Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Creeping coups and other alliterative bogeymen

The Karzai government has arrested the editor of the magazine “Women’s Rights” for advocating women’s rights, such as not to be whipped 100 times for adultery. We don’t really hear so much about how America liberated Afghan women these days, do we?

The Iraqi legislature has voted for applying the death penalty to “those who provoke, plan, finance and all those who enable terrorists to commit” terrorist acts or gives shelter to a terrorist. The terms “provoke” and “enable” are awfully vague, vague enough to be used against any political opponent, and so is the law’s definition of terrorism as any act which “aims to hurt security, stability and national unity and introduce terror, fear or horror among the people and cause chaos.”

In Nicaragua, another country where the US claims the right to call the shots, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick has been visiting in order to show support for President Bolaños against the majority of the legislature, which has been trying to strip him of much of his power. Zoellick may even be right to call this move a “creeping coup,” I haven’t been following Nicaragua all that closely the last few years, but maybe the country that backed the Contras’ terror campaign (and Zoellick was in the State Dept for some of that period) should just shut up. Zoellick hasn’t been shy about calling the anti-Bolaños alliance of the conservatives and the Sandinistas “corrupt,” even though he’s there to use American aid as a stick, threatening to withhold the $175 million if the legislature doesn’t toe the line.

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