Humiliation cannot be punishment for the world’s worst crimes
Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been punished by being nationally humiliated, US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday.
Rice was asked on CNN to clarify President George W Bush’s statement during his debate late Thursday with Senator John Kerry that “the AQ Khan network has been brought to justice.”[HT]
Rice said Bush did not misspeak when he said that the network of Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan — the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program who was caught selling secrets on the global black market — had been “brought to justice.”
Khan is living in a villa and was pardoned this year by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. None of Khan’s co-conspirators have been brought to trial.
Asked how that could be interpreted to mean Khan has been brought to justice, Rice said, “He has been brought to justice because he’s out of business.”[CNN]
It is election time, but for America’s national security advisor to make such arguments to justify campaignspeak is plainly absurd. If indeed, as Rice claims, A Q Khan has been brought to justice, then there surely is no reason for IAEA or anyone else to investigate the affair further. But no one really knows the extent of Iran’s or North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and only A Q Khan and his Pakistani handlers can help piece the nuclear proliferation jigsaw together.
Rice’s statements tone suggests a sort of finality to the A Q Khan episode – the world cannot afford to close that casefile that early. Time and again, America has mixed its nuclear non-proliferation policy condradictorily with both cold war dogma and short-term exigencies.
Before the debate, it appeared unfortunate that the Centrifugist was forgotten; after the debate, it is disturbing that he has been forgiven too.