Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf resigned today in order to avoid impeachment charges for illegally seizing power and mishandling the economy. AFP reports that Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) “welcomed” the decision in a statement:
The resignation of President Pervez Musharraf is a step toward moving Pakistan onto a more stable political footing. Pakistan is a critical theater in countering the threat of al Qaeda and violent Islamic extremism, and I look forward to the government increasing its future cooperation.
While McCain praises the resignation today, the developments also highlight McCain’s poor judgment on the matter. In Dec. 2007, after Musharraf imposed emergency rule and after Benazir Bhutto was assassinated, McCain resisted calling for Musharraf’s to step down, calling the Bush ally a “key element”:
COOPER: Is there any other option but Musharraf?
MCCAIN: I think that the new chief of staff of the army is a person who’s clearly going to be a player, because the army will play a role in whatever and however any unrest is addressed. But I think Musharraf, as the president of the country, is probably — and he has stepped down from his military position, as you know — is probably also a key element.
Throughout Musharraf’s reign, Pakistan’s woes grew, including an abysmal economy and a growing al Qaeda, to name a few. McCain, however, stood by Pakistan’s dictator:
— Called Musharraf a “personally scrupulously honest” man who deserved “the benefit of the doubt” on uniting Pakistan. [12/29/07]
— “I continue to believe Musharraf has done a pretty good job, done a lot of the things that we wanted him to do … I would like to give Musharraf some credit for taking the measures that we asked him to do.” [12/28/07]
— “Prior to Musharraf, Pakistan was a failed state. … They had corrupt governments and they would rotate back and forth and there was corruption, and Musharraf basically restored order. [12/28/07]
Caroline Wadhams and Brian Katulis have more on Musharraf’s resignation.
Huffington Post observes that McCain was “never eager to see Musharraf fall.”