Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: War on Terror — Rick Moran @ 4:18 pm

It’s the Night of the Long Knives in Pakistan as President Pervez Musharraf has declared a State of Emergency in Pakistan.

In so doing, Musharraf has scrapped the constitution and is ruling by military fiat. He has arrested the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as well as 6 other justices who issued a ruling before being escorted by the army from the judicial building that Musharraf’s power grab was illegal. The four remaining justices have meekly submitted to Musharraf’s will by signing new oaths of loyalty.

The lawyer who led street protests on behalf of the Chief Justice when Musharraf had him tossed off the court last summer (only to have the court reinstate him later), Aitzaz Ahsan, has also been arrested and it is expected that many regime opponents are in danger of being swept up in a massive crackdown.

Ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was in Dubai visiting her mother when the crackdown began. She has reportedly returned to Pakistan but is sitting in a plane on the tarmac in Karachi awaiting to see if she will be arrested or deported if she steps on Pakistani soil. My prediction is that Musharraf is going for the gold here and she best skedaddle.

Independent television stations are off the air and wireless communications including cell phones have been cut off. A massive amount of force is in the streets with both police and army units out in full force.

No matter what Musharraf says about al-Qaeda and the terrorists getting out of control - despite it being true - the real reason for this crackdown is that the Supreme Court was ready to rule in favor of challenges to his re-election as president. Although Musharraf has named his own successor to the post of Chief of Staff, he never formally resigned.

Now we know why.

Elections scheduled for next January are probably now out of the question. And any deals with the opposition will also probably be impossible. Musharraf has demonstrated - and not for the first time - that he simply can’t be trusted to keep his word.

According to the New York Times, there have been a couple of times over the last few months that US officials have urged Musharraf not to declare the State of Emergency. As recently as 2 days ago, Condi Rice evidently warned him against it. The American Commander in the Middle East William Fallon told Musharraf bluntly that if he declared the State of Emergency, it would put our military aid package to Pakistan in jeopardy.

We currently give Pakistan around $1.5 billion a year in military aid and another billion in economic assistance. With the absolutely pivotal role that Musharraf plays with regard to our Afghanistan mission as well as being on the front line in the war against al-Qaeda, we have to ask ourselves how much of our nose do we want to cut off to spite our face?

The morally satisfying posture to take would be to play the self-abnegation game and strike a dramatic pose by grandiosely declaring Pakistan no longer worthy of our support and cutting Musharraf off from any American aid whatsoever.

Morally satisfying but towering idiocy. Pakistan is on the brink and even if it would satisfy some to withhold aid, now is not the time to weaken the only man standing between chaos and a possible victory by Islamic extremists and a chance to find a road back to sanity.

The left is already blaming Bush (and speculating that the Administration is jealous of Musharraf and will declare their own State of Emergency to hang on to power next year) - despite the fact that the Administration had actually been orchestrating this return to democracy from behind the scenes by backing Bhutto’s return and helping to broker the deal between her and Musharraf.

But this is to be expected. If a mosquito sneezes in Madagascar and a typhoon hits India, it’s Bush’s fault according to these folks.

The opposition parties - both secular democrats and extreme Islamic - will not take this lying down. Expect general strikes, massive demonstrations in the streets, and a probable crackdown.

Meanwhile, Pakistans 70 nuclear weapons are secure - for the moment.


From Dawn:

Chief of Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf addressed the nation (Saturday) about 1845GMT. President General Pervez Musharraf said in his address that Pakistan was at a dangerous juncture. Extremists, he said had challenged the writ of the government. The country’s unity is in danger without emergency rule, he added. He said terrorism and extremism had reached their limit and his country’s sovereignty was at stake. “Pakistan has reached a dangerous point, and is undergoing an internal crisis. Whatever is happening is because of internal disturbances,” he said in a pre-recorded televised address wearing a Sherwani. “I fear that if timely action is not taken, then God forbid there is a threat to Pakistan’s sovereignty.” He said some media channels had added to uncertainty in the country, but did not specify which. He also accused the courts of setting free 61 men who he said had committed terrorist acts. He said there will be no change in government during the state of emergency; parliament will continue to function. He said that he remained committed to holding parliamentary elections.


  1. Of course the left is blaming GWB for Pakistan- everything’s his fault, isn’t it? You correctly note that Pakistan’s nukes are secure for the moment. One of the reasons that I’m for negotiating with the heretofore intransigent Iran is because, eventually, it will only be one of several powers in that region that will develop nukes- including (potentially) a radical Islamic regime in Pakistan. As tempting as it is to strike, we’ll be unable to surgically remove or retard the growth of nukes over the next decade or two. So we may as well try to construct diplomatic answers to these knotty questions now.

    Comment by kreiz — 11/3/2007 @ 4:27 pm

  2. You talk about being between a rock and a hard place.
    Is there anyone in Pakistan who could bring stability to that country and avert a terrorist take-over?
    When you are dealing with people who can’t even grasp the meaning of democracy, you have little choice.
    Is it a dictatorship that is anti terrorist, or radical
    Islamic kooks who now have control of atomic weapons?

    Comment by edward cropper — 11/3/2007 @ 5:03 pm

  3. “The left is already blaming Bush (and speculating that the Administration is jealous of Musharraf and will declare their own State of Emergency to hang on to power next year)…”

    That lefty paranoia stuff gets so old on one level, but never ceases to amuse on another.

    Then it stops being funny altogether when they send parades of celebrities down to visit, and thus throw support to, Fidel and Hugo et. al.

    Comment by Mark H. — 11/3/2007 @ 8:15 pm

  4. Kreiz

    I agree, while there is a military solution to the problem of Iranian nukes, this solution will require a greater military build up than the Americans and their Western European allies are prepared to undertake right now. Since we are unprepared to undertake the kind of military buildup or make the kinds of sacrifices that would need to be undertaken to have an effective military response to either the issues in Pakistan or Iran, our best option appears to be negotiations.

    Comment by B.Poster — 11/3/2007 @ 8:49 pm

  5. With all due respect (and I do respect your insight), I think that both Condi Rice and you are getting this all wrong. I think Musharraf is doing what needs to be done to keep Pakistan from disintegrating and de facto sliding under Taliban/al-Qaeda control. I do not trust the Paki Supreme Court any further than I can throw the justices. I welcome a strong military at the helm in Pakistan — provided that he leans pro-American.

    Comment by m. r. o'donnell — 11/3/2007 @ 11:29 pm

  6. should have read:

    “…strong military MAN….”

    Comment by m. r. o'donnell — 11/3/2007 @ 11:30 pm

  7. Emergency declared in Pakistan…

    President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has declared a state of emergency in Pakistan, state television repo…

    Trackback by Unpartisan.com Political News and Blog Aggregator — 11/3/2007 @ 11:45 pm

  8. Musharraf had a choice - let al Qaeda and its allies in the judiciary evict him and gain control of the nuclear weapons they long have hoped to gain access to - or maintain control by whatever means necessary.

    Musharraf has some in the US breathing a sigh of relief that the only man standing between nuke-armed al Qaeda in Pakistan is still standing, but they have to know he won’t last much longer. The question for US leadership is, what will happen when al Qaeda finally succeeds in getting their fingers on those red buttons?

    Comment by Ron C — 11/4/2007 @ 8:41 am

  9. Ooops.. I meant the Taliban in above (verus al Qaeda - not that al Qaeda isn’t a player in concert, however)

    Comment by Ron C — 11/4/2007 @ 8:49 am

  10. He should have gone the way that Turkey went, after giving up the Presidency and keeping the military.
    Political use of religion is a death penalty offense. (Not that Turkey is still following this part of the Turkish Constitution re: Islam)

    Comment by J'hn1 — 11/4/2007 @ 6:44 pm

  11. “despite the fact that the Administration had actually been orchestrating this return to democracy from behind the scenes by backing Bhutto’s return and helping to broker the deal between her and Musharraf.”

    Well then, lets be proud of another bang-up job of diplomacy for the Administration. Yes sir, that’s quite a deal they brokered.

    You laugh at the Left for “blaming” GWB for this, even though as this exact scenario has grown more and more likely the Admin hasn’t taken steps to stop it aside from . . . what? Asking Mush to pretty-please not go all dictator? Of course, if the “new democracy” had actually worked, I’m sure you’d all think GWB deserves the credit.
    Man, I want a job where all problems can be blamed on someone else, and all successes I get 100% credit for. Must be nice.

    Comment by busboy33 — 11/5/2007 @ 3:59 am

  12. Musharraf had a choice – let al Qaeda and its allies in the judiciary evict him and gain control of the nuclear weapons they long have hoped to gain access to – or maintain control by whatever means necessary. (saw your correction). What is the evidence that the Pakistani judiciary is allied with the Taliban? i.e. why do people believe that there is no democratic/non-theocratic domestic Pakistani political opposition? I welcome pointers to non-polemic reading material.

    Comment by Bill Arnold — 11/5/2007 @ 11:06 am

  13. bb;

    What the hell are you talking about. Coherence please.

    You seem to be saying its Bush’s fault that the deal with Bhutto fell through? Evidence please not just your half assed opinion which gets even muddier in your last sentence.

    And how did it grow “more and more likely” that Musharraf would take this step? In fact, it grew less and less likely according to anyone who knows anything about it.


    The Judiciary is mostly secular, democratic, and moderate. However, the lawyers are a different story. Many of the leading attorneys in the country are Islamist sympathizers. No time to look for a link but go to Asia Times on line and you should be able to find some articles from last summer about the lawyers agitating for re-opening the radical red mosque.

    Comment by Rick Moran — 11/5/2007 @ 11:13 am

  14. From an unhinged conspiracy theorist, posting to the list of United for Peace and Justice. UfPJ, is the more “moderate” of the two main national, anti-war coalitions. National leadership is Communist Party, USA derived.
    [ufpj-news] Could Musharraf’s Actions Be a Dry Run for Bushco?

    Does any thinking person really believe that the President of Pakistan
    is able to make ANY political or military decision without the
    approval, if not the actual direction of the US Government?

    The answer is so damned obvious as to be childish: NO, HE CANNOT…
    because US dollars protect Pervez Musharraf and keep him in power. The
    700 MILLION dollars in economic and military assistance the US gave to
    Musharraf this year alone are most definitely not an altruistic gift
    that comes without strings. The 800 million dollars scheduled to reach
    the Pakistani government in 2008 will guarantee that Musharraf
    continues to do exactly what the Bush administration wants. It is not
    an exaggeration to suggest that President/General Musharraf would not
    last a day in office without US aid and protection. Not a single day…

    …Could the events in Pakistan be a testing ground for what Bushco
    might be planning in the US to avoid the consequences of fair and
    democratic elections here in 2008?
    FULL ARTICLE: http://tvnewslies.org/blog/?p=668

    UNITED FOR PEACE & JUSTICE | 212-868-5545

    This email list is designed for posting news articles or event announcements of interest to UFPJ member groups. It is not a discussion list.

    To engage in online discussion of UFPJ matters, join our discussion list here: https://lists.mayfirst.org/mailman/listinfo/ufpj-disc
    Yahoo! Groups Links

    To visit your group on the web, go to:

    Comment by Michael Pugliese — 11/5/2007 @ 7:21 pm

  15. @ rick:
    Since you’ve banned insults, I’ll take your derision as a polite inquiry, although its a shame someone with your intelligence feels the need to constantly drop to a kindergarden level of name calling. Quite frankly, your insults are only insulting in that I’m sure you’re capable of more complex and impresive put-downs.

    Is it Bush’s fault the deal with Bhutto fell through? No. Is it Bush’s fault he’s felt the need to tie American interests not to Pakistan but to the General personally? Yes. Is the failed attempt at reinstating a representative government in Pakistan a direct and obvious result of that support for the General? Yes.

    American foreign policy toward him up to this point has been, in essence, give him billions of dollars and ask him nicely to not act like a military dictator. Are the “realists” on this site suprised that a man who siezed power in a coup decided he would rather hold onto it by force as opposed to voluntarily surrendering control of an entire country?

    Every time he does something we don’t like, America sends him a “tsk, tsk” phone call. Up until now, he’s been able to play along, continuing to collect money from our Administration and maintain his grip on power. He has not yet had to choose between maintaining his financially rewarding relationship with the U.S. and maintaining his authority. Finally, push has come to shove. He faced the courts in Pakistan declaring his unanimous election a sham, and a direct move to “legally” remove him. He chose to remain in power, which should suprise nobody. If America doesn’t like it . . . so what? What’s the advantage to him of maintaining “good relationships” with the U.S. if he’s not a de facto king anymore?

    For the Administration to be suprised by this outcome, they would have had to expect that he would voluntarily surrender ultimate power in his country. If they did, then they are naive beyond words. If they didn’t really expect him to walk away from the job of dictator, then why in the hell have we been supporting him? The only logical reason to back him was to “fight” Islamic extremists, something that (as usual) has backfired — Al Quidea and the Taliban are now, by all accounts, firmly planted in the northern region of Pakistan, regaining their strength.

    So . . . either our Administration are blitheringly blind to reality, or they simply gambled that any fallout from propping him up would happen after the next election. Those are the only two possible choices I see . . . do you propose a third?

    My post was directed to your comment I quoted, which seems to hold that since the Bush Administration was “backing” Bhutto, blaming them for the current situation was a fallacy of the Left. I was attempting to mock your idea — Bush may have been backing Bhutto’s return to power, but he has also been backing the General. The fact that Bush may have wanted Bhutto back in power (assuming that’s true, for the sake of this argument) doesn’t absolve him and the Administration of the responsibility for supporting the General. That backing has, to no small extent, led to the current crisis. Blaming the Administration for the failures of its foreign policy is not Leftie crazy-talk . . . it’s common sense.

    You argue that despite the situation, America essentially has no choice but to continue to back the General. Let’s assume that’s true. The fact that he’s the best choice out of all the bad options does not mean that the Administration’s support of him all these years was a good idea, or that the current situation is one in which Bush has alabaster-pure hands. As you noted;

    “Musharraf has demonstrated – and not for the first time – that he simply can’t be trusted to keep his word.”

    So we’ve backed and supported a man who will lie to us and to his own people in order to stave off something worse — the specter of Islamo-terrorists seizing control of the country. I could argue that it’s possible our support of him has caused the threat of a religious fundamentalist takeover to grow, but let’s ignore that for now. Essentially, you’re arguing “stick with the devil you know.”

    If that’s the pragmatic position we take, fine . . . but to scoff at any responsibility for the devilish actions of the devil we back is dishonest.
    You note that cutting off ties with him may be morally correct, but practically disasterous, and I agree. However, you seem to use the fact that now we’re stuck with him as a reason why we shouldn’t feel any moral blame for what has happened. If cutting off ties with him is the “morally satisfying” thing to do, that means that continued dealings with him are morally “repugnant” (my word, not yours). As you noted, this isn’t something that came out of the blue. Therefore, our association with him all this time has been morally repugnant. We bear the blame for that. Bush and the Administration bear the blame for that repugnance.

    Ignoring the criticism as simply “the Left blaming everything on W” is a convienent dodge that allows us to avoid shouldering our responsibility for backing a despot. Do we need the despot? Arguably yes. Does that mean we’re not responsible for their despotic acts? No — we are responsible, and we deserve at least some measure of the blame. Blame it on “hippie Bush hatred” if you like . . . but they are right this time.

    Acceptable clarification of my position?

    Comment by busboy33 — 11/6/2007 @ 4:22 am

  16. Musharraf just made his second you leave me alone and I’ll leave you alone deal with the tribal areas where the Taliban and AQ thrive. Does someone here really believe he did this at the behest of the U.S. government.
    As Rick’s article points out, there are three players in Pakistan. The military, the secular, and the Taliban. Bush is trying to unite the military and the secular and Musharraf just wants to maintain his own postition. He thinks, probably rightly, that we can’t afford to dump him.
    B. Poster is correct that the west lacks the will to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons though Bush may send air strikes on their nuclear facilities it will only buy a little time at best. Diplomacy, however, is a false hope. It requires both sides to be willing to compromise and fundamentalists do not compromise. It comes down to which will happen first. Terrorists explode a nuke on American soil or Iran launches a nuke attack on Israel and we’ll still be trying to negotiate this away until one or the other happens.

    Comment by Old Mike — 11/6/2007 @ 1:56 pm

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