George Bush calls Pakistan our most important ally in the war on terror and he should know after all he started the war on terror. George Bush calls their leader "President" but President Musharraf was first elected only by a vote of the military Generals.
The US government has given Pakistan billions of dollars in cash and high tech fighter aircraft but wants to give their sworn adversaries nuclear fuel. This is called bump and nudge diplomacy, I’ll give you things if you help us but I’ll give your adversaries more if you don’t help enough. India to her credit has grown wise to the game and has backed away from the free ride nuclear fuel deal. She realizes she is being sucked in to what at best could help her nuclear program but at worst could end up in a world war.
The "President" of Pakistan just won his second election because his opposition boycotted the vote due to a technicality. That technicality being that the President isn’t eligible to run. Maybe that’s what Bush and Musharraf have in common they rule by court decree. Well they did until yesterday when the "President" of Pakistan declared a state of emergency, but not martial law. Like Bushes torture, torture is only torture if you call it torture and it’s only martial law if you call it martial law.
But with troops around the Supreme Court building armed with machine guns and barbed wire the "President" is prepared for the emergency. He has shut down all independent media and made it a crime to criticize the government or the military.
The "President" said the emergency announced on Saturday would be as short as possible and that 400-500 people are being held under "preventive detentions".
Those included among the detained are Imran Khan, a famous cricket player turned politician, Asma Jehagir, chairman of the independent Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, and Javed Hashmi, the acting president of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) party of Nawaz Sharif, the former prime minister.
The "President" explained, "Extremists, had challenged the writ of the government. The country’s unity is in danger without emergency rule, terrorism and extremism had reached their limit and his country's sovereignty was at stake. "Pakistan has reached a dangerous point, and is undergoing an internal crisis. Whatever is happening is because of internal disturbances," he said in a pre-recorded televised address, "I fear that if timely action is not taken, then God forbid there is a threat to Pakistan's sovereignty." He said some media channels had added to uncertainty in the country, but did not specify which."
But the American media shuns this story; our greatest ally in the war on terror is coming apart at the seams but wow! A writers strike might force Letterman into reruns and the last of the California wildfire victims go home.
Maybe it’s because there are so many stories here? It’s like an orange, peel off the skin and there are multiple stories. Start with every leader who aligns himself with George Bush faces removal by the home folks. Or the corruption of the Pakistani government and it’s pretension to being democracy. How about Pakistani military intelligence aiding and funding the Taliban that would make for a good read. How about the peace deal signed between the Pakistani government and the Islamic fundamentalist in the tribal regions. Under that deal all militants that promised to stay on the straight and narrow from now on were granted full amnesty from prosecution Osama included.
Maybe none of the stories in Pakistan jibe with the "Democracy on the march in the Middle East" rhetoric of the Bush administration. But that is precisely what makes this story important, the network censorship of the news, its censorship by omission. Were this story to have happen in Iran or Venezuela coverage would be non stop around the clock, But because it is a friendly oppressive military dictatorship with a "President" it is far less important than receding Tobasco flood waters.
The story in Pakistan is important but the story inside the story is even more important. The story of a military dictator losing power because of his close relationship with George Bush is eclipsed by a complicit compliant self serving self censoring media not unlike the Voelkischer Beobachter of National Socialist Germany. To ignore not only the decent into civil war of Pakistan but American foreign policies hand in it.
It will most certainly be blamed on Muslim extremists ignoring that its is a Muslim country with a military dictator acting against their wishes. But the American media will reduce it to stereotypes like a Flash Gordon serial with Musharraf as Flash fighting the Islamic Ming the Merciless.
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told CNN television on Saturday Pakistan's declaration of emergency rule was "highly regrettable" and she hoped its intention was to have free and fair elections. It has reached the point where the administration becomes a caricature of it’s self. Like the Fuehrer from the bunker issuing orders to imaginary armies does anyone in their right mind think Musharraf issued a state of emergency so he could hold free elections? But that’s what’s on the news channels!