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December 27, 2007

BENAZIR BHUTTO REPORTEDLY KILLED....Stunning news out of Pakistan this morning:

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Widespread unrest in Pakistan is practically inevitable, and Bhutto supporters outside the hospital where she was treated began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," in reference to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf, of course, had promised free parliamentary elections next month, coinciding with the end of his "emergency rule," though, given Bhutto's reported assassination, the country may be poised to endure additional turmoil.

Update: Spencer Ackerman spoke with NYU's Barnett Rubin, a South Asia expert.

Bhutto's assassination presents an opportunity for Musharraf. "It's very possible Musharraf will declare [another] state of emergency and postpone the elections," Rubin continues. "That will confirm in many people's minds the idea that the military is behind" the assassination. For it's part, the U.S. will likely "be scrambling to say the election either needs to be held as planned or postponed rather than canceled, but Musharraf is in a position to preempt that."

As a result, Rubin says, U.S. strategy is "in tatters."

Ackerman adds, "The most likely culprit is the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda. But it's not exactly an event met with tears by the Pakistani military, which thoroughly controls the government and the economy."

Steve Benen 8:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (92)

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Comments

Karl Rove is on the phone now, devising the best way to put this to Bush's advantage. We must fight the assassins there so they won't assassinate here.........

Posted by: steve duncan on December 27, 2007 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

This could have world-wide repurcussions. This could result in civil war.

Posted by: Chaya on December 27, 2007 at 9:01 AM | PERMALINK

Another incident in the "no-one could have foreseen" chain of events in this modern world.

Is anyone really surprised by this turn of events?

Posted by: Neal on December 27, 2007 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

I dont know if I would characterize this as "stunning". Seems to me that it was as predictable as sunrise.

Posted by: calipygian on December 27, 2007 at 9:11 AM | PERMALINK

Sadly, "stunning" probably isn't the proper adjective.

Posted by: jacob on December 27, 2007 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

I feel really sad about the loss of such a capable woman.

Posted by: EL on December 27, 2007 at 9:24 AM | PERMALINK

She embodied the essence of womanhood and their are many things about her that we could learn from .For one I admired her for her courage and determination.

Rest in Peace , love !!!

Posted by: Ashlene on December 27, 2007 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

It is no doubt a ruthless attack. And the world has lost one more powerful woman.

Posted by: bunny on December 27, 2007 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

I agree, it's hardly "stunning" news, certainly tragic though. She was a incredible leader with a great deal of potential. I'm afraid this is another step in a bad direction...

Posted by: Chriss on December 27, 2007 at 9:36 AM | PERMALINK

Rest in peace, Benazir. Rest in peace.

Posted by: jcricket on December 27, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

And as we enter week 16 of the NFL season, this country may be poised to endure additional football.

Maybe, eh.

Posted by: phil on December 27, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

When I got in my car this morning, they were just breaking the news of the bombing, and said that Bhutto had been taken to the hospital in serious condition. I was hoping against hope that she would be okay, but I think I knew that wasn't going to be the case.

I don't think I'll be able to stand hearing Mr. "Democracy is on the march" tell us he's saddened and disappointed, but we must continue supporting Musharref, an important ally in the war on terror.

The bastards.

Posted by: pdq on December 27, 2007 at 9:47 AM | PERMALINK


It is not enough just to feel sad about the loss of such a woman.What happened today is the worst part of humanity history.For those who do not want teh justice and love for their people , there will be an end for your series because only love can survive.

Posted by: Dr. Fardous on December 27, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

She was a profile in courage. Rest in peace. Your people did not deserve you.

Posted by: Jammer on December 27, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

It is not enough just to feel sad about the loss of such a woman.What happened today is the worst part of humanity history.For those who do not want the justice and love for their people , there will be an end for your series because only love can survive.

Posted by: Dr. Fardous on December 27, 2007 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

So Jammer--who do the Pakistani people deserve?

Posted by: Neal on December 27, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

Well, I don't want to lend any support to a comment like that of safar ahmed here. But I don't think the image of Bhutto as a pristine figure of political reform will quite wash either. From what I read, the period of her return to power in 1993 was particularly problematic, and the corruption charges are not that easy to dismiss as political chicanery by her enemies. This piece by John Burns of the NYT, though dating from 1998, paints a much more complex picture.

Posted by: DrBB on December 27, 2007 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

I see ahmed's comment was deleted. Good.

Posted by: DrBB on December 27, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

...and what's this crap about the "most likely culprit being the taliban and Al Qaeda?" That makes about as much sense as the blather about Iranians supporting Sunnis against the Shiite government in Iraq.

Odd that there were also snipers picking off supporters of the other opposition leader, Sharif, at his rally the same day.

Just a coincidence, I guess. Poor Musharref- facts seem to be biased against him too.

Posted by: pdq on December 27, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

This really sucks.

As with all political killings, one must ask, "Who benefits?" Frequently that will lead you to the guilty party.

Posted by: Speed on December 27, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

**As a result, Rubin says, U.S. strategy is "in tatters."**


the streak continues.....

Posted by: mr. irony on December 27, 2007 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

It's Bill Clinton's fault!

Posted by: JML on December 27, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

This is indeed horrible news. The attack occurred in Rhawalpindi, which is the nerve center and heart of the Pakistani military. May God have mercy on us if our "ally", Gen. Pervez Musharraf, is either behind or in any way implicated in the commission of the foul deed.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 27, 2007 at 10:21 AM | PERMALINK

Time to send in the troops for a regime change. Enough of Musharraf's bullshit.

Posted by: gregor on December 27, 2007 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I went to college with some girl who grew up next door to Benazir Bhutto and whose sister was Bhutto's best friend for many years (best friends forever?).

The girl I knew was very nice and very attractive. She came to quite dislike me. I'm sure there are many excellent reasons for people to dislike me, but I think part of her dislike was based on my apparent jealousy in the face of her unearned privileges, her vast family acres and numerous sheep.

Anyway, as soon as she finished college she used her connections to get a junior-top-executive-in-training position at one of the top banks in New York. It's the kind of job that pays people big bucks just for being the right kind of person.

She married a very handsome red-haired American man, quite her equal in likeability, and continued her privileged life, no doubt thanking her lucky stars at not have to bear witness to the privations of the poor in Pakistan, while being full of poetic sympathy for them at a thankful distance, for she was a well-brought-up kind of girl.

Posted by: Anon on December 27, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

How could this suicide attack on a Musharraf opponent be as predictable as sunrise?

Was she as hated by the religious fanatics as was Musharraf?

The government would hardly have religious fanatics willing to commit suicide for Musharraf!

Posted by: Don Quixote on December 27, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

...and what's this crap about the "most likely culprit being the taliban and Al Qaeda?"

This isn't crap at all. While it certainly could be the military or ISI behind the assassination, I wouldn't underestimate how much the Islamists would hate a woman who aspires to be prime minister and doesn't wear the burqa. These guys are nuts.

Posted by: Pug on December 27, 2007 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think anyone could have imagined guns and suicide belts being used against a viable opposition candidate in Pakistan. The very idea that the Taliban-allied Pakistani military intelligence could possibly share intelligence, money, and logistical support with Taliban-allied terrorist elements is abhorrent.

These events play directly into the hands of Saddam Hussein. It's incumbent that America stays resolute in it's struggle against extremism and increases it's efforts overseas. The truth of the matter is, we're an open society, and we want to remain an open society. If we are to fight this war through dictators, marshall law, torture, and dead civilians, we have to meet the threats when they are not yet taking place on our territory and on our soil.

This assassination is an opportunity - and an obligation- to maintain support for the Pakistani government, its military machine, its secret police, and freedom loving dictators everywhere. If we don't provide Pakistan with billions more in military aid, this smoldering campaign rally could easily become a mushroom cloud.

Posted by: Condoleezza on December 27, 2007 at 10:43 AM | PERMALINK

Don Quixote,

Predictable as sunrise? Well I think this was the fourth attempt in two months, her father and brothers were also assassinated, and there have been many reports of absent or tardy government security at her public events.

Posted by: B on December 27, 2007 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Musharraf is nobody's choir boy. However he is a known quantity and the U.S. isn't amenable to a drastic change in Pakistan. Maybe we're behind it. Autocratic leader, courts in his pocket, dismissive of honest elections, on the take and beholden to the military. Bush's kind of guy and someone to keep in power.

Posted by: steve duncan on December 27, 2007 at 10:49 AM | PERMALINK

Neal, point taken. Please forgive the temporary hyperbole. On the other hand this is a dark day for Pakistan. She offered a third way different from the terror and oppression of either the Islamic radicals or the Government. Neither side wanted her to succeed and either side had motivation to get rid of her. Her willingness to step into this situation was emblematic of a deep courage that I admired.

Posted by: Jammer on December 27, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

And as we enter week 16 of the NFL season...

We are entering week 17.

Posted by: elmo on December 27, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

Ok I know I'm only 18 and probably don't know what's going but I actually think that Musharraf could of been possibly behind this.If the election were to happen,I"m sure Bhutto would of won.So to prevent her from possibly winning,he will have her assassinated,which is what happened today.Like I said I'm only 18 and probably dont know much about the world affairs that is going on over there.

Posted by: Drew Jones on December 27, 2007 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

This is horrifying news.

But, I'm disgusted at Spencer Ackerman's effort to somehow blame Musharraf and the Pakistani military for a crime commited by al Qaeda. Get a clue. In Pakistan, the biggest enemies of al Qaeda are Musharraf and the military.

This horrendous assassination again shows how wise our President was to recognize that the battle against al Qaeda must be a war. Al Qaeda is making war on the civilized world. They are not just a gang of criminals.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 27, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

Ex-liberal,

Do you not think it's at least conceivable that a non-al Qaeda actor committed this crime? Since when does al Qaeda shoot someone and then blow themselves up? That's the first I have heard of that type of event. Obviously it could be a terrorist event, but it's also possible that the Pakistani gov't was involved too.

Posted by: Mike Lamb on December 27, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, shut the hell up, ex-liberal. Leave it to you to decide to turn this event into an opportunity to fellate the president.

Posted by: Tyro on December 27, 2007 at 11:11 AM | PERMALINK
In Pakistan, the biggest enemies of al Qaeda are Musharraf and the military.

LOL. It is to funny forever.

Especially with ISI all tangled up with Islamic extremism. Jackass.

Posted by: kenga on December 27, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

Please don't feed the trolls. "Ex-liberal" (I doubt that) is craving the attention and has nothing of value to offer. It's all about: Look at Me! Look at Me!.

BTW, something can be stunning and not surprising at the same time.

Posted by: MaxGowan on December 27, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

This is tragic, destabilizing, and a moment of personal sadness for my sister now living in Chicago. As I understand it, she met Benazir when the future PM was also a student at Radcliffe College (at least in the sense of many other students she just "ran into", no particular friend - but still, there's that certain difference if you ever met someone you hear about later.) I hope the people of Pakistan (and everywhere else) will realize just how horrible the Taliban/Al-Qaeda scum really are. Those vermin need to be wiped off the face of the earth, and please don't prate against vindictiveness or whatever. If anyone deserves total war against them, it's that bunch.

Posted by: Neil B. on December 27, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Pug: "This isn't crap at all [about the "most likely culprit being the Taliban and Al Qaeda"]. These guys are nuts."

Well, so's the guy currently in residence at Foggy Bottom. His warped perspective on the world doesn't ncessarily preclude keeping the Pakistani military in power at any cost.

You first need to ask yourself how the Taliban and / or al Qa'eda would in any way derive an immediate or long-term benefit from the assassination of Ms. Bhutto, before laying any or all blame at their feet.

That being said, there was (is?) most certainly a substantial element within the Pakistani military that was sympathetic and / or supportive of the Taliban prior to 9 / 11, and for that reason alone I can't be completely dismissive of your suggestion of al Qa'eda involvement. Things don't have to make sense or be logical, to still be quite real.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on December 27, 2007 at 11:17 AM | PERMALINK

Donald: OK, let's reserve judgment about "who" until we know more. Sure, things aren't always as they seem.

Posted by: Neil B. on December 27, 2007 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

As a result, Rubin says, U.S. strategy is "in tatters."

When Fratboy invaded Iraq instead of going after bin Laden, U.S. strategy was in its death throes.

Posted by: Luther on December 27, 2007 at 11:21 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Lamb, Ackerman wrote: The most likely culprit is the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda. But it's not exactly an event met with tears by the Pakistani military

I think it's inconsistent for him to declare al Qaeda to be guilty, yet blame the military. Musharraf can be blamed for many things. He undid a Supreme Court decision preventing him from running. He maintained a state of emergency that made it hard to campaign against him. But, he had no reason to desire this assassination. He was going to win the election.

Sadly, it has been common for al Qaeda to use assassination in order to promote chaos. One can only hope that this time they will fail, and that order will be somehow maintained.

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 27, 2007 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

What the fuck are you talking about you duplicitous semi-literate cretin?

Posted by: kenga on December 27, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Good scoop about likely culprits:

Link

Posted by: Neil B. on December 27, 2007 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

Al Qaeda has now claimed responsibility:

A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.,/i>

http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.1710322437

Posted by: ex-liberal on December 27, 2007 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

What a sad sad day. There is too much violence in the world.

Posted by: Roy Sencio on December 27, 2007 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

that order will be somehow maintained.

Do you mean like when Musharraf arrested all the lawyers and opposition leaders after he imposed martial law? Funny, there weren't may Taliban or Al Qaeda arrested at the same time.

Posted by: tomeck on December 27, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Ackerman didn't blame Musharaf or the military. He merely pointed out that the news would not elicit tears from the current administration...

Posted by: Mike Lamb on December 27, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal, you know, the funny thing is, if Bhutto had lived and gone on to win a democratic election, you would have written, "this just shows the wisdom of the Bush administration's democracy-promotion strategy!"

As it is, when the result is chaos, you can say, "this just shows the wisdom of the Bush administration's strategy to realize that terrorism causes chaos!"

Posted by: Tyro on December 27, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

"The most likely culprit is the Pakistani Taliban and al-Qaeda.

hAckerman is an idiot. The most likely culprit is, of course, Mush.

Posted by: Disputo on December 27, 2007 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

I should add, with the blessings of the Cheney faction of the GWB admin.

Posted by: Disputo on December 27, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

We know the Taliban had threatened to kill her if she returned. Earlier attempts left many dead. This was just a continuation of that strategy. Are there members of the ISI which are sympathetic (or more) to the Talibam? For sure! The ISI has never appeared to me to be fully under control of the government, their involvement cannot be ruled out. As I see it, Benazir, was Musharif's ticket out, if he wanted to climb down from his position as dictator, now it will be much harder for him to quit (assuming he has ever entertained that thought).

Posted by: bigTom on December 27, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Bhutto's return to Pakistan was brokered by the US and the British as an attempt at nonmilitary regime change. Whatever else is taken from this event, it's another example of blowback against the US War on Terror and its consequences. Here is a good description of what motivated her murder from Asia Times, though this article is in reference to the first attack made on her life, shortly after her return to Pakistan.

"The attack was hardly a surprise. Militants see Bhutto's return to Pakistani politics as a Western-backed coup against Islamists in Pakistan, akin to the arrival in the Afghan capital, Kabul, of the US-backed Northern Alliance in 2001. Militant leader Baitullah Mehsud had instructed pro-al-Qaeda cells in Karachi to kill her for three major offenses against the Islamists, which he listed as:

- She is the only opposition politician who supported the military attack earlier this year on Islamabad's Lal Masjid (Red Mosque), a hotbed of Islamist radicalism, and she coninues to condemn the Lal Masjid ideologues; - She has stated that she would allow incursions by US forces into Pakistan in pursuit of Osama bin Laden; - She has stated that she would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to question Dr A Q Khan, the former leading nuclear scientist accused of passing Pakistani nuclear technology to anti-Western countries."

Bhutto Bombing Kicks Off War on US Plan

Posted by: nepeta on December 27, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

Get a clue. In Pakistan, the biggest enemies of al Qaeda are Musharraf and the military.

Get a clue. In Pakistan the biggest supporters of al Qaeda and the Taliban are the military, particularly the intelligence service, the ISI, which arms, funds, shelters and provides operational support for the terrorists.

Posted by: Stefan on December 27, 2007 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, it has been common for al Qaeda to use assassination in order to promote chaos.

Fixed it for you...

Sadly, it has been common for THE CIA to use assassination in order to promote chaos.

al Qaeda typically kills innocent people who have nothing to do with politics, thereby ensuring that the general population is fearful and starts resenting the impotent government that cannot protect them.

It's funny how stupid runs like a river right through this entire fucking blog...

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 27, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

It appears Democracies have learned how to create and use 'terrorist' organizations to do the nasty things they don't want to directly do.

Bhutto might have been a great Democratic leader. This is a great loss for the world.

"Odd that there were also snipers picking off supporters of the other opposition leader, Sharif, at his rally the same day."

Odd only in the sense that they didn't get Sharif himself.

This was the assassination of Democracy!

Posted by: MarkH on December 27, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider: "It's funny how stupid runs like a river right through this entire fucking blog..."

Proving that not all wingnuts have right-hand threads?

Posted by: AK Liberal on December 27, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

[b]gregor[/b]
[i]Time to send in the troops for a regime change. Enough of Musharraf's bullshit.[/i]

Hey! Who gave US the right to invade any country they want??!!

Posted by: Nazish on December 27, 2007 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Another Asian Women leader murdered!!god Bless her soul!Vive la Asian Women!

Posted by: mano on December 27, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

When one looks through the lens of cui bono, it becomes crystal clear that the beneficiary of this is Musharraf. There were no assassination attempts against Bhutto until she returned to Pakistan. If AlNeda or any other "islamist" organization was interested in blowing her up, she was easily reachable during her exile in Dubai or London. That the attacks only started the day she returned to Pakistan - and thus became a "clear and present danger" to Musharraf - shows the author of these attacks.

Posted by: Peter on December 27, 2007 at 1:37 PM | PERMALINK

Bhutto's demise is traumatic, and its repercussions will be unmitigated. The Mohatarma was revered as a purely democratic leader with foresight, political clout and the willingness to surpass herself in the political arena. It is a pity that very few people could rumble the grace that skulked in her accented-Urdu. She elucidated the significance of democracy and wallowed to carve a niche for it in Pakistan. Sadly, the promising "pastures of democracy" weren't destined for a country steeped into military-damnation. Benazir Bhutto died as the undoubted embodiment of true womanhood; a lady whose grandeur was exceeded only by her conviction in a world filled with equity.
Her death serves as a direct counter to democracy, and it could be widely anticipated that Pakistan's political milieu will crumble into oblivion.

Posted by: Taha on December 27, 2007 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

I hope he's willing to let the elections continue...

...And I wonder how many soldiers died in the bombing.

Those are things no one wants to ask him.

Posted by: Crissa on December 27, 2007 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

Bhutto represented a party in opposition to the party which shielded the Taliban/AlQaeda. She could win. They don't have the popular support to beat her. That's why they'd want to do this.

In chaos, they can stay 'safe' at the edges of the country, which if it becomes orderly, has no room for their militarism.

The military benefits on insomuch as Bhutto was opposed to their strong control, and Musharif's party is also in opposition to hers. They had about the same amount of popular support, though, and could use one of the other parties to co-align with to beat her.

She's also a woman, western, secular, rich, and powerful - all targets of Al Qaeda's rage.

Posted by: Crissa on December 27, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

Pale Rider, This is a very strange comment thread indeed. I've never read anything quite like it here before. I'm stumped.

Posted by: nepeta on December 27, 2007 at 3:20 PM | PERMALINK

I've never read anything quite like it here before. I'm stumped.

Whenever something important happens in the world, count on Americans to view it through the shit-stained ignorance of our media and get it wrong.

Go back forty or fifty years, and read what was in the papers and the magazines about foreign affairs and foreign events. The complexity of someone writing, for example, about the machinations of the Soviet Union, in a major newspaper or magazine would shock people.

Here's a brief excerpt from Commentary magazine, dated May, 1956:

The Soviet Threat in the Middle East: The Moscow-Cairo Axis
Walter Z. Laqueur
May 1956

"The Soviet Threat in the Middle East: The Moscow-Cairo Axis"

EVER since the Communist-Egyptian arms deal in the autumn of 1955, there has been an unaccustomed, busy traffic of delegations to and from the Soviet bloc and the Arab countries, pledging undying friendship and (from the Soviet side) all kinds of economic aid. The Soviet Union has agreed to install Egypt's first nuclear laboratory; Hungary is going to build new bridges across the Nile; Bulgaria will carry out construction work in Alexandria harbor. The East Germans will be drilling for water in the Sudan, the Czechs are going to construct oil refineries in Syria, the Poles a new railroad in Saudi Arabia. Soviet engineers are already busy in Yemen and Lebanon, and the Poles have received a bid to build steel plants in Egypt. In the last few months, China has become the single most important buyer of Egyptian cotton. This list could be prolonged indefinitely.

On the political level, the Soviet Union has established relations with Libya and the Sudan, renewed her ties with Yemen, and considerably strengthened her diplomatic representation throughout the Middle East. The other Communist countries are following suit. At the recent 20th Party Congress, Molotov ate humble pie for not having paid proper attention, until recently, to the chances for extending Soviet influence in the Middle East. But it would be difficult to charge his ministry with neglect of such opportunities now: Gamal Abdel Nasser is to visit Russia and Eastern Europe in the near future, and Khrushchev and Bulganin will return the visit some time this year.

Can you imagine any modern publication imparting as much detail, knowledge, and information as that in the same space?

If you want to know why Americans get it wrong, look at how we've dumbed it down. I know, I know...preaching to the choir that doesn't include wingnuts. But still.

Hope that answers the question.

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 27, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK
I think it's inconsistent for him to declare al Qaeda to be guilty, yet blame the military. Musharraf can be blamed for many things. He undid a Supreme Court decision preventing him from running. He maintained a state of emergency that made it hard to campaign against him. But, he had no reason to desire this assassination. He was going to win the election.

Musharraf doesn't want to be an elected, limited leader, he wants the unchecked power that a state of emergency justifies. And he wants the West, particularly the US, to see him as the indispensable "moderate" leader in Pakistan at the same time, not as an extremist totalitarian (which he is and has been).

There's hardly anything better for that than this attack if it is seen as coming from al-Qaeda. (I'm not saying this doesn't come from al-Qaeda, while it clearly serves Musharraf's interests, it also clearly serves theirs.)

Posted by: cmdicely on December 27, 2007 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Pakistan has this tendency of not accepting things they dont deserve we simply didn't deserve a great leader like her god bless her and may she R.I.P!!!!!

Posted by: umer on December 27, 2007 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here's an example of how not to view what happened today, courtesy of the former governor of Arkansas:

From CBS News' Nancy Cordes:

ORLANDO, FLA. -- With about 150 supporters crowded around a podium set up on the tarmac of Orlando Executive airport (and about 20 Ron Paul supporters waving signs outside) Mike Huckabee strode out to the strains of “Right Now” by Van Halen and immediately addressed the Bhutto situation, expressing “our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan.”

He said the assassination is a reminder that here in the US, we are lucky to vote “not with bullets but with ballots,” and said “I guess we are sometimes lulled into failing to appreciate the magnitude” of the democratic process.

After moving onto other subjects in his rally (more on that in a moment) he took questions from the press. I asked him what he would do right now if he were President to tackle the situation. He avoided taking a strong policy position, saying he would offer sincere sympathies to the people of Pakistan, and monitor who’s behind it. When asked what he thinks of the Musharraf government and how it has handled the security situation and aid from the US, he replied, “I think today is not the best day to comment on what the Musharraf government should or shouldn’t have done” though “we need a full accounting of that money.” He was also asked if today’s news highlights why the next President needs to have foreign policy, which he lacks. His reponse: “I think it’s more important to have the right principles for the American people.”

He made a bad choice of words when saying the U.S. needs to consider “what impact does it have on whether or not there’s going to be martial law continuing in Pakistan.” He should have said whether or not martial law will be reinstated – it was lifted nearly two weeks ago. A minor slip, maybe, but not a subject he wants to mess up on when he is already considered weak in the area of foreign policy.

While it is odd to read someone's "suggestion" for what Huckabee should have said, all you can do is wince and try not to think about what an election eight years from now would be like, given the continuing downward spiral of media coverage in this country.

Van Halen? Sammy Hagar-era Van Halen is his theme song? What the fuck?

Posted by: Pale Rider on December 27, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

when i see newz channelz these day all i could see is these terrorist activities increasin day by day when ppl adopt this kind of voilet approach(suicidal approach)something forces them 2 bcum such voilent no one iz born as a terrorist societies make them force them 2 transform themselves into terrorists where there iz a dictatorship like pakistan where u have no right wat else u can do with no rights wat so ever and when sum1 like benazir bhutto cumz to take course 4 a democratic path this all happen nothing can change and nothing will change....easrthquakes,floods,suicide attaks,situation in Iraq frm terrorists to global warming and natural disasters this world iz deteroiting....the birth rate of this world iz less than the death rate now a days this all sumz up to the end of the world approaching nearar and nearer it depends upon us that we realize it now or we can ignore everything like we mostly do!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: umer on December 27, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not happy about the potentially destabilizing impact this assassination has on Pakistan and the rest of the Indian subcontinent, but honestly, what's up with overgenerous comments above? Bhutto was no democrat and she put up a pretty poor performance during her terms in office.

Posted by: anon on December 27, 2007 at 4:17 PM | PERMALINK

@ cmdicely.....as far az interests r concerned i think AL-Qaeda had no special interests in da assasination of Benazir i think the opposition party the "Muslim league"(Q) had special interests with benazir out of the elections they would b probably the most powerful party as this will also help them to drive nawaz sharif out of the elections[he has boycotted the elections now] and Benazir herself stated three names which she thought were responsible 4 the assasination attempt on her in Karachi which included Pervaiz Elahi(the member of muslim league(Q))there u have it!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: umer on December 27, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

@ anon Benazir Bhutto waz much more democratic than Musharraf do u have any doubtz abt that!!!!!!

Posted by: umer on December 27, 2007 at 4:26 PM | PERMALINK

This was more or less predicted by Tariq Ali in the London Review of Books, when he described the murder of Bhutto's brother by Pakistani police.

(Bhutto's brother was a former terrorist, but he had recanted and begun a political career).

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n24/ali_01_.html


Arranged marriages can be a messy business. Designed principally as a means of accumulating wealth, circumventing undesirable flirtations or transcending clandestine love affairs, they often don’t work. Where both parties are known to loathe each other, only a rash parent, desensitised by the thought of short-term gain, will continue with the process knowing full well that it will end in misery and possibly violence. That this is equally true in political life became clear in the recent attempt by Washington to tie Benazir Bhutto to Pervez Musharraf.


The single, strong parent in this case was a desperate State Department – with John Negroponte as the ghoulish go-between and Gordon Brown as the blushing bridesmaid – fearful that if it did not push this through both parties might soon be too old for recycling. The bride was certainly in a hurry, the groom less so. Brokers from both sides engaged in lengthy negotiations on the size of the dowry. Her broker was and remains Rehman Malik, a former boss of Pakistan’s FIA, who has been investigated for corruption by the National Accountability Bureau and who served nearly a year in prison after Benazir’s fall, then became one of her business partners and is currently under investigation (with her) by a Spanish court looking into a company called Petroline FZC, which made questionable payments to Iraq under Saddam Hussein. Documents, if genuine, show that she chaired the company. She may have been in a hurry but she did not wish to be seen taking the arm of a uniformed president. He was not prepared to forgive her past. The couple’s distaste for each other yielded to a mutual dependence on the United States. Neither party could say ‘no’, though Musharraf hoped the union could be effected inconspicuously. Fat chance.


Both parties made concessions. She agreed that he could take off his uniform after his ‘re-election’ by Parliament, but it had to be before the next general election. (He has now done this, leaving himself dependent on the goodwill of his successor as army chief of staff.) He pushed through a legal ruling – yet another sordid first in the country’s history – known as the National Reconciliation Ordinance, which withdrew all cases of corruption pending against politicians accused of looting the national treasury. The ruling was crucial for her since she hoped that the money-laundering and corruption cases pending in three European courts – in Valencia, Geneva and London – would now be dismissed. This doesn’t seem to have happened.


Many Pakistanis – not just the mutinous and mischievous types who have to be locked up at regular intervals – were repelled, and coverage of ‘the deal’ in the Pakistan media was universally hostile, except on state television. The ‘breakthrough’ was loudly trumpeted in the West, however, and a whitewashed Benazir Bhutto was presented on US networks and BBC TV news as the champion of Pakistani democracy – reporters loyally referred to her as ‘the former prime minister'


Some months later, in September 1996, as Murtaza (Bhutto's brother) and his entourage were returning home from a political meeting, they were ambushed, just outside their house, by some seventy armed policemen accompanied by four senior officers. A number of snipers were positioned in surrounding trees. The street lights had been switched off. Murtaza clearly understood what was happening and got out of his car with his hands raised; his bodyguards were instructed not to open fire. The police opened fire instead and seven men were killed, Murtaza among them. The fatal bullet had been fired at close range. The trap had been carefully laid, but as is the way in Pakistan, the crudeness of the operation – false entries in police logbooks, lost evidence, witnesses arrested and intimidated, the provincial PPP governor (regarded as untrustworthy) dispatched to a non-event in Egypt, a policeman killed who they feared might talk – made it obvious that the decision to execute the prime minister’s brother had been taken at a very high level.


While the ambush was being prepared, the police had sealed off Murtaza’s house (from which his father had been lifted by Zia’s commandos in 1978). The family inside felt something was wrong. At this point, a remarkably composed Fatima Bhutto, aged 14, decided to ring her aunt at Prime Minister’s House. The conversation that followed remains imprinted on her memory and a few years ago she gave me an account of it. It was Zardari (Bhutto's husband) who took her call:

Fatima: I wish to speak to my aunt, please.

Zardari: It’s not possible.

Fatima: Why? [At this point, Fatima says she heard loud wails and what sounded like fake crying.]

Zardari: She’s hysterical, can’t you hear?

Fatima: Why?

Zardari: Don’t you know? Your father’s been shot.


Fatima and Ghinwa found out where Murtaza had been taken and rushed out of the house. There was no sign on the street outside that anything had happened: the scene of the killing had been wiped clean of all evidence. There were no traces of blood and no signs of any disturbance. They drove straight to the hospital but it was too late; Murtaza was already dead. Later they learned that he had been left bleeding on the ground for almost an hour before being taken to a hospital where there were no emergency facilities of any kind.


When Benazir arrived to attend her brother’s funeral in Larkana, angry crowds stoned her limo. She had to retreat. In another unusual display of emotion, local people encouraged Murtaza’s widow to attend the actual burial ceremony in defiance of Islamic tradition. According to Fatima, one of Benazir’s hangers-on instigated legal proceedings against Ghinwa in a religious court for breaching Islamic law. Nothing was sacred.


Anyone who witnessed Murtaza’s murder was arrested; one witness died in prison. When Fatima rang Benazir to ask why witnesses were being arrested and not the killers she was told: ‘Look, you’re very young. You don’t understand things.’

Posted by: Valuethinker on December 27, 2007 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Can anyone tell me why?
Why must those that try to help the people of their countries have to become martyrs for the cause. Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, John and Robert Kennedy---did any of these people deserve to die for the cause. How many people have to die before these counrties know that they are only hurting their own people. This whole event is sick and twisted. And what's worse we have our politcal "best" on the news stating what the would do--come on! This is so wrong.

Posted by: crabby on December 27, 2007 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

Rest in peace, Benazir. Rest in peace.

Posted by: Huzaifa Rizwan on December 27, 2007 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

Rest in peace, Benazir.

Posted by: Huzaifa on December 27, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

Bhutto was an utterly fearless woman. Given the dizzying array of extremist groups and the various alliances they form in Pakistan, from opposing Muslim extremists to Kashmir separatists, it's probably difficult to point blame at anyone at this time. After all, there has been at least 4 attempts on Musharraf life.. if I were to speculate, I would say the assassins were probably sent by groups loyal to Musharraf..

Posted by: Andy on December 27, 2007 at 6:23 PM | PERMALINK

Muslims Against Sharia condemn the murderers responsible for the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her supporters.

Our prayers are with the victims of this atrocity. We send our condolences to their loved ones.

May the homicide bomber rot in hell for eternity. May his accomplices join him soon!

http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2007/12/prime-minister-benazir-bhutto-murdered.html

Posted by: Muslims Against Sharia on December 27, 2007 at 7:43 PM | PERMALINK

Its interesting that 4 hours earlier Sharif was targeted. It seems some ISI and "extremists" favoured his rise to power. Confusion and anachy seems to be the motive...perhaps justifying returning to the coup that didn't work.
When Benazir was in power, she also was capable of states of emergency, dependent on US whim.
To admire a capable women when indiscrimate acts
of repression are a example of strength is not to
be a feminist at all.

Posted by: christine keavney on December 27, 2007 at 8:51 PM | PERMALINK

I wouldnt be surprised if they sort out an ISI angle or if we hear that the CIA was somehow involved in this. Sure, the security was foolproof... but the people behind the security are no fools.

Posted by: Ringworld on December 27, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

unfortunately hate is prevalent in each of us - including most of the people writing here. WHere does it end? Where does it stop?

Posted by: pso on December 27, 2007 at 9:58 PM | PERMALINK

We the Nepalese plp express heartily condolence to Her.
May her soul rest in peace.

Posted by: manish on December 27, 2007 at 10:56 PM | PERMALINK

Jharee Musaraff lai thika parnuparccha!!

Posted by: Naresh on December 27, 2007 at 11:06 PM | PERMALINK

i am hafsa noor i don't like politics but personaly i like benazir bhutto very much, because of her personality and spritual habbits. i like her because she had been faced a lots of troubles but she faced bravely. she is alone when her husbnd is in prision but she did not tenseed she faced bravely i like her what you say about this pls tell me my id is zernishal@yahoo.com]

Posted by: hafsa on December 27, 2007 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

I was stunned when I heard the news of Benazir's tragic death. She's a fearless woman who wanted true democracy in Pakistan. No men in this planet EARTH can resist her charm. I feel sorry for her and we will pray for the early repose of her soul to HEAVEN.


Posted by: Rigor E. Ocampo on December 28, 2007 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

Nostradamus' precognition on Benazir Bhutto (as discerned by J.H. Brennan) now seem misleading.
"She who was dismissed will return to reign
Her enemies found in the conspirators
More than ever will her time be triumphant
Seventy-three to death most certainly"
(Century 6, Quatrain 74)

Sifting through these prognostic words, one loses hope in the seer's predictions. However, these words may hold some long-term importance. B.B. expired at age 54, and not 73 (as elucidated in the quatrain). I reckon the number 73 holds significance in defining Pakistan's future prospects, prognosticating a cluster of changes in the political setup...This may not pertain and sound excessively absurd. Think about it.
("Seventy three to death most certainly")

Posted by: Taha on December 28, 2007 at 7:56 AM | PERMALINK

Please consider signing the petition at Care2.com to tell President Musharraf the world is watching.

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/takeaction/503288150

Thanks.

Posted by: Karen on December 28, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

It seems obvious that Musharraf could very seriously be playing the part of the Talibans lead puppeteer tempting the US government to believe that all is headed toward their desired outcome, while behind his back, the militant extremists are allowed to gain further advantage. Whether or not he is directly in collusion with this evil-doing is no matter- he must be silenced before more harm can be done.

Posted by: leanne on December 29, 2007 at 2:24 AM | PERMALINK

Leanne, Musharraf's "evil doing" lay in on one hand rounding up suspects in the war on terror,
aided by US publicity to Pakistanis to double their fortune in aiding him. On the other hand,the borders to Waziristan (and thence the hard-core Taliban, not those poor bleeders kidnapped for money) were left open. This paradox may have led to outside pressure to stage
the recent coup. Pakistan's "evils" not necessariy contained within its borders may be the core of terror and the labyrinthine war allegedly against it.

Posted by: christine keavney on December 29, 2007 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

She's been in our government for so long! And she's made a big impression on the Pakistan people!

Posted by: Megan on December 30, 2007 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Tempest on March 19, 2010 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK
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