A WikiLeaks cable dated May 2008 reveals that many of Pakistan’s National Defense University’s (NDU) students and instructors “have an anti-American bias”.
In the cable, former US Ambassador Anne Patterson gives details of US Army Colonel Michael Schleicher’s study period at (NDU), where he attended the Senior Course along with 110 Pakistani officers. Schleicher reports that 25 foreign students who were military officers from the US, Britain, Canada, China, Islamic Countries, South Africa, Nigeria, and Libya, also attended the course.
The program was part of the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program, a component of US security assistance that provides training on a grant basis to students from US allies.
During his professional and personal interactions with the students, Colonel Schleicher estimated that approximately a third of his class was religiously devout, a third of his class was moderately religious, and less than a third of his class was overtly secular.
Of the 135 Senior Course students, only two openly drank alcohol. Colonel Schleicher believed the secular students felt peer pressure to appear more religious than they actually were.
Schleicher also noted that course instructors had misperceptions about US policies and culture and “infused their lectures with these suspicions”. Patterson wrote:
For example, one guest lecturer–who is a Pakistani one-star general–claimed the US National Security Agency actively trains correspondents for media organizations.
Some students share these misconceptions despite having children who attended universities in the US. or London. Others thought the CIA was in charge of US media (and that MI-5 was in charge of the BBC).
Students in the Junior Course shared many of the biases prevalent in the Muslim world, including a belief the US invaded Iraq for its oil and that 9/11 was a staged ”Jewish conspiracy.
In contrast to criticism of the US, students and instructors were adamant in their approval of all things Chinese.
Patterson noted that “their (students) attitudes demonstrate why we should continue our efforts to increase IMET opportunities, especially those aimed at the generation of Pakistani military who were ineligible for IMET during the sanctions years.”
She stressed on targeting the “lost generation” of Pakistan military who missed IMET opportunities during the sanctions years.
The full text of the cables can be read on Dawn.com, The Hinduand NDTV. WikiLeaks has previously released cables to other media organisations including Guardian and the New York Times.
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