Monday, December 06, 2004

Looks like someone talked out of turn

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who the Bush administration touts as an ally in the war on terrorism, broke from the party line Sunday. Asked if the U.S. invasion of Iraq was a mistake, Musharraf told CNN host Wolf Blitzer, "With hindsight, yes. We have landed ourselves in more trouble, yes." Musharraf also noted that though Iraqis hated former dictator Saddam Hussein, "[p]eople at the lower level don't like the visibility of foreign troops who are in their country." The Pakistani president also predicted that if the United States withdraws from Iraq before the country is stabilized, the security situation in the Middle East will only get worse.

In essence, Musharraf's points are that 1) everyday Iraqis are glad Saddam is gone, 2) they wish we were, too, and 3) they're all in trouble if we leave before they get their country under control. It seems like a pretty accurate assessment of the situation there, but Bush and his aides have a habit of acting aggressively to discount suggestions that their policies are anything short of immaculate. Since international politics are at stake, Musharraf had his people call our people and say he didn't really mean what he said. See, he wasn't categorical in labeling the war a mistake. Besides, he meant to say the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the real problem.

Don't worry, Gen. Musharraf. We know what you meant to say.

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