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December 27, 2007

Depressing news

Not that I really think the hivemind here is unaware of the assination of Benazair Bhutto, but since Lindsay is away, I thought it might be something people wanted to discuss.

What I know (as I wake up to the news; 0800 PST)).  A man on a motorscooter pulled up, fired some shots, at least one of which hit Bhutto, and then blew himself up.

She died in the hospital.

As might be expected there is unrest.  People suspect Musharraf.  I can see a number of outcomes, none of which is good, and some of which are very bad.

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I blogged it. I thank you for this spot to discuss it. Shock and anger and the accompanying sense of we knew it was coming but didn't think he had the pair
But they DO.
I can never understand why they don't have someone groomed to take their place. I guess that's an awful way to look at it. But growing up my Grandpa was always talking to ME about what to do ... what might happen, etc...
I guess it's incredibly bad timing to say that all of this 'good feeling' should not be encapsulated with one person .. there should be others who talk and lead in tandem so that ...
Well, in my family we have this habit: We won't get on a plane together.

Thanks George-co for making it absolutely certain that America and the world is a scary place to live.
Some of us just aren't very good victims.
I hope this is not out of line. I'm pretty shocked but ... also ... cynical. Like you knew it was coming.

I've not yet decided about my thinking on Musharraff's possible invololvement.

I think him a canny operator, and this isn't the way to shape (or suspend) the election. The unrest they have right now is doing more damage than a rigged election would, and I can't see him not predicting it.

So... if he was involved, I think (right now) it was very attenuated.

What I don't want to see is:

1: Civil War
2: Crackdown
3: Crackdown with US support.

4: Overthrow of reasonable people; and an extremist gov't, in relation to India. That's a volatile mix; and both sides have nukes.

"I think him a canny operator, and this isn't the way to shape (or suspend) the election. The unrest they have right now is doing more damage than a rigged election would, and I can't see him not predicting it."

Maybe, but dictators in general have a very good record of surviving "popular unrest". Its painful, of course, but the pain is mostly borne by others.

Bhutto herself was never nearly as progressive as many of us hoped, back when she was first elected and we were innocent enough to believe in human progress. Lately however it did seem, after those cynical early overtures to Musharraff, that she'd finally decided never to share power with him. And that may have left her in Musharraff's imagination the most viable alternative to himself, if the United States someday decided to pull a Diem. Now, however more embarassing he becomes in his autocratic, extremist-appeasing ways, our government will remain more married to him than ever.

We'll probably never the know the truth of how complicit the government was. One thing's for sure: Pervez Musharraff's claim to the Pakistani people that he is somehow indispensible to the struggle against terrorist violence has never looked weaker. That doesn't matter, however, if no one else gets to vote.

"Thanks George-co for making it absolutely certain that America and the world is a scary place to live."

The world was a scary place before GWB. Terrorsim was alive and well before 9/11 and Bush and his shitty administration. I am in no way defending The Shrub. But voxy's comment in ridiculous. Pakistan is a fucked up place without the US being involved. But somehow, someway, people will find a way to blame the US as whole. That US I will defend, unlike Bush.

B-Money, I'm NOT blaming the US. Please re-read. But, thanks for the compliment.

I agree that Bhutto was never quite what we hoped and with pecunium's added thoughts as noted ... we wanted the best -- we were realistic enough to know the worst and the rest.

George is NOT an American ... get that much straight. co=co-conspirator world wide. He's ENABLED and enabling.

It's interesting that two 'attempts on Musharraf's life' were carried out in the same locale.
If you all haven't read Tas' post on this matter at">http://sugarmyths.blogspot.com/2007/12/initial-impressions-on-bhutto.html">at Sugar Land is Dreaming ... he follows Pakistan quite closely. I believe he includes the link to which I refer. If not, it is easily located if one researches 'garrison cities'

One thing I noticed is that 'some youths' made cheering and congratulatory noises as she passed and as must normally be the case (observed by all) she rose out of the window. Some said shots, some said explosions. Sounds like a combination of devices. Like when cops want to steal the drugs instead of busting them.
They create a concussion of light and sound and explosive/stunning devices. When it's all over the drugs and money are gone and alot of people go to jail with a different amt of dope than was in the room.
We can't even know for sure what's going on in America so you're right there's not a chance we'll get close to THIS truth.

seems to me that the islamic fundamentalists are the most likely suspects--they cant appreciate a woman becoming the leader of the country. god--more instability in nuclear armed pakistan--the republicans have screwed up our foreign policy so badly.

"Pakistan is a fucked up place without the US being involved. But somehow, someway, people will find a way to blame the US as whole. That US I will defend, unlike Bush."

Things have gotten worse since 2001. Extremism has spread, terrorist attacks are multiplying, and the northwestern part of the country has dissolved into rule by warlords and jihadists. Musharraf has liquidated the independent judiciary, and other parts of the government standing in the way of his perpetual rule. You can argue the extent to which our government has contributed to this nightmare, but you can't argue the fact: the "War on Terror" has been a catastrophe for just about everyone but government contractors, friendly dictators, and terrorists.

For me, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown summed it up -- "She was killed by cowards afraid of democracy." And the fallout will be either bad or horrible.

My guess is that we'll never have a concensus on who it was, Musharraf, Al Qaeda, some other group... unless we get hard proof it was Musharraf, people will always be claiming he was behind it.

Just based on the method, I'm guessing it was probably an Islamic extremist. Musharraf probably wasn't behind the first attack either. Musharraf seems to be much more interested in just arresting his opposition, not summarily executing them with a rain of bullets and a suicide bomber. Unless you're of the opinion that there are no Islamic extremists who carry out suicide attacks on a regular basis, they're the best suspect based on means and opportunity. Musharraf had a motive, but it's just not his style.


What I also expect is for Musharraf to shake down the US for more billions that I'm sure he'll pocket or squander, and do nothing of substance.

A good wider-perspective comment by Barbara Crosette.

Shldn't y b tpng nsty nms, Dck Mls? ftr ll, Ms. Bhtt ws n f s, y knw th C wrd y lv t thrw rnd n thr thrds.

Cn y sy, Crdblty Gn?

I'm not crazy about Musharraf, but something tells me this one wasn't his doing-- it has the fingerprints of rogues (or expelled) nut jobs Inter-Services Intelligence all over it. They're the real brains and strings (as it were) behind the government over there, not the military, and have been playing footsies (or whatever) with the Taliban *and* since forever. If we haven't figured this out yet, I'm even more scared than I was when I heard this news this morning.

Butto was a mess, and I didn't buy her act for a minute, but she offered some hope, and I think she would have enabled some progress to come into the fore. Watching the rest of the world put up or shut up-- as it has whenever crap like this happens, whenever we've had the benefit of past lessons, just disgusts me. She was a marked woman, and nothing NOT ONE DAMN THING was done in the name of "democracy" to protect her. That's worse than hypocrisy.

I'm a conservative and this transcends parties and labels and ideology today...

I agree with herbie in principle. Two things: 1/ This has the hoofprints of the ISI all over it,. 2/ We'll probably never really know who was behind it.


Pakistan is a political basketcase and has been so for years. Rawalpindi is a fortress city and no-one can get in or out without the nod from the milliatry of the ISI and that is disturbing as well.

I have been trying to understand how Pakistan's system of government works. There is a president, a prime minister, and a parliament. The PM is elected by the parliament, which is elected by the people. The president is elected by a larger electoral college (including a senate), and had become a symbolic position before Musharraf's coup. The coup displaced Nawaz Sharif as PM and for a few years there was no prime minister, just Musharraf as "chief executive". Then Musharraf elevated himself to the presidency, gave the position new powers (e.g. over armed forces and national security), and elections were held again - this was in 2002 - producing a new PM.

There were several subsequent changes of prime minister, but the parliament remained as it has a five-year term. 2007 was supposed to be an election year, but elections were delayed by the lawyers' revolt, the Red Mosque siege, and the state of emergency, which ended two weeks ago. Also along the way, Musharraf had his presidency renewed by the electoral college. The parliamentary election is still due to take place around January 8. In a poll last month, Sharif's and Musharraf's parties each had about a quarter of the vote, and Bhutto's a little less than a third. Sharif has said that his party will boycott the election. If that holds up, I suppose one should expect either Benazir's successor or Musharraf's candidate to be the next PM.

(source for most of this, Wikipedia)

For me, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown summed it up -- "She was killed by cowards afraid of democracy." And the fallout will be either bad or horrible.

Indeed. Whether it emerges that the assassin was an ISI plot run amuck (I doubt Musharraf's direct involvement: he may to all intents and purposes be an autocrat, but there are lacunae in his power), or some other political movement or organization trying to score a point by bloodshed, Mr Brown's point holds true.
These will be interesting times, in the Chinese sense, for all of us...
Mitchell - it's likely that either Musharraf's lot will be seen as the Best Port in a Storm, or that elections will be postponed for quite some time, or indeed that there will be a worse falling-out than previously between the Musharraf supporters and the Sharif ones ironically because Musharraf will be suspected of complicity.

From everything I've read, it would hardly seem necessary for Musharraf to actively plan and authorize an assasination; all he and the army had to do was stand out of the way when some other group inevitably made their own attempt. And that in fact sounds very like what Bhutto accused him of doing.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2007/12/27/blitzer-exclusive-bhutto_n_78475.html

I have followed her career for 25 years. I am shocked, saddened, even horrified, and I reserve judgment on who is responsible...

mitchell porter --- it is confusing especially from the past and all that musharraf has done since his ..... errrr 'election?'.
I picked up the newsweek to read the article 'sleeper' pertaining to john edwards and was greeted with an interview of musharraf and bhutto sitting down with lally edwards. Dated Dec 24, 2007. Pretty weird to read her words on her own assassination after her death. It's worth the read but I did not find an online link. Odd also that now we are told that she 'hit her head'; could it be a little more far-fetched?
I know it's not implausible but that's how 'they' like things to look and for people to think 'yeah, that COULD happen'. Not likely.
Then there is the fact that many bush 'allies in tourism' seem to manage to hang in there no matter the legality. AND, it was interesting that bush said (before the smoke even cleared) that he wanted her killers found.
I'm moving on.
She's buried already.
Is that normal in Pakistan?

Will the assassins get the results they want from this act? If not, what’s their plan B? I'm guessing it'll be even less constructive.

I'm also guessing neither Musharraf nor BushCo will be pulling any chestnuts out of this fire.

Whoever was behind the assassination has everything in common with the plotters and schemers they claim to be opposite to who could be. That's the irony, isn't it?

TPM has a very blow-by-blow follow-up on all the investigation and finger pointing.

A country that unstable is the LAST place you would want to have nukes and a budding Al Qeda presence...what have we, the US, been doing to make the bad into the worse?

As big a totalitarian shitbag as I believed Musharraf to be, his latest asshole rhetoric about the assassination is a new low.

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