WASHINGTON (AP) - President Bush said Tuesday that it will be hard for him to argue that Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is still trying to advance democracy if he doesn't lift emergency rule before the elections.

Bush said the embattled Pakistani leader has been a loyal U.S. ally in fighting terrorists, has vowed to step down as head of the military and has promised to hold parliamentary elections. The president, in an interview at Camp David with ABC's "World News," also noted that Musharraf freed thousands of opponents from jails Tuesday in a sign he is rolling back a wave of repression under emergency rule he declared on Nov. 3.

"So far, I've found him to be a man of his word," Bush said.

Just as children tend to learn more from their parents actions than from their words, perhaps the actions of puppets have less to do with the words spoken than the strings pulled. It is hard to criticize a puppet when you are the one pulling the strings. One could even argue that a puppet is merely a more visible extension of the puppeteer.


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