The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Imran Khan gets away with it?

You can't do a proper survey without Nexis. But my impression is that Imran Khan is getting let off the hook in the US media.

So far as I can tell, there was no controversy about the Newsweek Isikoff and Barry report (which apparently was published on May 4 [1] - in the May 9 edition) until May 6 when Khan held a press conference to rant about it.

Now, Khan's shtick is moderation [2], and - I surmise - his enemies among the fanatics were hardly going to allow themselves to be outflanked. Hence the street parties.

Of course, one can't be sure that the fanatics wouldn't have found the Newsweek piece without Khan's help. Or that some other wannabe Moslem pol somewhere in the world wouldn't have done what Khan did. Or that there wasn't plenty of material on hand to serve as pretext for rioting.

But my guess is that, had Khan not piped up, the Newsweek nexus would never have been made.

Why, instead of appearing in the US media as (at the very most) a mere unindicted co-conspirator, isn't Khan in the dock besides Newsweek?

He's in no one's story arc: not the Bush administration's (or their friends'), obviously.

And not in Newsweek's or its friends' (acquaintances, then...), either: he's foreign; next to no readers know of, or care about, Pakistani politics; he's an ex-cricketer; they are trying to concentrate in pushing back against the GOP charges, and don't want to confuse themselves; blaming a foreigner is beneath an American's dignity (causality flows from the hyper-power!).

Just like in the old Vietnam days, when the American establishment couldn't be doing with understanding the Vietnamese and their history [3], but preferred the comforting and illusory solidity of the Soviet bloc.

  1. This rather important detail not widely mentioned - again, my impression.

  2. It's highly unsuccessful: his Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf party has exactly one member in the nation's parliament: Khan himself. (Just like George Galloway, in fact...)

  3. I saw Fog of War over the weekend; apparently, when they met in 1995 (?), Giap made the point to McNamara that the Vietnamese, far from being Chinese lackeys, had spent a thousand years fighting them.


What analysis one can do with the Poor Man's Nexis suggests that protests in Pakistan only got going once the rioting in Afghanistan had got well under way: here and here.

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