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November 28, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

PAKISTAN NEWS....Pervez Musharraf has stepped down as head of the Pakistani army. Now he's merely a civilian dictator.

Kevin Drum 1:54 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (43)

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Now he's merely a civilian dictator.

Likely, at least for the short term, although this is still clear as mud. Kiani, who now is the official head of the armed forces, owes much to Musharraf, but by many accounts is his own man; he was also a deputy secretary during Bhutto's tenure and reportedly acted as go-between.

While it's hard to say how this will play out--especially with Bhutto and Sharif back in the picture--it seems questionable whether Musharraf can retain dictatorial control. I hope and expect that he's figured that out. Either that or we're about to see Pakistan go down in flames.

Posted by: has407 on November 28, 2007 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

Now he's merely a civilian dictator.

Musharraf was elected President on November 2007. How can a democratically elected President be a dictator?
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pervez_Musharraf
"On November 24, 2007, the Pakistan Election Commission confirmed his re-election as President."

Posted by: Al on November 28, 2007 at 4:09 AM | PERMALINK

However, he still gets to choose the head of the army...

Posted by: billy on November 28, 2007 at 5:14 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

A couple weeks ago, President Bush instructed him to take off his military outfit. Cause meet Effect.

I wonder whne we'll be hearing Kevin lauding Bush for his diplomatic prowess here. I'm not holding my breath.

Bush drops bombs, liberals complan. Bush does diplomacy, liberals complain.

Posted by: egbert on November 28, 2007 at 8:01 AM | PERMALINK

I believe Saddam Hussein was elected in even a less fishy manner, Al.

Posted by: Crissa on November 28, 2007 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

You mean, egbert, all this time we merely had to ask him to step down?

Posted by: Crissa on November 28, 2007 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

Musharaf was not elected in a fair election (although I realize that this was meant sarcastically). He terminated the constitution. Sounds familiar, doesn't it?
the good news for Pakistan is that the Army has never ousted a military dictator, but has ousted quite a few civilian governments. It is thus possible that Musharaf will now be ousted, if the religious nuts continue to do battle in Pakistan. Too bad the religious nuts in this country can't be overthrown as well.

Posted by: Chris on November 28, 2007 at 8:50 AM | PERMALINK

You summed it up neatly in two sentences. Musharraf just went offstage to change costumes.

Posted by: rp on November 28, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

A couple weeks ago, President Bush instructed him to take off his military outfit.

Hey, if bush wants to hang out with a naked Musharraf, that's none of my business. They're both adults (ok maybe that's a stretch)

Posted by: G.Kerby on November 28, 2007 at 9:45 AM | PERMALINK

Oh yes, George, right there, that's the spot ... yes, yes, yes, ... Mission Accomplished!

Posted by: Pervez Musharraf on November 28, 2007 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK

I've taken off my uniform like you asked, Georgie (wink wink nudge nudge).

Your pal,

Leader for Life

Pervez

Posted by: Mike on November 28, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

Al comes out in favor of Soviet-style elections. Ahh, conservatives show their true face at last.

Posted by: Speed on November 28, 2007 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

Jeez, Kevin, if you're going to steal Joyner's material at least steal it well. Your version of his sentence completely lacks the *pop* of the original.

Posted by: Jim Henley on November 28, 2007 at 10:11 AM | PERMALINK

Now he's merely a civilian dictator. —Kevin Drum

Ya. But he's our civilian dictator!

Posted by: JeffII on November 28, 2007 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK

We have good reason to be worried about Pakistan and Musharraf. His act of giving up his military position doesn't change the situtation much, but it's not bad news. (Imagine the contrary: suppose he had not given up his military title after announcing that he would do so.)

So, why the snark?

I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. What's the difference?

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 28, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

Freedom is spreading across the world like wild flowers and has finally taken root in Pakistan. Just ask the Pakistani lawyers and judges beaten with sticks over the last few weeks.

This is a perfectly normal transition of power. Military dictator suspends constitution and disbands the judiciary. Religious extremists and said dictator's thugs beat and arrest protesters and opposition without charges being drawn. (How could they bring charges; the judges were disbanded, remember?) Powerful Western leader calls for dictator to "take off his uniform". Dictator gives uniform to hand-picked crony, declares himself "president", and says he'll end the state of emergency "any day now".

And finally, the world weeps with joy at such a beautiful display of freedom and democracy...

Posted by: CKT on November 28, 2007 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. What's the difference?
Posted by: ex-liberal

Because, dunce, the post concers Musharraf, and not those other dictators. You may style yourself as an "ex-liberal" but you have yet to cease being an imbecile.

Posted by: DJ on November 28, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

ex-lib forgot the King of Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: gregor on November 28, 2007 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

http://buchanan.org/blog/?p=881

Welcome to the real world, where state interests always trump ideology. The world democratic revolution and the Second Bush Inaugural goal of ending tyranny in our world have been put on the shelf. For what is at issue is more critical than whether Musharraf is dictator or democrat.


Pakistan, a nation of 170 million with nuclear weapons, is up for grabs. And the major contenders are not democrats. On one side is Musharraf and loyal elements of the army, police and intelligence services. On the other are radicals with guns, disloyal soldiers, pro-Taliban militia, al-Qaida sympathizers and suicide bombers.


Such folks do not settle quarrels at ballot boxes.

The crisis in Pakistan brings home the reality the Bushites have ignored in their ideological crusades. For in the Pakistan crucible we see starkly who our real enemies are, whence the true dangers come and where our vital interests lie.


Musharraf is, as were Franco, Pinochet and the shah in the Cold War, a flawed friend and an enemy of our enemy. If he falls, any democratic successor, like Benazir Bhutto, would not likely long survive al-Qaida and the suicide bombers who already tried to kill her.

Posted by: Luther on November 28, 2007 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

gregor, right you are to include the King of Saudi Arabia -- one of the world's most disgusting governments. Their "royalty" are more-or-less a criminal gang that seized control of the oil riches. In addition, they've got a hideous religion, which, e.g., requires that a woman be punished for being a rape victim.

DJ, my question was why we don't see snarky posts here about these other dictators.

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 28, 2007 at 10:54 AM | PERMALINK

Um, 'cause it wouldn't be as funny as this?

In the last few weeks, President Bush has said that Musharraf is interested in Democracy, that you can't be the president and wear a uniform at the same time, and other ultra-hypocritical gems. Saudia Arabia and Venezuela are non-democracies who don't try and lie about it. That makes them bad people, but unsuitable targets for snark.

Posted by: mmy on November 28, 2007 at 11:06 AM | PERMALINK

DJ, my question was why we don't see snarky posts here about these other dictators. Posted by: ex-liberal

We do. You're just not, surprise!, paying attention. Furthermore, no one, left or right, pretends that Castro, Chavez or Qaddafi are allied with the U.S. in any way. Only Bush is craven enough to talk about Pakistan being a democracy while at the same time denouncing someone like Chavez. Yes, Chavez is a goof. But he seems to be a goof for the good of Uruguay, whereas Musharraf is strictly for Musharraf.

At least the Saudi's pay for their weapons. We just pretty much give them to Pakistan.

And by the way, Luther, you gotta point posting nonsense from Pat Buchanan? Contrary to what that idiot contends, our state interests are not being served in Pakistan or the ME with any of our relationships.

Posted by: JeffII on November 28, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal:
I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. What's the difference?


For starters, those other countries don't possess nukes. Couple that with the growing anger/radicalization of a HUGE population over Musharraf's power-grab, and maybe there is just a wee bit of difference.

Posted by: G.Kerby on November 28, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

JeffII: Furthermore, no one, left or right, pretends that Castro, Chavez or Qaddafi are allied with the U.S. in any way.

Sorry to sneak up on you Jeff, but that's the point I wanted to make. Liberals tend to criticize America's friends (particularly while Bush is President); conservatives tend to criticize America's enemies.

Luther wrote: The crisis in Pakistan brings home the reality the Bushites have ignored in their ideological crusades. For in the Pakistan crucible we see starkly who our real enemies are, whence the true dangers come and where our vital interests lie.

Musharraf is, as were Franco, Pinochet and the shah in the Cold War, a flawed friend and an enemy of our enemy. If he falls, any democratic successor, like Benazir Bhutto, would not likely long survive al-Qaida and the suicide bombers who already tried to kill her.

Luther, this sounds like an endorsement of Bush's decision to have Musharraf as an ally, even though he's a dictator. But, you seem to have meant it as a criticism. What reality do you believe the Bushites have ignored? What should they have done differently?

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 28, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, Musharraf is about as democratically elected as you are going to see in Pakistan. Hoping for more is unrealistic, and given most of the likely outcomes without Musharraf, having him stay is probably the best that the US and the rest of the world can hope for. There are no feel-good options and results in this case.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on November 28, 2007 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

People, it's "Fake Al". Like a good still life painter who shows the crinkled leaf or the worm in the bud, there's always a "tell" in Fake Al's responses to cue you that he is indeed Fake Al.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on November 28, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal,

The other thing that makes Pakistan different is that we send them billions of dollars a year in aid and consider them an ally.


Posted by: Lew on November 28, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the leftards keep expecting democracy in these other countries like we have in the West? Bush has never called for "freedom and democracy" as something that the US should stand for without reservation. Instead he has called for "freance and peance", just like what we have done in Iraq. That is what we are seeing in Pakistan. Freance and Peance.

Don't believe me? Google it yourself and behold the wonder of Freance and Peance.

Posted by: CKT on November 28, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

Now he's merely a civilian dictator.

Depends on whose the head of the military and whether that position is a mere formality/figurehead.

I wouldn't jump to any conclusions about Musharraf's alleged distancing of himself from military control, which appears to be more for show than actuality.

Posted by: anonymous on November 28, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, current-mentiroso: I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.

Since you and your wingnutty friends consistently write them, you must've seen them.

BTW, I don't seen wingers ranting for the invasion of these countries (and North Korea) and the overthrow of these dictators like they did with Saddam.

What's the difference?

Posted by: anonymous on November 28, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. What's the difference?

Well, one difference is that we're not secretly funneling hundreds of millions of hardworking American taxpayers' dollars to them, and helping to arm and equip their dictatorships.....

U.S. Aid to Musharraf is Largely Untraceable Cash Transfers
By Spencer Ackerman - November 7, 2007, 5:05PM

Musharraf...has been a crucial American ally since the start of the Afghanistan war in 2001, and the U.S. has rewarded him ever since with over $10 billion in civilian and (mostly) military largesse.

....a considerable amount of the money the U.S. gives to Pakistan is administered not through U.S. agencies or joint U.S.-Pakistani programs. Instead, the U.S. gives Musharraf's government about $200 million annually and his military $100 million monthly in the form of direct cash transfers. Once that money leaves the U.S. Treasury, Musharraf can do with it whatever he wants.

....Only about ten percent of the $10.58 billion since 9/11 has gone toward development aid and humanitarian assistance, according to the CSIS report -- even after Pakistan suffered a devastating earthquake in October 2005. "Close to 90 percent goes to the military-led government," Barton says. "Some of it is directly into the military, and the other pieces go into the Musharraf government."

Posted by: Stefan on November 28, 2007 at 2:31 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, "hundreds of millions" should obviously have been "tens of billions."

Posted by: Stefan on November 28, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

There are no feel-good options and results in this case. Posted by: Yancey Ward

Oh yes there is. Cut 'em off at the knees. Pakistan (Musharraf) needs us a lot more than we need it. In fact, I'm pretty sure we don't really need him, or Pakistan such as it is, at all.

Posted by: JeffII on November 28, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

Now he's merely a civilian dictator.

Yes, but he's OUR civilian dictator.

Posted by: ckelly on November 28, 2007 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry Jeff II. Didn't see you'd beaten me to it as I hastily scrolled down to post.

Posted by: ckelly on November 28, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK


EX: Their "royalty" are more-or-less a criminal gang


does that include prince bandar...

also known in d.c. as bandar bush?

wonder how he got that nickname?

Posted by: mr. irony on November 28, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

"I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. What's the difference?"

Dear heart, when the Bush administration starts to pretend that those other countries are all models of Democracy, that their rulers have all "advanced Democracy," and when he has funneled billions of dollars to them, with no strings attached, we will assuredly get snarky. Until then, we'll just be laughing at you for your stupidity.

Posted by: PaulB on November 28, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

"Sorry to sneak up on you Jeff, but that's the point I wanted to make."

ROFLMAO.... As though faux-liberal were clever enough to "sneak up" on anyone?! The mind boggles at the self-delusion.

"Liberals tend to criticize America's friends (particularly while Bush is President); conservatives tend to criticize America's enemies."

Really, dear? I must have imagined all of that "Old Europe" and French bashing. Can I interest you in some "Freedom Toast" or some "Freedom Fries"? Or care to talk about Spanish "cowards" "cutting and running," dear?

In any case, dear heart, you're wrong about liberals (not that this comes as a surprise). We bash stupidity and hypocrisy, dear, not our allies. We aren't bashing Musharraf for being a dictator; we're bashing Bush (and you) for pretending that he is not.

"Musharraf is, as were Franco, Pinochet and the shah in the Cold War, a flawed friend and an enemy of our enemy."

No, dear, he's a dictator we've given billions of dollars to who has done little, if anything on our behalf, who has let al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremists, roam free on his border, and who has encouraged nuclear proliferation.

By putting ourselves in bed with him, as the Bush administration has done and continues to do, we are identifying ourselves with a fairly ruthless dictator and getting almost nothing in return (other than the enmity of the Pakistani population and the further deterioration of our international reputation). Even worse, by throwing our lot in with Musharraf, when he is overthrown, we lose everything in Pakistan.

"If he falls, any democratic successor, like Benazir Bhutto, would not likely long survive al-Qaida and the suicide bombers who already tried to kill her."

Dear heart, I'm afraid you cannot support that assertion, anymore than you can your other many assertions. And it's "when" he falls, not if.

Even for you, dear, this was pathetic, particularly hilarious in that you really thought you were actually scoring a point!

Posted by: PaulB on November 28, 2007 at 4:57 PM | PERMALINK

By putting ourselves in bed with him, as the Bush administration has done and continues to do, . . . Posted by: PaulB

Actually, Paul, we've been in bed with whomever was in charge of Pakistan for about 20 years. The difference now is that Bush lets him be on top. Ironic, isn't it, since he didn't even know who Musharraf was in 1999.

Done initially to flank that commie hotbed India, that we've continued to give Pakistan even the time of day is beyond a mystery.

Posted by: JeffII on November 28, 2007 at 5:10 PM | PERMALINK

I don't see snarky comments about other dictators such as Bashar Assad, Muammar Qaddafi, Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. What's the difference?

Well, this is a forum focussed on US politics, and I don't see any US politicians naming any of those guys "major non-NATO allies".

Posted by: cmdicely on November 28, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

More good news from Pakistan:

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan is poised to lift his country's state of emergency within days, after relinquishing his role as Army chief of staff and becoming a civilian ruler for the first time.

Incidentally, the article says Musharraf making good his pledge to stand down as army chief "was hailed by the international community as a historic event in modern Pakistani history."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2960024.ece

Posted by: ex-liberal on November 28, 2007 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

LOL... Whatever you say, dear. Now do feel free to actually address the points that people raised in response to your drivel, won't you, dear?

Posted by: PaulB on November 29, 2007 at 4:20 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, current-mentiroso: Incidentally, the article says Musharraf making good his pledge to stand down as army chief "was hailed by the international community as a historic event in modern Pakistani history."

Since wingers like you refuse to accept the opinions of the international community as having any validity, you are proven either a hypocrite or a liar or both.

Posted by: anonymous on December 5, 2007 at 9:58 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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