When American politicians do something awkward they have to answer to YouTube, but Pakistan's new president, Asif Ali Zardari, has to answer to religious leaders and feminists. A religious leader issued a fatwa, a nonbinding opinion on Islamic law, condemning Zardari for flirting with Sarah Palin at the UN. The radical prayer leader said Zardari disgraced the whole nation with "indecent gestures, filthy remarks, and repeated praise of a non-Muslim lady wearing a short skirt." He also added: "we are fighting the American war in our country and thousands of our people have been killed just to please Uncle Sam." And as for Pakistan's feminists, some say by calling Palin "gorgeous" Zardari looked at her merely as a woman and not a politician.
But that's not where the embarrassment ends. In an interview with Fox News, President Zardari repeated the debunked Internet hoax that Colonel Oliver North installed a home security system in the 1980s because he was scared of Osama bin Laden. To find out how Zardari has done damage control,
North's actual testimony during the Iran-Contra hearings states that the security system was installed because threats were made on his life by terrorist Abu Nidal. Zaradari's spokeswoman explained the mix up to the New York Times saying: "The point President Zardari sought to make was more about how the US ignored the threat posed by al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden and less about the Oliver North comment or hoax." Let's hope a few awkward situations don't cause Pakistan to become more unstable.