Monday, September 17, 2007

Freedom And The War On Terror

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A top U.S. envoy praised President Gen. Pervez Musharraf's government Wednesday and skirted the issue of his expulsion of a top political rival, taking some heat off the military leader as he struggles for election to a new term.

Soon after Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's tribute to Pakistan's anti-terrorism efforts, the army reported killing up to 40 Islamic militants near the Afghan border.

Asked about Sharif's expulsion, Negroponte offered no criticism. He said it was as "an internal Pakistani political and legal matter and it's for the government and people of Pakistan to decide."

"We look forward to democratic elections being held in Pakistan quite shortly. We think it's important there be a smooth and democratic political transition," Negroponte said.[1]

This is the response of the US concerning the deteriorating situation in Pakistan. The political situation in Pakistan is about to reach critical mass and the Bush administration continues to placate General Musharraf and his assault on democracy. If anyone ever needed an example of why our position in the world is less than stellar, Pakistan would be a good place to start. On the one hand we talk of freedom and democracy and yet we continue to support leaders who eradicate those very things.

The administration of General Musharraf has continually scoffed at the courts, the opposition, and the people as they pave the way for his continued rein of undemocratic authority. The General has refused to relinquish his hold on the military as head of the army while serving as President. The Supreme Court in Pakistan has ruled this unconstitutional, but the General has chosen to ignore them so far.

Granted the political system in Pakistan has left a lot to be desired, with both opposition leaders being the target of corruption charges and scandals. However, we cannot enunciate democracy for some and not democracy for all. We must advocate a peaceful return to democracy for Pakistan. It appears that because General Musharraf is an ally in the war on terror, he is immune to the criticism we bestow so readily to others. We are presenting a hypocritical approach to our foreign policy and it is only fueling the impression that we only attack those who refuse to go along with our views. This administration has been the biggest recruiter for terrorist through its policy of benign neglect and its refusal to call our so-called allies on their crap. General Musharraf has continued to selectively prosecute the war on terror and yet we continue to heap praise on this man.

The following is a quote from General Musharraf in Great Britain on December 6, 2004, when asked if the war on terror had made the world less safe.

In an interview for the Newsnight programme, it was suggested to Gen Pervez Musharraf the world was less safe - in part because of the campaign.

"Absolutely," he said, adding that the social grievances that helped recruit terrorists were not being addressed.[2]

General Musharraf has always had to walk a fine line in the war on terror because of the fundamentalist in his own country. Because he has tried to fight the war against terrorism and indulge the religious extremists inside Pakistan, he has placed himself in a very tenuous position. Already he has been the target of four assassination attempts by the religious extremists he has tried to pacify.

He came to power some four years back after staging a coup against a weak and corrupt civilian government. The world reacted with disdain then and considered him a pariah. His fortunes snowballed dramatically after September 11 when he decided to back the United States in its war on terrorism. To the dismay of democratic Pakistanis, the United States quickly co-opted the general and bestowed legitimacy upon him. Past dictators in Pakistan and elsewhere in the Third World have been propped up by the United States, which has allowed them to either stifle or postpone democracy.[3]

We can no longer afford the luxury of supporting tyranny while at the same time talking democracy. The world is no longer accepting the do as I say not as I do argument. We must not let our zeal to prosecute the war on terror cloud our judgment of what are values are. If we do that, if we allow are support of democracy to be corrupted then the terrorists have in fact won without blowing up a building or firing a single shot. Freedom and dictatorship can never be package together, either we support democracy for all or we do not. Let’s be clear about where the US stands.


No comments:

HTML stat tracker