Why does the American mainstream media keep parroting Bush Administration claims that they seek to spread democracy in the Middle East and South Asia with no critical analysis and no factual and evidentiary reporting? The current crisis in Pakistan provides the latest evidence of Bush’s hypocrisy and the MSM’s Stepford stenography.
Here are some gems from the Associated Press in an article titled “Activists Detained in Pakistan Emergency” on the Yahoo news cite.
“Police rounded up hundreds of opposition leaders and rights activists Sunday after Pakistan's military ruler suspended the constitution, ousted the top judge and deployed troops to fight what he called rising Islamic extremism.” (forgive the formatting; I can't seem to access the html functions)
With no apparent sense of irony or satire at all, the AP notes that a military ruler suspended the “constitution”, putting in place what amounts to martial law. Two conclusions scream themselves from the AP’s numb sentence. Martial law actually means military law; Pakistan was already there. And, when a nation is ruled by the military, there is no real constitution to suspend in the first place. In short, all Pervez Musharraf really did was announce an accelerated application of the status quo; an acknowledgement of the obvious.
I just heard a sober and intelligent foreign journalist on CNN’s Late Edition say that Pakistan must “return” to democracy as soon as possible. I have heard the same from American leaders and journalists (isn’t it sad that “sober and intelligent” can rarely be used about an American journalist on a Sunday Morning talk show). But, the journalist laments, Pakistan’s leaders are suggesting that elections, once scheduled for January 15, will not take place for a year or more.
The inconsistencies and hypocrisies blow all around and through the traditional analysis of Pakistan’s “crisis”. First, it is a crisis, for sure, but it is not a new crisis. Pakistan has been under military rule since Musharraf took over in 1999. That ain’t democracy and any advanced nation wold consider itself in crisis from the moment a military coup occurred and would not consider the crisis over until the military ruler was deposed and actual democracy returned to the nation. But not so with American allies in the Middle East and South Asia. The AP says it all again in a stunningly straight-faced assertion:
Musharraf, a 1999 coup leader who had promised to relinquish his army post and become a civilian president this year, declared a state of emergency Saturday night, dashing hopes of a smooth transition to democracy for the nuclear-armed nation.
So, we were hoping Musharraf would become a “civilian President” THIS YEAR. That means he has not been a civilian president for the last 8 years. Why have we been supporting a military dictator for 8 years? (Yes, it a rhetorical question for this administration). There were “hopes of a smooth transition to democracy for this nuclear armed nation.” Six years after we allied with them in 2001, we are still hoping Pakistan will transition to democracy?
The Bush Administration is of course “disappointed” by Musharraf’s actions. This means we can expect Mr. “it’s the right thing” to take strong action against Pakistan, cant’ we? Here’s the AP:
"The U.S. has provided about $11 billion to Pakistan since 2001, when Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, allied with the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks.
"Some of the aid that goes to Pakistan is directly related to the counterterrorism mission," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters traveling with her. "We just have to review the situation. But I would be very surprised if anyone wants the president to set aside or ignore" the responsibility to national security that can come through such cooperation, she said."
In other words, we are not going to stop giving Musharraf money as long as he does what we want him to do.
WOW! I just heard Fred Thompson, in a clip on Late Edition from one of the other talks shows, DEFENDING Musharraf, claiming that Musharraf knows his own country and knows the terrorists there and Thompson refused to condemn the declaration of martial law by one of our allies!
None of this surprises in light of our ACTIONS as opposed to our words in the region. Look at our “allies” there. Saudi Arabia is a heredity autocratic oligarchy that oppresses women openly and allows virtually no political freedom beyond purely symbolic local elections. Egypt is an individual autocracy, with Hosni Mubarak, the dictator, talking openly about passing rule to his son without elections. In his own recent symbolic local elections, Mubarak declared the Muslim Brotherhood, the major opposition party, illegal and banned it from ballots. Our allies the Gulf Emirates are run by, well, Emirs. Emirs are monarchs. No democracy there. Jordan is also a monarchy, albeit more moderate than the others. Afghanistan is just a disastrous mess and can’t be called anything but a burgeoning anarchy. Iraq you know.
The only democracy is Israel, which is a democracy for Israelis. However, Israel in fact rules Palestine and is committing slow motion destruction of the Palestine people in the Gaza strip and to a somewhat lesser extent the West Bank. What Israel is doing is patently not democratic and not aligned in any imaginable way with what used to be unquestionable American values.