Monday, November 5, 2007

It Turns Out Islamic Extremists are Lawyers!

Never mind the stereotype that Islamic fundamentalists are poor, uneducated, crude people. Pakistani President declared war against Islamic extremism and his first official battle was against 2,000 protesting lawyers. Shouting "Go (as in leave) Musharraf Go", the attorneys defended themselves against armed soldiers with rocks and tree branches. Over 250 were carted off to jail while a number were beaten mercilessly.

President Pervez Musharraf must have a very serious infestation of extremists. I knew they'd invaded the madrassas, but law schools? Traditionally attorneys are the carrier of basic rights for relatively powerless individuals. We've all hear it on TV police shows, "You have a right to an attorney."

So who else did Musharraf detain in his war on extremism? Funny, the list sounds more like the President's political opponents for the planned January election than fundamentalist Islamists. Of nearly 2,000 detained the AP says most are opposition leaders, lawyers and human rights activists who might mobilize protests. At least 67 workers and supporters of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto - who in recent months has held talks with Musharraf over an alliance to fight extremism - had been arrested.

If he's arresting people who were collaborating with him to fight extremists, what has he done with the real terrorists? You can't have a war without warriors, so Pervez freed 28 suspected suicide bombers in a prisoner exchange with pro-Taliban warlords in the lawless tribal region believed to be holding Osama bin Laden. Huh? Arresting judges, lawyers, closing the media and simultaneously freeing the enemy? What dark comedy on the world stage is this!

To stir up the hornets nest of Pakistan even more, a country that operates military drones unleashed a missile into a housing complex in that same region while the coup planning took place. Did the Obama inspired U.S. military attempt another unilateral strike on Osama in its war on terrorism? Or did we give that technology to a heavy handed dictator so that he can use it on his own people? Ninety percent of Pakistan's billions in U.S. aid since 2001 is military in nature. Pervez has the tools courtesy of American largess, he's now using them on his own people. U.S. politicians show no indication of their ability to stem the flow of money to either junta declaring martial law, Pakistan or Myanmar.

American continues its tampering in a region of the world that recalls past U.S. sponsored nightmares. Condi Rice calls the Pakistani situation "highly regrettable" while imploring President Musharraf to jump back on the road to democracy. Sorry, Ms. Rice, Pervez has gone off-roading with an American gifted Hummer.

When he comes back to the highway, only he knows. Who will supply him while he's out in the human rights desert? Might American companies provide him the tools he needs to live the lifestyle to which he's become accustomed? They do it for the junta in Myanmar, why not Pakistan too?