. He is a progressive Democrat. His stand has always been consistent and always against wars and invasions. We love you Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich for being consistent and not compromising. I voted for you in the primaries for President of the US.

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  • mk
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:06AM

    Bravo. and proud of Pakistani docs!

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  • Ghulam Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:11AM

    What about the shortage of doctors in Pakistan? Why leave the motherland in the first place? And there isnt much difference between 130 earlier to 90 now, I am surprised that even 90 still make it.

    Also, why do they need to bring India into the discussions??? There should be no comparison.

    “He added that due to less Pakistanis being given visas, the number of Indian doctors coming to the US to work has more than doubled in the past few years.”

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  • Cautious
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:22AM

    You may very well get an apology and compensation — but not before an investigation is performed – the same investigation that Pakistan declined to participate in. As far as the number of Pakistani doctors being allowed into the USA — the number is a grand total of 40 less and that’s no big deal — I would suggest that Pakistan has a greater need for doctors and, if so, then the doctors should stay in Pakistan.

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  • Peace
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:34AM

    One sane voice. Sorry for spelling error.

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  • Blue eyed Indian
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:47AM

    @K. Salim Jahangir: Politicians are opportunists, don’t read sanity on their statement just because they favor you. These same people will go against you if they deem it necessary for their election.

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  • F K
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:49AM

    Dennis Kucinich is not a Republican as stated in the article. He is a far left wing progressive democrat. He has run for the Democratic nomination for president on many occassions, but has never succeeded. He is an honest politician but his support base is limited to progressives in the US.

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  • EX
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:50AM

    True gentleman congressmen
    John McCain is paying bad cop good cop with Pakistan
    Pakistan should tell John McCain pakistans conducts foreign policy with the white house not junior senators
    Anyway congress does not decide pak policy the CIA does, the CIA only understands eye for an eye

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  • Ts
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:51AM

    These docs are greedy and money hungry, i know as i have dealt with them for over 20 years.Recommend

  • Maggie Ronkin
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:52AM

    Thanks for highlighting diversity of opinion over here, as well as valued contributions of Pakistani physicians to serving the underserved To offer a correction: Dennis Kucinich (kucinich.house.gov) is a Democrat, not a Republican (like John McCain and Lindsey Graham).

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  • LOK
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:53AM

    Don’t need apology, pls leave…

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  • grain2315
    Dec 7, 2011 - 2:23AM

    unfortunately he is but one sane voice in the wildernes, lets hope the people running the US see reason…

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  • Bilal.A
    Dec 7, 2011 - 2:33AM

    Being Pakistani doctor in US, I echo the sentiments expressed by APPNA. Many of our friends with great USMLE scores can’t come only because of visa issues. Also many others who match in the residency programs can’t join because of visa issues again. The residency programs are now reluctant to offer interviews and jobs to Pakistani doctors as they know they will end up with visa issues. The position across the border is different as indian doctors with even less scores are flocking in. They get their visas within a week where as our fellow physicians wait usually for 4-6 months. The time residency program directors don’t have.

    I hope all influentials in US and Pakistan reading these comments take action against the unjust policies against Pakistani physicians. Thanks
    Ayubians.com

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  • Imran Mohammad
    Dec 7, 2011 - 2:47AM

    First, well said congressman , you are a fair person. God bless you.

    So, out of everything that is going on between US-Pak, APPNA raised issue for visas for doctors. Really? I understand they are association of physicians. But should they not broaden their horizon a bit keeping in view their influence. Should they not ask for fair treatment of Pakistani nation in general? How does more doc coming to US really help Pakistan?

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  • Boy
    Dec 7, 2011 - 3:26AM

    Look at these Pakistani voices expressing their ‘phews’ at the ‘sane voice’. How does it even matter? Why do we still take pride in our leaders? Had we had a more rigorous foreign policy, the NATO tradegy may have never taken place.

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  • Dr ubaid
    Dec 7, 2011 - 3:34AM

    offer me a residency plz … APNAA :)

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 7, 2011 - 3:50AM

    Kudos to Dennis J. Kucinich for his kind words for the 24 deceased Pakistani soldiers.

    US do not know that there is a deadlock in the Pakistan-US relations. The government of Pakistan has not as yet asked US Ambassador in Pakistan to go back home but one can realize how critical the situation is that Pakistan has not only sealed the routes for NATO supplies but has also boycotted the Bonn conference.

    The situation is going to go for an indefinite period of time and in the days to come US will realize the fact that how sensitive and delicate relations were with Pakistan.

    Unless US President Barack Hussein Obama will not tender a formal written apology to Government of Pakistan nothing is going to happen. And the US President does not seems to be in a mood to do that, otherwise he fears that he might loose the elections while contesting for his second term.

    Let me make it clear that we are not the people that US will give us a lollypop and we are going to forget every thing.

    The government and the people of Pakistan have a very clear vision as how to move forward with the US in future.

    And let me also tell to the people of the US that one cannot clap with one hand.

    We are in no mood to take any more dictation from the US in any respect including US war on terror and return of US soldiers from Afghanistan.

    We have lost too much after becoming the front line state in US war on terror and we do not want to lose any more precious human lives and public private properties.

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  • Dec 7, 2011 - 4:15AM

    There are so many congressmen in DC. 400+. No one takes seriously someone who was called, hosted and made speak by the Pakistani doctors. Seriously.

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  • Adil Bashir
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:16AM

    @SIDDIQUI sahib: You are kidding me that Obama is going to lose elections if he does not apologize to Pakistan?

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  • Abdul Rahman Khan
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:25AM

    Good Ohio man. With people like you in the US Congress, now we are friends again. It doesn’t look nice to see US and Pakistan on inimical track.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:30AM

    @Adil Bashir:

    On which world do you live? Just wait and what is going to happen. Time will speak. I have been numerous political predictions for more than 10 years and by the Grace of Al-Mighty Allah, none of them have come false.

    I have in depth knowledge on geopolitical affairs. Communicate me your cell number and I will send you a text message before I will deliver my next lecture so that you should participate.

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  • Kucinich Is an Idiot
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:39AM

    I am sure Pakistan will be happy to receive him. Got a job for little Dennis, the menace?

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  • Neelum Shah Jilani
    Dec 7, 2011 - 5:15AM

    At least, some one has the courage to say it in their faces. Appreciable attempt!

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  • Amjad
    Dec 7, 2011 - 6:24AM

    At least a balanced opinion from a knowledgeable politcian.

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  • Freeman
    Dec 7, 2011 - 6:24AM

    @Blue eyed Indian: Yes they are opportunists Including who are speaking aainst Pakistan as well. They speak against Pakistan to get Political benefit and make fool of all Americans.

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  • Cherish
    Dec 7, 2011 - 6:34AM

    Money talks!

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  • jagjit sidhoo
    Dec 7, 2011 - 7:15AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui: Do you think Imran Khan can become the next PM/ President? I think he would be good for Pakistan and hence the region.

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  • sadhu
    Dec 7, 2011 - 7:53AM

    @K. Salim Jahangir:
    Pakistan has none!

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  • Hu Jintao
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:26AM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    Well Said Bro.

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  • antanu
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:55AM

    @Ghulam Ahmed:
    You did not get the point sir….it only reflects the US biased mind towards Pakistan and Muslims in particular. US is supposed to be a secular country…does a secular nation behaves like this?

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  • antanu
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:58AM

    @Cautious:
    If that is the criteria…then my dear…go through the reports…India is suffering from lack of doctors…check with google and you will find that per capita doctors in India is among the lowest in the world. In fact you deliberately missed the point of the article.

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  • antanu
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:01AM

    @Kucinich Is an Idiot:
    Well….all the truth speaking people are insane in the eyes of real saniles

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  • Naveed
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:29AM

    Lol @Cautious……you just cant get over with your Pakistan obsession.

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  • Ahmer Ali
    Dec 7, 2011 - 9:51AM

    Not only verbal apologize but written apologize from president Obama and NATO’s chief and even also provide written agreement,assurance and guarantee by NATO’s and US’ officials not to do so in the future through any means and manifestations and under any circumstances and all of it shall be ensured even no any interference from Afghanistan’s territory to Pakistan’s territory.

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  • J
    Dec 7, 2011 - 11:14AM

    Coigressman Dennis Kucinich is not only a decent person but he is a brave spokesman and not afraid to speak for truth and justice!

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  • khalid malhi
    Dec 7, 2011 - 12:46PM

    They have degenerated to a bunch of blood hungry scavenger who have no respect for international law.Any sane voice will not be heard by them.They are their to kill our peace loving people who have sacrificed their life ,property for their safety and honour.NATO=TERROR. AMERICA=TERRORISM.Recommend

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:33PM

    Imagine him as the President of United States…
    well… no point in imagining… CIA/Jewish lobby would never allow that.

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  • Kris
    Dec 7, 2011 - 1:56PM

    He is one of the few sane politicians in US politics. Recommend

  • Fareedi
    Dec 7, 2011 - 2:56PM

    Yes….Please do….. we would like to know exactly how much it is that you think our lives are worth!

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  • Menon
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:30PM

    @K. Salim Jahangir:

    As sane as Pakistan’s voice. News Flash, no one listens to this man and no coverage in the US media. Recommend

  • FactCheck
    Dec 7, 2011 - 4:47PM

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:

    Apology is being written by President Obama himself and it is going to be signed all Senators, Congressmen, and Senior Staff. Also, significant restitution in tune of a trillion is under consideration and is being actively debated under the leadership of none other than the most powerful Congressman Dennis Kucinic himself.

    All you have to is be patient and hold your breadth until it all gets worked out.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 7, 2011 - 5:15PM

    Kucinich is from Cleaveland, Ohio! Enough said! Ask any American what that means between guffaws such an inquiry would provoke!

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui:
    “Let me make it clear that we are not the people that US will give us a lollypop and we are going to forget every thing. “
    Don’t expect a lollypop! Certainly, not an apology either!

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  • K. Salim Jahangir
    Dec 7, 2011 - 6:29PM

    @Blue eyed Indian,Sadhu, Menon…….One does not know the art of politics ,but certainly how to get the job done.

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  • Meekal Ahmed
    Dec 7, 2011 - 6:30PM

    Of course they should — once the facts are established.

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  • antony
    Dec 7, 2011 - 8:47PM

    Apology in writing plus Obama announcing in media is all necessary if fair investigation led to the blame of NATO beyond doubt..But I wonder why Pakistan did not achieve this through Joint Investigation is mind boggling.. IF some NATO official is lying or tampering the evidence in the middle then pakistan could have shouted in the media and brought Media into the issue like memo gate ….I understand pakistani soldiers were fighting Taliban and not placed there for fighting NATO and hence a proper investigation is necessary ..As an Indian from an observer status what is game NATO playing if any needs to be understood or is it just plain mistake?

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  • Abbas from the US
    Dec 8, 2011 - 12:50AM

    @Mirza:

    You are absolutely right Congressman Kucinich is the most progressive Democrat with no ties to the lobbyists that at times manipulate the narrative that benifits the the warmongers.
    We have met the Congressmen several times and even attended one Presidential debate as his supporters.
    Since the Congressmen is not beholden to special interest groups, he has no problems speaking out with conviction. He was also the same Congressman who tabled the resolution in the House in 2007 to impeach Vice President Dick Chenney, in 2008 a set of articles to impeach President Bush, in 2009 a resolution for withdrawal of all American forces from Afghanistan.

    @Mohammad Ali Siddiqui

    I think Siddiqui Sahab was with the Foreign Office in latter part of the eighties, where we had some indirect interaction.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 8, 2011 - 2:27AM

    Whatever happened to Dan Burton, the Ace India-baiter, the One-man Caucus of Pakistan in the US Congress. Has Pakistan fired him and now engaged Kucinich in his place?

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  • Mirza
    Dec 8, 2011 - 3:02AM

    @G. Din: This congressman is not for sale. He opposed every war and for peace no matter where the war is fought. No country has enough money to buy him.
    @Abbas from the US: Yes sire I agree with you 100%. I love men of principle like him. Please keep up the good work. Peace
    Thanks and regards,
    Mirza

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  • Abhishek
    Dec 8, 2011 - 6:56AM

    Kindly note that the person is still alive in America.
    and nobody calls him traitor of Christianity .

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  • Farhan
    Dec 8, 2011 - 5:53PM

    I am happy to see an association of 17,000 Pakistani doctors active in US. Keep it up guys do what ever you could do for the progress of US and back at home.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 8, 2011 - 6:46PM

    @Mirza:
    “@G. Din: This congressman is not for sale. He opposed every war and for peace no matter where the war is fought. No country has enough money to buy him.”
    Even if he were for sale, my friend, no one would buy him. He, like Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Kuldip Nayyar etc, is one who wraps himself in “high-principled sanctimony”. Such people believe in the “Power of the Principle”. They sincerely believe that because those principles have been revealed to them, others should willingly follow them. No one does. All of them are failures. That does not automatically make those principles wrong but does raise doubts as to whether they constitute a complete set. All those “Absolutists” are born losers because they are not “practical”. The universe around us is ever-changing and they will have you believe that the principle(s) they espouse are immutable to that constant change. It is a good crutch, nothing more. And, who says that all wars are bad and that every peace is worthy of being welcomed. No one opts for the “Peace of the Dead”, does any one? And, every war was fought with the hope of a sanguine outcome at the other end.

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  • Abbas from the US
    Dec 8, 2011 - 8:03PM

    @G. Din:

    Even if he were for sale, my friend, no one would buy him. He, like Jimmy Carter, Noam Chomsky, Arundhati Roy, Kuldip Nayyar etc, is one who wraps himself in “high-principled sanctimony”.

    Hardly! Jimmy Carter was bought by the American voter at least once for a term of 4 years, He was bought at least once by the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize Committee. He is still bought significantly by the American donor/contributors, and even people like me who view his Habitat for Humanity as a major moral contribution to humanity, His books sell and reach the top of the best sellers of the Non Fiction list 30 years after his leaving center stage. He is rated today as the most popular ex President of the United States.

    In the same vein, Chomsky may not win the popularity contest in Israel and may not be allowed to speak there as was the case last year whenIsraeli authorities detained Chomsky and ultimately refused his entry to the West Bank via Jordan, but everytime he comes around to speak at Princeton or any major university in the US as an Academic he draws more attention from the world of academia than most academic professors do.

    I cannot say the same for Arundhati Roy or Kuldip Nayyar, but it may be sign of the maturity of Indian society when conscentious objectors and the conscience of the nations are disparaged as failures.

    Your defence of miltarism is no differnt from the view of the Pakistani military, that Pakistani pacifists have chosen to take a stand against.

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  • G. Din
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:14AM

    @Abbas from the US:
    All those characters I quoted were not born the way they are today. Jimmy Carter was indeed a popular man when he got elected and won a Nobel Prize for his good work as a peacemaker. But, he got carried away with it. Up until then, he was a normal man. After that, he began to talk down and, deservedly again, turned into a failure. It does not mean he is not a good person, just that he does not have the pulling power now which any person you would want to “buy” has to have.
    Chomsky is an extraordinarily eminent man in the field of linguistics and has made seminal contributions in that field. Again, in the field of international politics he is not much of a success because of his rigid views. Even though he is Jewish, he is not welcome in Israel because his views vis-a-vis Israel are similar to Mahatma Gandhi’s when he did not want the world to stand up to fascism because he (Mahatma) believed in “non-violence”. One thing has to be said to the credit of Mahatma is that he did fashion his non-violence subsequently away from the doctrinairal character of earlier days.
    The point is that just because you have succeeded in one field, it does not mean that you have reached maturity universally, much less mastered other fields. Because they mistakenly believe so, all of them are a failure and world just shrugs and move on when they speak.
    I am not defending militarism. If I had been doing so, I would have been lauding Hitler’s fascist onslaught on the world. It is exactly the opposite. My view is that a war against fascism is a righteous war and must be fought. Similarly, for example, the peace India got after Muslim invasions and subsequent British colonialism is not the kind of peace one should be welcoming. Those who do so are guilty of simplistic “absolutism”, a form of intellectual lassitude where you are lazy enough to be quick to jump to simplistic generalizations.

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  • Observer
    Dec 9, 2011 - 1:58AM

    Poor countries like Pakistan and India spend money to train these doctors. There is a huge shortage of doctors in these countries. Why are they allowed to migrate to western countries instead of serving in their own countries? I think these greedy doctors should be made to serve 15 years in their home countries before being allowed to leave for other countries. This must be a condition of their medical college admission.

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  • Dubb
    Dec 10, 2011 - 7:42PM

    Question of a – by the western press – badly, eben uniformed European.
    How much has NATO/US offered in compensation to the families of
    killed Pakistani soldiers?
    Does the amount offered in any way come near to amount any islamic army
    would have to pay for killing US/European citizens or Christian soldiers?

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