On Monday, the Guardian noted "Rushdie Knighthood 'Justifies Suicide Attacks,'" quoting a senior member of the Pakistani government, Religious Affairs Minister Mohammed ul-Haq. He made the declaration after the lower house of the Pakistani parliament unanimously passed a resolution -- sponsored by the government of President Pervez Musharraf -- condemning the British award of a knighthood to Salman Rushdie.
Let's say that again: a senior member of the Pakistani government says that suicide bomb attacks are justified because of a meaningless honor granted to a fading writer who is perceived to have insulted a religion.
On balance, then, we'd have to say that the CSM story is right. Pakistan will certainly not fall to religious extremists any time soon -- because it has already fallen to them.
Or look at it this way: if a top official in any other Islamic country announced that suicide attacks against the West are justified, that nation would stand condemned as a terrorist-supporting "rogue state" and become a prime candidate for "regime change." But because Bush likes the cut of Musharraf's authoritarian jib, this open support for murder by the Pakistani regime will be ignored.
This is not to say that Pakistan should be a candidate for what Bush likes to call "the path of action," just because it has religious extremists in the government. Hell, we've got religious extremists crawling through our own government like termites eating up a rotten barn. It's just interesting to note, yet again, this latest display of the cynical and sinister hypocrisy that underlines every single action and every single statement of the perpetrators of the "War on Terror."