The lede paragraph from Reuters tells the story best:
Suspected Islamist militants attacked a Pakistani checkpost near the U.S. consulate in Peshawar on Monday, hours after a suicide bomber killed 38 people elsewhere in the northwest, officials said.
The group attacked by suicide bombers who killed 38 people was a secular based political party:
Police said the bomber tried to get into the ground where the ANP, which heads a coalition government in North West Frontier Province, was holding a meeting but he was stopped and blew himself up.
The ANP, which is also a member of the ruling federal coalition government, is a largely secular party and opposes the militants battling the state.
As much as we complain of domestic terrorism in the United States, we’ve yet to see anything close to the dangers the people in Pakistan endure on a daily basis from their religious fundamentalists, the Taliban groups of Northwest Pakistan. The Hutaree and groups like them may be growing, but for the most part the only successful right wing terror has been limited to “lone wolves” like Scott Roeder and Tim McVeigh and Eric Rudolph.
Horrible yes, but nothing on the scope that Pakistan faces, where the religious zealots are deeply entrenched in the countryside, within the military and in the national security force, the ISI. Imagine if the FBI and CIA and all of our armed forces were filled with Christian fundamentalists sympathetic to the goals of, or in league with, Fundamentalist Christian militant groups dedicated to the violent overthrow of the government, groups who killed civilians, government officials and political opponents on a regular basis.
True, we need to be concerned about the growing involvement of the Religious Right in the US Military. We need to be concerned about right wing media and politicians who use inflammatory rhetoric such as calling the health care reform bill “Armageddon” and encouraging their followers to “reload” and put Democrats in Congress in their “cross hairs.”
We need to be worried that far too many people (whatever the true number) view our President as the Antichrist. We should be concerned there are a significant number of people who accept on faith that we may be living in the “end times,” times which some believe justify the use of violence against our civil authorities and our government.
So we should be worried and on our guard against demagogues and extremists who desire to stir up ill will and spread divisivenessamong their fellow Americans. But we should also be grateful that we have not yet descended into the hell of countires like Pakistan where terrorism is not just an infequent occurrence, it is a real and constant danger.
Furthermore, I believe our President should do a thorough re-examination of the US Government’s policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan to see if our current methods to support those governments, which rely primarily on a heavy military footprint in Afghanistan and military intervention in Pakistan are the correct path to combat the terrorist threat that the Taliban poses to Pakistan’s society. For, in the end, America cannot solve that problem in Pakistan, just as other countries cannot solve the threat posed by right wing violence in America. To the extent that our highly militarized involvement in Pakistan is seen as a justification for continued violence among the people who support and follow the Taliban, we are a detriment to any peaceful solution there.