Thursday, November 08, 2007

So, now the story is that at Dubya's personal urging, the elections in Pakistan will be held, delayed by only a month in order to rig 'em more thoroughly make doubly sure of arrangements.

Bush also said, explaining the statement:

You can't be the president and the head of the military at the same time.
Golly, gee. Does that mean that he'll stop incessantly calling himself "commander in chief" when discussing matters of civil and criminal law?

Update: Rallies are banned, opposition politicians have been arrested, and nominal opposition leader Benazir Bhutto (already reported to have been in negotiations with Musharraf before he chucked the constitution) is giving stage-managed speeches from house arrest behind lines of Musharraf's troops. Meanwhile the slightly more credible leader of a different opposition party, Nawaz Sharif, cools his heels in Dubai. So, it seems like Dubya will get his election --- and unlike that awkward business with the Palestinians, with near certainty that those allowed to vote the voters will make the right choice...

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

So, Musharraf in Pakistan declared that he needed a state of emergency to protect the country from terrorists --- and the first people arrested were his own political opponents. And the Bush administration is protesting the move and urging a return to democracy every bit as loudly and sanctimoniously as it urged giving diplomacy and inspections a chance before the Iraq invasion.

Musharraf said in his own speech that he wouldn't pay attention to outside whining, which may suit Dubya's crew fine --- if you want to know what they really think, you have to follow the money and the guns, which are both still flowing unabated.

Musharraf also cited, in his speech, Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus during the civil war --- never mind that Lincoln never arrested judges poised to rule against him, as Musharraf has done, nor cancelled scheduled elections, which are now, in Pakistan, very much in doubt.

But then again, times may be changing. The Senate Judiciary committee just voted in an Attorney General candidate who stated, in his testimony, that the President has the right to violate whatever laws he sees fit, at essentially his own discretion. (There was a slight chance that a majority of committee members would gag on the even more laughable claim that forcing water into prisoners' lungs until loss of consciousness is somehow not torture --- but they have evidently managed to swallow it). So, given that more modern Republican philosophy, and, say, Rudy Giuliani's idea of freedom:

... freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

[ Interruption by someone in the audience. ]

You have free speech so I can be heard.

we Americans may yet have the opportunity to debate Musharraf's interpretation of Lincoln closer to home. In whispers, in private...