Bush, Musharraf, and the Meaning of Democracy

General Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency, and then all hell broke loose. Bush keeps telling us that he’s spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq. And how has he been doing that? By launching an unprovoked attack on that country in defiance of the U.N. Charter

It’s been a rough month in Pakistan. On November 3, General Pervez Musharraf suspended the constitution and declared a state of emergency, and then all hell broke loose.

Musharraf’s thugs arrested and imprisoned hundreds of lawyers, human rights activists, and political opponents. They closed down all local and foreign news channels except the state-controlled Pakistan Television, and warned the media not to print or broadcast “anything which defames or brings into ridicule the head of state, or members of the armed forces, or executive, legislative, or judicial organ of the state.” According to Amnesty International, even though some of the political prisoners have since been released, as many as 200 or more may still remain in detention, and more arrests have been taking place.

And what does George W. Bush think of all this? Well, in an ABC News interview with Charles Gibson on November 20, Bush said that Musharraf “hasn’t crossed the line.” He defended Musharraf as “a loyal ally in fighting terrorists” and claimed that Musharraf has “advanced democracy in Pakistan.”

Hmmmmmmm…

Seems like a funny way to advance democracy. And I wonder just how far Musharraf would have to go to cross the line.

On second thought, Bush’s comments seem to fit with his own idea of advancing democracy.

Bush keeps telling us that he’s spreading freedom and democracy in Iraq. And how has he been doing that? By launching an unprovoked attack on that country in defiance of the U.N. Charter, bombing the hell out of it, killing tens of thousands of innocent civilian men, women, and children over the past four and a half years, and not bothering to rebuild the country’s infrastructure or restore essential services like electricity, clean water, and security.

That’s our Bush — spreading democracy at the point of a gun.

Now he wants to spread democracy to Iran, only this time with nukes. Free the Iranian people by nuking them. What a way to win hearts and minds.

And look at what he’s been doing to advance democracy here at home.

He spies on us without court warrants.

He pressures Congress into passing laws abolishing habeas corpus rights.

He arbitrarily labels people as enemy combatants, tosses them into Gitmo, and denies them any kind of due process so they have no way to challenge their detention or prove their innocence.

He allows his henchmen to torture people.

And he refuses to compromise with the new Democratic-led Congress. It’s always his way or the highway.

And so our brave troops continue to fight and die for Bush’s agenda: Full control of the U.S. government and full control of Middle Eastern oil resources for Bush and his corporate bedpartners.

This isn’t your grandparents’ democracy.

And those purple fingers in Iraq were little more than a photo op.

http://www.maryshawonline.com

Mary Shaw is a Philadelphia-based writer and activist. She is a former Philadelphia Area Coordinator for the Nobel-Prize-winning human rights group Amnesty International, and her views on politics, human rights, and social justice issues have appeared in numerous online forums and in newspapers and magazines worldwide. Note that the ideas expressed here are the author’s own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Amnesty International or any other organization with which she may be associated. E-mail: mary@maryshawonline.com

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