Critics Blast Bush on Pakistan

Bush team can't back up its talk of democracy, writers say
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 6, 2007 7:49 PM CST

(Newser) – Bush is leveling only tepid criticism of Pervez Musharraf’s state of emergency, showing the same “hypocrisy” and “knee-jerk support for authoritarianism” that has always defined his relationship with Pakistan, argues Salon’s Juan Cole. Musharraf’s move shatters even the pretense of a commitment to democracy, but “it changes almost nothing” in terms of US aid because Bush so desperately need its Karachi ally, says Cole.

Bush’s freedom crusade “is finally bankrupt,” adds Slate’s Fred Kaplan, because he stood by when Musharraf consolidated power in 2002 and again in recent weeks as crisis built. Kaplan agrees the US can’t do without Musharraf—and even allows the general’s “in a genuinely tight spot”—but he says Bushies have put in little effort and their “paltry influence” is on display.