Monday, November 05, 2007

Axis of Necessary Evil

Pervez Musharraf has suspended Pakistan's constitution and is rounding up and detaining suspected terrorists, human rights activists, and other people he considers to be his political enemies. The Bush administration, through the Secretary of State and other spokespersons, evidently tried to persuade Musharraf to respect the rule of law and not to rely on expanded executive authority to address Pakistan's security problems.

Musharraf must have had a good laugh at that.

Even Dick Cheney must have snickered. After all, the dramatic expansion of executive authority, as a means of providing security to Americans in the face of the jihadist threat, has been the hallmark of this very troubled and unfortunate presidency. I can imagine Condi on the phone with Pervez - "Look, Pervez, you don't need the troubles we have here. Maybe you should stick with the constitution, old friend."

It also calls to mind this little episode:

During a joint news conference Saturday in St. Petersburg, Bush said he raised concerns about democracy in Russia during a frank discussion with the Russian leader.

"I talked about my desire to promote institutional change in parts of
the world, like Iraq where there's a free press and free religion, and I told him that a lot of people in our country would hope that Russia would do the same," Bush said.

To that, Putin replied, "We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy that they have in Iraq, quite honestly."

I understand from the papers that Bush has not yet called Musharraf. There is some concern about our massive funding of Pakistan's military - what should we do? Can we keep on funding the Pakistani army while its leader has suspended the rule of law?

I think it is pretty clear what we should do. I think Bush should call his partner in crime today and tell him he can do whatever he wants as long as we get bin Laden. We should redeploy 30,000 troops from Iraq and move them into Pakistan's tribal territory and work alongside Musharraf's troops to eliminate Al Qaeda and find bin Laden.

Of course, someone will have to remind Bush about bin Laden. He's actually the guy who attacked us on 9/11, but Bush has never been all that interested in getting the guy. After all, there was Iraq, and Saddam, and the opportunity to remake the Middle East as an extension of the great American empire (and they think Dennis Kucinich is crazy!) .

As long as Al Qaeda is using Pakistan as its home base, we will need a strongman in power in Islamabad. Why not Musharraf? Does anyone think Bhutto can do better than Musharraf in getting the military to expunge the jihadists?

When Bush failed to capture or kill bin Laden at Tora Bora, it seemed we might never have another opportunity. Now we do. Before this moment passes, we should shake hands with Musharraf and go after our enemy.

Tora Bora was a terrible mistake, compounded ten thousand times by the invasion of Iraq, which diverted us from the pursuit of our enemy. Let us not miss this opportunity to correct the first mistake. We have already wasted enough time, blood, and treasure in Iraq. Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda must be crushed.

If Pervez Musharraf can help us do that, what are we waiting for?


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