Vultures (presidential and otherwise) descend on Pakistan's chaos


By Martin Bosworth

By now you know that Benazir Bhutto is dead and Pakistan is in turmoil. I can’t say anything that Euphrosyne didn’t already say beautifully, so I won’t belabor what is already known. I also recommend Stirling Newberry’s comments on what this means for America and our declining empire.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to make himself look good using others’ deaths as the backdrop, Rudy Giuliani was quick to post a statement that the Terrorists ™ must be stopped from continuing their War On Us (caps are his, not mine). And he wasn’t the last.

CNN has a complete list of Presidential candidates’ reactions to Bhutto’s assassination, and I’m given to understand that the chattering class is already whipping itself into orgasmic fervor speculating on which of them this will benefit the most. I agree with A.J. Rossmiller that claiming this will somehow benefit Hillary and Giuliani because they’re the most hawkish is ludicrous. Anyone can claim that unilateral military force and “getting tough” is the answer to all our problems–Bush, who had no foreign policy experience himself has been doing that for nearly eight years, with disastrous results. Being a mayor of a city or the wife of a President doesn’t automatically grant you experience in handling the precarious path of foreign politics, and being a hawk doesn’t make you credible or the “default” to be taken seriously. These days, I’d argue it’s quite the opposite.

In fact, what I find interesting is how deeply this is affecting people the world over. Even the most apolitical people I know are expressing their shock and outrage at how Bhutto could have been so brazenly and brutally assassinated, and how her death paves the way for Musharraf to either cancel elections or use her martyrdom to sweep himself back to victory. These aren’t pundits or scholars saying this, mind you, but ordinary people, many of whom normally never express any opinions about foreign policy. Credibility is a dime a dozen, but plain common sense is all too uncommon these days, so I’m glad to see so many Americans registering their horror at the murder–and murder it was–of Bhutto.

That’s how deeply this has shaken us. As Pakistan descends into violence and fury, and our supposedly stalwart ally in the War on Terra shudders and shakes with its unrest, we are realizing just how badly we’ve bungled our affairs on the international stage, and how we’ve sundered coalitions with our allies and friends and made enemies where there were none. To coin a phrase, this ain’t rocket science, people. You don’t need a lifetime in the Foreign Service to see how badly we’ve fucked up, and how badly we need smart people with new ideas and better grasp of diplomacy to help salvage this insanity.

And we definitely don’t need clusters of parasites breathlessly whispering that this could help So-And-So’s candidacy or “electability.”

12 replies »

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  2. Most helpful post in providing overview, Martin. Thanks, also, for directing us to Newberry. He writes:

    Strangely Bhutto’s death has a silver lining: she is a better martyr for Democracy than she was in life an advocate of Democracy.

  3. I guess this brings me to my existential question of the day:

    Would the US be better off without any politicians?

  4. Pakistan is in turmoil because Pakistan and Pakistan’s ISI is dirty just like U.S. intelligence is dirty. And people are demanding reform. These dirty BCCI type crooks and cons have been stealing and killing people for decades now. This stuff is beginning to seep to the surface and the world is getting edgy knowing they’ve been conned for so long by these intelligence creeps.

  5. I don’t claim to be an expert on Pakistan, but I’ve been watching developments since Bhutto returned to the country. And I have to say that the assassination didn’t surprise me in the least. It doesn’t make me happy, of course, but didn’t you pretty much sense that this was coming?

  6. What type of assassination is NOT “brazen and brutal”??
    The violence does not seem to be any worse than usual. She was not universally beloved by the people nor a saint.

  7. Well, said by Newberry. She was a corupt leader that provided no value to Pakistan as a living politician, so maybe she can bring some good through her death.

  8. What is new is that Pakistan is increasingly becoming destabilized and there are elements within its society that have operational nuclear weapons, which may or may not be entirely within their “control”. You’d have to be a fool to think that there is “nothing new” or the current situation is just something that we can now ignore at our peril.

    Granted, I would tend to agree that US involvement in Pakistani politics has not been helpful and the propping up of Mushareef simply to make profits selling him weapons has not always been in the longterm interest of the US people; just another example of how the Bush administration has made bad situations much worse for the personal profit of their political benefactors and at everyone else’s expense. There certainly have to be more effective methods of fighting the Taliban and militant muslim extremism than we have been pursing to date, or is the entire US goverment just brain dead?

  9. I’m I the only one who cynically drank ovaltine today to think that the Bushthugs’ CIA is behind this? I mean, Iran is still right next door. What an opportunity to enron the NIE in order to test out the latest bunkerbusters of all those military contractors in control of the national budget.

  10. This from Wayne Madsen today:

    On August 15, 2007, WMR reported that the late Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had links to the anti-Musharraf tribal movements and Islamists in Pakistan’s rugged mountainous regions. The corporate media is attempting to spin the story that Bhutto was killed by Islamist militants.

    The following is what WMR reported on August 15, 2007:

    WMR has learned that the CIA is also working with pro-Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in Pakistan. Currently, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Richard Boucher is visiting Pakistan to repair frayed relations with Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf, however, U.S. intelligence is also working with tribal opponents of Musharraf to help destabilize his regime. . . .

    However, Bhutto’s own political party is affiliated with the very same Islamic militants in the tribal areas from whom she claims she wants to save her country.

    The Bush administration’s long-term plan is to use the tribal militants to destabilize Musharraf to the point that a Indian-American-Australian team, that could also possibly include covert Israeli commandos, can enter Pakistan’s deep underground laboratories to extract certain key nuclear technologies. The agreement of the Bush administration to provide India with billions in “peaceful” nuclear technology was used to lure India into the covert program to de-nuclearize Pakistan.

    Bottom line: Bhutto was the bait to help bring about the nuclear weapons extraction from Pakistan. In his book, “Surrender is Not an Option,” former unconfirmed US ambassador to the UN John Bolton wrote, “the principal American strategic interest” is the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

  11. And now the newest vulture: Al Qaida is supposedly behind the assassination. It may be true. It may not be. The information has come out so quickly that it reminds me of old, cold war boogyman propaganda.

    It appears obvious from dialogue on this site that Bhutto was, at best, a complicated person. Yet the gubment propaganda machine seems intent on canonizing her and once again pointing the finger at Al Qaida. Maybe Homeland Security is just upset that no one pays attention to their threat level color charts anymore.

    I’m not saying that Al Qaida wasn’t behind the attack. They certainly had a motive. It seems pretty clear that Bhutto was ushered back into Pakistan by the U.S. to alter the political landscape there. But it also seems that everyone from Musharef to family members of those slain by Bhutto also had credible motives.