Timid Talk On Pakistan
The Secretary-General is greatly concerned about the recent developments in Pakistan and the imposition of emergency rule. He expresses his strong dismay at the detention of hundreds of human rights and opposition activists, including the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief.Greatly concerned ... strong dismay ... urges ... appeals. Does it perhaps sound just a wee tad weak? Let's compare it to ... oh ... the White House view, as annunciated by Dana Perino in today's press briefing:
The Secretary-General urges the Pakistan authorities to immediately release those detained, to lift restrictions on the media and to take early steps for a return to democratic rule. He appeals to the Government of Pakistan to hold the Parliamentary elections as scheduled.
The government of the United States is deeply disturbed by the proclamation of emergency in Pakistan on November 3rd -- about 48 hours ago. We cannot support emergency rule or the extreme measures that are being taken by President Musharraf. Such actions are not in Pakistan's best interest. And President Musharraf had taken Pakistan well -- pretty far along the path to democracy, and this is definitely a setback. ... We are currently reviewing our aid.That's better. Sure, the press core jumped about a bit, but not nearly as much as the UN press corps did in expressing dissatisfaction with Bankie's comment:
Question: Michèle, General Musharraf has now, in fact, established a dictatorship and has proceeded to massive arrest of opposition leaders, as well as judges. Why aren’t we hearing a strong condemnation coming from the United Nations?Yeah, I bet Pervez is shaking in his jackboots.
Spokesperson: I just read a statement about what the Secretary felt he should say at this point.
Correspondent: That’s not a condemnation.
Spokesperson: Well, I think those are very strong terms that he used.
I didn't care much for the Prez' take on it this afternoon either; he should have left it to Perino to comment:
[W]e made it clear to the President that we would hope he wouldn't have declared the emergency powers he declared. Now that he's made that decision, I hope now that he hurry back to elections. And at the same time, we want to continue working with him to fight these terrorists and extremists, who not only have tried to kill him, but have used parts of his country from which to launch attacks into Afghanistan, and/or are plotting attacks on America."We hope he wouldn't have?" And that's from the White House transcript! Hope may spring eternal, but it doesn't go back in time.
Here's what President Laer would have said:
President Musharraf's actions are appalling and his justifications do not hold water. America is firmly on the side of the Pakistani people, and on the side of Democracy. We call on President Musharraf to not delay the elections and to release the people he has arrested who have done nothing more than engage in free speech, which we hold to be a fundamental right governments must grant.There. That should do it.
We value Pakistan as a critical and cooperative ally in the war on terror, but I warn President Musharraf today that if there is a government in Islamabad that we cannot recognize because of its illegitimate nature, we will consider undertaking actions against our terrorist enemies in Pakistan's northwest tribal territories without seeking his permission.
I just can't understand why Bush didn't hire me to write his stuff!