Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

A tragic and alarming event:

An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.

The NYTimes story is incredibly negative towards Ms. Bhutto and has little analysis of what this means for Pakistan, surely the more important story from the US perspective. A very strange story indeed. WaPo has this:

Bhutto's death is a devastating development, coming 12 days before Pakistanis are set to vote in national parliamentary elections already marked by enormous political turmoil. President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November -- a move which he said was to combat terrorism, but which was widely perceived as an effort to stave off legal challenges to his authority. U.S. military officials said last week that the terrorist group al-Qaeda increasingly is focusing its efforts in Pakistan.

Al Qaida and the Pakistan intelligence services have had a longstanding relationship since the days when Pakistan was the only ally of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government's dealmaking with Al Qaida is also a matter of public record. Who is behind this and why is the question of the moment. As well as what does it mean for Pakistan and the United States. Pakistan's er, spotty, record in fighting Al Qaida and the Taliban, its coddling of known nuclear arms merchant A.Q. Khan and its de facto theft of US funding for fighting Al Qaida for other purposes makes this a critical moment for the US. Unfortunately, we have the worst President in history leading the worst Administration in history at the present time. This is bad.

TPM's Spencer Ackerman interviews Pakistan expert Barnett Rubin on the implications. Josh Marshall interviewed him earlier in November:

< Slugfest to Iowa Caucuses | Bhutto: The NYTimes Obit >
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  • Display: Sort:
    Makes me think (5.00 / 1) (#21)
    by andgarden on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 11:06:00 AM EST
    That all of their nuclear tech is precariously perched.

    Amazing BTD (1.00 / 1) (#4)
    by Slado on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 08:46:30 AM EST
    You had to find a way to squeeze in your dislike for Mr. Bush.

    What are your solutions for this political strife?  A UN resolution, the invasion of Pakistan?  I'm fascinated to hear your response.

    As for Mr. Buhtto this is an obvious tradgedy and she was a very brave women for confronting not only Mr. Musharaf but the fanatics in her country in hopes of political reform.    All to often these days, as in Lebanon, Iraq etc... the moderate or more western political figures are targeted by both the Islamists and the dicatators for tyring to give the people of the middle east true freedom.

    I will agree with you this is bad indeed.

    Squeeze in? (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 08:48:58 AM EST
    It is a central part of the story.

    The real part of the story (1.00 / 0) (#8)
    by Slado on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:38:25 AM EST
    is that like much of the Islamic war Pakistan is torn between two terrible options.  Islamic rule or Dictatorship.  

    Unfortunately the majority of the country (young Muslim men) does not want a democratic government and according to Mark Steyn she was never going to be the answer...  

    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.

    From you and Steyn this is rich (5.00 / 4) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:44:19 AM EST
    [M]uch of the Islamic w[orld] Pakistan is torn between two terrible options.  Islamic rule or Dictatorship.

    But NOT in Iraq according to the Iraq Debacle supporters, like you and Steyn.

    Cognitive dissonance writ large.


    What debacle? (1.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:13:56 AM EST

    Iraq seems to be on the way to being the state keeping "[M]uch of the Islamic w[orld]" from being "All."

    It is AQ that has suffered the debacle.  


    You keep belieiving that if you like (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:21:23 AM EST
    Forget BTD's solutions (5.00 / 2) (#6)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:35:56 AM EST
    BTD isn't running our country- Bush the worst president in our history and his boss, Deadeye Dick are. The US response (and a "non response" will be a response) will be based on their decision making. We have ample experience with their decision making, none of it good.

    BTD's comment strikes me as on target.


    Lost a very brave woman (none / 0) (#1)
    by Saul on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 08:36:13 AM EST
    It really ashame that this has happened.  I liked her very much and felt she might have made a big difference to bring some sense of democracy to Pakistan.  I feel that the current military leader, has something to do with her death.  If not directly then by neglect. She had spunk, and was very brave. Reminds me of King, and the two Kennedy's, men that were killed because the opposition felt they would have made a difference if they lived. God be with her.

    Has Pervez Guiliani... (none / 0) (#2)
    by Dadler on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 08:40:50 AM EST
    ...started yapping about how he'd take care of those terrorist assasins better than any of the other candy-ass candidates?  

    i was immediately depressed (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 08:44:27 AM EST
    when i read this article. no coincidence that it happened shortly before elections in which ms. bhutto's party was expected to make significant gains.

    again, we've made a pact with the devil, trading (poorly) our safety for another country's human rights. don't be surprised if we see mass anti-american demonstrations in pakistan.

    musharraf may be our "buddy", but at the end of the day, he's still a dictator. the only difference between him and saddam is that he has better manners, and dresses nicer, in public.

    See Operation Ajax (5.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Molly Bloom on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:38:07 AM EST
    on why supporting a dictator can result in greater problems down the road.

    molly, all one has to do (none / 0) (#18)
    by cpinva on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:30:34 AM EST
    is review american foreign policy, since 1945. every petty dictator we've supported, around the world, because they were staunch anti-communists, has been violently tossed out. the unanticipated consequences of our supporting those dictators has been the (not unreasonable) assumption, by the offended populations, that our government bore significant responsibility for the acts of those oppressive regimes.

    bottom line: "you gets what you pays for."

    oh yeah, there's also: "those who fail to read history continue repeating it."

    take either, or both.


    Horsey stuff (1.00 / 0) (#22)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 04:15:44 PM EST
    Carter's foreign policy failures of demanding "human rights" started this in motion some 28 years ago.

    He wasn't smart enough to stop and think about human rights under the radicals he left come to power.

    But I am sure he will come along and blame it all on Israel... they exist..they breath...how dare they.


    [B]usharraf. (none / 0) (#10)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:45:21 AM EST
    Musharraf was ultimately responsible for her security.

    He is either incompetent or ultimately guilty.

    Bush with his propping up of Musharraf was ultimately responsible for Pakistan's security.

    He is either incompetent or ultimately guilty.

    Busg Derangement Syndrome (1.00 / 1) (#15)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:18:28 AM EST

    Is there any other explanation other than BDS to assume that every murder committed in every ally of the US is the responsibility of Mr. Bush?

    We do not know who is responsible (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:20:39 AM EST
    the likely suspects to me are Al Qaida working in league with the Pakistan intelligence service.

    Hat tip (none / 0) (#19)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:56:31 AM EST
    to nightprowlkitty:
    ...what Pakistani bloggers were saying.

    From (none / 0) (#20)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 11:05:21 AM EST
    The Insider Brief/Pakistan:
    Individuals in the establishment that I've spoken with believe that the Chaudhries of Gujrat were behind the attack. Speculation will likely continue, but be mindful that many of my contacts believed the Chaudhries would make attempts on Bhutto's life before she arrived in Karachi months ago.
    Pakistan's thieving elites named and shamed:
    The Chaudhries of Gujrat are another product of the Zia regime. The general arranged loans of billions of dollars to them to build them up against the People's Party (PPP). Although Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was regarded as a brilliant politician, it was general Zia who was the Machiavelli of Pakistani politics.

    The fact that a number of bureaucrats -- Salman Farooqi, Ahmed Sadiq et al -- also became billionaires reflects the corruption that pervades every aspect of Pakistani life. Ahmed Sadiq was Benazir Bhutto's principal secretary.

    BS by the numbers (1.00 / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 04:20:32 PM EST
    Well, Bush has supported Musharraf. You have supported the Demos who attacked Bush which weakened the support.

    It appears that you are ultimately guilty.

    What punishment do you suggest??

    How about being forced to visit the real world once a day for 20 years??


    Jim's World (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by glanton on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 06:36:52 PM EST
    Not on board with Bush = Guilty

    Jim's World (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by Edger on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 08:40:04 PM EST
    Less supporting of oppressive dictatorships = bad.

    More supporting of oppressive dictatorships = more hatred of America = more terrorism = justify WOT = good.


    Yes, it seems (none / 0) (#27)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 08:48:55 AM EST
    that every time we stop supporting a friendly government the radicals rush in and take over and Americans die.

    The only country we are allowed to support are those like the USSR....


    You're learning. Slowly. (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 08:56:37 AM EST
    You must be slipping. You're right. Every time we stop supporting a friendly government and help a fascist dictator like Musharraf or Bush grab and hold power Americans die.

    Not to mention (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Nowonmai on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:41:34 PM EST
    There is no longer a USSR. Guess he is still caught in a time vortex.

    He's been spiraling down the drain (none / 0) (#31)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 07:43:31 PM EST
    for a long time.... ;-)

    Fair and balanced Glanton (1.00 / 1) (#26)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 08:44:44 AM EST
    Not on board with Bush = Guilty

    Say, Fair and Balanced ever hear of proof?

    And even more basic, what crime did he commit? I mean outside of the desire to destroy the terrorists who have attacked the US?

    Is that a crime in your world where torture means this??

    No problem (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Repack Rider on Fri Dec 07, 2007 at 11:33:31 PM EST
    Anything you would not want me to do to you is torture.

    Yes, I guess anything that we do to the terrorist is torture.... at least in your world.


    Committed? Lots (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by Nowonmai on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 08:08:46 PM EST
    Committed but not charged with:

    Breaking Constitutional law
    Denial of Habeus Corpus
    Denial of the Right of due process.
    Denial of First Amendment Rights
    Election fraud*
    Illegal wiretaps
    Illegally declaring war
    Obstruction of justice
    Destroying evidence
    Hindering a Federal Investigation
    The outing of CIA operatives
    Misappropriation of funding#
    Failure to uphold his oath to office#
    Gross incompetence (ok, not a 'crime' but his dunce-headedness is criminal)

    He's supposedly in charge, and if you say he had no idea his minions were doing this, and he was clueless, then he is inept and has no right to be called president. (He never did)

    Again, he might not have been charged, but he has done this, and more, all the time saying he is immune to the law, and he can make it up as he goes along.

    *I still (and many others) find it highly suspect that 27 out of the 28 states that he 'won' recently had the Diebold voting machines, known to be hackable, easily tampered with, and would wrongly register votes. Go Google "Hacking of Democracy".

    #Both which led to the writing off of NOLA. Diverted funding for strengthening the levees, cut the budget by millions. Then let the city drown and fester while 'Brownie' screwed it up even more. Yeah, helluva job.

    The list goes on and on, but rubbing your nose in it, and making you admit it or see it won't make me any more right. Nor will it make you open your eyes, take your fingers out of your ears and stop saying LA LA LA LA LA LA whenever someone points out the facts to you.


    I've already suggested that voters terrorize (none / 0) (#29)
    by Edger on Fri Dec 28, 2007 at 10:50:15 AM EST
    the dems by putting the fear of the lawd into them that they'll lose their congressional majority and not win the presidency next year for their enabling of Bush if they don't straighten up and fly "left" and withdraw from Iraq, close Gitmo, repeal the MCA, kill the FISA bill, dump the neocon fantasy of world domination into the toilet where it belongs, and quit supporting murderers of people like Bhutto around the world.

    As far as forcing you and Bush to visit the real world once a day for the next 20 years? It's a nice idea but you'd probably complain about being tortured.

    But you could try just paying attention instead. As torturous as that might be for you, it will get easier for you with practice.


    What in the NYT article (none / 0) (#11)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:46:28 AM EST
     is incredibly (or even slightly)negative toward Bhutto?  Also, why in the breaking news would the circumstances of her assassination and the scene in Pakistan not be stressed?

     Don't  let your animosity distort things.

    Your comment makes no sense (5.00 / 3) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 10:07:51 AM EST
    For instance, where in Gawd's name do I complain about the scene of the assassination being described?

    As for the rest, well, you have your own eyes and read as you wish.


    Very sad indeed..... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 09:46:47 AM EST
    We can only hope her murder will lead to an uprising of Pakistanis who cherish peace and freedom.

    I too couldn't help but think of King and the Kennedys...whenever a leader emerges whose ideas would lead to a reduction in the buying, selling, and using of weapons...they always seem to wind up dead.