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Our Charming Allies In The War On Terror

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Bush is determined to do whatever it takes to spread freedom and democracy around the world...except when it isn't convenient.

For lovely Uzbekistan, the cruel military dictatorship that gunned down hundreds of its own people last month, Bush and Russia blocked an attempt to start an international probe into this massacre. This Washington Post story appeared on A-15 and hasn't made a stir anywhere. Who would be surprised or care that Bush is happy to defend his closest allies when they attack their own people?

Defense officials from Russia and the United States last week helped block a new demand for an international probe into the Uzbekistan government's shooting of hundreds of protesters last month, according to U.S. and diplomatic officials.

British and other European officials had pushed to include language calling for an independent investigation in a communique issued by defense ministers of NATO countries and Russia after a daylong meeting in Brussels on Thursday. But the joint communique merely stated that "issues of security and stability in Central Asia, including Uzbekistan," had been discussed.

Apparently Condi Rice has taken on the mantle of ineffective supporter of reason a la Colin Powell: her State Dept. was shouted down by the Defense Dept. which thinks a military base in Uzbekistan is more important in the war on terror than actually FIGHTING the war on terror by denouncing the slaughter of civilians by corrupt governments. Way to go, Rummy!

And in lovely Pakistan, Kristof of the New York Times reports on the fate of Mukhtaran Bibi -- a brave woman who was ordered raped by the courts but refused to commit suicide afterwards and has become a major activist.
Ms. Mukhtaran used her compensation money to start two schools in her village, one for boys and the other for girls. She went out of her way to enroll the children of her attackers in the schools, showing that she bore no grudges. Readers of my column sent in more than $133,000 for her. Mercy Corps, a U.S. aid organization, has helped her administer the money, and she has expanded the schools, started a shelter for abused women and bought a van that is used as an ambulance for the area.
Her plan to visit the US and denounce honor killings, rapes and acid attacks on women was too much for the gov't, which has grabbed her and thrown her into a dank hole somewhere. Kristof annoyed me with this comment:

I've been sympathetic to Mr. Musharraf till now, despite his nuclear negligence, partly because he's cooperated in the war on terrorism and partly because he has done a good job nurturing Pakistan's economic growth, which in the long run is probably the best way to fight fundamentalism. So even when Mr. Musharraf denied me visas all this year, to block me from visiting Ms. Mukhtaran again and writing a follow-up column, I bit my tongue.

But now President Musharraf has gone nuts.

When will "hard-nosed realists" like Cheney and Bush and Kristof realize that you don't advance the cause of freedom by partnering with and defending the corrupt monarchy of Saudi Arabia, military dictatorships like Pakistan and Uzbekistan, etc? These countries are not fighting terror -- they are committing terror on their own people and literally exporting it around the world.

Anyone waiting for Bush to speak out about these horrible developments in Uzebkistan or Pakistan is waiting in vain. Anyone who realizes we need to act on our own to defend heroes like Ms. Mukhtaran should call the Consulate General of Pakistan and let them know we're watching.

Its number is 212-879-5800 and press "0" for the operator.

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