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More on Benazir Bhutto; She was Not What She Seemed to Be

My first two posts on this can be found here:

Former PM Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto was No Saint; She is Pakistan’s Arafat

Thankfully, the more I travel around the blogs today, the more I see people stop heaping adulatory praise upon this woman, treating her as some sort of martyr or saint, and start analyzing this situation properly. This has included mentioning her corrupt, pro-Taliban past as Prime Minister of Pakistan, when she supported the Taliban’s rise to power in neighboring Afghanistan.

Here are some of the analyses I have read today:

Ralph Peters: THE BHUTTO ASSASSINATION: NOT WHAT SHE SEEMED TO BE

December 28, 2007 — FOR the next several days, you’re going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Her country’s better off without her. She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life.

We need have no sympathy with her Islamist assassin and the extremists behind him to recognize that Bhutto was corrupt, divisive, dishonest and utterly devoid of genuine concern for her country.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and “hardheaded” journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.

Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan’s feeble education system to rot – opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools.

During her years as prime minister, Pakistan went backward, not forward. Her husband looted shamelessly and ended up fleeing the country, pursued by the courts. The Islamist threat – which she artfully played both ways – spread like cancer.

[ … ]

Military regimes are never appealing to Western sensibilities. Yet, there are desperate hours when they provide the only, slim hope for a country nearing collapse. Democracy is certainly preferable – but, unfortunately, it’s not always immediately possible. Like spoiled children, we have to have it now – and damn the consequences.

In Pakistan, the military has its own forms of graft; nonetheless, it remains the least corrupt institution in the country and the only force holding an unnatural state together. In Pakistan back in the ’90s, the only people I met who cared a whit about the common man were military officers.

Americans don’t like to hear that. But it’s the truth.

Bhutto embodied the flaws in Pakistan’s political system, not its potential salvation. Both she and her principal rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, failed to offer a practical vision for the future – their political feuds were simply about who would divvy up the spoils.

[ … ]

As a victim of fanaticism, Bhutto may shine as a rallying symbol with a far purer light than she cast while alive. The bitter joke is that, while she was never serious about freedom, women’s rights and fighting terrorism, the terrorists took her rhetoric seriously – and killed her for her words, not her actions.

Nothing’s going to make Pakistan’s political crisis disappear – this crisis may be permanent, subject only to intermittent amelioration. (Our State Department’s policy toward Islamabad amounts to a pocket full of platitudes, nostalgia for the 20th century and a liberal version of the white man’s burden mindset.)

The one slim hope is that this savage murder will – in the long term – clarify their lot for Pakistan’s citizens. The old ways, the old personalities and old parties have failed them catastrophically. The country needs new leaders – who don’t think an election victory entitles them to grab what little remains of the national patrimony.

In killing Bhutto, the Islamists over-reached (possibly aided by rogue elements in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, one of the murkiest outfits on this earth). Just as al Qaeda in Iraq overplayed its hand and alienated that country’s Sunni Arabs, this assassination may disillusion Pakistanis who lent half an ear to Islamist rhetoric.

A creature of insatiable ambition, Bhutto will now become a martyr. In death, she may pay back some of the enormous debt she owes her country.

Bryan Preston: Pakistan: What to Do?

The problem of Pakistan is the problem with Iran, but seen from different ends. Pakistan has the bomb and lots of radicals, but the radicals aren’t in power and therefore don’t have the bomb. Iran has the radicals and they’re in power, but because Iran doesn’t have the bomb (yet), the radicals don’t have the bomb. Pakistan has the bomb thanks in part to an inattentive Clinton administration that believed Benazir Bhutto’s lies about her country’s peaceful nuclear program. Given that nugget, I’ll take saber rattling at Iran over credulous inattention in Pakistan, the latter of which would go on to proliferate nuclear technology via the AQ Khan network.

Approaching Pakistan from a position of humility is definitely in order at this point. It’s nearly impossible to predict which way the country will go from here, but most of its choices don’t look good. Andrew McCarthy sees and very hostile populace in Pakistan and concludes that our war is with them and not the leadership, and he’s right as far as it goes: We’re not popular in Pakistan, and our enemy Osama bin Laden is. Sunny optimist Max Boot says we’re not popular because we support Musharraf, and that’s partly true I suppose, but surely the fact that a majority thinks highly of bin Laden says something too? Osama isn’t a liberal democrat in any sense, yet he’s popular, and we’ve allied ourselves with Musharraf, also not much of a democrat though arguably tolerably liberal, and he’s not popular. Could it be that he’s not popular precisely because Pakistan does have a seething population that wants unshirted sharia and wants to wage unfettered jihad? Could it be that what people believe actually matters to how they behave and what they want from life?

Both McCarthy and Boot are in a sense right, they’re just looking at things from different points of view. The Pakistani street isn’t our friend right now. But, ultimately, freedom may be the thing that makes them our friend. But how do we get from here to there without unleashing a democratic nuclear-armed Pakistan with a government that looks an awful lot like the one in Tehran in the interim?

As I said earlier, humility is in order, but I have an idea. [ … ]

American Thinker: The lesson of Bhutto: A time for adults

American Thinker: Pakistan in Chaos as Bhutto Interred

American Thinker: Bhutto Assassination a Painful Reminder that we are at War

In our rush to claim progress in the War on Terror, we sometimes forget that the enemy has the entire globe as a potential target and can strike at any time. The Bhutto assassination is a brutal reminder that this is a shooting war and that al-Qaeda is now firmly ensconced in nuclear armed Pakistan:

Today’s assassination in Pakistan of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto should be a stark reminder that terrorists are engaged in a very real war against modern civilized society. Bhutto had her own ethically questionable background; but her current public political posture was pro-Western, democratic, peaceful and against the radical Islamic terrorists who may have been responsible for her death. While the investigation must go forward, initial speculation is pointing to those radical Islamic terrorist elements operating in Pakistan, perhaps even al-Qaeda.

What happens over the next several days will be a crucial test for the Pakistani people and government. It may also indicate if this attack is part of a larger jihadist plan of action within Pakistan. Given Pakistan’s supposed critical status as an ally of the US in counter-terrorism efforts, and Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, what happens inside Pakistan over the coming days and weeks should be of grave concern to America and the West.

Already, hundreds of thousands are in the streets. Many believe the government of President Pervez Musharraf is responsible for Bhutto’s death. There may be more truth to that statement than even Musharraf is likely to admit. His failure to confront extremists over the last few years has now emboldened them where they may actually be ready to make a push for power – an absolutely intolerable turn of events from the point of view of the United States and the west. Among the Presidential candidates who all commented on the crisis, it appears to me that only Fred Thompson really gets it:

FRED THOMPSON: It is a tragedy, of course. It reminds us that things can happen in faraway places of the world that can affect the United States. I think this should be of great concern to us. It is almost a perfect storm in a very bad sense because two forces are operating against each other that are both desirable. One is democracy: they were making progress in that regard in that country. Former prime minister Bhutto was an important part of that process. But the other is stability. Pakistan is a nuclear country, and we cannot afford to let nukes fall into the hands of dangerous Muslim radicals. We are hoping those two things can be balanced out. We can see the continued progress toward a democratic society but also maintain stability in the country, which seems to be very much in doubt right now.

FAULKNER: I know you are running for the White House, so I don’t want to put you in a position to second guess the president. But I’m interested in your opinion. President Bush is due to talk with Pervez Musharraf shortly. What do you anticipate that conversation should be like?

THOMPSON: Those two things that I mention probably would be high on the agenda. What could be done to not impose martial law, to not crack down, but be mindful of the fact that there are radical elements in that country, and perhaps even within the government, that would like to see instability and chaos and see those weapons fall into the wrong hands. This is part of a bigger problem. We need to understand that this is not a criminal investigation any more – so we find the bad guys and bring them to justice – it’s a war. This proves again the mindset of the radical elements that we are dealing with. We are seeing this all across Northern Africa and various places. We’re seeing it across the Middle East and in parts of Asia including Indonesia and other places. We have to come to terms with that and do the things necessary to prevail. One of the things we need to be talking about is what Musharraf can do, additionally, to crack down on the Taliban. I think they have been insufficient in that respect.

Thompson’s statement that this is not a cops and robbers situation but rather a shooting war is spot on. And his acknowledgement that this is a world wide problem is also correct.

The question then becomes at what point does Pakistan lose its status as ally and become an enemy?

American Thinker: A Gripping Eyewitness Account to History

This piece by McClatchey special correspondent Saeed Shah is what makes journalism “the first draft of history:”

Bhutto turned to her deputy, Amin Fahim, and said she wanted to wave, Fahim recounted. The sunroof was opened and she stood up.

Three to five shots were fired at her, witnesses said. She was hit in the neck and slumped back in the vehicle. Blood poured from her head, and she never regained consciousness.

Moments after the shooting, there was a huge explosion to the left of the vehicle. Witnesses said that Bhutto’s bodyguards pounced on the assassin, who then blew himself up, shredding those around him. Ambulance crews collected pieces of flesh from the scene. The road turned red with pools of blood.

I was standing near the rally stage, about 30 to 40 yards away from the scene of the shooting. There was pandemonium. On hearing the shots, I started running toward the scene. Then came the explosion. I ran back a bit. I didn’t see the killer, and by the time I got to the gates, Bhutto’s SUV was driving to a Rawalpindi hospital. She didn’t have a chance.

American Thinker: The War on Terror Comes to Pakistan

After the US liberation of Afghanistan in 2001, the Taliban and its al Qaeda affiliates emulated the Viet Cong in the 60’s, and based their operations in the security of a neighboring country. In this instance, Pakistan assumed the role that Cambodia once served, as a sovereign haven from attack. Their ability to relocate into Pakistan and turn a perceived defeat in Afghanistan into an advantage so quickly suggests to some, including me, that al Qaeda had already planned this in response to the reprisals sure to come after the 9/11 attacks. Such a strategy plays against the predictable American reluctance to expand a war.

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf played along. Normally teetering on the edge of political irrelevancy, he had to placate a powerful jihad-centric group within his own government. This opposition force along with a shadow government of Islamic militant sympathizers within his security services and military, led him to make a settlement with these Islamic extremists in 2006 allowing the Taliban and al Qaeda to strengthen their support base and forces.

Such were the conditions that made the war in Afghanistan appear interminable. Although those forces were not a serious threat of retaking the country by military might, the endless nature of the mission posed the real threat of bringing capitulation in the countries that have seemed a bit squeamish about it since becoming involved: Britain, Germany, Canada and sundry other coalition partners. Of course, I don’t mean to give offense, but those countries do have a substantial population opposed to their involvement in Afghanistan. I exclude Australia from that list, as most of the commentary I have seen from there is far more supportive of combating these terrorist groups.

But supported at home or not, these coalition forces have held back the Taliban and al Qaeda for many years now. We have been victorious, but only keeping the wolves at bay, not hunting them down in their lairs, as would be necessary for final victory. This year in particular saw wave after wave of Taliban forces throw themselves uselessly into coalition fires.

Throughout 2007, our media has been set on a narrative of a resurgent Taliban threatening the burgeoning, democratic Afghan government. But, the real story here is that American leadership by President Bush has stiffened the resolve of the coalition to keep the wolves at bay. It is hard to imagine, given the internal political sniping over Afghanistan in those coalition countries, that their support to this mission would have lasted long without the President leading the way.

And near the end of this year comes a hint that the war in Afghanistan is on a trajectory toward the total defeat of these terrorists. While the American media was focused on the politically charged arrest of a few oppositionists in Pakistan, they completely missed the big picture. The War on Terror has finally come to Pakistan.

American Thinker: The Battle of Pakistan

The assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto means that the nuclear-armed Islamic Republic of Pakistan is now a battleground just as important as those in Iraq and Afghanistan in the global war against the radical Islamists.

The Battle of Pakistan is now well underway.

Just a few days prior to Bhutto’s murder, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates warned that Al-Qaeda has “turned its face” from Iraq toward Pakistan. Now we have the bloody event that confirms that the forces of radical Islamism are opening a Pakistan front like never before. And this attack is their greatest victory to date.

Critics of recent American foreign policy (most notably, the 2003 invasion and liberation of Iraq from fascist dictatorship) will inevitably use these new events in Pakistan as an excuse to accuse the U.S. of “taking its eye off the ball”-supposedly engaging in the unnecessary “distraction” of the Iraq War, while losing focus on the “real War on Terror” in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

But these critics will reveal their lack of proper perspective on the global nature of this sweeping struggle.

Neoconservative Norman Podhoretz has written in World War IV: The Long Struggle Against Islamofascism that the current war is best seen as a worldwide struggle against “Islamofascism,” a militant ideological movement that seeks to destroy modern civilization, returning to a seventh century version of fundamentalist Islam.

Those who see the Iraq and Pakistan/Afghanistan theaters of battle as divergent options in a zero-sum game will have missed the lesson of previous existential struggles between the free world and totalitarianism from World War II to the Cold War. While the enemies of freedom may be dealt serious blows in one or more theaters of battle, they can and will open new war fronts until they are ultimately defeated.

Indeed, the forces of radical Islamism appear to be quite desperate to open a new front. [ … ]

GatewayPundit has some of the best coverage, pictures and video:

Gateway Pundit: A Nation In Mourning– Benazir Bhutto Is Laid To Rest

GatewayPundit: Filled With Rage — Pakistanis Take Anger Out On Chicken King

Excellent analysis here: Danger Room: Who Killed Benazir?

This is one example of why no one should go to the mass media for info, historical context or analysis of serious worldwide situations.  No matter what it is, they will always, always find a way to blame President Bush, further dividing and dumbing down this country and feeding into the BDS of many, many ignorant Americans: Newsbusters.org: Mika Finds ‘Friend’ to Blame Bush for Bhutto

BRZEZINSKI: I agree with you Joe. I actually hear the same thing among my circles that I’ve been talking to about the story. Having said that though, the one thing that does come to my mind, when you look at this campaign, and you look at all the different choices out there, and all the different visions in terms of what our place should be in the world, I just wonder if some voters will look back at post-9/11, and — [NB: it is here that Mika, on the brink of expressing her own partisan opinion, deploys the Brzezinksi Variation of the Some-Say Gambit] I have a friend who made a decision right after 9-11, holding her baby, in the polling booth, and she decided to vote for George W. Bush because she thought she would, quote, be safer. She now regrets that decision because she doesn’t feel like America is safer and she feels like this President has brought us down a path which is leading us to this very moment right here, which is massive destabilization in Pakistan.

Let’s consider for a moment Mika’s questionable time-line. Her friend made a decision “right after 9-11” to vote for George Bush “in the polling booth”? You mean, in November 2004, more than three years after 9-11?

Be that as it may, Joe rose to the occasion, marshalling facts and passion to respond to Mika in the most impressive display I’ve seen him make during his tenure as show host.

SCARBOROUGH: You can’t blame George W. Bush for what happened yesterday! Pakistan was destabilized in 1997 when they gained nuclear weapons; they had a military coup in 1999 [NB: both events occuring during the Clinton admin]. I mean this country has been unstable for years. But you know what’s so ironic about your friend that was holding that baby voting for George W. Bush? That friend right now is able to wring her hands. She’s able to be concerned about America’s foreign policy, and whether they like us at the United Nations and whether they like us in France, and whether they respect us in Turkey right now because there has been seven years without an attack on American soil.

Good on Joe.

Confederate Yankee: What Killed Bhutto?

If the multiple eyewitnesses were correct and Bhutto was back down inside the armored vehicle before the suicide bomber detonated his explosives, then there is little possibility that she was killed by shrapnel. There is also little reason to suspect that the seven doctors who examined her in the IBNlive.com article would lie about there being no signs of a bullet wound.

So what killed Benizer Bhutto? What could cause blunt-force trauma severe enough to kill the former Prime Minister, and occur before the bomb detonated, at which point multiple witnesses state she was already back inside the armored vehicle?

While merely speculating, I think that when shots were fired (they missed), her security detail pulled her back inside the vehicle quickly, and she probably hit the back of her head on the sunroof edge as she was pulled in.

That would seem to account for the lack of wounds other than blunt force trauma, though it would be very hard to prove without an autopsy that was never performed.

Newsweek: What About the Nukes? – Despite its claims, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are vulnerable.

The assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto reminds us starkly of an unanswered question most of us would prefer to forget: how secure are Pakistan’s nuclear weapons? Could Al Qaeda or another terrorist group acquire a warhead or enough radioactive material to create a dirty bomb?

Over the years I have had the opportunity to discuss the loose nukes issue with Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf on three separate occasions. On each he insisted that there is no possibility that corrupt custodians or terrorists could steal the country’s nuclear weapons and materials. But in the third of these conversations, which occurred in December 2003, just a week after terrorists came within a second and a half of blowing him up, I managed to penetrate his standard defense. How plausible is it, I asked, that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is more secure than the president of the country himself? His answer: well, there you may have a point.

A witch’s brew that includes political instability, a burgeoning Islamic insurgency, a demoralized army and an intensely anti-American population, puts Pakistan’s nuclear weapons at risk. Washington and Islamabad have offered soothing reassurances, suggesting that some technical and procedural safeguard like a “kill switch” separates the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons from the stability of the state. As recently as November, Musharraf told reporters that Pakistan’s custodial arrangements for nuclear weapons and material are “the best in the world” and that so long as he is in power “Pakistan’s nuclear weapons will be safe.”

[ … ]

Third, potential disaffection in the army increases the odds that mini-Khans might emerge. According to Musharraf, after 9/11 the United States gave Pakistan a choice between signing up as an American ally in the war on terror or “being bombed back into the stone age.” He chose alliance. Since joining the U.S. war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda, Pakistan has received about a billion dollars a year of mostly military assistance. With mounting setbacks, including the reconstitution of Al Qaeda headquarters and training camps in the country’s borders with Afghanistan, frustration over fighting “America’s war” is mounting among Pakistan’s national security establishment. And as the United States and others press the cause of democracy in ways that diminish the traditional role of the army, Pakistani officers’ ambivalence about the United States may increase. An International Republican Institute poll earlier this month found that one out of two Pakistanis believe the army should have no role in civilian government. Bhutto’s assassination may further erode the prestige and credibility of the army and security services.

Finally, the larger society has a decidedly negative view of the United States. In a 2007 Pew poll, two out of three Pakistanis named the United States as the greatest threat to their country.

From this cauldron of combustibles there is no ready exit. It would be a grave mistake, however, to take comfort from the serene assurances of officials in governments, here and there, about everything being under reasonable control.

Scott Ott of Scrappleface, the satirical website, decided to write a serious article on this issue, as he understood this was no laughing matter: Scott Ott: Bhutto Killing Puts EuroLeaders On Notice: Time to Choose

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has put on notice the leaders of every European nation.

Your secularism, your democracy will not stand. The growing Muslim populations in your own lands that you have done so much to tolerate, protect and celebrate, will soon rise up against you. Sharia law shall become your law. The Caliph shall rule you.

It remains only for you to choose submission or assassination.

[ … ]

Cling, if you will, to your professors who drone on about the legitimate grievances of oppressed peoples who wish only to be left alone. Your cartridge clicks into the chamber.

Sing yourself to sleep each night with an ode to peaceful co-existence. The crosshairs find your throat.

Cup your hands over your ears to muffle the unthinkable warnings. The finger squeezes the trigger.

As you mount the rostrum to decry the slaying and call for calm in Pakistan, do you wonder whether your security detail could stop him?

As you send your condolences to the grieving widower, the shattered supporters and the tottering Pakistani president, himself a target of previous assassination attempts, do you have a strategy for negotiating with those who embrace murderous martyrdom?

Which will you choose — submission or assassination?

Take your time deciding, but know this: The bullet hurtles onward.

Unfortunately, Scott Ott could probably write plenty of satire about the (lack of) seriousness and intelligence of the Presidential Candidates regarding this matter. While I have read much insightful, intelligent analyses of this situation from many ordinary American citizen bloggers as well as history experts such as Mark Steyn, Andy McCarthy and Victor Davis Hanson, I have read nothing but ignorant nonsense coming from most of our Presidential candidates. Here is a sample of the bloggers reporting the nonsense coming from our elected “leaders”.

First, there is Republican Mike Huckabee, who continues to show his absolute ignorance on foreign policy, which, in an educated American electorate, should completely disqualify him from the Presidency:

HotAir.com: Huck on Bhutto: More illegals come from Pakistan than from any eastern country

On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”

On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.

“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”

True? Why, no. According to DHS by way of the NYT, more come from several far eastern countries. When pressed, Huck claimed that 660 Pakistanis crossed the border last year, a figure his campaign said came from a newspaper report. The only thing I can find on Google is this old Denver Post article, which gives the same number but specifies that that was the total from 2002 to 2005. In fact, per the CNN piece, DHS nabbed 721 Pakistanis just last year. But as of 2005, Pakistan didn’t even rank among the top 10 nations of origin.

[ … ]

Your quote of the day, from CNN’s senior political analyst no less, dismissing the suggestion that Huck’s string of Pakistan gaffes might hurt him: “Mike Huckabee is a populist. His comments on Pakistan reflect a populist understanding of the crisis, which, is to say, not much.” [ … ]

As if that was not bad enough, the Democrat candidates are fighting over how to use the death of Benazir Bhutto to their political advantage. Nice. First, we have Hillary Clinton blatantly lying about her supposedly close relationship with Benazir Bhutto (on which, of course, the mass media did not call her out as a liar):

Gateway Pundit: HILLARY FLUBS on Bhutto — Media Ignores

Hillary spoke of her very, very close relationship with Benazir Bhutto yesterday after Bhutto’s assassination while campaigning in Denison, Iowa:

“I also want to start on a very serious note if I could with the assassination of Benazir Bhutto today. The world once again is reminded of the dangers facing those who seek democracy and free elections in Pakistan and elsewhere in areas that are rife with conflict and violence and extremism and anti-democratic forces.

I have known Benazir Bhutto for a dozen years and I knew her as a leader. I knew her as someone who’s willing to take risks, to pursue democracy on behalf of the people of Pakistan.

She wrote a very moving autobiography which begins with the assassination of her father who had been the leader of Pakistan and was killed as well. I grieve for her family particularly her two children.”

** Benazir Bhutto’s father was hanged – not assassinated.
** Benazir Bhutto had 3 children not 2.

The full amusing video is HERE.

Sweetness & Light: Hillary: I’ve Known Mrs. Bhutto Many Years

That’s it. An official luncheon and a little “private conversation” afterwards.

But it’s not quite the stuff of “I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile.”

Of course the Hillary camp has quickly rushed out a photograph of their (one and only) historic meeting.

Still, now that Ms. Bhutto is dead Hillary will have no one to contradict her self-serving fantasies.

And then we have Barack Obama, Mr. Foreign Policy expert himself, called out on his naivety by Bryan Preston of HotAir:

Bryan Preston: Obama’s insane line on the Bhutto assassination

“Those who made the judgment that we ought to divert our attention from Afghanistan to invade Iraq and allow al-Qaeda to reconstitute and strengthen are now having to assess the wisdom of that judgment as we may be seeing yet another manifestation of al-Qaeda’s potency,” said Susan Rice, a top Obama foreign policy advisor who was an assistant secretary of State in the Clinton administration, in an interview with Politico.

She said Pakistan illustrates a difference between Obama and Clinton’s approaches to foreign policy. Clinton, in Rice’s view, is willing to tolerate authoritarian regimes – in this case the government of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf – who might be useful to short-term U.S. goals. Obama, on the other hand, seeks a diplomacy that sees values and human rights than traditional realpolitik.

“Senator Clinton’s view has been closer to Bush’s, which is to see Musharraf as the linchpin but democracy as something that is desirable, but not necessarily essential to our security interests,” said Rice, “Whereas Obama feels that democracy and human rights in the context of Pakistan are essential to our security.”

So on 9-12-01, what would President Obama have done? Al Qaeda, harbored in Afghanistan in a symbiotic relationship with the Taliban, was behind the attack. The US needed access to Afghanistan, and happened to have a potential ally right next door in Pakistan. Pakistan had propped up the Taliban (under Bhutto’s regime, no less) but was also a longstanding strategic ally of the US. But that ally wasn’t led by a democratically elected leader. Would President Obama have demanded that Gen. Musharraf first hold an election before the US would consider requesting the use of Pakistani soil and airspace to conduct our war in Afghanistan? Obama’s line on the Bhutto assassination suggests that, yes, President Obama would have first made sure that Musharraf was democratically elected before the US would work with him. Which is insane.

Either that, or Team Obama is hopelessly naive about the world. That’s the way I’d bet.

Secondarily, Obama expresses his intolerance for the non-democratic ruler of Pakistan, who happens to be an imperfect ally of the US. But he would have left the non-democratic ruler of Iraq very much in place, though he had become nearly a perfect enemy of the US. Obama says he would have voted against the 2002 authorization to use force against Saddam, and constantly chides Clinton for voting for that authorization. But according to Obama’s formulation on Pakistan, his vote would have been a vote against human rights, no? He would be tolerating a non-democrat, no?

Barack Obama is an idealist, which is nice. It’s quaint and refreshing, even. But it ought to disqualify him from the presidency until he grows up a bit. His is the kind of thinking that fed the Clinton administration’s decision to ban CIA operatives from working with anyone who might have an unsavory past or negative associations: It pretty much tied the agents’ hands in the majority of countries around the world. But hey, it made the Clintonistas feel good about themselves at DC cocktail parties, and that’s… something.

And here we have the analysis from James Taranto at WSJ’s OpinionJournal Best of the Web:

About the only good thing that can be said about the current campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination is that Barack Obama has a great personality. The Washington Post reports that Obama and his chief rival, Hillary Clinton, responded to yesterday’s assassination in ways that, according to the subheadline, “illustrate their key differences.” But to our mind it just illustrates their shallowness.

Obama’s campaign seized on the occasion to attack . . . the liberation of Iraq:

Three hours after news of Bhutto’s slaying broke, Obama delivered a withering rebuke of [Mrs.] Clinton’s experience, depicting her lengthy political résumé as a hindrance to solving big problems, including crises abroad. In an especially charged moment, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod would later tie the killing to the Iraq war–and Clinton’s vote to approve it, which he argued diverted U.S. resources from fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, both al-Qaeda hotbeds.

“You can’t at once argue that you’re the master of a broken system in Washington and offer yourself as the person to change it,” Obama said. “You can’t fall in line behind the conventional thinking on issues as profound as war and offer yourself as the leader who is best prepared to chart a new and better course for America.”

“The Iraq war . . . diverted U.S. resources from fighting terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan” is Obama’s idea of bold and unconventional thinking. To the rest of the world, it’s liberal boilerplate.

Mrs. Clinton, for her part, “described Bhutto in terms Obama . . . could not: as a fellow mother, a pioneering woman following in a man’s footsteps, and a longtime peer on the world stage.” And if being “a fellow mother” doesn’t qualify Mrs. Clinton to be the leader of the free world, what could? CBS News quotes her:

“I have known Benazir Bhutto for more than 12 years; she’s someone whom I was honored to visit as first lady when she was prime minister,” Clinton said at a campaign event in a firehouse in western Iowa. “Certainly on a personal level, for those of us who knew her, who were impressed by her commitment, her dedication, her willingness to pick up the mantle of her father, who was also assassinated, it is a terrible, terrible tragedy,” she said.

But apparently Mrs. Clinton didn’t know Bhutto all that well. CBS News notes that Mrs. Clinton also said, “I grieve for her family, particularly her two children.” But according to India’s Economic Times, Bhutto leaves three children: son Bilawal, 19, and daughters Bakhtawar and Asifa, 17 and 14 respectively.

The Obama campaign is on to something when it suggests that Mrs. Clinton’s “experience” is not entirely an argument in her favor. In fact, it offers two arguments against her, though either one is awkward for Obama to make. The first one is illustrated by this passage from a report from Wednesday’s New York Times:

During [Bill Clinton’s] two terms in the White House, Mrs. Clinton did not hold a security clearance. She did not attend National Security Council meetings. She was not given a copy of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. She did not assert herself on the crises in Somalia, Haiti and Rwanda.

And during one of President Bill Clinton’s major tests on terrorism, whether to bomb Afghanistan and Sudan in 1998, Mrs. Clinton was barely speaking to her husband, let alone advising him, as the Lewinsky scandal sizzled.

Obama could point out that her “experience” as first lady does not make Mrs. Clinton any more qualified to be president than are Betty Ford, Rosalyn Carter, Nancy Reagan, Barbara Bush or Laura Bush. But then again, is Obama any more qualified to be president than any of these ladies? After all, he was a mere state legislator when Mrs. Clinton was finishing her fourth year in the Senate.

The other problem with Mrs. Clinton’s experience argument is that it reopens the question of whether her husband was an adequate foreign-policy president. This is from the same Times report:

Asked to cite a significant foreign policy object lesson from the 1990s, Mrs. Clinton also replied with broad observations. “There are a lot of them,” she said. “The whole unfortunate experience we’ve had with the Bush administration, where they haven’t done what we’ve needed to do to reach out to the rest of the world, reinforces my experience in the 1990s that public diplomacy, showing respect and understanding of people’s different perspectives — it’s more likely to at least create the conditions where we can exercise our values and pursue our interests.”

This is meant to be just boilerplate. But if you take Mrs. Clinton’s words seriously, they point to the fruits of her husband’s “public diplomacy” — that is to say, to the failures of his foreign policy: humiliation in Somalia, genocide in Rwanda, stalemate in Iraq, chaos in Afghanistan leading to terror attacks against America in, among other places, Kenya, Tanzania and Yemen. And it strains credulity to suggest that a breakdown in “public diplomacy” in the first 234 days of the Bush administration is what led to the attacks of Sept. 11.

So Obama could argue that Bill Clinton was a failure as a foreign-policy president. But guess how well that would go over with the Democratic primary electorate? Since Obama cannot go after Mrs. Clinton on her real substantive weaknesses, he is going to have to hope that his own personal appeal, combined with Democratic voters’ personal antipathy for her, is sufficient to win him the nomination. That it may well be, but is this any way to choose a president?

And now I leave you with these two cheery stories. One, that some American and British Muslims are celebrating Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. The other speaks of what the National Organization of Women (N.O.W. – or, as Rush likes to call them, the N.A.G.s (National Association of Gals) heheh), that wonderful American organization that champions women’s rights around the world, has to say about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto: absolutely nothing.

The Jawa Report: British Islamists Celebrate Bhutto Murder (UPDATE: American Islamists celebrate too)

James Taranto: Now or Never

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was a sort of grim feminist milestone. She was, as far as we can remember, the most important female political figure to be assassinated since Indira Gandhi in 1984. (Another was Safia Ama Jan, an official with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Women’s Affairs, who was gunned down last year.) And as silly as Hillary Clinton’s “fellow mother” comment was, she was right to describe Bhutto as “a pioneering woman” — all the more notably since South Asian Muslim societies are not as forward-looking when it comes to women’s roles as we in the West are.

So what does the National Organization for Women, America’s premier feminist organization, have to say about Bhutto’s life and death? Only this: . We did a search for “Bhutto” on NOW’s Web site and it came up empty. The top item under “Hot Topics” on NOW’s homepage is “NOW’s Naughty List: Stereotyping Toys” Here’s NOW head Kim Gandy:

Naturally the NOW office has been abuzz about the ubiquitous “Rose Petal Cottage” TV commercials. If you haven’t seen these ads, count yourself lucky. Honestly, if I didn’t know better, I would think they were beamed in from 1955, via some lost satellite in space. . . .

According to the makers at Playskool, the Rose Petal Cottage is “a place where her dreams have room to grow.” And what might those dreams be? Well, baking muffins, arranging furniture and doing the dishes. The voiceover even declares that the toy house will “entertain her imagination” just before the little girl opens the miniature washing machine and says — I kid you not — “Let’s do laundry!” . . .

Through the world of toys, girls and boys are given separate dreams to follow. Girls are prepared for a future of looking pretty, keeping house and taking care of babies. Boys are given a pass on that domain, and instead pointed toward the outside world of challenge, physical development and achievement.

NOW has a different vision. When your daughter grows up, she can follow the example of Kim Gandy: grab a broom and sweep invidious stereotypes right out of the toy aisle! International politics? That’s icky, leave it to the boys!

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December 28, 2007 , 11:27PM - Posted by | 2008 Presidential Election, Barack Obama, Benazir Bhutto, Bush Derangement Syndrome, Democrats, Fred Thompson, Hillary Clinton, Islam, Islamofascism, Jihad, Media Bias, Mike Huckabee, Muslims, N.O.W., Pakistan, Republicans, Terrorism, The Long War

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