Pakistan and the Taliban
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The bloody showdown at the Red Mosque in Islamabad is evidence that Islamic extremists are increasing their power in Pakistan. The Bush Administration continues to support President Pervez Musharraf, but is he a credible ally in the war on terror? Also, Homeland Security Chief Chertoff's "gut feeling" about an imminent terror attack and, on Reporter's Notebook, the former Surgeon General of the United States accuses the Bush Administration of political interference.
Photo: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images
Chertoff's 'Gut Feeling' about a Possible Terrorist Attack ()
Michael Chertoff has created a furor by telling the Chicago Tribune editorial board he has a "gut feeling" that the US could face a terror attack this summer. However, the Secretary of Homeland Security refused to be more specific, and has not increased the color-coded alert level or told possible first-responders to be prepared. Bruce Hoffman, who studied terrorism at Rand, is Professor of the Security Studies program at Georgetown University.
The Storming of the Red Mosque, Pakistani Democracy and General Musharraf ()
The bloody siege against the Red Mosque is over, but it took an elite combat force 36 hours to overcome extremists dug into the compound, which lies in the heart of the capital city of Islamabad, and there are ominous signs of the spread of Islamic extremism in Pakistan. The official death toll is more than 80 and includes pro-Taliban cleric Abdul Rashid Ghazi, who welcomed "martyrdom" in a TV interview before he was killed. Critics of President Pervez Musharraf are saying he could have avoided the bloody confrontation by taking firm action six months ago. Musharraf has promised to crack down on schools that preach violence, but allowed an armed camp in the heart of the capital. Is the government too weak to enforce its will or does Musharraf need support from religious parties to stay in office? Is he a real American ally in the war on terror, or will continued association damage US prestige and credibility?
Former Surgeon General Says Administration Censored Him ()
President Bush's choice as the next Surgeon General will face a Senate committee tomorrow. Meantime, his predecessor has told a House panel that Administration officials tried to weaken or suppress public health reports because of political considerations. Dr. Richard Carmona, who won two purple hearts in Vietnam and led the SWAT team in Pima County, Arizona before serving as US Surgeon General from 2002 to 2006. Carmona, who was not reappointed, told Congress yesterday that he faced more political interference that the six doctors who preceded him. Mary Agnes Carey is Associate Editor for the HealthBeat at Congressional Quarterly.
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