The editors of the Washington Post, after three years of steady Bush-boosting, seem to be a little bit perturbed:
The attempt by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to whitewash his country’s marketing of nuclear weapons technology to rogue dictatorships and sponsors of terrorism comes as no surprise. The general and his government have been lying for years about the illegal traffic. Now that their cover has been blown by evidence supplied to the United Nations by Libya and Iran, they are attempting to pin all the blame on a single scientist while stonewalling any international investigation. On Wednesday Abdul Qadeer Khan, the chief designer of Pakistan’s atomic weapons, confessed on television to selling his work through an international black market and claimed he acted alone — contradicting his previous implication of Mr. Musharraf and other top generals. Yesterday Mr. Musharraf duly pardoned him, called him a hero and declared that Pakistan would not supply documentation to the International Atomic Energy Agency or admit its investigators.
Such belligerence could be expected from a military ruler. What’s hard to believe is the Bush administration’s reaction to it. Rather than moving to impose sanctions on Pakistan — action that might be expected for a government that has been caught providing the technology for nuclear weapons to such countries as Iran, Libya and North Korea — it has swallowed his coverup and even congratulated him on it.
Think about this the next time the President’s supporters tell you that it’s his opponents who don’t take the threats of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction seriously.