Friday, December 28, 2007

After Benazir Bhutto: Grassroots Looters, Official Spinmeisters

The investigation into Benazir Bhutto's assassination seems to be all but wrapped up.

She wasn't killed by bullets or shrapnel. A spokesman for Pakistan's Interior Ministry, Javed Iqbal Cheema, said that all three shots missed. It wasn't the shrapnel, either. It seems that she was ducking into her vehicle when the bomb's shock wave hit her, knocking her head into a lever attached to the sunroof.

That's plausible enough, but a surgeon who was trying to save her life yesterday, Dr. Mussadiq Khan, says that she was killed by shrapnel hitting her skull.

The Pakistan Interior Ministry's report is fast work. Here in America, it can take well over 24 hours to sort out what killed someone. But then, American coroners are generally a meticulous lot, and can get almost obsessive over verifiable facts when a major public official gets assassinated.

I also don't know what cultural values might encourage officials to find a plausible cause of death other than shrapnel or bullets.

Whatever the cause of death was, the Pakistani government seems to have proof that Al Qaeda is behind Bhutto's assassination. The Taliban, too. And they've got a transcript to prove it. The Associated Press (AP) published a copy, translated into English.

One of the people in the conversation is "militant leader Baitullah Mehsud," as the AP put it. We've heard about him before: He's the Pakistani tribal bigwig and Taliban leader who said he'd have suicide bombers ready when Bhutto came back to Pakistan. Looks like he may have kept his word.

Benazir Bhutto's husband would not allow an autopsy. I can understand that: facing a loss like that, many people don't feel like having their loved one's body cut up. On the other hand, an autopsy might have given more evidence about Bhutto's death.

And, while Pakistani government officials give official statements, Pakistanis are looting banks (seven in Multan), setting trains on fire, and burning tires. From the grassroots looters to the official spinmeisters, this isn't Pakistan's finest hour.

On the other hand, I sincerely hope that American leaders don't decide to abandon Pakistan. One of the last things the world needs right now is for a country with nuclear weapons to come under the control of Al Qaeda and/or the Taliban.

Posts about Benazir Bhutto.


Ottavio (Otto) Marasco said...

As I write this I notice some breaking news about Al-Qaeda denying resposibilty. Speculation about who did it abounds.

I would strongly suggest that aid and assistance continues from Washington and the democratic process (if you could call it a) also continue on a path to elections. I am concerned that so many Pakistanis are sympathetic to terrorist bodies. In reality, what sort of result would democratic elections produce?

Palestinians voted for Hamas in Gaza, see my point? I posed the question on my blog...

Brian H. Gill said...

American Interests,

In a recent poll in Pakistan, Islamic political parties drew 4% of the electorate's support. It's a stretch to assume that the same holds for support of terrorist bodies, but I suspect that many more are afraid of the terrorists, than actually support them.

Another point on this - about 1/10,000 of the Muslims at Hajj this year were at Iran's "Death to America!" rally. (I harangue about these points a little in yesterday's post, ).

Long URL, isn't it?

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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.