Nowhere is the danger of the administration's self-serving posturing more evident than in the administration's seeming acquiescence to Gen. Musharraf's second coup in Pakistan. Musharraf has imposed 'emergency rule' and has suspended the country's national election which was due in January. In addition, Pakistani police have rounded-up and detained thousands of opposition members including the acting president of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's party. This follows Musharraf's earlier suspension of Pakistan's constitution and removal of the nation's chief justice, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who had promised to rule on the legality of the dictator's re-election as president last month by Parliament.
Rice pronounced herself "disappointed" by Musharraf's decision to 'delay' elections as he ordered his military to detain thousands of his political opponents, invoking 'emergency powers in an attempt to hold on to power. But, it has become clear that the administration has no intention of cutting of their military ties with the offending dictatorship. In fact, their excuses for their wink and nod at the strongman's attempt to stave off a democratic upheaval of his imposed rule, mirror Musharraf's own excuses that he offered in an address to the citizens of Pakistan:
The Pakistani dictator blamed 'rising violence from Islamic militants' and a 'series of judicial decisions for demoralizing law enforcement officials', 'setting known terrorists free', and the (alleged) 'undermining his efforts to move the country toward democracy.'
The emergency declaration “does not impact our military support of Pakistan'' or its efforts in the war on terror, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell assured reporters yesterday.
The Bush administration's cynical, opportunistic embrace of the language of support for democracy in their dual Mideast invasions and occupations (as well as in their support of Israel's recent invasion and assault on Lebanon) will, no doubt, find something to latch onto as they address the posturing of Musharraf in Pakistan. We'll be told to be patient and to allow their respective militarism to take its course. To interrupt their 'process' toward democracy would be fatal, we will undoubtedly be warned.
Pakistan's military dictator will insist, as he did, here in the U.S., months before Bush invaded Iraq, that a democracy is already in place in Pakistan.
"Over the last 50 years, five decades, we have had dysfunctional democracy in Pakistan," Musharraf told reporters in the White House in 2003. "What I am doing, really," he said, "is to introduce sustainable democracy. Let me assure you, all the constitution changes, all the political restructuring that we have done is in line with ensuring sustainable democracy in Pakistan. We will continue with this process, to ensure that democracy is never derailed in Pakistan. This is my assurance."
What Bush and Musharraf share is their satisfaction with the erection of Potemkin democracies which only serve their cynical political campaigns promising to complete the actual democratic processes that they, themselves obstruct with their military defense of those self-serving deceptions. How more clear can the danger be of their unabated posturing and their anti-democratic grabs for assumed power and influence over their hapless citizens?
Bush and Cheney must be watching in pride (and envy) as their protege' in Pakistan deftly manipulates the absolute power manifest in his control over his country's military. It's a familiar posture to our own lame-duck militarists in the White House who've cast their every anti-democratic abuse of power as a defense of our national security. Bush talks regularly about 'listening to his generals' as he justifies his own military ambitions behind their expected defense of whatever mission he orders them to carry out.
He's repeatedly reminded us that 'we're at war,' even as he stubbornly refuses to use the bulk of the force of our military to directly confront the original subjects of his 'use of force' mandate from Congress. Instead of pursuing those suspects, those obvious instigators of resistant violence, Bush has us mucked up in Iraq, pretending to Americans that his operational junta he's established there and the tracts of land our soldiers occupy represent the beginnings of some future democracy. Iraq is Bush's terror factory where he manufactures the props for his perpetual protection scheme.
In an amazing mockery of our nation's history and our own defense of democracy, Musharraf today compared his anti-democratic actions to those of our President Lincoln, who, during the Civil War, suspended the writ of habeas corpus, imprisoning more than 13,000 southerners who he determined to be agitating unlawfully against the Union.
“I would at this time venture to read out an excerpt of President Abraham Lincoln, specially to all my listeners in the United States," Musharraf said on Pakistani television. As an idealist, Abraham Lincoln had one consuming passion during that time of crisis, and this was to preserve the Union… toward that end, he broke laws, he violated the Constitution, he usurped arbitrary power, he trampled individual liberties. His justification was necessity and explaining his sweeping violation of Constitutional limits he wrote in a letter in 1864, and I quote, ‘My oath to preserve the Constitution imposed on me the duty of preserving by every indispensable means that government, that Nation of which the Constitution was the organic law. Was it possible to lose the Nation and yet preserve the Constitution?’”