Thursday, December 20, 2007

Another Book On A.Q. Khan

Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan is becoming a popular subject these days as there is another biography about him called The Nuclear Jihadist: The True Story of the Man Who Sold the World's Most Dangerous Secrets...And How We Could Have Stopped Him. Here’s an excerpt of a review from The San Francisco Chronicle:
Upon hearing mention of people who have caused death and destruction in our world, such as Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin, most decent people will react negatively. While Dr. Abdul Qadeer (A.Q.) Khan may not elicit the same reaction, it's high time to include him on that list.

Khan played a major role in constructing Pakistan's nuclear program, bringing atomic bombs to the Islamic world and to various rogue states. He's regarded as a hero by some in his native country, and a national disgrace by others. Time magazine dubbed him the "Merchant of Menace" in February 2005. And his controversial actions mark him as a real threat to liberty, freedom and democracy.

Two prominent reporters, the husband-and-wife team of Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins, spent four years examining Khan's life, views and possible reasons for selling nuclear secrets. Their efforts have yielded "The Nuclear Jihadist," which details Khan's rise in terror circles and points fingers at various sources, including U.S. government officials, for not stopping him earlier.
A.Q. Khan in the same league as Hitler and Stalin! Even I think that’s a bit much. If A.Q. Khan wasn’t selling nuclear technology, someone else would. I doubt it was Khan’s intention to kill anybody, he just wanted to be famous: a flamboyant and vain man who enjoyed the role of playing a hero, who not only delivered the goods, but was (and still) worshiped for it.

And why exclusively blame A.Q. Khan? Why isn’t Pakistan being raked over the coals for its involvement? Each subsequent government not only indulged him but condoned his activities and, at times, actively participated in them. Nuclear technology was not being sent via Pakistan International Airlines but on air force transport aircraft planes. At the same time, that Pakistan would deny any knowledge of A.Q. Khan’s activities was laughable. I’m sure A.Q. Khan is not happy in his place in life: made to admit on television his crimes, banished into exile, forced to keep his mouth shut, and to live out his life with the indignity of being thrown under a bus by a country that greatly benefited from his work.

I’m sure A.Q. Khan, conceited and vain as he is, is almost chomping at the bit to say something, anything to clear his name. Now that’s a book I would like to read.

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