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YOU'RE NOT IN KANSAS ANYMORE, FOLKS

Aside from a comment I made this morning on a friend’s journal, I’ve waited to say something about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. After hearing the mealy-mouthed insipid comments from the likes Senator Clinton, Mike Huckabee, Ron Paul, Rudy Giuliani, et al, I have to say what you probably won’t hear anywhere else.

To begin with, at times like this, politicians remind me of all these late-night talk show hosts who can’t speak unless they have 85 writers cranking out scripts for them, with their sound bites and expressions of “shock and sadness” and hopes for "free elections", etc. Shocked? Are you kidding me? You didn't see this coming and you want to be President?

The worst, IMHO, is always self-serving Mrs. Clinton trying to capitalize on Bhutto’s death by releasing a photo of them together, telling how she’d known Bhutto for “a dozen years”, then spinning a lot of doubletalk about people coming together and how much danger there is in promoting democracy. Oh, now that's a brilliant observation! Like in Iraq maybe, Senator Clinton, where you and your ilk don’t think it is worth the trouble or danger?

Any suggestions? Other than Bill Richardson demanding Musharref resign and having a nuclear nation of 170 million people in chaos? Remember when Jimmy Carter turned his back on the Shah of Iran?

Remember these quotes?

“Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint.” - Andrew Young, U.N. Ambassasor under Carter

“Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure.” - William Sullivan, Carter's Iranian ambassador

"Khomeini is not a mad mujahid, but a man of impeccable integrity and honesty.” - James Bill, Carter adviser

http://www.cartoonstock.com/newscartoons/cartoonists/gfo/lowres/gfon127l.jpg

Oh, I forgot. The Iowa caucus is in seven days. You don't want to show any leadership skills for fear of saying something controversal.

Of course she didn’t go out on a limb and actually say that we should help Pakistan in the pursuit of democracy, only that it's dangerous, and we'd "stand" with them, so don’t think she didn’t allow for some wiggle room. Her comment was apparently thought up on-the-fly before her advisors could figure out a more meaningful poll-driven response, so she did have an excuse for saying nothing. More and more she is being exposed as an empty pants suit. I can't wait until the "Gimmie" voters put her finger on the nuclear button.

I heard John Edwards, the boyish trial lawyer, placed a phone call to Musharraf. You know, Edwards, the one who said the war on terror was a "bumper sticker slogan". I'll bet that was a treat. Wonder what was on his mind?

The rest of the candidates were no better, however, mostly gibberish and double-talk. Mike Huckabee waxed eloquent about how grateful we should be that we live in a stable democracy.

Yes, Mike. I am grateful to the men and women who have sacrificed and died to keep us free from tyranny. Now how about you and everyone else start demanding we secure our borders to keep out the same elements who want to destroy us like they did Ms. Bhutto? At least Mitt Romney had the guts to say out loud that this was a grim reminder that the source of this outrage was connected to radical Islamic extremism, demonstrating what a threat it still presented to us and people of good will, and how it needs to be confronted.

And let me be clear about my opinions of Benazir Bhutto. She was, first of all, no Mother Theresa. The media won’t discuss her family’s past much if at all, preferring to portray her simply as a beautiful, charismatic, sympathetic, educated, selfless and idealistic woman - which in many ways she seemed to be. We'll never know now.

The fact is that she grew up in a political dynasty, and her family and later her husband were steeped in corruption. She and her husband, who spent years in prison, are said to have funneled billions of dollars out of the country. Ask any Pakistanis you might run across how bad it was under the Bhuttos before they fled to this country.

That said, if you hear her words in many of the interviews I have read, she seems to have had a genuine concern from her country, wanted true reform, decried radical terrorism, and expressed a desire to create a freer and more tolerant and democratic Pakistan. I had hopes that, now in her fifties, and after time to reflect (maybe after her photo-ops with Hillary), perhaps she realized that her poor country existed as more than her own personal fiefdom. Her expressed desire for reform and tolerance made her many enemies among the former hard-line extremists she once “supported”, at least for political reasons.

Maybe she was caught up with her own sense of self as a historic and galvanizing figure. It’s hard to identify with people who grow up with a sense of entitlement. But she certainly showed guts in returning from exile to what she must surely have known was a viper pit, having received death threats from radical Islamic extremists after barely escaping another assassination attempt after her return.

Unfortunately, the same forces of madness that try to destroy anything that is sane, that celebrates human dignity and individualism, that recognizes freedom and independent thought, could not and would not let this enormously popular woman exist. The world's condemnation of Musharraf for trying to maintain order by discouraging her from appearing in public, etc., ironically, probably contributed to her murder. She must have known that, like John Kennedy, riding exposed in an open car through crowds of people was an invitation for disaster. How sad.

My guess is the story will soon turn to the grandeur of a state funeral, celebrating her life while downplaying her flaws and scars, until the political advisors can figure out how to either defuse the issue or spin it to their political advantage. She might become the new Princess Di, maybe start a new cottage industry.

Those who recognize the significance of what happened, what this could mean here, and what should be done, will be ignored, ridiculed or dismissed. Already, some are blaming Musharraf, who stood to gain absolutely nothing from her death. Ger ready for the conspiracy theories. Ridiculous! People are so easily mislead. The man has been targeted for asassination half a dozen times himself, from the same elements no doubt.

And here in America, I see no leadership anymore. There will be finger pointing, chest beating, and the renting of clothes until the dust settles. Then we will move on to something else or stick our heads in the sand. It'll soon be forgotten, but only to arise again as a more serious problem to deal with later. The empty suits and skirts will talk, encourage dialog, reach agreements, profess their tolerance, promote understanding, and then pretend nothing is happening, all the while madness spreads and madmen seek to obtain nuclear material and even weapons from under their noses.

Ron Paul says we should sit by and mind our own business. I wonder what Dennis Kucinich has to say? Forget about Bill Richardson, and all the U.S. is to blame gang. These people are a disgrace, and so are the people who elect them into such high levels of power. They are all clueless! God help us!

People will one day call for special commissions to ask, “Why didn’t you connect the dots?” If there’s a civilization left to ask those questions, of course. And if not, won’t the rest of those left be oh so angry?

Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
mr_ed1966
Dec. 28th, 2007 06:30 am (UTC)
A very thoughtful reflection upon today's events. I'm still trying to wrap my own head around the implications of the assassination. I appreciate your BS-filtered perspective; it definitely has me thinking in different directions! You've put voice to some of the contradictory vibes that I was feeling as I read reports throughout the day.
metaphorsbwithu
Dec. 28th, 2007 03:41 pm (UTC)
Given more time I might have expressed things more clearly with fewer words. I sometimes prefer to express or hear raw reactions, however, when the feelings expressed are more authentic and less contrived. I already have seen how different some of the "official" statements of several candidates are from their spoken responses shortly after they learned what happened.

I used the Iranian parallel because, having had a small understanding of radical Islam back in the 1970's (they didn't know the differences between Shiites and Sunnis either), I marveled how little politicians and people understood their mindset and the psychologies of the peoples in that region. Almost 30 years later, they still don't know and still continue to play their political games, the security of Pakistan, the U.S., and the world be damned.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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