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Friday, February 06, 2004

Abracadabra! I Support The War On Terrorism! Gimme Some Money!

David Horowitz and other defenders of the status quo insist that our "War on Terror", the preemptive strike on Iraq and the occupation that followed it have made the world a safer place. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The "War on Terror" actually has made the world a far more dangerous place, and there is no better illustration of this fact than the current situation in Pakistan. In the last few months, There have been several attempts on Pervez Musharraf's life. What would happen if he were deposed, perhaps you ask? A fundamentalist regime hostile to the United States could find themselves in possession of nuclear weapons.

In their annual report, Human Rights Watch, one of the world's foremost human rights N.G.O's makes the following observation about how the world has changed since Sept. 11th in relation to Pakistan:

"Nowhere was the transformation greater than in Pakistan. Before September 11, the military government of President Pervez Musharraf, who came to power in a 1999 coup, was almost completely shunned by Western governments. After the coup, Pakistan lost billions in international aid. But after deciding to side with the United States against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Musharraf's administration was rewarded with instant legitimacy and aid. Senior foreign affairs officials from around the world came to Islamabad to meet the military dictator. The U.S. rescheduled billions in debt, resumed economic aid, and authorized the first weapons sales since 1998. The World Bank and Asian Development Bank dramatically increased loans. Japan, the Commonwealth, and other Western governments also adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to problems of democratic governance and human rights in Pakistan.

In April 2002, Musharraf staged a rigged referendum in which electoral lists were not used and no efforts were made to prevent multiple voting to gain a five-year extension of his self-announced presidency. Official results claimed that 97.5 percent voted in favor, a result more akin to an election in Vietnam or Iraq than in the normally rambunctious political atmosphere of Pakistan. On August 22, Musharraf effectively announced that "l'etat, c'est moi" when he promulgated the "Legal Framework Order (LFO)." The LFO amended the constitution to strengthen the powers of the president at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches. Musharraf effectively arrogated to himself the power to make all important decisions. This was a severe blow to a country with a strong legal and judicial tradition. On the day that Musharraf made this announcement, President Bush announced that, though democracy was important, he would not allow the LFO to affect the U.S. alliance with Musharraf. "He's still tight with us in the war against terror, and that's what I appreciate," Bush said".

Do you see how it works? We prop up oppressive regimes, the opposition parties become more and more radical as a result, and pretty soon, the War on Terror becomes the proverbial nine-headed hydra. Voila! Perpetual war for the forseeable future.

At this point, a cynic might wonder if individuals with significant military-industrial complex stocks might not be in favor of a perpetual war scenario.

...Having a more positive view of human nature, I'm partial to the opinion that our government is run by backseat drivers, and nobody is at the wheel.

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