Saturday, October 14, 2006

Rep. Bob Ney; and the Hudood Laws

Alcoholism Claims Another Victim

So there you have it, Bush. After multiple denials of wrong-doing, your Republican Congressman Bob Ney pleads guilty in court yesterday. "In return for official acts," reports today's New York Times, "he had accepted tens of thousands of dollars' worth of gifts from Mr. (Jack) Abramoff, that included lavish trips, meals and tickets to concerts and sporting events." He's in line for a prison term, it seems, of more than two years.

"I accept responsibility for my actions," neighed Ney, in the now familiar recitation, "and am prepared to face the consequences of what I have done." But first, of course, it's off to the treatment center to take care of the demon alcohol. Ney has already been in treatment for the past month, since making a plea bargain agreement with prosecutors, and now his attorneys are requesting that he be sent to a jail with an alcoholism treatment program. 12 steps behind bars.

At least it's not Twinkies, Bush. But pretty soon we'll have half the US Congress filling those funny farms for wealthy miscreants. There will be no room left for the rest of us, driven to drink by the fear your people have instilled in us or the despair induced by the craven ineptitude of those same representatives!

Pakistan: The Hudood Laws

On another front, I can't let this Saturday pass without at least a mention of the continuing permissiveness of your good ally, Pervez Musharraf, when it comes to the frankly primitive, vengeful tribal practices against women in his country. The Hudood laws require four witnesses in complaints of rape, and allow for adultery charges against the victim should she fail to "prove" her case in the requisite manner. This obviously impossible standard empowers men with medieval seigneurial attitudes toward their women to exact revenge on each other by victimizing each others' wives and daughters.

The case of the unbelievably courageous Mukhtar Mai in 2002--turned into a cause celebre back then with the help of Nicholas Kristof of the NY Times--raised American consciousness about this outrage against human decency. Today, four years later, the story of the similar case of Ghazala Shaheen, 24 years old, reminds us of the horror to which a woman may be subjected with legal impunity in Pakistan.

I do realize, Bush, that you need the alliance with Pakistan and Musharraf in your war on terrorism--though I'm not sure how much good that's doing you anyway. But don't you think some minimal public expression of outrage on your part might be appropriate, when your "friends" behave in this way? And, by the way, those perpetrators don't even have the excuse of alcoholism... They're not allowed to drink.

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