Benazir Bhutto, RIP

Here’s a closely guarded secret: I’ve liked Benazir Bhutto ever since I was in high school in the mid 1980s, and I once dreamed that I would meet her after I joined the Foreign Service.

Life had other plans of course. I didn’t make it into the FS, and Benazir was assassinated before I could meet her.

As Ali Eteraz notes, Bhutto was killed for her hatred of jihadis:

Why is it that Pakistan’s extremists (who purportedly hate Musharraf and democracy) are not consistent in targeting pro-Musharraf and pro-democracy people? Why do they pick and choose?

I think the answer is apparent: in Pakistan, if you do not criticize the Islamists, you will not be targeted. Musharraf and Bhutto did criticize the Islamists and that is why they tend to end up in the jihadi cross-hairs. Nawaz Sharif, on the other hand, has long pandered to Jamat e Islami (and in the early 90’s even Bin Laden), while Mullah Diesel heads the main pro-Taliban party. There is no reason for extremists to attack these people; they are already on the same side.

Eteraz recommends that we dump Musharraf and let the Pakistanis sort it out for themselves. I’m all for the latter, but the former stinks of the 20th century American habit of letting our friends twist in the wind.

I’ll miss Benazir, and I’m sorry I never got to meet her. I hope some good comes out of this, but from my perspective today I don’t see how it can happen.

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2 Comments

  1. ligneus:

    Ralph Peters, who I take very seriously, has a different take on both Bhutto and the consequences of her assassination.

    Her bravery is astounding but really, why put yourself in that position? Counter productive is just the start of it. Maybe after what she’d been through in her life a kind of fatalism takes over.

  2. Scott Kirwin:

    Ligneus
    Thanks for the link. It keeps things in perspective.

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