Tuesday, November 6, 2007

We prop up dictators

No, this post is not about Congress's ceaseless enabling of the Bush administration.

From Pakistan:
Angry protests by thousands of lawyers in Lahore and other cities on Monday demonstrated the first organized resistance to the emergency rule imposed by the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf. But the abrupt arrests of many of them threatened to weaken their challenge.

The Musharraf government’s resolve to silence its fiercest opponents was evident in the strength of the crackdown by baton-wielding police officers who pummeled lawyers and then hauled them by the legs and arms into police wagons in Lahore.

At one point, lawyers and police officers clashed in a pitched battle, with lawyers standing on the roof of the High Court throwing stones at the police below, and the police hurling them back. Some of the lawyers were bleeding from the head, and some passed out in clouds of tear gas.

It was the second time this year that Pakistan’s lawyers emerged as the vanguard of resistance to the government. In the spring, the lawyers mounted big rallies in major cities when General Musharraf tried to dismiss the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who has now been fired.

The American response?
On Monday, President Bush urged General Musharraf to hold elections and give up his army post, though he gave little indication of any real change in American policy, which has bankrolled Pakistan’s military with $10 billion in aid since 2001.
So, we'll say some pretty words about "freedom" and "democracy", and continue to bankroll the jackbooted thugs pummeling lawyers in the streets. That seems about right.

But I guess we can't blame our government for its inaction in these circumstances. I mean, after all, who could have predicted this would happen? Pervez is, after all, our staunch ally in the War on Turrerer. And he's always been a pro democracy guy, he's the elected head of state, etc. Wait, what's that? You say he came to power in a military coup? One of his top deputies funneled money to Mohamed Atta? He's been steadfastly refusing to act against a resurgent Al Qaeda operating from within Pakistan? Oh, sorry, nevermind then.

No comments: