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Opinion

U.S. motives for war unclear

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November 8, 2007

The United States’ key ally in the war on terrorism is facing its own domestic crisis. For the past few weeks, Pakistan has been battling civil unrest and disorder. The widespread protests are a result of the Pakistani Supreme Court’s decision to review President Pervez Musharraf’s eligibility following his victory in the 2007 Pakistani elections. President Musharraf called for the state of emergency to prevent the court from deliberating the election results.

Essentially, the Pakistani has put a hold on democracy. The government in Pakistan had instituted a nationwide censorship of media outlets. Several political activists have been placed under house arrest, and the government has instituted a nationwide curfew. It is difficult to figure why the United States, a global beacon for democracy, can remain a close ally of a government which has put democracy on its back burner in order preserve the power of its president. Though democratically elected in this year’s election, President Musharraf took power during a coup d’état.

The situation in Pakistan highlights the problem with the war on terror. The war was begun to preserve global freedom and security. However, many of the United States’ key allies have a questionable viewpoint on freedom. Pakistan, which is already widely considered the world’s most dangerous country, is speculated to harbor a large population of Taliban fighters and members of al-Qaeda. One of the key reasons for the invasion of Iraq was the supposed link between Saddam Hussein’s government and al-Qaeda. The United States puts its reputation on the line when it invades one nation because of its terrorist connections and considers another a key ally.

The situation gets even grayer when nuclear arms come into the equation. Pakistan is one of the few nations which have an arsenal of nuclear weapons. If the situation in Pakistan gets worse and Musharraf is overthrown, there is a stockpile of nuclear weapons for the taking. In a world where terrorist organizations vie for the ability to obtain nuclear weapons, imagine a country with no government, and weapons free for the taking. The situation would make the Cold War and a possible conflict with Iran look like simple international disputes.

In the war on terror, there are no blacks and whites, but simple shades of gray. The United States’ allies come in with similar shades of gray. While the Pakistani government has failed to upkeep the American ideals of democracy, consider the alternative. The United States needs to establish a clear priority list; is the war on terror being fought to preserve global freedom or its own?

-Joe is a fifth year senior from Appleton, WI. He is a political science and international studies major. With any luck Joe will be graduating this coming May. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year’s Student Senate President.

Joe Eggers is a fifth year senior from Appleton, Wis. He is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year's Student Senate president.