THE PAKISTAN FOLLIES….Our story so far: a few weeks ago Abdul Qadeer Khan, Pakistan’s chief nuclear scientist, was finally fingered for having sold bomb making technology to pretty much anyone willing to pay for it. Iran, Libya, North Korea, whoever. Within a few days the Pakistani government began an investigation.

This turned out to be the fastest investigation in the history of investigations, and last night, Perry Mason-like, Khan apologized and confessed on television to his misdeeds. This morning he presented President Pervez Musharraf with a clemency petition and within hours Musharraf had pardoned him. Here is the official American reaction to this Kabuki dance:

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said: “We think that the process of investigation that’s been undertaken by the Pakistani government does indeed demonstrate that President Musharraf and the government of Pakistan take seriously their commitments, their assurances that they were not going to allow their technology to be used to help other nations that might be trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. . . . The way this has been proceeding is evidence that Pakistan, too, is determined to meet those commitments.”

Note to everyone involved: the secret of successful stage management is to make it look like things haven’t been stage managed. Pathetic.

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