Sunday, August 14, 2016

The Blood Telegram by' Gary J. Bass

Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide I, sometimes think I am a student of history, but I have no recollection of the events written about in this book. In looking back, my career took me to Canada from 1963 through 1971. I have said many times that those years were the most peaceful of my life. I devoted my time and energy to my work and family. I became like a Canadian who understands that their country is too small to make a difference and therefor pay little attention to what is occurring around the world whereas as an American we feel responsible for everything and feel the need to participate. Those were the years of Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War, the hippies and overall turmoil in America. We were spared all of that. The year I returned 1971 is the basis for this book. It recalls the genocide of Hindus in East Pakistan by the Armed Forces of West Pakistan. The military leadership of General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan had allowed an election to take place in East Pakistan. The people overwhelmingly voted for a party completely at odds with him. They wanted separation from the West. He sent in his military arresting leaders and systematically driving Hindus out of the country. They bombed villages and killed as many as one million. This started in March. In the ensuing months over 10 million escaped to India seeking refuge. Many died as a result. India, a poor country, was ill equipped to handle. Aid from other countries was inadequate. The Blood Telegram was written by Archer Blood, the U.S. Consul General in Dacca, East Pakistan. He saw what was happening and sent this telegram to Washington. It infuriated Nixon and Kissinger. They were strong supporters of Gen. Khan and were not going to interfere with what they considered that country’s internal affairs. Blood was demoted and returned to Washington, his career blocked. Beginning with Eisenhower America had been providing weapons to Pakistan including jet fighters, troop transport planes, tanks, etc. This continued with Nixon. He had a fierce hatred for India. It was obvious that the killing was being done using American weapons. The liberal press and the Democrats led by Ted Kennedy raised a ruckus. The American public was pro-India. None-the-less he continued to ship arms while this was going on. Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister. She turned to Russia for aid and support. This, of course, further angered Nixon. India started training and equipping male refugees and sent them back into the country to harass and kill the soldiers. Finally in November India and Pakistan went to war. Nixon tried to get China to send troops against India, they refused. He actually sent a nuclear carrier force from Vietnam to the Bay of Bengal to scare India. Pakistan lost; the new country of Bangladesh was created. It was very poor and struggled to establishing themselves. The book concludes with what happened in the decades following. First India and then Pakistan became Nuclear Powers. As a final thought, I have become increasingly distressed with our constant arming all of the countries in the Middle East, my one exception being Israel. One day a country is our friend then tomorrow our enemy. Countless Billions wasted. Without our involvement they would still be fighting on the backs of Camels. Now the devastation is horrendous and we are starting to become victims as well. Jack B. Walters August 14, 2016

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