Friday, December 28, 2007

Pyrrhic Victory, Anyone? Another Thought on the Bhutto Assassination

Looks like Pakistan's President Musharraf is fingering Al Qaeda in Benazir Bhutto's assassination.

Whoever killed Bhutto, they certainly achieved their short-term goal of killing her. Their longer-term goal was almost certainly to remove a popular, non-Islamist leader who was willing to deal with the "great Satan America."

The bad guys won the battle.

But this may be a case of 'win the battle, lose the war.' People who mourned Bhutto's death chanted, "as long as the moon and sun are alive, so is the name of Bhutto" at the mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.

But, the bad guys created a martyr. I'm not talking about the guy who was probably looking forward to 72 virgins in a celestial whoopee house.
  • Alive, Bhutto might or might not have made an effective Pakistani leader - again.
  • Dead, Bhutto may become a symbol and rallying point for Pakistanis who want something more democratic and tolerant than what the likes of Al Qaeda have to offer.
Bhutto's death could be what it takes, for grassroots leaders in Pakistan to give their country a representative, responsive government.

Related posts, on Individuals and the War on Terror.

Posts about Benazir Bhutto.
(As a one-time historian, I can't help showing off. Gaining a short-term goal at the cost of a long-term goal isn't anything new. Back in the nineteenth century, "Pyrrhic victory" was coined to describe the situation. A little over two millennia ago, the king of Epirus, Pyrrhus, won a battle with Roman forces. "If I win a victory in one more battle with the Romans, I shall not have left a single soldier of those who crossed over with me" was his reaction.)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.