Reactions from the blogosphere – from the insightful to the insane:
All Things Pakistan
I, like most Pakistanis, am still too numb with shock and grief to think coherently about what has happened or what the implications of this are for the country and for the world. But this I know, whether you agreed with her political positions or not you cannot but be in shock. Even as I type these lines I am literally shaking. Hers was a tragic life story. So tragic that had it not been real no one would have believed it.
Tim Marshall (Sky News)
She knew the risks, she gambled, she lost. And Pakistan has lost. Lost a leader who, despite all her faults, was a democrat who wanted to move her country forward, bring its extremists to the centre, and take on the irreconcilables. That is why they murdered her. They could not reconcile with the possibility of a woman coming to power again. A strong, modern, working woman involved in politics is everything the Islamists fear.
There is no doubt that the assassination of Bhutto will deepen the ongoing political crisis in Pakistan. The big question now before the Musharaf regime is that whether to hold the election or impose country wide emergency again.
The Belmont Club
He might have added that meaningful elections can occur only when the armies — in this case the Pakistani Army and the armed Islamic militants — are committed to the processes of democracy. When every group under arms within a society is determined to settle the question of power by combat the role for the ballot is small indeed. The next few days will show whether the Pakistani Army — for it will surely not be the Taliban — can rededicate itself to electoral democracy. Pakistan needs its George Washington. Unfortunately it only has its Pervez Musharraf.
Update 10:48am: Naturally, the tinfoil hatters on the Left are out in full force.
This is pure speculation, of course, but one has to wonder if Bush, at least indirectly, contributed to the assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Texas Hold ‘Em Blogger
Al Qaeda has claimed credit for the assassination. But the Roasted Paulnuts just think we need to withdraw all our troops from all over the world and build Fortress America and Al Qaeda will just leave us alone. Same with the Democrat candidates. And The Huckster wants to apply the Golden Rule to dealing with Iran and the rest of the Islamofascists. If the 2008 election doesn’t turn on the issue of national security and doing whatever it takes to keep these rubes out of the White House and make sure an adult is actually in charge, we deserve whatever happens to us. If we aren’t safe from the Islamonazis, nothing else matters.
It’s very tragic indeed, that a woman with common sense in a world full of tyrants should fall.
Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today’s events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I’m asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while – which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be – though in practice, as Pakistan’s Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world’s most corrupt political classes.
Analysts say that President Musharraf himself is unlikely to have ordered her assassination, but that elements of the army and intelligence service would have stood to lose money and power if she had become Prime Minister. The ISI, in particular, includes some Islamists who became radicalised while running the American-funded campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan and remained fiercely opposed to Ms Bhutto on principle. Saudi Arabia, which has strong influence in Pakistan, is also thought to frown on Ms Bhutto as being too secular and Westernised and to favour Nawaz Sharif, another former Prime Minister.
Cheat Seeking Missiles
Against this background of responsible reporting of a tragedy with potentially inconceivable consequences, the NYT stands out as an immature, inappropriate and unruly guest at the party, hardly differentiated from the Kos-tic rants of the leftyblogs.
US Special Forces to increase presence in Pakistan — Al-Qaeda’s new central battlefield. This is even more likely after the murder of Benazir Bhutto. But the military is still talking about educational and employment initiatives, as if they will make the jihad go away. This despite the fact that study after study has shown that jihadists are generally better educated and wealthier than their peers.
Blog of the Moderate Left
It’s a simple fact that Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world right now. The country is nuclear armed and incredibly unstable, home to extremely conservative Islamic jihadists and yet westernized enough that it elected the first woman to serve as leader of a Muslim nation. It is one of the most likely homes of Osama bin Laden, and the center of al Qaeda activity in the world. And yet Pervez Musharraf, the strongman dictator of Pakistan, has been a reliable ally in the war on terror, and has received western support.
Outside the Beltway
As the only nuclear-armed majority Muslim country, the home to a large population of Deobandi and Salafist Islamist radicals, and, possibly, the country that’s hosting Osama bin Laden within its borders, Pakistan is a very sensitive country in a very sensitive condition since the unrest of a month ago. Whatever else may happen the situation has probably become more serious now.
She was too pro American and hated terrorist, she was a political rival to Musharraf and most of all she was a woman. We all knew it was only a matter of time before they got her. There is no doubt the government of Pakistan was behind it but the real truth will never come out.
It’s a sad day for Pakistan and a sad day for all those who worked hard under conditions of great personal danger to save Pakistan from extremism and death.
I think many Pakistanis will question the role of Musharraf’s government in Bhutto’s assassination. I hope he promises and follows through with a full, reliable and neutral investigation … and I hope that investigation shows he wasn’t involved.
One thing is for sure, this is a significant victory for Al Qaeda’s psych-ops in Pakistan which has already pretty much neutralized the military there.
Medicine Agency Blog
Emergency rule will be back: The Pakistani military has apparently been put on red alert, although emergency rule hasn’t been initiated yet. Odds are it will be if the violence is severe enough, which I think is very likely. This is a delicate issue for Musharraf, who just resigned as Army Chief. If there is martial law, then the current Army Chief, Ashfaq Kayani, would be in charge. By all accounts, though, Kayani is loyal to Musharraf, so the former general would probably effectively be in charge.
Bhutto was a member of Pakistan’s political elite, leader of the country’s largest political party and the daughter of former President and Prime Minister Zulkifar Ali Bhutto. The Harvard educated Benazir Bhutto was the first female premier of a Muslim state, and a voice of political moderation. Despite allegations of corruption and misrule stemming from her previous time in office, the US government had placed fond hopes on Ms Bhutto’s ability to nudge Pakistan back towards democracy and draw the poison of Islamist opposition parties.