Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 6, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

TIME'S UP....Deciding how long to support a faltering ally is a tough business. Genuinely tough. Think Carter and the Shah, Reagan and Marcos, Clinton and Yeltsin. But Joshua Kurlantzick says Bush and Musharraf is an easy call:

The time for mere condemnation is over. It's time for America to cut the cord on Musharraf and throw in entirely with the country's democratic forces. The Bush administration has repeatedly called for elections in Pakistan, and Musharraf has ignored it. The administration has funneled gargantuan sums of money to Pakistan — over $10 billion since the 9/11 attacks — and Musharraf has misspent that. Despite some initial, post-9/11 victories against extremists near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Musharraf has allowed radical movements in Pakistan to multiply, while stifling the change Pakistan truly needs: the development of a new generation of democratic-minded leaders that would challenge the generals and corrupt old politicians for power.

Read the rest. Fred Kaplan has a somewhat different take here.

Kevin Drum 1:29 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (80)

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When the Iranian revolution occurred in 1979, the overthrow of Mossadegh was used as a rallying point in anti-US protests. To this day, Mossadegh is one of the most popular figures in Iranian history.

Operation PBSUCCESS was a CIA-organized covert operation that overthrew the democratically-elected President of Guatemala, Jacobo Arbenz Guzmn in 1954. Arbenz's government put forth a number of new policies that the US intelligence community deemed to be Communist in nature, and, suspecting that the Soviet Union was pulling the strings, subsequently fueled a fear of Guatemala becoming a "Soviet beachhead in the western hemisphere"1 within the CIA and the Eisenhower administration -- a concern that found no shortage of believers outside of this circle given the intensely anti-Communist McCarthyism prevalent at the time. Arbenz also instigated sweeping land reform acts that antagonized the US-based multinational United Fruit Company, which had large stakes in the old order of Guatemala and lobbied various levels of US government furiously for action against Arbenz.


Boy, it's not just Bush. We Americans SUCK, s-u-c-k at this "supporting Democracy" thing.

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 1:52 AM | PERMALINK

It's pretty hard to see much of a distinction between what is now happening in Pakistan and what took place in Burma just a few weeks ago. Failure to cut ties with Musharraf also makes it even more ironic when Bush complains about places like Venezuela or Cuba. Personally, though, I get mighty uncomfortable anytime the USA tries to tell other countries how to go about their business. A consistent hands-off policy would be the most acceptable, especially coming from a country with such blood-soaked hands.

Posted by: John de Hoog on November 6, 2007 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure the Bush administration is looking at this and thinking back to the time they "encouraged democracy" in Palestine and ended up getting Hamas elected. At the time they looked like big idiots for demanding elections, then refusing to have anything to do with the party that won. That made just a wonderful impression in the Arab public. Now, the radical Islamic parties in Pakistan are not nearly as influential as Hamas was in the Palestinian territories, but who knows if they won't see a surge in popularity with the retreat of Bhutto and Musharraf's crackdown. It would have been nice to have supported democracy back when it mattered, rather than now when it seems likely that radical elements may use it to come to power. As Churchill (I think) once said, you can count on America to always do the right thing -- after exhausting all the other options.

Posted by: jonas on November 6, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

...The Bush administration has repeatedly called for elections in Pakistan, and Musharraf has ignored it. The administration has funneled gargantuan sums of money to Pakistan — over $10 billion since the 9/11 attacks — and Musharraf has misspent that...

Sounds EXACTLY like something Glen Reynolds would write for Mr. Bushie. Reynolds is one those American who is stupid ALL OF THE TIME.

At least Kaplin sees the real Bush, which is more that Kevin Drum can do apparently too, that Bush is nothing but a psychopathic liar, a drunken Texas trash talking redneck bullshiter.

Keeping Blackwater in Iraq should have been the tell all about Bush and his devotions to democracy or complete lack thereof. Bush doesn't care about what Iraqis go though or if they get slaughter by his un-bid contract people. Iraqis don't have any rights and Bush likes it that way.

The Bush foreign policy was neither shrewd enough to play self-interested power politics nor truly principled enough to enforce its ideals.

One consequence of this crisis is that Bush's "freedom agenda" is finally bankrupt. He will never again be able to invoke it, even as a rhetorical ploy, without evoking winces or laughter.

In his second inaugural address, where Bush first declared that the main aim of his foreign policy would be to spread democracy and topple tyranny all around the world, he warned dictators that good relations with America "would require the decent treatment of their own people."

Musharraf's proclamation is the definitive proof that no dictator takes—or ever will again take—that warning seriously.

Kaplin sure nails it right.

Musharraf's proclamation reveals that we are not the "sole superpower" that Bush and his associates thought we were; that sometimes the combination of vital interests and mediocre diplomacy put us all too desperately at the mercy of events.

ExxonMobil and PB should be forewarned - Bush is doing more the harm to Mideast business interest, then he'll ever do good for it. Most the world has seen Bush for what he really is, a completely corrupt, worthless, lying mobster. Even Mudock could put enough lipstick on those two completely corrupt pigs, Bush and Cheney to hide their gross immorality.

The problem isn't Rumsfeld, Gonzales - It's Bush and Cheney that are source of the democracy killing cancer and it's sad that Hillary has been more than happy to indulge in herself.

I have wonder if Hillary whispered in Sen. Schumer and Sen. Feinstein ears that endorsing torture would be just fine. We certainly have heard any objections from Atrios, TMP or Kevin Drum now that congressional Dems seem to think waterboarding is no-brainer too.



Posted by: Me_again on November 6, 2007 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

The first nuclear weapon that explodes in an American city will have a "Made in Pakistan" label on it. Bush, and before him, Reagan and yes, Clinton, have fucked up American foreign policy so badly it is almost beyond hope.

We should pull in all of our military forces, close every military base in the world and re-think our entire relationship with the world. The current state of affairs of the affairs of state are too badly broken to be fixed as they currently exist.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on November 6, 2007 at 6:02 AM | PERMALINK

"The time for mere condemnation is over. It's time for America to cut the cord on Musharraf and throw in entirely with the country's democratic forces."
_________________________

One problem with dealing with dictators is that they tend to act true to form. Even the best of them can convince themselves that what they are doing is essential, that they are the best hope for their country, that their acts of oppression are only temporary expedients. This belief in their own rightness seems constant, no matter if their political origins are from the left or from the right. The only true cure is democracy, checks and balances, and all the attendant, sometimes messy, freedom that springs from the sovereignty of the ballot box.

And yet, we are still hostage to our previous decisions. Most of our supplies for Afghanistan flow through Pakistan, including fuel. If we throw all our weight behind the "democratic forces" in Pakistan (assuming we can identify them), are we prepared for chaos, if it results? Where does that leave us if Musharraf wins anyway? What does "throw all our weight" mean? Does it mean removing Musharraf and forcing his successors to honor the democratic form of government Pakistan already has? Because otherwise, we run the risk that our support will not be enough, that it will encourage good people to stand up only to be shot.

Probably no one want to see us actively insert ourselves into the governance of Pakistan, even if our purpose is to install democracy. So, we're not going to overthrow Musharraf and, given our position in Afghanistan, we still need access to Pakistan seaports and roads. That doesn't leave us with much leverage right now.

Posted by: trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 7:36 AM | PERMALINK

Josh Kurlantchik is 100% correct.

And yet, we are still hostage to our previous decisions.

Only if we allow ourself to be. We don't need access to Pakistani roads and supply trains more than we need a functional, popular government there. One is icing. The other is the cake.

We probably shouldn't overthrow Musharraf with the 101'st Airborne. We should make the delivery of any further money contingent on free and fair elections.

Posted by: glasnost on November 6, 2007 at 8:20 AM | PERMALINK

"overthrow with the l01st"

Oh, right, a replay of "A Bridge Too Far".

Shrub is very busy at the moment using his Pinochet Princess phone to speed dial Gonzo, asking about how fast we could pull off Martial Law in this country - And, he would not even have to arrest most of the Supreme Court. Well, most of the Ninth Circuit, of course.

Posted by: bert on November 6, 2007 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

One problem with dealing with dictators is that they tend to act true to form.

Which makes your support of Bush/Cheney all the more shameful, Trashy. It's hardly surprising to see you defending yet another authoritarian regime.

Posted by: Gregory on November 6, 2007 at 8:55 AM | PERMALINK

It's too late to throw in with the democratic forces. This isn't just a Bush thing, though Bush has exceeded all expectations in screwing things up. This is an American Bipartisan Foreign Policy thing. Our decades-long mindnumbing obsession with forcing others to play our tune makes people vote to listen to folk music played on bagpipes and accordians rather than rock music, even though they like rock music better. We are poison to incipient democracies throughout the world. The best we can do is sit down, shut up and hope that we haven't screwed things up beyond repair.

Posted by: freelunch on November 6, 2007 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

Anti-terrorism seems to be the new anti-communism.

Posted by: Wapiti on November 6, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

"We don't need access to Pakistani roads and supply trains more than we need a functional, popular government there. One is icing. The other is the cake."
______________________

Perhaps so, but without those supply lines, we won't be capable of doing much in Afghanistan. Airlift can only do so much, especially without a fuel source in Afghanistan. Are we willing to accept setbacks in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to see democracy in Pakistan?

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

"It's hardly surprising to see you defending yet another authoritarian regime."
_____________________

It's hardly surprising to see you misstating the facts again, gregory. Nothing in my post said anything favorable about President Musharraf.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 9:43 AM | PERMALINK

But...but....Bush says that Musharraf is an important ally in the "war of terror". Unfortunately no one can point to anything he has done to help in the last four or five years. He is harboring Osama for gods sake. Is that how he helps us with the "war if terror"? With friends like that, who needs enemies?

Posted by: Kate Henry on November 6, 2007 at 9:46 AM | PERMALINK

Think Carter and the Shah, Reagan and Marcos, Clinton and Yeltsin

Yes, and think FDR and Stalin. Stalin was worse than any of these. but we needed his help to win a war, so FDR wisely put up with him. Today we need Musharraf's help to win a war, so we're stuck with him for the time being.

Another reason we're stuck with Musharraf is the fear that his rule might be replaced, not by democracy, but by terrorists. We ought to think rather carefully before taking the risk of letting Pakistan's nuclear arsenal fall into the hands of terrorists.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 6, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

"Unfortunately no one can point to anything he has done to help in the last four or five years."
________________________

Those supply lines, again. They came with a pricetag.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Nothing in my post said anything favorable about President Musharraf.

It's hardly surprising to see your dishonorable weaseling yet again, Trashy. No, you don't say anything favorable about President Musharref; I didn't say you did, so your sad straw man is worthless as usual. I said you defended authoritarian regimes, and you do. Your defense is negative: posing a bunch of questions that raise doubts about taking action to oppose yet another unfoavorable situation your boy Bush's incompetence has led us into. And, of course, your defense is also in giving Bush a free pass for his incompetence, talking about "our" decisions, not Bush's.

Yes, Trashy, you're defending authoritarian regimes -- Musharref's, and Bush's. And you don't even have the balls to be honest about it -- relying instead on your misleading and tendentious claim and your shrugging off as inevitable the consequences of Bush's incompetence. Shame on you.

Speaking of shame, "ex-liberal" once again belies his phony advocacy of freedom by stating explicitly his support of the Pakistani dictator -- but then, "ex-liberal"'s true allegiance to authoritarianism is obvious and well-known. Even in his usual bad faith, Trashy, "ex-liberal" is at least more honest that you. That's really gotta sting.

Posted by: Gregory on November 6, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Those supply lines, again. They came with a pricetag.

Thanks for proving my point, Trashy, by justifying support for Musharraf.

Posted by: Gregory on November 6, 2007 at 10:10 AM | PERMALINK

"[Quoting me] 'Those supply lines, again. They came with a pricetag.'

Thanks for proving my point, Trashy, by justifying support for Musharraf."
___________________

Try not to post too soon after taking your morning "stupid pill," gregory. A statement of fact (that the supply lines had a price) is neither condemnation nor justification.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

The Bush administration has repeatedly called for elections in Pakistan, and Musharraf has ignored it. The administration has funneled gargantuan sums of money to Pakistan — over $10 billion since the 9/11 attacks — and Musharraf has misspent that.

Good gawd Kurlantzick is a naive fool.

GWB's calls for democracy in Pak are all for show and meant to be ignored, and GWB is well aware that the billions we send over to Pak are going straight into the hands of the Taliban and OBL. The only reason Bhutto is even over there at all is because Cheney allowed Condi to think that she finally won a policy argument in favor of democracy but in reality set-up the situation so that Bhutto's life depends upon kowtowing to Mush, thereby cementing his control.

Posted by: Disputo on November 6, 2007 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

I have wonder if Hillary whispered in Sen. Schumer and Sen. Feinstein ears that endorsing torture would be just fine. We certainly have heard any objections from Atrios, TMP or Kevin Drum now that congressional Dems seem to think waterboarding is no-brainer too.

Well, Feinstein has always been Lieberman in drag, so her vote is no surprise, but Schumer is a big disappointment -- he has usually been better than most about fighting against his neocon instincts.

Posted by: Disputo on November 6, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

A statement of fact (that the supply lines had a price) is neither condemnation nor justification.

By itself, perhaps, Trashy, but in response to the statement "no one can point to anything he has done to help in the last four or five years"? Not so much. You're claiming that the price was for help -- in short, justifying it.

(Meanwhile, I notice you have no response to my earlier rebuttal, so we'll just consider that conceded -- as if it as neccessary. Thanks again.)

Oh, I sympathize, Trashy. It may pain you -- unlike "ex-liberal", whose gleeful support of authoritarian is all too obvious -- to have to defend the anti-democratic and authoritarian Bush and Musharraf regimes. Then again, you certainly, even now, hardly seem eager to condemn either one. But you're a loyal partisan, a team player -- a good German, if you will (with apologies to Stefan and other people of good will of German heritage). It's obviously too much to ask that you regard your boy Bush, in all his fecklessness, mendacity, incompetence and corruption -- with the disgust and contempt that is due; instead, you prefer to share in it.

So here you are. But you can hardly expect anyone to accept, let alone respect, your feeble justifications and weaselly excuses, Trashy.

Posted by: Gregory on November 6, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

"I notice you have no response to my earlier rebuttal...."
___________________

gregory, insults don't need rebuttal and you can consider anything conceded that pleases you. It certainly doesn't mean it's true. Feel free to rejoin the conversation when you have something substantive to add. Such as a stray fact or some such.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 10:58 AM | PERMALINK

Trashy, ol' pal, you may be insulted when I point out that you're arguing dishonestly and defending authoritarian regimes, but it's still plenty substantive for me to point that fact out. Sorry, but you don't get to complain that I'm attacking your posts as "not substantive" (which is bullshit anyway; attacking the cases of the Bush apologists is plenty substantive, thank you very much, and if your case is too weak to stand up to attack, leaving you to stamp your foot and insist that the attacks just aren't true, well, that's your problem, not ours) after you've stepped up to defend them, however dishonestly and fallaciously. Your defense, however dishonest, misleading and feeble, legitimized my criticicsm, and while I sympathize that you don't have a cogent rebuttal -- how could you, after all? -- it's a bit late now to pretend it's irrelevant.

But if you're insulted by being called on your dishonest defense of authoritarians, the solution would be to stop dishonestly defending the Bush Regime (and yes, I know it's impossible to do so honestly, but again, that's your problem, not ours). As for insults, Trashy, it should be telling that I'm concerned with the possibility of inadventently insulting Germans by calling you, accurately, a good German. Shame on you.

Posted by: Gregory on November 6, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

See what Juan Cole has to say: Mushie is cracking down on the Middle Class and professionals, not religious/extremists anyway.

Posted by: Neil B. on November 6, 2007 at 11:16 AM | PERMALINK

It's time for America to cut the cord on Musharraf and throw in entirely with the country's democratic forces.

Fweedom is on the march again. Fweedom and democwacy are the wight of evewy man. My third gwade teecher says so.

According to poll results, bin Laden has a 46 percent approval rating. Musharraf's support is 38 percent.
http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/11/poll.pakistanis/

Posted by: Luther on November 6, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

"Shame on you."
________________

::grin::

Come on, 'fess up, gregory. You're in high school, aren't you?

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

"It's time for America... to throw in entirely with the country's democratic forces."

Yup, just like we did in Palestine... and Guatemala, and Iran and Chile and...

Posted by: Buford on November 6, 2007 at 11:36 AM | PERMALINK

Personally, though, I get mighty uncomfortable anytime the USA tries to tell other countries how to go about their business. A consistent hands-off policy would be the most acceptable, especially coming from a country with such blood-soaked hands.
Posted by: John de Hoog

Agreed. But as with Israel, U.S. largess pretty much makes Pakistan run, at least the military part. So, either we get our money's worth, which we never have in either country, or we pull the plug. Pakistan doesn't do shit about al Qaeda or the Taliban, so fuck 'em.

$150,000,000.00 a month to Pakistan. But we can't afford SCHIP increases. Can't fund the VA properly. Can't afford to fix our transportation mess. Can't afford to fund primary and secondary education properly. Etc., etc. Worst. President. Ever.

Posted by: JeffII on November 6, 2007 at 11:43 AM | PERMALINK

Deciding how long to support a faltering ally is a tough business. ...

It wouldn't be nearly so tough if the US government exercised the slightest ethical consideration in choosing its would-be "allies". As has been the virtually uninterrupted case for DECADES, the "powers that be" have manifested an uncanny flair for installing and propping up ruthless, brutal, anti-democratic dictators, merely because such "strongmen" deliver what the US corporate elites desire to the detriment of their nation's citizens. Remember: Saddam Hussein was a solid US "ally" BEFORE he nominally became the new "Hitler".

At the same time, popular, democratically-elected leaders like Hugo Chavez or Aristide of Haiti, who actually improve their citizens' lot in life, are relentlessly demonized or even overthrown by the US regime. Even Ahmadinejad, the Reich's current propaganda target for its ludicrous "Hitler" accusations, was democratically elected -- a factual observation that absolutely BEGS comparison with America's own astoundingly dubious "electees".

It's a clasic case of "Do as we say, not as we do." This is not a democratic government; it's a thinly veiled Organized Crime Syndicate! And the only "blessing": bestowed upon us by this particular "presidency" has been the complete eradication of any naive belief in the faux-pious mythology that often passes for American "history". By their perpetually transparent lies, the NeoConNazis of this regime have made the truth painfully obvious.
.

Posted by: Poilu on November 6, 2007 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

The astounding thing is to compare the facts in Pakistan with the reasons given for invading Iraq:

1. Ruled by a dictator? Check.
2. Weapons of mass destruction? Check.
3. Harboring Al Qaeda? Check.

Posted by: Daryl McCullough on November 6, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

See what Juan Cole has to say: Mushie is cracking down on the Middle Class and professionals, not religious/extremists anyway. Posted by: Neil B.

Oh that's never been in doubt. He has been going after anyone in the tribal lands, he went after the judiciary, which I'm sure was about to rule that his presidency was unconstitutional, and Bhutto and her supporters.

Posted by: JeffII on November 6, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Not to mention:

4. History of invading its neighbors? Check
5. History of committing genocide? Check.
6. Arming, financing and providing bases for international terrorism? Check.
7. Supporting the Taliban? Check.

Posted by: Stefan on November 6, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

Anti-terrorism seems to be the new anti-communism.

Wapiti: Indeed. And with precisely the same despicable Fascists and crass political opportunists behind it, attempting all the while to depict themselves as venerable "saviors" of the people.

Our NeoConNazis clearly seek to eliminate the "threat" of terrorism in the same way their Nazi predecessors ultimately eradicated the "Bolshevist threat" -- by eliminating freedom itself!

"They hate our freedoms"?? Well, this Reich will show 'em who's boss. It will obliterate the very target of their "hatred". (Nyah, nyah!)

Some essential reading on the future of "Amerika":

A "Paper Coup"
By Naomi Wolf
.

Posted by: Poilu on November 6, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Today we need Musharraf's help to win a war, so we're stuck with him for the time being.

And what "war" would THAT be, ex-liberal? For that matter, what the HELL are we still doing in in Afghanistan SIX YEARS out?

Didn't we "liberate" the people of Afghanistan from our former "friends", the Taliban, LONG ago? Didn't NATO assume responsibility for that merely "peace-keeping" occupation way back in 2003? Haven't they HAD democratic elections in Afghanistan for several years now, and totally reconstituted their own military?

Lack of fuel sources in Afghanistan?? Couldn't we just tap the pipelines we went to war for to begin with???

Oh, the complexities of US "foreign policy" (AKA piracy)!
.

Posted by: Poilu on November 6, 2007 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

The puppet-in-chief hobbled the last Secretary of State to his ideology. There has never been any space for analysis, thought, debate or pragmatism. Not even for the USA's best interests.

The present Secretary doesn't have the vision, flexibility, experience or capability to handle a multifaceted -- and extremely delicate, thanks to the wingnuts in charge -- foreign policy.

This is hardly the administration's first massive misjudgement based on convenient and illusory assunmptions. I'm sure the idiot son gets tucked up every night with the final words "Good job today, Georgie boy."

Posted by: notthere on November 6, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Come on, 'fess up, gregory. You're in high school, aren't you?

Sorry, Trashy, but disgust at your apology for authoritarian administrations pretty much applies to all age brackets.

Although it is fascinating that you seem to associate holding you to some non-reprehensible standard of honor and honesty with youth and immaturity. (It's also interesting, albeit unsurprising, that you have no, ah, substantive rebuttal, and that you're happy to resort to the insults, however feeble and hackneyed, you accuse others of throwing -- your hypocrisy is noted without further comment.)

Your sad, Johnny-come-lately pose of cynicism and world-weary realpolitik hardly excuses your dishonesty in defense of both these odious Administrations and your own shameful conduct, Trashy. You are correct, however, in pointing out the uselessness of expecting you to have any shame when it comes to defending your Party's fecklessness, incompetence, mendacity and corruption.

Posted by: Gregory on November 6, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

What would we lose if Benazir Bhutto replaced Musharaff?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

CNN: Baton-wielding police fought with lawyers outside courthouses in Islamabad and Lahore again Tuesday, arresting dozens more as they enforced Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's crackdown on judicial activism.

CNN must be channeling the Heritage Foundation.

It's not "alleged judicial activism" but simply "judicial activism" as if Musharraf's say so is sufficent to establish the fact of "judicial activism."

Conservatives = Musharraf = "Rule of Law is Judicial Activism"

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, current-mentiroso: Today we need Musharraf's help to win a war . . .

We don't need Musharraf to win the war in Iraq, which is unwinnable (at least with respect to the goals set forth by Bush as the beginning) anyway, and it is not clear that we needed him to win the war in Afghanistan, which Bush abandoned in any event, as he intended all along, which in turn renders Musharraf irrelevant "today."

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

Sheriff's Capt. Brad Wells said that Friday night, three men went to James' house to buy marijuana, but two of them grabbed the drugs and fled, leaving the third behind. The suspects held that man, who is in his late teens, and told him he needed to find $400 for the drugs, Wells said.

The suspects beat the man with a wooden paddle, burned his neck and shoulders with cookies immediately after taking them from the oven, shaved off some of his hair and poured urine over him from a soda bottle, Wells said.

"They were torturing him," Wells said.

Well, not according to conservatives and their hero-of-the-day Mukasey.

Such "pranks" are just all in good fun!

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

What would we lose if Benazir Bhutto replaced Musharaff? Posted by: theAmericanist

A better question with a really obvious answer is what would we lose (and gain) if we just turned our back on Pakistan all together?

Posted by: JeffII on November 6, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

CNN: Asked whether they think waterboarding is a form of torture, more than two-thirds of respondents, or 69 percent, said yes; 29 percent said no.

Wonder what the 29% would say to the question, "was waterboarding torture when it was used during the Spanish Inquisition, by Cambodia's brutal Khmer Rouge regime, and by the World War II Japanese military against American soldiers?"

Asked whether they think the U.S. government should be allowed to use the procedure to try to get information from suspected terrorists, 58 percent said no; 40 percent said yes.

Wonder what the 40% would say to the question "should foreign governments be allowed to use waterboarding against American troops and officials accused of war crimes or with possible knowledge of attacks against those foreign interests?"

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and think FDR and Stalin. Stalin was worse than any of these. but we needed his help to win a war, so FDR wisely put up with him. Today we need Musharraf's help to win a war, so we're stuck with him for the time being

Ex-lib

The problem with your analogy is that Stalin's army was actually killing lots and lots of Nazis. You could only compare Musharraf to Stalin if Stalin had granted Hitler asylum in the Ukraine and let him set up bases there.

Posted by: tomeck on November 6, 2007 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

CNN: Baton-wielding police fought with lawyers outside courthouses in Islamabad and Lahore again Tuesday, arresting dozens more as they enforced Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's crackdown on judicial activism.

Wow, that is some amazingly blatant disgusting promulgation of a dictator's talking points.

Just, wow.

(Yeah, I know... they're just using the same buckets they've been using to carry water for GWB for 7 yrs.)

Posted by: Disputo on November 6, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

"Couldn't we just tap the pipelines we went to war for to begin with???"
_____________________

There are no fuel pipelines into and out of Afghanistan.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 2:39 PM | PERMALINK
Are we willing to accept setbacks in Afghanistan for as long as it takes to see democracy in Pakistan?

A stable, democratic Pakistan is probably a prerequisite to any lasting success in Afghanistan. Much of the reason Afghanistan remains a thorny problem after all these years (besides the diversion of US resources to Iraq) is the current situation in Pakistan.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 6, 2007 at 2:41 PM | PERMALINK
Lack of fuel sources in Afghanistan?? Couldn't we just tap the pipelines we went to war for to begin with???

Since, owing largely to the failure to secure the country, neither of the two (the oil pipeline or the natural gas pipeline) that you are probably referring to have even begun to be built yet, that would be difficult.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 6, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

"[I]t is not clear that we needed him (Musharraf) to win the war in Afghanistan, which Bush abandoned in any event...."
_____________________

We might not need him personally, but we need those ground LOCs to support the troops, both US and NATO, in Afghanistan. We have about 24,000 military personnel in that country.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

Much of the reason Afghanistan remains a thorny problem after all these years (besides the diversion of US resources to Iraq) is the current situation in Pakistan.

This presumes facts not already in evidence -- that Afghanistan is a "problem" and not instead going exactly the way the GWB admin planned....

Posted by: Disputo on November 6, 2007 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

"A stable, democratic Pakistan is probably a prerequisite to any lasting success in Afghanistan."
_____________________

I tend to agree with you, cm.

Posted by: Trashhauler on November 6, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Truthmaulter:

Bush-shit.

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

What would we lose if Benazir Bhutto replaced Musharaff? Posted by: theAmericanist

A better question with a really obvious answer is what would we lose (and gain) if we just turned our back on Pakistan all together?

- JeffII

It never ceases to amaze me how eagerly folks stretch for the stoooooooooopidest thing to say.

Jeff, heed the advice of Mark Twain: It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, then to open it and remove doubt.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

Here he goes again...

Posted by: tomeck on November 6, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

(snort) Let's take a short list, you clowns: why shouldn't we "turn our back" on Pakistan?

1) They have nukes.

2) They have fought several wars with the largest democracy on earth.

3) That's where bin Laden is.

4) Along with Turkey and Indonesia (which is a special case), they have (or did, until recently) the closest thing to a genuinely secular rule of law in a Muslim nation.

5) They are a MAJOR source country for American immigration.

How many more reasons never occurred to you?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 5:31 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: Jeff, heed the advice of Mark Twain: It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid, then to open it and remove doubt.

Then why don't you follow Mr. Twain's advice and keep your mouth shut so you will quit soiling this blog with your stupidity?

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 5:49 PM | PERMALINK

They have nukes.

None of which can reach any US targets that would be significantly strategic or tactical enough for Pakistan to waste them on.

They have fought several wars with the largest democracy on earth.

How many of those did they win?

That's where bin Laden is.

Quick, tell Bush so he can take him out!

In any event, as long as Pakistan refused to take bin Laden out or capture him, it is irrelevant whether they are formally or informally our enemy.

Along with Turkey and Indonesia (which is a special case), they have (or did, until recently) the closest thing to a genuinely secular rule of law in a Muslim nation.

Iraq was the closest thing to a genuinely secular rule of law in a Muslim nation.

We know how that went.

And Bush (and you) had no trouble invading that secular rule-of-law nation, so why would this be a reason to hesitate with Pakistan.

They are a MAJOR source country for American immigration.

In other words, they are a MAJOR source of jihadist infiltrators seeking to overthrown American democracy.

----------

Yes, your stupidity never ceases to amaze!

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 5:59 PM | PERMALINK

(snort) Let's take a short list, you clowns: why shouldn't we "turn our back" on Pakistan?

1) They have nukes.

However, we have a lot more along with the ability to actually hit a target in Pakistan (as if this even mattered in the discussion at hand).

2) They have fought several wars with the largest democracy on earth.

And?

3) That's where bin Laden is.

Duh. And they ain't doing fuck all to dislocate him, are they?

4) Along with Turkey and Indonesia (which is a special case), they have (or did, until recently) the closest thing to a genuinely secular rule of law in a Muslim nation.

Ah! So that's how we characterize Third World military dictatorships today. They also have some of the most virulent anti-Western Islamists as well. Great cocktail of seething stupidity there. Face it, Pakistan is fucked coming or going. I don't want fifty-cents wasted on such a country.

5) They are a MAJOR source country for American immigration. Posted by: theAmericanist

I guess I missed the memo that we need more overly religious people of any ilk in the U.S. and that we are underpopulated. You might want to talk to the English about that one.

Pakistan is not now nor ever will be an ally to the U.S. or the West in any sense of the word as long as religion, particularly Islam, dominates the society. But I guess idiots like you adhere to the Kissinger model of foreign policy - keep your friends close and your tin pot dictators even closer.

Fuck-off back to LGF where you belong troll.

Posted by: JeffII on November 6, 2007 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Just how many Pakistani immigrants do you know, 'ymous?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 6:18 PM | PERMALINK

It's useless (the pig enjoys it), but cuz it's a mitzvah, this is some of what is at stake in Pakistan: the Supreme Court in Pakistan is acting like a Supreme Court is SUPPOSED to act in any nation governed by laws -- they've ruled that Musharaff cannot be both the head of the executive branch AND the military.

It's not the simplest question for a lotta reasons what we DO about that, but only folks as stoooopid, racist and generally icky as 'ymous, Jeff or Meck would be so quick to dismiss that the rule of law in another country (much less one as significant as Pakistan) is a matter in which America has no stake.

That's why I asked what we would lose, if Bhutto replaced Musharaff -- cuz it seems the most likely of all the Big Change outcomes.

The rap goes that Bhutto would not have the military support that Musharaff does -- and of course, Rice backed her on the theory that the civil government could be in her control, leaving Musharaff in control of the military and, not incidentally, preserving the spine of the rule of law in Pakistan.

This is what Musharaff has just broken.

But the cemeteries are full of indispensible men, so I'm inclined to think that Musharaff isn't gonna last that much longer, cuz we have all kinds of incentives to offer the military out from under him. (I stand by my prediction that whoever is running Pakistan next summer is gonna give bin Laden to Bush during the Republican convention.)

But -- man, folks: dissing Pakistani immigrants out of ignorance is just LOW. You obviously don't know any, so you're adding a distinctly unAmerican xenophobia to your isolationist ignorance.

And worst of all: I bet you're proud of it.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK

Pakistan = Ally is a faulty equation from the get go. Pakistan is now and has always been a client of China. Who do you think financed and supplied them with nuclear technology?

With 'allies' like Pakistan who needs enemies?

Posted by: MsNThrope on November 6, 2007 at 6:56 PM | PERMALINK

The first nuclear weapon that explodes in an American city will have a "Made in Pakistan" label on it.

Made in China.

Posted by: MsNThrope on November 6, 2007 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff: Americanist claims to be a immigration lawyer.

'Nuff said. Can you say 'vested interest'?

I passed a sign (in Spanish) outside a local Circle K today. It said:

Help Wanted. Limited English required.

Posted by: MsNThrope on November 6, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK
Along with Turkey and Indonesia (which is a special case), they have (or did, until recently) the closest thing to a genuinely secular rule of law in a Muslim nation.

Actually, no. Military dictatorships with vestigial democratic and legal institutions aren't uncommon in the Islamic world, and a whole lot of Islamic countries have more substantial and effective democratic and legal institutions that Pakistan, even before the suspension of the Constitution.

Unless by "recently" you meant "before the coup that brought Musharraf to power"...

Posted by: cmdicely on November 6, 2007 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK
This presumes facts not already in evidence -- that Afghanistan is a "problem" and not instead going exactly the way the GWB admin planned....

You seem to believe that "X is a problem" and "X is as GWB planned it" are contradictory, rather than the latter lending additional credibility to the former.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 6, 2007 at 7:20 PM | PERMALINK

"Jeff: Americanist claims to be a immigration lawyer."

Not me. Never. Not once. In fact, the actual immigration lawyers association has rather pointedly reminded me, now and again, NOT to.

Tell us, MsN, why DO you talk such obvious bullshit?

Dice: you're useless and not worth discussion. When you learn to READ, perhaps this will change.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, no. Military dictatorships with vestigial democratic and legal institutions aren't uncommon in the Islamic world, and a whole lot of Islamic countries have more substantial and effective democratic and legal institutions that Pakistan, even before the suspension of the Constitution.

Malaysia, Bangladesh, Albania, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Jordan, Morocco and several of the smaller Gulf States, for example, spring to mind as countries that have, to varying degrees, democratic and legal institutions on a par with or greater than those of Pakistan.

Posted by: Stefan on November 6, 2007 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Lord, now I gotta give literacy lessons: "vestigial" refers to something that was once important, even vital, but has now outlived its usefulness and lingers with no purpose.

The idea that Albania and Azerbaijian, f'r instance, have "vestigial" democratic and legal institutions sorta forgets that they didn't used to have them.

That the Supreme Court in Pakistan only recently (within the past few months) became IMPORTANT enough to actually threaten Musharaff's essentially military rule, which is what led to his move to disband 'em, is likewise precisely the OPPOSITE of what "vestigial" actually means.

As noted, when y'all acquire literacy, you might then attempt to engage in discourse: but one step at a time, k?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 6, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

No, now you have to take reading comprehension lessons. "Vestigial" only refers to military dictatorships in the first part of the sentence -- "Military dictatorships with vestigial democratic and legal institutions aren't uncommon in the Islamic world," -- while Albania, Azerbaijan etc. are examples of the countries mentioned in the second part of the sentence, i.e " a whole lot of Islamic countries [that] have more substantial and effective democratic and legal institutions that Pakistan" -- none of which are military dictarorships.

Slow down. Relax. Learn the meaning of the comma. And try to, y'know, read over what you write a few more times before you write something stoopid again.

Posted by: Stefan on November 6, 2007 at 11:08 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist calling anyone racist is pretty rich, after he's already determined that the Iraqis are incapable of doing anything without the help of Big Boss White Man George W. Bush.

Hardee har har.

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: As noted, when y'all acquire literacy, you might then attempt to engage in discourse: but one step at a time, k?

It's hard to argue with a liar, especially particularly nasty ones like theAmerican'tist, but that is all we are left with from the Right.

The Right has never met a truth it could stomach.

Posted by: anonymous on November 6, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

'"vestigial" refers to something that was once important, even vital, but has now outlived its usefulness and lingers with no purpose.' - Americanist

I suggest that you look at ALL the definitions of 'vestigial' before giving literacy lessons.
Cmdicely runs intellectual circles around you.

Posted by: nepeta on November 6, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

He DOES try to do circles -- but, being Dice, he doesn't roll well.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 7, 2007 at 7:47 AM | PERMALINK

I know you guys don't do this fact thing well, but observe how it intersects with language: in a discussion of Pakistan, Dice sez "Military dictatorships with vestigial democratic and legal institutions..."

I pointed out that the impetus for this particular upheaval in Pakistan is a Supreme Court that FOR THE FIRST FRIGGING TIME is actually acting like one.

That's not "vestigial". Surgeons will remove an inflamed appendix not simply because it is a danger, but ALSO because it serves no useful purpose.

Musharaff whacked Pakistan's Supreme Court precisely BECAUSE it was trying to do its job FOR THE FIRST TIME.

That's not 'vestigial'. It's not like removing an appendix, it's more like castration.

I keep pointing out Dice is educated beyond his intelligence, and he keeps proving it, confusing the words he uses for the things he's talking about.

A smarter, much less more principled set of folks would note that Jeff, et. al, are arguing from ignorance and bigotry: it isn't whether we'd lose anything if Bhutto got the support of the military and replaced Musharraf (and, perhaps, restored the Pakistani judicial system), it's why we shouldn't abandon Pakistan altogether.

When I noted a series of reasons (um, nukes?), including the extensive ties that legal immigrants including many new Americans have with Pakistan, Jeff and others puked up "jihadists".

And not a peep from Dice about their bigotry.

Shows what this asshole thinks is important.

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 7, 2007 at 7:55 AM | PERMALINK

theAmerican'tist: I know you guys don't do this fact thing well . . .

Well, it's better than not doing the truth well, like yourself.

When I noted a series of reasons . . .

Reasons without any merit, as amply demonstrated above.

And not a peep from Dice about their bigotry . . .

And not a peep from theAmerican'tist about the bigotry of the Right which has preached "all Muslims are jihadists" for the last four years or more.

Exactly why does our government have Arab and Muslim profiles in place at our airports and other entry points to the country and why are they investigating every Muslim or Arab they can identify if there are not jihadists amongst them?

Where do you think the jihadists are coming from, theAmerican'tist, Mexico?

Oh, yeah, that's right, you are all for racist border and immigration control when it comes to Hispanics, but want to let any and all Pakistanis and Iraqis into the country.

Much more obviously, you don't do or understand sarcasm and mockery well.

Read up on the terms; you might learn something.

Shows what this asshole thinks is important.

Shows what theAmerican'tist asshole thinks is UNIMPORTANT:

* the Constitution

* respect for human rights

* integrity and truthfulness

* peace, honor, and dignity

* competent leaders

* honorable leaders

* torture of innocents

* imprisonment of innocents

Posted by: anonymous on November 7, 2007 at 9:17 AM | PERMALINK
I pointed out that the impetus for this particular upheaval in Pakistan is a Supreme Court that FOR THE FIRST FRIGGING TIME is actually acting like one.

Well, no, its not the "first frigging time" at all; Musharraf's done things like this to the Supreme Court in the past, also because it was showing signs of acting like a Supreme Court with teeth. Consider, for instance, the Oath of Judges Order 2000 and the associated dismissal, by Musharraf, of the Chief Justice and other judges of the Supreme Court, in very similar circumstances (pending legal action against Musharraf's dictates) to the present action.

Musharaff whacked Pakistan's Supreme Court precisely BECAUSE it was trying to do its job FOR THE FIRST TIME.

Except that it wasn't "the first time". Pakistan's Supreme Court was doing its job before Musharraf came to power, it was doing its job (and attacked by Musharraf for it) in 2000. Perhaps, it is the first time since 2000 that the Supreme Court has tried to meaningfully assert its authority.

That's not 'vestigial'.

Its precisely vestigial. There hasn't been any substantive rule of law in Musharraf's dictatorship, and everytime there starts to be a hint that their might be, Musharraf uses his power over the military to eliminate the threat from the judiciary. There was substantive rule of law and a judiciary that asserted itself against executive authority before Musharraf came to power (indeed, that's part of how Musharraf came to power.)

Posted by: cmdicely on November 7, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK
Americanist claims to be a immigration lawyer.

He actually claims to be an immigration policy insider of some kind, though I don't recall, off the top of my head, if he's ever made it clear whether as a lobbyist or a legislative staffer, or perhaps both at different points in time.

Posted by: cmdicely on November 7, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

"And not a peep from theAmerican'tist about the bigotry of the Right which has preached "all Muslims are jihadists..."

Um... except for the pieces I did for National Review, Salon, and the Washington Post, which among other things were the most public disagreement that I'm aware of for the denial of a visa to a Muslim theologian on ideological grounds.

And what have you done, 'ymous?

Posted by: theAmericanist on November 7, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

He actually claims to be an immigration policy insider of some kind, though I don't recall, off the top of my head, if he's ever made it clear whether as a lobbyist or a legislative staffer, or perhaps both at different points in time.

I think he's a border guard of some sort....

Posted by: Stefan on November 7, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

And what have you done, 'ymous?

Pieces for the New York Times, The Guardian, The BBC, and The New Yorker which were the most public denunciations of bigotry ever written in this country.

By the way, you confuse bigotry based on racism with ideological disagreements.

Nothing new of course for you to compare apples and oranges . . . or equate 3 with 4 . . . or to be utterly dishonest both factually and intellectually.

Posted by: anonymous on November 7, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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