Friday, January 04, 2008

Death in Rawalpindi – Bhutto Dies Hard

Anytime plots are hatched. It is mandatory that you keep the moving parts limited. The less complicated and interdepedent the linkgage of events, the better.

President Jimmy Carter's 1980 messy raid into Iran to free 53 US hostages siezed by the ayatollas was a case in point. He involved the Marines, Army Special forces, the US Navy and the US Airforce – eveything but the University Georgia's Marching band. One thing went wrong and the whole operation was destroyed before it even came close to a final assualt. It was a debacle. GW Bush with his moronic neocons developed a plot to interfer in the internal affairs of Pakistan under the rubric of fostering democracy in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto was to be their willing and compliant stalking horse. This too has developed into a debacle. For GW Bush at this stage of his presidency what is one more or less debacle?

It was obvious the Bush admistration was taking political heat big time for not killing bin Laden. So Bush tried to blame others for his failure; it was easy to blame Musharraf, the miltary dictator of Pakistan. He was not the first nor will he be the last military boss in Pakistan's short, but turbulent history. After 9/11, the Bush team bribed and blungened Musharraf with threats to cooperate with the war against the Jihadists. Musharraf really preferred the Taliban and al Qaeda; for Pakistan nurtured them as opponents of the Afghanistan Northern Alliance, a military organization that supported Pakistani arch enemy India.

And Parkistanis also liked the idea of sending Al Qaeda and Taliban to Kashmire to fight Indians as insurgents. US was permitted to use Pakistan logistically to support operations in Afghanistan. Billions were provided for military aid. Mursharraf finally did help the US to snare second tier terrorists in Parkistan, but in the last few years his enthusiam to catch Jihadists waned. It became more difficult for the Pakistanis to support US objectives as the US supplied the Indians with nuclear material which Musharraf considered a major threat. The Pakistans believed that these US nuclear materials, though for industrial use, would permit the Indians to build more nuclear weapons with their OWN uncontrolled but limited nuclear ore.
Apparently the US intentionally looked the other way, as US business interests intensly expanded accross India. Profits obviously trumpted national security.

When Musharrf pulled away from the US, Bush developed a plan to control Musharraf. Benazir Bhutto played a key role in it. Bhutto promised if she returned to power, she would insure Pakistans Nuclear weapons would be brought under UN supervision and permit NATO/US forces to pursue Jihadists into Pakistani territory; she would hunt the Jihadests down like dogs. From the US policy position she was seen as a messiah. She also promised a secular democratic rule; played into the Bush script on democracy; and made the women of the world gush over a female leader of an Islamic country. All this proved to be just another GW Bush deadly delusion.

By all standards Bhutto ostensibly was an attractive choice. A handsome woman, educated at Cambridge and Harvard, born into an influencial Pakistani family, and she had the thirst for power. Her father was prime minister of Pakistan; however, hanged for corruption. She herself was also charged with corruption, but escaped the hangmans noose through agreed exile where she remained for years until Bush brokered a deal with Musharraf for her return. She must have thought she was Napoleon returning from Elba. On her arrival to Pakistan she was greeted joyfully by thousands of anti Musharraf throngs only to face an assassination attempt that killed over 140 people. She escaped shaken. US intelligence had warned her of the dangers. The warnings were unheeded.

Musharraf declared martial law, which he soon lifted under US and international pressure. Bhutto was assassinated as she departed a mass campaign meeting in Rawalpindi a few days ago. She was killed in her blast proof, bullet proof SUV as she foolishly popped her head out the sun roof of the vehicle to appeal to the crowds that surrounded her.

Who killed and what killed her is under investigation. An autopsy would solve the "what" easily enough, but the "who" is another question. The lady was the target of many remorseless people with blood in their eye to include the Jihadists, Musharraf and, separately, the self-styled patriots who believed her to be threat to Pakistan. The fact she is dead is important to US policy as it signalled the disasterous attempt to interfer in the internal affairs of Parkistan. The fact that it backfired only complicates the US policy in the region. It is typical of Bush team's inability to face realities, take the wrong action and hide from consequences. The plan had way too many parts to ever work. Bhutto was a brillant campaigner, but a proven flop as an executive leader, so even had she survived and was democratically elected, chaos would have ensued as she tried to settle old scores with the Pakistani military establishment.

The country has strong secular elements but it is the jihadists that have suicide bombers with the fanatic following that can not be controlled democratically. Bush should have clearly learned this in Iraq and Afghanistan. The locus of power in Pakistan is the military establishment – democracy there is just a Bush/neocon delusion. Choice is to support Musharraf or his clone or send US troops forever to stabilize the area with US troops; that would mean more medals on the chest and blood on the boots. Some US choice...
Colonel Robert E Bartos USA Ret.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iran seems to like high oil prices. Does it want to go to war with the US?

Iranians threatened U.S. ships in Hormuz: Pentagon

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