As you may have heard, George W Bush is in India briefly and will be in Pakistan as well. I am sure that there is much rejoicing going all around among the movers and shakers in India about how wonderful the visit by an American president is. Lavish dinners and a lot of hoopla can be distracting. Who cares who the person is. We are really interested in what is in it for us. (The “us” is not people of India at large but the movers and shakers.)
But first the somewhat positive news. Bush ushers India into the nuclear club, says Yahoo! Yes, India does need help with nuclear technology and fuel for power generation. So far so good. There is a downside that I will go into later.
I think it is important to remind ourselves that Bush’s best friend in the neighborhood is the Pakistani military dictator, General Musharraf, whom Bush is visiting to even things out between India and Pakistan. The dictator is a double-dealing bastard (pardon my French). Here is what Frédéric Grare, a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has to say in the Foreign Policy portal titled Pakistan’s Double Dealing:
In the aftermath of 9/11, Pakistan understood that terrorism had become, at least temporarily, unacceptable. It joined the war on terror and turned itself, once more, into a “frontline state.” In practice, however, Pakistan drew a distinction between militants active in Kashmir and international terrorists. The latter could be traded for international goodwill, but the former had to be preserved to keep leverage in Kashmir.
Pakistan will not change its position on Kashmir, so the United States must change its stance on Pakistan. When asked whether a paradigm shift on Kashmir is possible, Pakistani officials privately assert that nothing more than a cold peace can be expected. Given this environment, it is essential for Bush to understand that the Pakistani army is not the best protection against Islamic extremism but, rather, one of its causes. The fear of an Islamist takeover should stop distorting the administration’s dealings with Pakistan, and Bush should make clear to his host that regional terrorism is no more acceptable than the global variety.
Pakistan is at the hub of terrorism that Bush is claims to be fighting. Read this open letter from B Raman to President Bush. He begins with:
Dear Mr. President,
As you embark on your courageous visit to Pakistan, the adopted homeland of Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, Mulla Mohammed Omar and other brutal killers of hundreds of your fellow-citizens, may I request you to spare a thought for your fellow-citizens and for the nationals of other countries, who continue to die at the hands of international jihadi terrorists given sanctuary in Pakistan?
There is a long laudry list of reasons for why Bush’s buddy is nasty character. Here is a snippet:
Mr. President, you remember the two attempts to kill your buddy in December 2003, at Rawalpindi? Well, the guilty in those incidents have already been got tried by Musharraf, their appeals against their conviction got disposed of and those sentenced to death sent to the gallows. For your buddy, the law did not pose any difficulty in sending them to death for trying to kill him.
10. The same law, according to your buddy, has been standing in the way of the killers of Daniel Pearl being sent to the gallows. Do you know how many times the hearing in the appeal against the conviction filed by Omar Sheikh has been got adjourned by the appellate court? Forty-one times—under some flimsy pretext or the other.
11. It was adjourned for the forty-first time right on the eve of your visit to Pakistan. On February 27, 2006, the Sindh High Court adjourned the hearing once again on the ground that Omar Sheikh has sacked his defence lawyer and that the killer must be given time to find and engage another lawyer.
Bush is being felicitated in India, as he should be as the head of the United States of America, the most powerful hegemonic state the world has ever seen. But there is the unfortunate fact that he is most likely guilty of criminal conspiracy back at home.
Lewis Lapham of Harper’s Magazine make The Case for Impeachment and why the US can no longer afford Bush. He starts off with the Conyers’ resolution:
On December 18 of last year, Congressman John Conyers Jr. (D., Mich.) introduced into the House of Representatives a resolution inviting it to form “a select committee to investigate the Administration’s intent to go to war before congressional authorization, manipulation of pre-war intelligence, encouraging and countenancing torture, retaliating against critics, and to make recommendations regarding grounds for possible impeachment.”
He concludes with
The Conyers report doesn’t lack for further instances of the administration’s misconduct, all of them noted in the press over the last three years—misuse of government funds, violation of the Geneva Conventions, holding without trial and subjecting to torture individuals arbitrarily designated as “enemy combatants,” etc.—but conspiracy to commit fraud would seem reason enough to warrant the President’s impeachment. Before reading the report, I wouldn’t have expected to find myself thinking that such a course of action was either likely or possible; after reading the report, I don’t know why we would run the risk of not impeaching the man. We have before us in the White House a thief who steals the country’s good name and reputation for his private interest and personal use; a liar who seeks to instill in the American people a state of fear; a televangelist who engages the United States in a never-ending crusade against all the world’s evil, a wastrel who squanders a vast sum of the nation’s wealth on what turns out to be a recruiting drive certain to multiply the host of our enemies. In a word, a criminal—known to be armed and shown to be dangerous. Under the three-strike rule available to the courts in California, judges sentence people to life in jail for having stolen from Wal-Mart a set of golf clubs or a child’s tricycle. Who then calls strikes on President Bush, and how many more does he get before being sent down on waivers to one of the Texas Prison Leagues?
George W Bush is a criminal. That he has not been tried is not extraordinary. The most powerful criminals escape prosecution. Examples abound, both in India and around the world. Those that get caught and punished are the unsuccessful criminals. The really successful ones have their names immortalized as great heroes.
Postscript: I am a big fan of Garrison Keillor. Read why he thinks that Bush should be impeached in the International Herald Tribune.