Don't Desert Musharraf

I checked-in on Fox News a few afternoons ago and witnessed Fox newsman Shepard Smith just about lose it over the fact that Pakistan President Musharraf had declared a national state of emergency, thus depriving the citizens of Pakistan their rights and even threatening the rights of U.S. citizens. I couldn’t believe he mentioned Musharraf’s actions as a threat to this country, but I heard/saw it with my own ears and eyes. The performance was reminiscent of his and Geraldo’s hysterics in New Orleans after Katrina had gone through in 2005.

This is not a criticism of the good work that Fox News carries out, only a reminder that this nation has to make do with what happens anywhere…on the ground, not with what it wishes to be the case. Sitting in a studio some 9,000 or so miles from Pakistan and talking to a reporter is not exactly the same as being on the ground in Pakistan and seeing things first-hand. At least, Smith had actually, finally gone to New Orleans, which makes one wonder what kind of tantrum he might throw if he were in Pakistan now, probably damning Musharraf for not inculcating U.S.-style democracy no later than yesterday.

A major part of Musharraf’s problems is occasioned by Benazir Bhutto, who was prime minister of Pakistan 1988-90 and 1993-96. She and her husband have been fighting criminal charges since her government was tossed in 1996. Her younger brother, who opposed her positions while he was in the Pakistan parliament in the 1990s, was assassinated while she was prime minister in 1996. Ms. Bhutto ended her “tortured” 8-year exile in England and the United Arab Emirates recently. In her return, a bomb apparently meant for her went off in the wrong place and over a hundred other Pakistanis died. This is the kind of chaos she’s inflicting on a country already steeped in catastrophe.

The daughter of Bhutto’s murdered brother, Fatima Bhutto, wrote the following as published in the Los Angeles Times on 14 November: “It is widely believed that Ms. Bhutto lost both her governments on grounds of massive corruption. She and her husband, a man who came to be known in Pakistan as ‘Mr. 10%,’ have been accused of stealing more than $1 billion from Pakistan's treasury. She is appealing a money-laundering conviction by the Swiss courts involving about $11 million. Corruption cases in Britain and Spain are ongoing.” Actually, a Swiss court convicted Bhutto and her husband of money-laundering in 2003. These are not beautiful people.

What Smith and others who believe that American-style democracy will work everywhere don’t understand is that…well, it won’t work in perhaps most of the third world. The Middle East is a hotbed of theocracies – rule by the imams and the ayatollahs and the devil take the hindmost. Until the Islamic fanatics are denied the opportunity to run governments, there will be no democracies in the Middle East, including Iraq and Pakistan. Since the Muslims are an essentially uneducated people, and since both education and integrity (at least to some degree) are vital in supporting a democracy, representative government is not possible for them. This is true, also, throughout Africa.

Add in the ingredient of fanatical Islamic fundamentalism as it relates to the populations in general, meaning their acquiescence to the teachings of the imams as derived from the Koran, a document put together and dictated by an illiterate in the sixth century, and the recipe for democracy is poisoned. Musharraf is faced with this poison and either takes drastic steps to keep it from killing his country or taking the heat for doing what he has said he believes the average Pakistani desires, even though it’s unattractive to people like Smith and Hillary Clinton…or Joe Biden, who, according to USN&WR, said, “We need to get on the right side of history,” i.e., with respect to focusing on Musharraf “too much.” Playing politics with something as important as Pakistan’s survival and friendship is beneath contempt.

As noted in the PBS program Frontline: “A madrassa is an Islamic religious school. Many of the Taliban were educated in Saudi-financed madrassas in Pakistan that teach Wahhabism, a particularly austere and rigid form of Islam which is rooted in Saudi Arabia.” Therein lies a major reason for not bailing on Musharraf, not to mention that Afghanistan (Taliban Country) is landlocked, meaning that supplies to American troops there go through Pakistan. The notion that the crooked Bhutto should be supported by this country is outrageous on its face. Once she gained power, how long would it be before the jihadists actually took over from her, with its collective finger on Pakistan’s nuclear button?

There’s more at stake than just a declaration of emergency in Pakistan, especially with the Taliban in that nation’s western mountains getting stronger and undoubtedly supporting and hiding Osama bin Laden. Regardless of Musharraf’s motives, which there’s little reason for anyone in this country to criticize, he is the only horse that can win this race. Always in the crosshairs of assassins himself (Muslims play rough), he may have to use the army to root out the Muslim thugs…something Bhutto is not likely to try. To desert him would be tantamount to consigning thousands to death…even another 9/11.