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A government big enough to give you everything you want, is strong enough to take everything you have! - Thomas Jefferson

Friday, December 28, 2007

Richardson Says Pakistan's Future Depends on Renewed Commitment to Democracy

Discusses Pakistani crisis and other global threats, calls for new direction in American foreign policy

DES MOINES, IA-- Following the assassination of Pakistani Peoples Party leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto yesterday, New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential candidate Bill Richardson called for the United States to cut off all military aid to Pakistan not directly related to fighting terrorism until Pervez Musharraf resigns in a major policy speech today in Des Moines, Iowa.

"President Bush should immediately suspend non-terrorism related military aid to Pakistan until President Musharraf resigns," Richardson said. "Today, as a nation, I am calling on the Bush administration to stand firm for our ideals in the face of terrorism and in respect for the ideals that Benazir Bhutto stood for. Anything less would send a dangerous signal to the world that terrorism alters our resolve.

"When Musharraf declared martial law, we could have stood up. But we did not. When he suspended the Constitution, we could have stood up. But we did not. Now after yesterday's terrible murder, the United States must stand up."

To read Governor Richardson's speech, click here.

Richardson honored the memory of Bhutto and called for a return to principle in American foreign policy.

"Benazir Bhutto could have chosen to live a life of comfort in exile," Richardson said. "Instead, she risked her life for the things that she believed in. The principles of democracy. The dignity of human beings. These were her ideals. These are our ideals.

"We have subsidized oppression for too long and the costs have not only been paid in dollars. We have paid with our security. We have paid with the safety of American lives. Our principles are the backbone of our security. They give us direction. They bring us allies. They make us strong."

Richardson contrasted his extensive foreign policy experience with that of his opponents in the race.

"I have represented America around the world: in refugee camps, in prisons run by dictators, and in the midst of civil wars," Richardson said. "And I have learned that people often are sustained and moved by little more than an unshakeable belief in the principles of democracy and the dignity of human beings.

"Some of my Democratic opponents have misplaced faith in Musharraf. Like the Bush administration, they cling to a misguided notion that Musharraf can be trusted as an ally to fight terrorism or to change his despotic ways. Despite their faith, Musharraf has thumbed his nose at America again and again. How many times does the Washington conventional wisdom need to be proven tragically wrong before Washington insiders give up on it?

"Musharraf must step aside now and allow a multiparty caretaker coalition to lead the country until free and fair elections are held."

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