Filed under: Pakistan
Writing in the New York Times on Wednesday, Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto spoke for the world of democracy when she stated:
The United States, Britain and much of the West have always said the right things about democracy in Pakistan and around the world. I recall the words of President Bush in his second inaugural address when he said: "All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you." It is dangerous to stand up to a military dictatorship, but more dangerous not to. The moment has come for the Western democracies to show us in their actions, and not just in their rhetoric, which side they are on.
Today, she's under arrest just like Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma. Musharraf has not given us Bin Laden, and his country continues to be a harboring place for all manner of anti-U.S. extremists. Once again, our hopeful support has been used against us, democracy has been betrayed. Once again, the ball is in our court. In many cases, what we are called upon to do (as Bhutto notes in her essay) is simply to stop taking actions that help democracy's foes. Can't we at least go that far?
Writing in the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer says we can:
Our influence should not be overestimated. But we need to make clear our choices. The best among the awful ones Musharraf has presented to us is to try to broker a truce between the two forces before the blood starts to flow, keep Musharraf to his promise of holding early parliamentary elections -- which Bhutto will win -- and then guarantee him a dignified and gradual exit that ensures his protection while Bhutto and her allies claim legitimate authority and try to reach an accommodation with Musharraf's successor as military chief. It's a long downfield pass. But Musharraf never consulted us on the choice of plays.
Let's do it.
UPDATE: Now it's been announced that the arrest order has been lifted. Hooray! Just think about that the next time somebody tells you we can't win democracy's battles if we put our shoulders to the wheel. We can win!