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Declarations of Dictators and Autocrats in Pakistan and the U.S.

By       Message Ron Fullwood       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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"I do want to remind you that he has declared that he'll take off his uniform, and he has declared there will be elections, which are positive steps." -- Bush on Musharraf, Nov. 10

Bush has declared himself satisfied that Musharraf is committed to ending his latest tyranny in Pakistan, and, that belief is enough for him to continue his support of the dictator. But it's clear to everyone looking on that Musharraf will only be satisfied to take his U.S. enabled foot off of the Pakistani people's throats when he's convinced he's secured his own anti-democratic place in power.

The announcement by Musharraf that he would lift the state of emergency he imposed and allow elections by February 15 -- portrayed as a concession to international pressure by those who support his continuance in power -- is less of a capitulation by the dictator, than it is a stall and diversion from his systematic attack and destruction of any instigation of Pakistani democracy which threatens to disturb his autocratic rule.

Musharraf has taken the imperialistic script provided by the tyranny of his enabling partners in the Bush administration and adopted it to his cynical defense of his election by 'democracy' in Pakistan. Critics of his autocratic rule and those who have risen up in opposition to his attempt to consolidate the power Pakistan's parliament is attempting to confer on Musharraf without the benefit of the voice of the citizens of Pakistan, have been labeled as 'terrorists' and have been treated as criminals as thousands have been arrested and detained by the government without charge or any measure of due process.

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Supporters of Musharraf are asking critics to recognize the dictator's hesitance to dissolve Pakistan's parliament as some indicator of the dictator's reasonableness. But, where is 'democracy' to be found in Pakistan if the perpetrator of such anti-democratic assaults on Pakistan's population is allowed to continue to participate in the political process of elections he has so thoroughly manipulated and disrupted?

Where is the freedom of expression to be found in Musharraf's restrictions on the media, and the suspension of broadcasts of all international and national privately owned channels, as well as the attacks on journalists by members of the police and security forces. Where is the freedom of organization and dissent, integral to any democratic process, to be found in the arbitrary arrests and detentions of Musharraf's political opposition?

As far as our own autocratic Executive in the White House is concerned, the cooperation and support of Bush's manufactured and contrived 'war on terror' is all he needs to allow Musharraf to continue to impose himself on Pakistanis without the consent of the people demanded in a legitimate democracy.

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"I can tell you this," Bush told reporters yesterday, "that President Musharraf, right after the attacks on September the 11th, made a decision, and the decision was to stand with the United States against the extremists inside Pakistan. In other words, he was given an option: Are you with us, or are you not with us? And he made a clear decision to be with us . . ."

As long as any oppressive regime is deemed by the Bush administration as a partner in their cynical 'terror war,' there will be no insistence on any adherence to those democratic principles that have been used by the White House to justify every one of their anti-democratic assault across sovereign borders; as in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in their support of Israel's devastating invasion of Lebanon as a defense of some nebulous democracy.

In Pakistan, the removal of their Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, who has demanded investigations into human rights abuses by Musharraf's intelligence agencies, and his replacement last week by Abdul Hameed Dogar, a Musharraf crony, is a prime example of the 'reforms' which we can expect to come out of the dictator's anti-democratic crackdown. Once Musharraf is satisfied that he is assured a prominent position of influence and control in any emerging government, then, and only then, will he allow his facade of democratic governance to proceed, unabated by his interfering, manufactured authority.

The timidity of the Bush administration in their tepid condemnations of Musharraf's anti-democratic grab for power is born out of their demonstrated disregard for democracy here at home. For this administration, the provisions of our own Constitution are mere talking points which Bush believes he should be allowed to modify in autocratic 'signing statements' of the Executive's intention to unilaterally ignore and violate them. Indeed, in their own, unilateral modification, in May, of guidelines governing the president's authority to declare a 'national emergency and operate around that declaration, in their Directive 51, the administration mirrors Musharraf's tyranny. It's not hard to imagine Bush and his craven minions suspending our own elections because of some 'threat' they've conjured; as in Iraq. It's also no stretch to imagine this administration acting against dissent to some contrived suspension and manipulation of our electoral process as if they were operating against 'terrorists,' like Musharraf has.

Bush will likely bend his response to any result in Pakistan around whatever suits his craven determination to maintain whatever corrupt relationships accommodate his military expansionism and imperialism. As this administration has presented every one of their own anti-democratic actions as a defense against 'terrorist' threats they've identified -- from torture to wiretapping; from renditions to the administration's disregard of habeas corpus -- they have a clear kinship with Musharraf's opportunistic manipulations.

There is nothing that the Bush administration can really say which can have any moral impact on Musharraf's tyranny, because they have no moral authority left. Musharraf's promises are as empty and unbelievable as Bush's own duplicitous pronouncements. Uniformed or not, Musharraf has demonstrated that he's nothing more than a petty dictator determined to muscle his way into a place of perpetual power and authority over Pakistan. With Musharraf's declaration that he's 'with' Bush in his contrived 'war on terror,' the White House feels free to put their blinders back on, and to ignore the fact that there will be no democracy in Pakistan while their enabled autocrat is allowed to reign over Pakistan's citizens with impunity.

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"Positive steps," according to Bush.


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Ron Fullwood, is an activist from Columbia, Md. and the author of the book 'Power of Mischief' : Military Industry Executives are Making Bush Policy and the Country is Paying the Price

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