Look… Let me be frank about this.
Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which included Kerry and Biden, and other high advisers have been telling Bush for a long time. Musharraf is a dictator and can not be a trusted ally. They held investigations on Pakistan; they went to Pakistan; and they came to the realization that Musharraf needed less kid gloves and more carrots and sticks to sway his behavior.
But Bush ignored their advice, and the dog and pony show called, “Pretend to have democracy and an election in Pakistan” began.
The Former President of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan to run in their democratic election. Upon Bhutto’s return, Musharraf witnessed a huge portion of the population greet her with love and optimism! But, Musharraf, the dictator, wasn’t engaged in democracy. That’s why he sentenced her to a house arrest, and arrested her supporters–innocent people— across the country.
Her arrest increased the violence as the members of the opposition party fought for her release.
Showing more prescience than administration officials showed, the democratic caucus of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee issued Senate Resolution 372:
“SENATE RESOLUTION 372–EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF THE SENATE ON THE DECLARATION OF A STATE OF EMERGENCY IN PAKISTAN — (Senate – November 08, 2007)
Mr. KERRY (for himself, Mr. Biden, Mr. Obama, Mr. Casey, and Mr. Durbin) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations.”
Below is the text of the Kerry-Biden Resolution:
Kerry Condemns Bhutto House Arrest in Pakistan
Yesterday Introduced Resolution Linking Some Military Aid to Restoring Rule of Law in Pakistan
WASHINGTON D. C. – Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East and South and Central Asian Affairs, which includes Pakistan, urged President Musharraf to release opposition leader Benazir Bhutto today, in response to Musharraf placing Bhutto under House arrest by force.
“Today, President Musharraf took a very troubling and contradictory step away from putting Pakistan back on the path to civilian democracy. One day President Musharraf says he intends to hold elections and restore normalcy, the next day he places Benazir Bhutto under house arrest. The United States needs to send a strong message to the government of Pakistan by using our leverage to push to restore the rule of law and move forward with crucial democratic reforms. That means making it clear we will suspend military aid not related to the fight against Al Qaeda if President Musharraf does not follow through on his pledges to take steps towards restoring civilian democracy.”
Yesterday, Senator Kerry was joined by Senator Biden in calling on President Musharraf to end Pakistan’s state of emergency and reinstate the Constitution. The Kerry-Biden Resolution urges that U.S. military assistance to Pakistan should be carefully reviewed. It further asserts that aid for certain weapons systems not directly related to fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban should be suspended if President Musharraf does not revoke the state of emergency, restore the Constitution, follow through on the pledge to relinquish his position as Chief of the Army and allow for free and fair elections to be held in accordance with the time-frame announced yesterday by the Government of Pakistan.
Do you see the combination of carrots and sticks in the resolution? Good sound policy always includes both!
But what was this administration’s response to the events?
Read it from pppusa.org, entitled, “Pakistan’s Failure — and America’s”:
With the declaration of emergency rule, Pakistan authorities are rounding up not terrorists but judges, human-rights lawyers, journalists, opposition politicians — in short, the unarmed. And what is the the U.S. response to this outrage?
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says she is “disappointed” in Pakistan President Pervez Musharaff’s declaration of emergency rule and that the U.S. will “have to review the situation.” But she vows to continue American aid so that Pakistan can continue “to fight against terrorists.” Secretary of Defense Robert Gates says that the U.S. should be “mindful not to do anything that would undermine ongoing counter-terrorism efforts.”
America seems so powerless because Musharraf is a “key ally” in the war on terrorism and because, with as many as 30 nuclear weapons, there is little it can do. The larger issue is the failure of the the generals: those in Pakistan who have poorly executed the “war” against terrorism, and those in the U.S. who have been unable to get above the day-to-day fighting to come up with a winning strategy for what they themselves call the long war.
In short, they did nothing, and by doing nothing, they fueled the extremism within Musharraf’s Pakistan!
The article continues to describe how Musharraf got even more powerful because Bush, Cheney, and Rice refused to follow the Kerry-Biden Resolution; Musharraf got more powerful, Pakistan got bloodier and bloodier.
Please continue to read the next quote in it’s entirety. (Bolded sections are mine.)
The irony is that, by declaring emergency rule, Musharraf demonstrates what he can do with the massive military machine and system of secret police at his disposal. Why hasn’t the same decisive tactic been used against al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorists residing in the country?
But on the larger issue, the war on terrorism, the Bush administration has proved less forceful. The general was supposed to have been a godsend. Yet we are witnessing wholesale violence and the imposed spread of Sharia (Islamic law), perpetrated by a coalition of Pakistani and Afghan Taliban, working with al Qaeda and local clans who have no interest in democracy or the 21st century.
In October 2001, when the United States invaded Afghanistan to depose the Taliban and defeat al Qaeda, no one was keen on focusing on the thousands of Pakistan “volunteers” sent to fight Americans across the border. Musharraf was a crucial ally, and there was a hierarchy of priorities. Today, however, many of those same volunteers, some of whom have taken American lives, are the new Pakistani terror class, protected and given sanctuary by Musharraf’s bad generalship and by the American focus elsewhere.
Large swaths of the northwest Pakistani border lands have come to resemble Taliban Afghanistan. Pakistani Taliban, as they are now called, have even persuaded (or forced) people to destroy their televisions, a move that now must look quite pleasing to the military dictator and enabler who does the same from far away.
Emergency rule in Pakistan demonstrates not only Musharraf’s failure, but that the joint U.S.-Pakistani approach to fighting terrorism is badly conceived and poorly implemented.
This is downright ineptness! For eight years we’ve had dumb and dumber running the country and creating the worst possible policies around the globe!
Unless, their main objective had been to fuel extremism and imprison innocent people and hold fake elections in “newly emerging democracies.”
Eventually, Bhutto was released and she resumed campaigning for the Presidency in earnest. Amongst the riots and violence, she campaigned as if she wasn’t in a war zone, but Musharraf made sure she didn’t have additional protection.
ppointingly, the Bush administration didn’t hold the carrot or the stick out to Musharraf to force his hand in this regard.
Kerry and Biden had called for her protection in their resolution (see above). December 27, 2007, the worst outcome happened. She was assassinated while campaigning for the Presidency of Pakistan.
“This is both a horrific and heartbreaking tragedy, and a lightning bolt wakeup call for anyone who had taken their eye off of the turmoil in Pakistan. Teresa and I send our deepest condolences to Ms. Bhutto’s family. Benazir Bhutto returned home after years in exile knowing fully that she was taking a great personal risk to fight for change and democracy. When I met with her this fall just days before her return to Pakistan, she raised the issue of her own personal security. Subsequent to the bombing and assassination attempt that greeted her return home, I spoke to Secretary Rice about ways the United States might work with President Musharraf to ensure her safety.
“Her loss underscores the fragility of the situation in Pakistan and the perils of a volatile mix of unrest, tension, radicalism, and nuclear weapons. Her killing embodies everyone’s worst possible fears and reinforces how tenuous the circumstances in Pakistan really are. The loss of Ms. Bhutto demands of the United States and our allies an urgent focus on developing a Pakistan strategy that will crush extremists and provide freedom, peace, and security for the country that mourns her loss today.”
Barack Obama’s statement:
“I want to obviously state how shocked and saddened we all are with the death of former Prime Minister Bhutto,” he said. “We have to make sure we are clear as Americans that we stand for democracy and that we will be steadfast in our desire to end the kinds of terrorist act blighted not just Pakistan but other parts of the world.”
Senator McCain’s statement:
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also issued a paper statement, saying Bhutto “was a remarkable woman” who “paid the ultimate price for her embrace of moderation and rejection of extremism.”
“The death of Benazir Bhutto underscores yet again the grave dangers we face in the world today and particularly in countries like Pakistan, where the forces of moderation are arrayed in a fierce battle against those who embrace violent Islamic extremism,” he said in the statement. “There are, in Pakistan, brave individuals who seek to lead their country away from extremism and instability and into the light of a better day. America, I believe, must do all we can to support them.”
After her brutal murder, we didn’t hear much from Pakistan. The emerging democracy didn’t emerge–just as Musharraf had intended.
Musharraf managed to cling to office. The people of Pakistan managed to vote enough representatives of the opposition party into office, and they finally came out with the big stick: impeachment.
It’s hard to believe that Musharraf has only been the Pakistani leader for approximately nine years–eight of those under the helping hand of the Bush administration. Pakistan’s Failure — and America’s were tied together.
The following lists the monetary ties that have bound us thus far, but they also show the numerous carrots and stickes that could have been used to force Musharraf to stop his aggressive polices and to crack down on terrorism in the Tribal areas:
U.S. assistance and other payments to Pakistan have totaled $9.6 billion in the six budget years since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, according to the State Department.
The largest payout each year is for what the Bush administration calls “reimbursements” for Pakistan’s help in the global war on terrorism. Under that program, Pakistan submits claims – such as its costs for providing observations posts along the Afghan border or its costs for taking part in joint operations with the U.S. against al-Qaida.
The reimbursements amount to some $80 million a month, said Defense Department spokesman Bryan Whitman – or nearly $1 billion a year.
On top of those payments, the U.S. also gives Pakistan direct aid for humanitarian programs, economic development, military needs and so on – well over $700 million in each of the last two years.
Pakistan receives military equipment under the assistance programs, as well as by buying some, such as the 36 F-16 aircraft it is purchasing for up to $3 billion.
“This request will maintain Pakistan’s support in the global war on terrorism and efforts to build peaceful and positive relations with its neighbors, India and Afghanistan,” the administration said in documents justifying the budget requests.
Following is a sampling of how the State Department proposes to spend $785 million on Pakistan in fiscal year 2008:
$342 million for efforts to counter extremists, narcotics trafficking, weapons proliferation and other security issues.
Money from this group will be used to help modernize Pakistan’s military, provide training, buy military equipment and help maintain previously purchased U.S. military equipment.
$249 million for economic growth. That includes developing infrastructure for transport, power, irrigation and vocational training.
$50 in humanitarian assistance, including to rebuild hospitals and schools damaged or destroyed in the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan’s northwest.
$103 million for health, education and water and sanitation. That includes scholarship programs to help the disadvantaged get advanced educational degrees in agriculture and business as well as programs against HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, for mother and child care and to promote family planning.
Nearly $42 million for governance and democracy programs. The money is to support democratic practices in political parties and in civil society, promote free and fair elections, develop the media and support the legislative process. The Bush administration budget request noted that elections were planned in 2008, a prospect now in doubt because of the imposition of emergency law over the weekend.
You can see we are tied together. An emerging democracy, for real this time, and a strong realization that we must be partners in eliminating terror and extremism.
Will a new President–in our country as well as Pakistan–be able to thwart the extremism and religious wars or will those extremist be allowed to continue to flourish?
There is a saying, “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know…”
We might be facing that situation. A new President in Pakistan does not mean that the rebels will be wiling to stop the violence. A new President doesn’t mean that he’s willing to stop al-Qaeda and Mideast terror groups from utilizing their caves and mountains.
And our new President will have to learn the subtle technique of using the carrot and the big stick as Kerry-Biden advised the Bush administration to do.
We aren’t prescient enough to know if a democracy can thrive in that region where religious extremism abounds. But we do know that better policies have to happen in order to come close to achieving a successful democracy with reduced religious extremism and better co-operation in preventing regions of Pakistan from being used as training grounds for terrorists.
We have to have sound policies, sound strategies with clearly defined goals and end posts, and we have to have a better understanding of the region so that our policies more effectively stop fueling extremism.
We are tied to Pakistan. We are tied to the MidEast.
We’re ready for newer, smarter policies.
Here’s a timeline:
September 11, 2001
August 18, 2008– Musharraf resigns.
__Afghanistan War NOT ended.
__Iraq Occupation NOT ended.
__Osama Bin Ladin NOT captured.