“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

“A Daughter of the East.”

Benazir Bhutto. June 21, 1953 - December 27, 2007.

Benazir Bhutto is dead and Pakistan and the world are poorer for it.

Born on June 21, 1953 she was a peer to many of us who watched her as she entered the world stage. Educated in a Pakistani Catholic convent and at Radcliffe, Harvard and Oxford she was intelligent, thoughtful and articulate. She was beautiful in those early days; a woman in full bloom. She was the total package when, at 35 years old, she was elected the Prime Minister of Pakistan.

For all her privilege, her life was no bed of roses. Her father, the Prime Minister, was overthrown, convicted of conspiracy in the murder of a political opponent and hung by the Pakistani military in 1979. A brother died under mysterious circumstances in the South of France in 1980, another was killed by uniformed Pakistani police. Her husband served eight years in jail for corruption charges. She was no saint and had to flee her country amid the politics and prosecutions about corruption. It's been said that more than once, she nearly brought her country to financial ruin.

She was a modern woman and brave. When she returned to Pakistan, she knew the risks she was taking and yet she took them. She described herself as a "Daughter of the East." Today the East killed yet another daughter.


  1. She was, let us admit, very accomplished in fund transfers. But then, it's getting harder to find an honest human these days. Who would you choose, Bhutto, or Musharraf? Or someone from the phone book, like Bill Buckley recommends?

  2. Yes, Bobal but she gave it all up didn't she? She knew what fate awaited her. I think that for all her human shortcomings, she redeemed herself.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. The FOX man at the State Dept ...

    "Worse than if Musharraf had her killed, is if he was powerless to stop the assassination."

    We, being fully invested in a Dictator that is toothless, worse than being invested in one that'd ruthless.

    Mr Bolton saying WE need to tune the situation down, as if we could.

    Should we be bringing Charlie Wilson out of retirement?

    Now that the General-President is only a President, the Army may not let him stand, for long. That's Mr Frederick (Rick) D. Barton's take on the situation, he being an "expert" from CSIS

    Ten days to ten months, that's all Mr Barton puts as Mushie's future tenure as President.

    Mr Barton's resume at CSIS

  5. I think Bhutto, despite her experience, may have been naive enough to believe that Pakistan was salvageable, which it is not. An interesting comment from Steyn:

    Benazir Bhutto [Mark Steyn]

    Benazir Bhutto's return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today's events a horrible inevitability. As I always say when I'm asked about her, she was my next-door neighbor for a while - which affects a kind of intimacy, though in fact I knew her only for sidewalk pleasantries. She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be - though in practice, as Pakistan's Prime Minister, she was just another grubby wardheeler from one of the world's most corrupt political classes.

    Since her last spell in power, Pakistan has changed, profoundly. Its sovereignty is meaningless in increasingly significant chunks of its territory, and, within the portions Musharraf is just about holding together, to an ever more radicalized generation of young Muslim men Miss Bhutto was entirely unacceptable as the leader of their nation. "Everyone’s an expert on Pakistan, a faraway country of which we know everything," I wrote last month. "It seems to me a certain humility is appropriate." The State Department geniuses thought they had it all figured out. They'd arranged a shotgun marriage between the Bhutto and Sharif factions as a "united" "democratic" "movement" and were pushing Musharraf to reach a deal with them. That's what diplomats do: They find guys in suits and get 'em round a table. But none of those representatives represents the rapidly evolving reality of Pakistan. Miss Bhutto could never have been a viable leader of a post-Musharraf settlement, and the delusion that she could have been sent her to her death. Earlier this year, I had an argument with an old (infidel) boyfriend of Benazir's, who swatted my concerns aside with the sweeping claim that "the whole of the western world" was behind her. On the streets of Islamabad, that and a dime'll get you a cup of coffee.

    As I said, she was everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be. We should be modest enough to acknowledge when reality conflicts with our illusions. Rest in peace, Benazir.

  6. And you might be right too, Whit, who knows what was in her heart of hearts.

  7. Be careful, duece, you'll be out there on the fringe, with Bill Maher, way outside the lines of seriousness.

    Even for asking such a question.

    The assassin just killing a Barbie Doll

    Bet he was not wearing a uniform. So cannot even be considered a combatant, legal or otherwise.

    Like the American Taliban, John Walker Lindh, the assassin just another cowardly criminal.

    Not even John Hinckley redux.
    Ms Bhutto no Ronald Reagan.

  8. Steyn and Hewitt (shock) find W totally blameless.
    Hard heart that I am, I can't help but think of Torah Borah and the last 3 years that we stood back and allowed the Taliban to metastisize in Wahrisistan.
    Yes, Virginia, once upon a time it was a small, budding movement, safe in a friendly clime.

    Too bad we didn't have an Air Force:
    W would have showed them good if we had.
    ...all of three years ago.

  9. December 24, 2007

    [Listen Here]
    Robert Spencer, Director of JihadWatch, and Marvin Hutchens, cofounder of ThreatsWatch, debate on approaches to Muslim reform within the counterterrorism community. Moderated by guest host Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Vice President of Research, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies....

  10. WARizistan, doug.

    The post-modern spelling

  11. I thought this find by Bobal on a previous thread warranted a rerun:

    ORLANDO, FLA. -- With about 150 supporters crowded around a podium set up on the tarmac of Orlando Executive airport (and about 20 Ron Paul supporters waving signs outside) Mike Huckabee strode out to the strains of “Right Now” by Van Halen and immediately addressed the Bhutto situation, expressing “our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan.”

    Apologies? Someone should ask Mr. Huckabee what he means.

  12. At least all is well with Condi's Peace Process.
    At long last, coming to fruition after all these administrations, and the tireless work of the State Dept Professionals.

  13. I came to the same conclusion DR.

  14. Paul/Huckabee '08!
    A Nutjob and a Huckster to fill the bill!

  15. Why not a "Lone Assassin".
    Mr Bush assumes this killing part of a conspiracy, but where is the proof of that?

    All US politicos are targets of "Lone Gunman" but everywhere else, it's a conspiracy of evil doers.

    Wonder why it's spun that way, by Mr Bush, before the facts are even known.
    Or is he looking for another excuse to go ...
    ... after the usual suspects, to settle "old scores".


  16. Well Rat, if Ms Bhutto was in a motorcade through Dealy Plaza, your "lone gunman" thoughts might might some merit.

  17. There are 165 million people in Pakistan. If only 10% are, well you know...but since Pakistan is near the heart of Dixie, we can safely assume the number is much higher than 10%.

    If someone Googles up the numbers on male Pakistanis under the age of 39, we might have an idea of the magnitude of the problem.

  18. If I was a man in the street in Pakistan, I'd stay away from the funeral tomorrow, just take the day off.

  19. That one, whit, the two attempts on Reagan. Even when Squeaky was a known Manson family conspiritor, there was no conspiracy.
    Just another lone crazy.

    In Pakistan, a land of even more crazies than the US, why assume a conspiracy?

    The responsibility not laid at the gunman's feet, but everyone looking for others to blame.
    While there is no proof of a conspiracy, the name of the gunman not yet made public, let alone his life story.

    If Ms Bhutto was to be believed, the conspiracy revolves around the Pakistani President's residence.

    If she is not be believed, who else should be, who better knew her real enemies and their capabilites, than she.

    She blamed the Dictator, even before the event.

  20. The Pakistani Elections have been cancelled
    Who gained from that?

    164,741,924 (July 2007 est.)
    Age structure:
    0-14 years: 36.9%
    (male 31,264,576/female 29,507,174)
    15-64 years: 58.8%
    (male 49,592,033/female 47,327,161)
    65 years and over: 4.3%
    (male 3,342,650/female 3,708,330) (2007 est.)
    Median age:
    total: 20.9 years
    male: 20.7 years
    female: 21 years (2007 est.)

  21. Here's a prediction: In six months' time Bhutto's death will have been confirmed as thoroughly without import for everyone save the US Congress, for whom she was hastily ushered back in as window dressing.

    Thu Dec 27, 07:06:00 PM EST


    If Steyn believes State geniuses hatched this one, he needs to have his keyboard taken away.

  22. Manpower available for military service:
    males age 16-49: 39,028,014
    females age 16-49: 36,779,584 (2005 est.)
    Manpower fit for military service:
    males age 16-49: 29,428,747
    females age 16-49: 28,391,887 (2005 est.)
    Manpower reaching military service age annually:
    males age 18-49: 1,969,055
    females age 16-49: 1,849,254 (2005 est.)

  23. Even the attack in OK City, just two crazies, no larger conspiracy.

    Even when one of the crazies traveled and trained with Philipino irreconcilable Mussulmen, there was no conspiracy.

    Mr Sheuer says that the Pakistani will have to clamp down on the civil society even more, rather than take on the irreconcilable musslmen, no matter who the attacker was aligned with, or the government will fall.

  24. Upon her return to Pakistan last October after eight years in exile, Bhutto had written a letter to Musharraf—and saw to it that it was hand-delivered—warning him that if she were killed he should investigate certain officials in his government. Bhutto and her top security officials had complained repeatedly about the lax security provided by Musharraf's government. In recent days, as she stepped out for political rallies more and more ahead of the scheduled Jan. 8 national elections, her aides had warned that the jammers supplied to them by the government—intended to stop remote-controlled bomb devices—weren't working properly. from Newsweek

  25. "If Steyn believes State geniuses hatched this one, he needs to have his keyboard taken away."
    Trish is always so sure when she's right, even when she isn't.
    Like a young child.

  26. Those 9volt batteries for the jammers are expensive Albob, they tried to let them set for a week and get some more use out of them.
    Ah, well.

  27. Seems to me that a secret of success in Pakistani politics is a hell of a good security detail, and to avoid crowds.

  28. I thought they jumped the jammers off the car battery.

  29. I read somewhere she was waving through a sunroof on the vehicle.
    Not a great plan.

  30. Those jammers not capable of stopping the 7.62x39 round, no matter how fully charged they be.

  31. How many here have changed their fire alarm batteries recently?

  32. How many dead you figure at tomorrow's funeral, Doug, Rat? I'm thinking 100 +-.

  33. Michael Savage and Pat Buchannon are saying Musharraf wasn't behind it, makes things worse for him.

  34. Savage is saying our lady used to support the Taliban...wanting to extend Paki influence in Afghanistan.

  35. If those two are right, it's worse for US.

    We've wasted $Billions USD,
    unless it was a lone gunman.

    But Mr Bush says he was not.
    So it's money down the toilet.

    Got US a toothless Dictator,
    instead of a ruthless one.

  36. That WAS Pakistani Policy, bob, for years.
    They considered it "Strategic Depth" in their ongoing conflict with India.

  37. "Trish is always so sure when she's right, even when she isn't."

    Oh it'll all start pouring out, Doug. The Old Man's on his way out. Don't nobody need to be nice about it.

  38. Both gentlemen think democracy in Pakistan is bad gas. Evidently this assassination took place in the most secure military city in Pakistan, kind of like an assassination in West Point.

  39. The Policy implemented by the Army and it's Intel Service, the ISI.

    Which, much like the CIA, operates independently of elected officials, once the job is begun.

    Which is what made the Charlie Wilson story so interesting. It ran against the grain of status que behaviour.

  40. Both gentlemen say the Hindus are more frightened of this situation than we are.

  41. Those Canucks are saving our bacon, eh?

    FRESNO, Calif. - The grounding of hundreds of F-15s because of dangerous structural defects is straining the nation's air defense network, forcing some states to rely on their neighbors' fighter jets for protection, and Alaska to depend on the Canadian military

  42. "Got 'em hardwired, doug"
    And when the Big One (unspecified) knocks out the power, then what?

  43. Photo

    I've never seen a President in the flesh. Ike came through Walla Walla, Washington sometime in the 50's, riding on the back of a convertible, waving to the crowd. Alas, longing for a simpler time.

  44. They are in range of the Shaheen missile systems, we are not.

    How does a Dictator stop civil unrest, but with a conflict against the foreign "other"?

    When the War on Terror is considered a "Civil War" by many Pakistanis. Not a nationalistic flag to rally around, by any means.

  45. I'll be awake and watching, not depending on old 9volt batteries ...

  46. That's one of the benefits of the SPP just now coming to light, Ms F.

  47. Here's a great series, Francine:

    Far From Battlefield, Marines Lose One-Third of Harrier Fleet

    After that and the Osprey, I think the Marines should let the Navy pick their Aircraft.
    (I'd give em updated A-10's)

    Somehow the F-18 has a better record than the air force, even with carrier operations.

  48. He WAS in a simpler time, AlBob!
    Surprised he was unaware.

  49. You plan to be at the funeral, AlBob?

  50. There in spirit only, Doug. Bearing out on the Lear Jet, you know.

  51. Just send those Carbon Offset Payments to ol Al-AlohaDoug, AlBob:
    They'll be well-spent, er, invested.


    Francine striking a pose?

  53. Francine,

    Butt plugs please, we're British!
    (Just a word of warning,.. err,.. advice).

  54. Metuselah, what in the name of G-d inspired you to post that?

  55. Francine,

    Why would you ask? You're not a prude, are you?

  56. Anyway, I think it's safe to say, no one likes to be fscked with.

  57. Wretch has another thread on the Kitty, which I promptly buried in my enthusiasm, Francine.
    I like these two from an earlier thread:
    tckurd said...
    "We don't know why he went to the zoo." This is a quote from Carlos Souza Sr., the father of the young man who died.

    From this, something starts to form - why would 3 young twenty-somethings go to the zoo? This is not the likely place for young men to hang out to pick up young women, is it?

    So, on CHRISTMAS DAY, just days after a siberian tiger was beheaded in a Chi-Comm Zoo, why do a bunch of kids go to the zoo when they never go to zoos? To perpetrate.

    I want a rundown on their cell phones, what video is in them, what IM's were sent, etc. I want to know how much of this was done for our YouTube audience out there.

    The question is, who would sue whom? If I were the zoo, I'd sue YouTube, the Cell Phone manufacturer, and the parents. You can sue AlGore(tm) too for creating the internet used as the transport.

    12/27/2007 12:08:00 PM

    Dublin Saab said...
    I once had a 975 lb. male Siberian tiger named "Nikita" grab a hold of my arm with his mouth. Fortunately for me he was merely being playful as I had not been taunting him. He let go of my arm and then rolled over on his side and batted at me like a like kitten.

    I backed away, slowly, and thus ended my career as a big cat trainer.

  58. What on Earth has come over you, Mat?
    (AlBob "knows" it's otherworldly)

  59. I liked Tes! That's what, Doug.

  60. "A cross between Dracula and Lee Iacocca: AUTOEXEC.BAT"
    Penn Jillette used to write for Personal Computing Mag:

    In the Pre-911 days, one of his posts was on an AUTOEXEC.BAT that would countdown to "detonation" when the Airline folks asked you to turn it on!

  61. Bhutto was a grifter in the Clinton tradition. Self over country. Raid the public treasury to enrich yourself and your buddies while the rest of the country falls to shit.

    I mourn her as much as I would mourn Hilary getting KO'd by a safe falling on her head.

    Bhutto was a crafty politician that cozied up to the musselman crazies when it suited her needs. As of this week, they no longer suited her needs and she thought she could win with the doctors and lawyers alone.

    Guess that didn't work out for her.

    Bummer for the "democratic process" in Pakistan though.

    Seems more like politics as usual since Pak has had some kind of dictatorship for 35 of its 60 official years, with peaceful transitions of power being the exception, not the rule.

    Bhutto wasn't mother Teresa, as the western press is about to make her out to be. What she would be able to accomplish as PM without support of the army is questionable. I rather think that she would end up reverting to old habits once comfortably in power again.

    Past performance being the best predictor of future behavior.

    Will Mush start kicking ass in the NWFP? Why should he? Elections are canceled and he's good to go. If he vanquishes the enemy, there goes the need for billions of American dollars to fight them.

    I gotta go with Trish on this one. Isn't a damn thing that will change in Pak anytime soon because of this. The number one priority for US is that there is stability in Pak and those nukes remain in responsible hands.

    Taking on the musselmen in the NWFP will do neither.

    Nod to DR - Status Que all the way.e

  62. "Brawling Priests Break Bethlehem Peace" bpbbp

    Sorry, this is best I can do--image

    If anyone finds a video, please post it.

  63. I mourn her as much as I would mourn Hilary getting KO'd by a safe falling on her head.

    he,he, kinda like that image....

  64. Safe filled with campaign contributions falls from ceiling, killing mourns untimely death...USA in chaos...CIVIL WAR?

  65. Bob,

    Broom Scuffle In Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity:

  66. I'm with trish and brodiddy. She would not have accomplished anything. Pakistan is not going democratic. Musharraf is going to come to the conclusion that the era of US enthusiasm for democracy has been eclispsed by a longing for stability. Now let's see if we can elect a president that knows some history and will realize that we do not have to be everywhere all the time.

  67. Kudos for Trish on stating the obvious:
    She still might be wrong about Steyn.
    ...not that she'd ever admit it.

  68. Whether or not Benazir Bhutto would have been an effective PM, and whatever her mistakes of the past, a lot of people in Pakistan are upset right now, and they are scared because al-Qaeda has demonstrated it can penetrate Musharraf's "security" with a suicide attack, which makes people think Uncle Pervie is in cahoots with the Cave-dwelling I'm not ready to gloat.

  69. Mat, that video seemed to stop right before the fun was going to break out, but thanks for the lead.

  70. Mat, that video seemed to stop right before the fun was going to break out, but thanks for the lead.

  71. Hitchens writes a pretty good piece. Seems Ms Bhutto can lie with as straight a face as Hillary. Or maybe they believe their own lies.


  72. 2164th said...

    for crowd control , I guess.

    I like it.

  73. The M-16 Assault Rifle 4 The Nuclear Rifle
    Had these, and almost every other Nuke in So. Korea.

  74. "Kudos for Trish on stating the obvious"

    Kudos to my son. And if he's right, I owe him a buck.

  75. Maybe it's a good thing. Maybe she will do more for Pakistan dead than alive. She did little for the Pakistani poor before, and she won't have been able to do much for them now, but dead, with the terrorists to blame, maybe it will keep most of the people from joining up with them, turn them against the jihadis, who have taken their heroine away. She's bigger than life now, the woman who stood for the poor against the jihadi, killed by the jihadi.

  76. Max Boot says the most radical Islamist Party got 4% of the vote last time.

  77. Bob,

    NP. Old men with pony tails and broom sticks. How bad could it be? :D

  78. No Country for Old Men:

  79. It’s good vs evil. There's no winner. You get to watch.