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Musharraf, Bush's Ally Against Terrorism, or Against the Rule of Law?

President Bush, for prizing his closeness to his important ally on the war on terror, still hadn't gotten around to calling Musharraf (in so far as I know). In his last public words about the 'coup' on Monday afternoon, Bush said,

I asked the Secretary to call him to convey this message: that we expect there to be elections as soon as possible, and that the President should remove his military uniform. Previous to his decision we made it clear that these emergency measures were -- would undermine democracy.

Scott Horton (always worth reading in Harper's) has been raising some troubling issues. "Musharraf's coup was a strike first against the Rule of Law. The enemy he identified consisted of the judges, the courts and the legal profession". These are the miscreants and troublemakers, along with the media. Why?

Let's rehearse the key facts.

#1, We don't have to fret over whether Pakistan has a nuclear arsenal and delivery system. There's no doubt about it. It does. And it's been the world's most tireless agent of nuclear proliferation for twenty years.

#2, Every few months, the handful of Americans who do not suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder ask: Where is Osama bin Laden, and why has he not been brought to justice? And the answer is: he is lounging comfortably in Pakistan, or somewhere very close to the Pakistani frontier in Afghanistan, surrounded by friends and admirers.

#3, Where have the Taliban been permitted to regroup, draw fresh recruits and launch attacks on NATO troops, including young Americans, in Afghanistan? In Pakistan, of course. Indeed, the Taliban is often seen as the brainchild of some key players in Pakistan's military intelligence, the ISI, who continue to this day to maintain close relations with it.

#4, Where has Al Qaeda itself been permitted safe harbor, been given facilities to conduct its operations, communicate with its various arms, raise fresh recruits, and plot its strategies of terror and mayhem? In Pakistan, of course.

You might ask yourself with the coup, the extremists that 'Mush' railled against, in his coup or 'emergency rule plus' takeover speech, must be feeling targeted. Well far from it. So far, it is the moderate bloggers and liberal broadcasters who are having to leave, while the extremists appear untouched. This blogger, in his final post from Islamabad says: (a hat tip to Juan Cole)

There are dozens of Taliban FM stations broadcasting calls to jihad in both the tribal agencies and the "settled" (administered) areas of NWFP. Not one of them has been shut down; instead the martial law regime has blocked transmissions of liberal cable television stations and blocked the Blackberry network used by the political elite.

Many if not most of my Pakistani interlocutors do not believe that the Pakistani military is using either martial law or U.S. assistance for "counter-terrorism." They believe it is using it to perpetuate its own power in the service of a national security project that serves neither Pakistan nor Afghanistan and is doing great harm to both.

Our military aid, estimated a 10 billion a year to Pakistan may be going down the drain as far as its usefulness to fighting terror. Not exactly news.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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