Thursday, December 27, 2007

Bhutto's Death

Today's assassination in Pakistan was horrifying, but S, C & A supplies oft-forgotten context:
Benazir Bhutto was a ‘pro democracy proponent’? Benazir Bhutto was a ’soldier for democracy’?

On what planet?

Benazir Bhutto was Pakistan’s Arafat. She stole billions of dollars from her nation and was forced to leave office twice because of corruption charges and allegations she had her own brother assassinated. Her husband spent 8 years in prison, convicted of those corruption charges. . .

There are no more than 15 families that wield power and influence in that nation and during her lifetime, Benazir Bhutto did nothing to change that reality or empower her people, despite the most generous of election promises. Her legacy, like that of the Arab league, is one of maintaining the status quo.
S, C & A also quotes Cliff May's take on policy implications, from National Review Online's The Corner:
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 get a foothold.
Agreed. More here and here.


Iowa_John said...

Hopefully the Pakistani Army holds the aftermath together. Otherwise, we're looking at the Gaza Strip only with nukes.

Crisis breeds opportunity in both directions though, so today might be a real good time for the US to strike some previously untouchable areas in Waziristan.

Carl said...

I'm not sure that's wise--Bhutto thought not, to the extent that's relevant. In any event, see my follow-up here.

Iowa_John said...

Wow, I inadvertently sounded like Obama. How embarassing.

To agree with Bhutto, a full-scale attack would be a problem. That said, there may be some marginal advantage to be gained with a targeted/deniable attack while Pakistan is consumed with other events.

Not exactly cricket and my scenario does assume better tracking then is likely to be the case.

Bhutto's statement of "enough effort hasn't been made by Pakistan on its own in those areas" is exactly right. Musharraf has triangulated expertly, but at the cost of losing sovereignity over vast parts of Pakistan.

I wish I saw better outcomes ahead.

Carl said...


I thought that concurance might prompt a rethinking. I assume SFs already are there, and would favor augmenting them--quietly, without press flacks. Save that for when we get OBL on a pike. .

Carl said...
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