Today the Supreme Court of Pakistan threw out five of the six complaints that had been lodged against the election last month of General Pervez Musharrif as President of Pakistan.
Of course, the whole thing is a sham. The 'election' was carefully conducted only among three hundred or so assembly members, virtually assuring that Muharrif would be re-elected. However the opposition to Musharrif, who seized power in a coup nearly a decade ago and has steadfastly refused to give any of it up, complained to Pakistan's Supreme Court and asked that the election be declared illegal. On the eve of the ruling, which would have gone against Musharrif, he declared 'emergency law' and summarily dismissed all of the Supreme Court justices who refused to sign a loyalty oath to him. He then filled the vacancies with his hand-picked replacements, so that the decision rendered today might as well have been written by Musharrif personally.
President Bush has asked that Musharrif leave the army. So he will. That doesn't make him any less of a dictator, nor does it do any more to legitimize his 'election' than the rump Supreme Court decision we saw today. (I could add an acerbic comment here about Bush and elections and Supreme Court decisions, but you all know what I'd say, so I won't.)
What it does is point out in stark relief two things.
1, The support of 'democracy' everywhere that Bush pledged in his second inaugural speech is null and void in countries where the dictator kisses up to us.
2. Bush was a fool for fashioning our whole policy in Pakistan around Pervez Musharrif. There is no 'plan B,' and now State Department officials are feverishly trying to craft one in case someone other than Musharrif emerges from the present crisis as being in control in Pakistan. Sound familiar?