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Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Bhutto Assination - Very Bad News Indeed

I woke up here on the West Coast to the horrifying if predictable news that Benazir Bhutto had been assinated. The talking heads are babbling their usual vapid platitudes. Turning to The Corner I found this from Mark Steyn, and it is about as good a first impression as I have seen or heard:

Benazir Bhutto [Mark Steyn]

Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today's events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I'm asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while - which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be - though in practice, as Pakistan's Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world's most corrupt political classes.

Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. "Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything," I wrote last month. "It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate." The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That's what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get 'em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir's, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that "the whole of the western world" was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime'll get you a cup of coffee.

As I said, she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be. We should be modest enough to acknowledge when reality conflicts with our illusions. Rest in peace, Benazir.

Update from Cliff May also at The Corner:

Pakistan Lessons [Cliff May]

Bhutto's murder points to a lesson we (the Foreign Policy Establishment in particular) has been slow to learn:

This is not some extraordinary event. This is not the work of some lone madman. This is how militant Islamists contest elections – not just in Pakistan but also in Lebanon and Gaza and wherever they they get a foothold.

Why bother with opeds, TV commercials, high-priced campaign strategists, spin doctors and pollsters when with one suicide bomber you can eliminate your opponent entirely?

Hard to argue with the logic.

It amazes me that there are still people in this country that think we can reason with the terrorists or find some way to deal with them other than killing them.

Your Co-Conspirator,

Comments (3)
Anonymous said...

"It amazes me that there are still people in this country that think we can reason with the terrorists or find some way to deal with them other than killing them."

So you're content with the official version of the story: That al Qaeda is behind Bhutto's murder. I need more evidence. I mean, by the merest coincidence, the assassination removes the only credible rival to Musharraf just before the scheduled election. This is how electoral politics works in that part of the world. Aren't you even a little suspicious?

St Wendeler said...

SC - I too think it's not clear that Pervez wasn't (indirectly) behind the assassination. However, the only thing that would indicate that it was an Al Qaeda attack is the tactics employed. It's unlikely that a professional soldier (or spook in the ISI) would use a suicide bomb as the method for an assassination. However, there are significant links between former ISI / government leaders and the Taliban and it is likely that they were involved to some degree.

In all likelihood, someone in the Pervez government allowed the terrorist to get near Bhutto, knowing what the end result would be. I doubt that anyone associated with the government was actively involved in the attack.

Regardless of who is behind the assassination, it's important that we make sure that Pakistan does not devolve into a completely dysfunctional state.

It's of grave concern to us and our allies. India has to be extremely concerned about what might be developing to their northwest.

Monterey John said...

What is about Lefties? "So you are content..." Is everyone stupid but you guys? Until you get over that attitude, we are going to get nowhere.

I was watching some show on one of the news channels that had Jonah Goldberg and some gal from the Clinton campaign discussing Pakistan. What a difference. Jonah was trying to have a reasoned disussion and the Clintonista was a pedantic harpie reciting a litany of talking points.

Sadly, so far the latter approach seems to be working which probably is the reason I write less these days.