The dreams of A.Q. Khan

Jeffrey Goldberg's Prisoners is a admirably written book that tries to give insight into the passions that motivate both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Occasionally the book departs from that arena, and one section in particular should give one qualms about Pakistan and its possession of nuclear weapons.

As has been previously reported, Pakistani scientist (and this is a stretch since he stole most of his knowledge and bought most of his equipment from Europe) A. Q. Khan was the mastermind of the Pakistani nuclear program. He was also responsible for setting up a smuggling ring that both imported needed components for nuclear weapons and also exported nuclear know—how and equipment to Libya (confirmed) and Iran (highly suspected for good reasons).

While Pakistan has stated that their program was a reaction to India's atomic bomb, A. Q. Khan himself apparently had a different motivation. Goldberg quotes him at a party that celebrated the anniversary of Pakistan's first nuclear explosion.

"Israel is an aggressor state and needs to be confronted....[A]ll the West is an enemy of Islam. The West has been leading a crusade against the Muslims for a thousand years. Israel is the leader of the crusade. The West will have Israel use its bomb on the Muslims.  The crusades have not ended. The war against our religion has not stopped" (pages 247—248).

All the more reason that America should press Pakistan for more information regarding Khan's activities over the last two decades. He clearly was motivated by a pan—Islamic dream that encompassed not "just" the destruction of Israel but also a paranoiac and hostile view of the West. Instead, Pakistan has protected him by placing him under a comfortable house arrest.

Ed Lasky   10 30 06

Jeffrey Goldberg's Prisoners is a admirably written book that tries to give insight into the passions that motivate both the Palestinians and the Israelis. Occasionally the book departs from that arena, and one section in particular should give one qualms about Pakistan and its possession of nuclear weapons.

As has been previously reported, Pakistani scientist (and this is a stretch since he stole most of his knowledge and bought most of his equipment from Europe) A. Q. Khan was the mastermind of the Pakistani nuclear program. He was also responsible for setting up a smuggling ring that both imported needed components for nuclear weapons and also exported nuclear know—how and equipment to Libya (confirmed) and Iran (highly suspected for good reasons).

While Pakistan has stated that their program was a reaction to India's atomic bomb, A. Q. Khan himself apparently had a different motivation. Goldberg quotes him at a party that celebrated the anniversary of Pakistan's first nuclear explosion.

"Israel is an aggressor state and needs to be confronted....[A]ll the West is an enemy of Islam. The West has been leading a crusade against the Muslims for a thousand years. Israel is the leader of the crusade. The West will have Israel use its bomb on the Muslims.  The crusades have not ended. The war against our religion has not stopped" (pages 247—248).

All the more reason that America should press Pakistan for more information regarding Khan's activities over the last two decades. He clearly was motivated by a pan—Islamic dream that encompassed not "just" the destruction of Israel but also a paranoiac and hostile view of the West. Instead, Pakistan has protected him by placing him under a comfortable house arrest.

Ed Lasky   10 30 06