Friday, November 16, 2007

Because neither is a fan of democracy

Robert Scheer, in The Nation:
"The war on terror" made me do it. That's the excuse that works for George W. Bush to rationalize his assaults on the rule of law, from arbitrary arrest to torture. So why not try some war-on-terror obfuscation to bail out his president-dictator buddy over in Pakistan?

That's the card Bush played at his Saturday press conference when he once again celebrated Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf as a strong ally in the war on terrorism: "If you're the chief operating officer of Al-Qaida, you haven't had a good experience. There has been four or five Number 3s that have been brought to justice one way or the other, and many of those folks thought they had found safe haven in Pakistan. And that would not have happened without President Musharraf honoring his word."

Of course Bush's statement was utter nonsense. Al-Qaida has been having a very good experience with its CEO Osama bin Laden--whom Bush had promised to get "dead or alive"--being still very much alive and apparently moving with his minions quite easily across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. So too his Taliban sponsors, who seem to get stronger each month; Afghanistan is no closer to stability than Iraq, that other war-on-terrorism battleground where Bush once claimed triumph.

But now, even Pakistan is a war zone in which the terrorists seem to be thriving, and that is more troubling than the chaos in that other country we invaded to seize its imaginary nuclear bombs. Pakistan has real ones, upward of eighty, as well as the aircraft and missiles to deliver them if some of the religious extremists in the military ever get in charge. Some highly placed folks in the Pakistan military supplied the transport planes used by Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father of the "Islamic bomb," to transfer key nuclear weapons technology out of Pakistan and into North Korea, Libya and Iran. If Musharraf is such a determined warrior against terrorism, why has he pardoned Khan, the man who did so much to help those rogue nations that Bush warned us against, while preventing US intelligence agents from interviewing him?

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