“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."

Friday, December 28, 2007

Fixing Pakistan, Unintended Consequences.

Final moments (click to enlarge)

Bhutto Family Mausoleum

Bhutto has been martyred. The doctor who declared her to no longer be alive used the words. Benazir Bhutto was used in life to get back in a game where she probably did not belong. Who used her? We will find out more over the next days and weeks.

You can be sure of one thing. She was given assurances that were not met. Whatever they were, she also had her own reasons for leaving a pleasant safe life to make her audacious move back into Pakistani politics. Her personal history contained some unfinished business.

Unfinished business is a huge motivator. We will soon see how the process she started evolves. With each day, we will get further from the truth. Further? Yes, because the immediate future of Pakistan can take many turns. The manipulation has begun and will continue, to suit the purposes of the political spin masters. 

The White House announced that she has died for "Democracy". That's fine, but I have one observation. When the Shah started to lose power in Iran, President Carter intervened to control the outcome. Could things have been made made any worse in Iran with the US staying out of the mix? I doubt it and I doubt it will be any different this time. 

Salvaging U.S. Diplomacy Amid Division

Published: December 28, 2007
WASHINGTON — The assassination of Benazir Bhutto on Thursday left in ruins the delicate diplomatic effort the Bush administration had pursued in the past year to reconcile Pakistan’s deeply divided political factions. Now it is scrambling to sort through ever more limited options, as American influence on Pakistan’s internal affairs continues to decline.

On Thursday, officials at the American Embassy in Islamabad reached out to members of the political party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, according to a senior administration official. The very fact that officials are even talking to backers of Mr. Sharif, who they believe has too many ties to Islamists, suggests how hard it will be to find a partner the United States fully trusts.

The assassination highlighted, in spectacular fashion, the failure of two of President Bush’s main objectives in the region: his quest to bring democracy to the Muslim world, and his drive to force out the Islamist militants who have hung on tenaciously in Pakistan, the nuclear-armed state considered ground zero in President Bush’s fight against terrorism, despite the administration’s long-running effort to root out Al Qaeda from the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.

Administration officials say the United States still wants the Pakistani elections to proceed, either as scheduled on Jan. 8 or soon after. But several senior administration officials acknowledged that President Pervez Musharraf may decide to put off the elections if the already unstable political climate in Pakistan deteriorates further.

The administration official said American Embassy officials were trying to reach out to Pakistani political players across the board in the aftermath of the Bhutto assassination.

“Look, most of the people in Musharraf’s party came out of Nawaz’s party,” the official said, referring to Mr. Sharif and speaking on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivities. While he acknowledged that an alliance between Mr. Sharif and Mr. Musharraf was unlikely given the long enmity between the men, he added, “I wouldn’t predict anything in politics.”

Foreign policy analysts and diplomats said that if there were one thing that Ms. Bhutto’s assassination has made clear, it was the inability of the United States to manipulate the internal political affairs of Pakistan. Even before the assassination, the United States had limited influence and did not back Ms. Bhutto to the hilt.

“We are a player in the Pakistani political system,” said Wendy Chamberlin, a former United States ambassador to Pakistan, adding that as such, the United States was partly to blame for Mr. Musharraf’s dip in popularity. But, she added: “This is Pakistan. And Pakistan is a very dangerous and violent place.”

That said, Pakistan has never been more important for the United States than it is right now as it teeters on the edge of internal chaos. Bush administration officials have been trying mightily to balance the American insistence that Pakistan remain on the path to democracy and Mr. Musharraf’s unwillingness to risk unrest that would allow Al Qaeda and the Taliban to operate more freely, particularly with American and NATO troops next door in Afghanistan.

That is why the administration had been fighting so hard, amid skepticism from many of its allies, to broker an agreement in which the increasingly unpopular Mr. Musharraf would share power with Ms. Bhutto after presidential and parliamentary elections. American officials viewed the power-sharing proposal partly as a way to force Mr. Musharraf onto a democratic path, and partly to relieve the growing pressure for his ouster.

On the basis of that plan, Ms. Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after eight years of self-imposed exile.

But the power-sharing deal never came to fruition, as the increasingly besieged Mr. Musharraf imposed a series of autocratic measures that left him politically weakened.

Administration officials continued to prod Ms. Bhutto toward an arranged marriage with Mr. Musharraf even during the emergency rule. Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte traveled to Pakistan in November, and spoke by telephone to Ms. Bhutto while Mr. Musharraf had her under house arrest. With both sides balking at the power-sharing deal — an agreement one Bush official acknowledged was “like putting two pythons in the same cage” — Mr. Negroponte continued to push Ms. Bhutto to agree to the plan, according to members of Ms. Bhutto’s political party.

“I think it was insane,” said Teresita Schaffer, a Pakistan expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, of the proposed alliance. “I don’t think Musharraf ever wanted to share power.”

Until this week, Bush administration officials were still hoping that Mr. Musharraf and Ms. Bhutto would form an alliance between their political parties after Pakistan’s Jan. 8 elections, which would bring about as close to a pro-American governing coalition in Pakistan as the United States was likely to get.

The Bhutto assassination upends that plan, but Bush administration officials on Thursday had still not given up hope that Mr. Musharraf may be able to strike a ruling coalition with whoever becomes Ms. Bhutto’s successor in her Pakistan Peoples Party.

The problem with that scenario, though, is that Pakistani political parties are much more about strong, powerful individuals — like Mr. Musharraf, Ms. Bhutto, or Mr. Sharif — than about the parties themselves. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice telephoned Ms. Bhutto’s second-in-command, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, to offer sympathy, and she pledged to continue to support elections in Pakistan, administration officials said.

Mr. Bush’s continued strong support for Mr. Musharraf could further erode his already declining popular support, even if the administration still sees his leadership as the best guarantor of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

“The danger is the centrist elements of Pakistan will be so demoralized,” said Stephen P. Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. He criticized the administration for not nurturing Pakistan’s opposition for so long after Mr. Musharraf’s coup in 1999. He expressed hope that the United States could still urge moderate parties to ally themselves with Mr. Musharraf, forming a governing coalition, assuming that the elections go ahead.

“It should wake up anybody who thinks that Pakistan is a stable country and that we can deal only with Musharraf,” Mr. Cohen said of the assassination.

Ms. Schaffer and other Pakistan experts say the administration was making a mistake by viewing Mr. Sharif with suspicion. They said that he was a moderate who will work with the United States in the fight against terrorism, citing his cooperation with Clinton administration.

Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, was in Islamabad with Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy, Democrat of Rhode Island, on a scheduled trip and preparing to meet Ms. Bhutto at 9 p.m. Thursday when the news of the bombing broke. They watched the news in their hotel, with initial reports that she had escaped injury giving way to confirmation of her death.

“I think our foreign policy relied on her personality as a stabilizing force,” Mr. Specter told reporters by telephone.

“Now, without her, we have to regroup.”

Helene Cooper reported from Washington, and Steven Lee Myers from Crawford, Tex. David E. Sanger contributed reporting from Vermont and David Rohde from New York.


  1. “We are a player in the Pakistani political system,” said Wendy Chamberlin, a former United States ambassador to Pakistan ...

    Seems that the Huck was more right than wrong, to apologize for US actions, in regards Ms Bhutto's position, in Pakistan.

  2. ". Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte traveled to Pakistan in November, and spoke by telephone to Ms. Bhutto while Mr. Musharraf had her under house arrest. With both sides balking at the power-sharing deal — an agreement one Bush official acknowledged was “like putting two pythons in the same cage” — Mr. Negroponte continued to push Ms. Bhutto to agree to the plan, according to members of Ms. Bhutto’s political party."
    The writers and members of Ms. Bhutto’s political party are simply wrong:
    Trish has declared the State Dept was not involved/implicated, so that's established FACT.

  3. "Ms. Schaffer and other Pakistan experts say the administration was making a mistake by viewing Mr. Sharif with suspicion. They said that he was a moderate who will work with the United States in the fight against terrorism, citing his cooperation with Clinton administration."
    Pakistan experts, eh?
    It's my understanding that Mr Sharif is much more of an Islamic Conservative, and far from being an ideal allie.

  4. Why she felt so invulnerable is a mystery:
    Poking her head out of the vehicle
    "to be closer to the people"
    cost her her life.


  5. But, she added: “This is Pakistan. And Pakistan is a very dangerous and violent place.”

    Well, at least someone gets it.

    Too bad we keep pretending that it's not.

    Mush will leave office either in handcuffs or as chunks of flesh from a car bomb.

    There will be no peaceful transition of power in his case.

  6. Now the fun starts.

    Renegade Commando Units Possibly Involved in Bhutto Killing


    "Over at the New York Sun, Eli Lake reports on a possibility that I have also heard about from sources within government:

    The attack yesterday at Rawalpindi bore the hallmarks of a sophisticated military operation. At first, Bhutto's rally was hit by a suicide bomb that turned out to be a decoy. According to press reports and a situation report of the incident relayed to The New York Sun by an American intelligence officer, Bhutto's armored limousine was shot by multiple snipers whose armor-piercing bullets penetrated the vehicle, hitting the former premier five times in the head, chest, and neck. Two of the snipers then detonated themselves shortly after the shooting, according to the situation report, while being pursued by local police. A separate attack was thwarted at the local hospital where Bhutto possibly would have been revived had she survived the initial shooting. . . . A working theory, according to this American source, is that Al Qaeda or affiliated jihadist groups had effectively suborned at least one unit of Pakistan's Special Services Group, the country's equivalent of Britain's elite SAS commandos. . . . "They just killed the most protected politician in the whole country," this source said. "We really don't know a lot at this point, but the first thing that is happening is we are asking the Pakistani military to account for every black team with special operations capabilities."

    Lake's source stressed to him that "this was just a theory at this point": early reports about situations such as the Bhutto assassination are, in general, unreliable."


    Neck and chest shot sounded like pretty good aim from a guy supposedly on the move and firing up into a moving target.

    Be interesting to see how this develops...

  7. A Photographer’s Account
    John Moore was covering the rally at which Ms. Bhutto was assassinated.

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. "Neck and chest shot sounded like pretty good aim from a guy supposedly on the move and firing up into a moving target."

    On Fox they showed a bloody hand gun on the ground. If you look at the photos of the crowds around the car, ( I just published the new photo montage), it is difficult to see how an assassin could get that close to the car with that crowd and do all that with a handgun. The shooter would have to have been lingering around the car, prior to her getting there. That is inconceivable unless it was a member of her guard, like Sadat. It would have made more sense while she was walking to the car.
    It is very bad luck if she reached the safety of her armored vehicle, opened the sun roof, and made herself a target, and the shooter pushed his way to the car.

    If the sunroof were left open, she could have impulsively stood up. It all seems a little too clever a coincidence.

  10. Moore says previous appearances were small and not previously announced.
    This one had been announced weeks in advance, w/large crowds.
    Not the ideal place to poke your head up, she was carried away by the crowd/reaction to her passionate Anti-Terror Speech.

    Far cry from Harvard, wearing a Rolling Stones T-Shirt, but Bill Bennet was there, as were others on the right.
    (Not too stoned to notice, IOW)
    ...although Bill was not yet on the right!

  11. I'd guess the plan was to blow her up.
    She provided a more certain target for a bullet.

  12. Well the shooter, or one of the, blew himself up. There are those in the crowd next to the car will cell phone cameras. We shall learn more soon.

  13. No bullet, head injury killed Benazir: Pak govt

    Friday December 28, 07:23 PM
    New Delhi: Mystery shrouds the death of former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto. In an explosive revelation, Pakistan's Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz on Friday said that Bhutto did not die of bullet wounds.

    Nawaz said that Bhutto died from a head injury. At least seven doctors from the Rawalpindi General Hospital – where the leader was rushed immediately after the attack – say there were no bullet marks on Bhutto's body.

    The doctors have submitted a report to the Pakistan government in which they say that no post-mortem was performed on Bhutto’s body and they had not received any instructions to perform one.

    “The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically ssyas there’s no wound other than that,” Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel.

  14. Yet Moore reports hearing the shots seeing her go down, THEN starts the video capture of the explosion.
    Don't add up!

  15. We don't need no stinking post-mortem!

  16. Doug: Poking her head out of the vehicle "to be closer to the people"
    cost her her life.

    That's a lesson even a beloved pope like JP2 had to learn.

  17. Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007

    Ms. Bhutto's marriage to Asif Ali Zardari in 1987 was arranged by her mother, a fact that Ms. Bhutto has often said was easily explained, even for a modern, highly educated Pakistani woman. To be acceptable to the Pakistani public as a politician, she could not be a single woman, and what was the difference, she asked, between such a marriage and computer dating?

    Ms. Bhutto at a news conference in 1988 in front of a poster of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. In addition, her two brothers suffered violent deaths.

  18. Huckabee's muzzle control problem

    by Jim Tankersley

    Republican Mike Huckabee took his presidential campaign for a quick pheasant-hunting expedition in Iowa on Wednesday, and at one point, a reporter asked why he hadn’t invited sporting enthusiast Dick Cheney along. "Because I want to survive all the way through this," Huckabee replied, in a chuckling dig at the vice president’s accidental shooting of a quail-hunting partner last year.

    Any good sportsman, though, couldn’t miss a distinctly Cheneyesque moment in the press accounts of the former Arkansas governor’s morning hunt: At one point, Huckabee’s party turned toward a cluster of reporters and cameramen and, when they kicked up a pheasant, fired shotgun blasts over the group’s heads.

    This, friends, is dangerously bad hunting form.

    Your Swamp correspondent, the son of a longtime hunter education instructor, grew up plying the corn rows and stream banks of rural Oregon with a Labrador retriever and a Mossberg 20-gauge pump shotgun. On our hunts for pheasant, grouse and quail, merely swinging a gun barrel in the general direction of another person was grounds for day-long banishment to the truck (which smelled like wet dog).

    Suffice to say, if any of our hunting mates had pulled a stunt like Huckabee’s yesterday, we never would have invited them back. It’s the sort of behavior that drives safety-conscious hunters up the wall, because it reinforces a reckless, gun-totin’ stereotype.
    My colleague James Oliphant reports that Huckabee’s party was about 75 yards away from the press corps Wednesday when a pheasant jumped up and flew toward the reporters, drawing several shots. “That was too close,” he reports a cameraman saying.

    Perhaps Huckabee missed hunter’s safety classes – Arkansas only requires them for hunters born after 1968 – but the etiquette on this point is clear.

    “Never point a firearm at yourself or others,” the International Hunter Education Association declares in its Basic Safety Rules. Later, it adds, “Never point your firearm at something you do not intend to shoot. Make sure you positively identify what you are shooting at and know what lies in front of and beyond it.”

    Huckabee emerged happily from his hunt, three dead pheasants in tow, Oliphant reports. Asked for a metaphor to describe the hunt, he replied, "Don't get in my way. This is what happens."

  19. The reporters should demand an apology.

  20. One must admit, that mausoleum, pretty fancy digs.

  21. It is easier to apologize in the abstract, for US all, than for a particular error in personal judgement.

  22. The Benazir Bhutto I knew
    I knew Benazir well. I am often blamed by her supporters for having helped bring her government down in 1996 by exposing her hypocrisy and corruption in two Wall Street Journal Op-Ed pieces. We remained in touch over the years after she went into exile, even developing a begrudging respect for each other over time. She struck me as a terribly conflicted person who deep in her heart wanted to save Pakistan from its evils, but was unable to put her personal lifestyle choices aside in doing so. But I firmly believe that she loved Pakistan, and for all her faults, had returned there this time to turn a new page in its troubled political history. We should remember her for her courage to stand up in the face of incalculable odds to bring some semblance of sanity to the disaster that Pakistan has become.

    Her death need not be the beginning of Pakistan's end.
    By Mansoor Ijaz

  23. "Trish has declared the State Dept was not..."

    ...the one that made the decision to bring Ms. Democracy back to Pakistan. Bhutto was Dumbo-dropped to mollify the morons in Congress and keep the appropriations flowing - a policy decision that certainly didn't originate with Foggy Bottom, much less the country team.

    Smells like...Bush flunky.

    Bhutto was a bad card rehabilitated for US domestic purposes. DOS could give a damn, but for any shit they might have to eat for it.

  24. Another viewer that disagrees with the GOP/Reaganite line that "Charlie Wilson's War" laid Osama on the Republican's doorstep

    But the film stops well short of blaming the U.S. for creating conditions that led to 9/11. As Mr. Wilson says, not a single Afghan has participated in any attack against the U.S.
    Mr. Wilson, 74, is now mending nicely from a heart transplant. He is generous with praise for his comrades-in-skulduggery. "We won because there was no partisanship or damaging leaks," he emphasizes. But he believes that nothing like the Afghan operation could survive today's poisonous Washington atmosphere.

    Tom Hanks, who plays Mr. Wilson in the film, has fretted that he, screenwriter Aaron Sorkin and director Mike Nichols will be attacked by the right as "a bunch of Democrats who are taking potshots at the war in Iraq." He needn't worry. Mr. Hanks and his fellow filmmakers have produced a rousing paean to America's can-do spirit. They have resisted the temptation to comment on any current U.S. foreign policy missteps and highlighted how, not so long ago, one ornery congressman and a few friends helped change the world.

    Mr. Fund is a columnist for

  25. "...her passionate Anti-Terror Speech."


  26. Dang, if any of that birdshot had hit a reporter, it would have been the end of the Huckster's campaign.

    Shooting reporters is a no-no, in American politics. Even if it shouldn't be.:)

  27. Meanwhile, Real History is being made each and every minute, right here in the USA.

  28. "Another viewer that disagrees with the GOP/Reaganite line that "Charlie Wilson's War" laid Osama on the Republican's doorstep..."

    I wasn't aware that it's the GOP/Reaganite line. Rather I've observed the opposite.

    It is not true that Afghanistan gave us bin Laden and AQ. But it is also not true that today's (bought and paid for) good guys will stay that way, or that bad guys (bought and paid for) aren't often enough the very best antidote at hand in a pinch. (This is the nature of your defense policy. Period. The alternative is Ron Paul, and I hear him derided every day as a kook.)

    You can diminish blowback in a world that isn't yet generally populated by Rotarians and PTA committee members. You can't rid yourself of it.

  29. The Pakistani Illiteracy rate, per cent of population, for males over 15 is a staggering 39%, in a male dominated Islamic country. There are 80 million males. Those educated in madrassas are considered literate. There are 10,000 madrassas

    For woman in the same category the illiteracy rate is 68%. This is a candidate for democracy?

  30. When Carter criticized Bush, it clearly was self-hatred on James Earl's side.

  31. Fasten your seat belts and get ready for this:

    The Pakistan Government tonight claimed that Benazir Bhutto did not die from bullet wounds, as previously thought, but from hitting the sunroof of her campaign vehicle.

    The dramatic statement came as the murdered political leader's funeral drew to a close and the violence that has convulsed the country since her death intensified.

    The interior ministry said at a press conference that video of Ms Bhutto's last moments and an examination by doctors had shown that Ms Bhutto died apparently accidentally, as a suicide bomb blast went off at her political rally in Rawalpindi last night, killing around 20 people. No full post mortem examination had been carried out at the request of Ms Bhutto's husband, it was reported.

    Brigadier Javed Cheema, a ministry spokesman, said Ms Bhutto had died from a head wound after smashing against the sunroof’s lever as she tried to shelter inside her car. “There is no evidence of any foreign element in her body," Brigadier Cheema said. “No bullet hit her, nor any splinters hit her. Unfortunately, it was to be that way.

    "I wish she had not come out of the roof top of her vehicle."

    Me too.

  32. It wouldn't seem so, deuce, but you got to start somewhere. Who creates the literacy test? Many of us here would disenfranchise one another on the charge of being bumbling fools, and we'd probably be right to do so, but which bumbling fools?

    Please don't answer that.
    Obviously, a lawsuit against the automobile manufacturer is in order. Calling Ralph Nader...

  33. Not so fast Bob, yesterday the Pakis were saying al-Qaida and the Taliban did it. Did they install the sunroof?

  34. If the sunroof did it, that is an obvious plus for the leadership of Edwards. He knows how to handle these sort of things.

  35. When Carter criticized Bush, it clearly was self-hatred on James Earl's side.

    Fri Dec 28, 01:27:00 PM EST

    And a bottomless capacity for hypocrisy.

  36. Has anyone actually seen Edwards with his head out a sunroof?

    I'll bet not, would ruin his hair do.
    Those that control the literacy test control the republic.

  37. She who is called Queen of Daytime TV controls the destiny of peoples.

  38. 2164th: For woman in the same category the illiteracy rate is 68%. This is a candidate for democracy?

    Only in the wet dreams of the PNAC gallery.

  39. nick henderson says:


    When Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) returns to the Motel Crime Scene the entire film comes together.

    Consider the extent to which the Cohen Bros. emphasized the lack of conclusive visuals. For example, the confrontation between Carla Jean and Chigurh can be deduced out of obscurity but nevertheless we’re deprived any concrete knowledge. After all, he may have looked at his boots after leaving (indicating he killed her), but on the other hand, he wasn’t carrying any weapons. In fact, he wasn’t carrying any inside the house either.

    BACK TO THE MOTEL - Without question, the film’s most crucial confrontation occurs between Chigurh and Bell inside that room. Do you remember this? Probably not, since we're not invited to watch it, The confrontation happens sometime after Bell realizes the vent had been dismantled, but before he drives to visit his uncle Ellis. (Chigurh shares an on-screen conversation with every major characters except Bell)


    1. Bell sells his soul to Chigurh.
    2. Chigurh was never interested in money.
    3. Bell keeps the money (and retires in the following scene)
    4. Chigurh is set free by Bell

    Prior to making my case -

    consider Bell’s opening monologue -

    You can say it's my job to fight it but I don't know what it is anymore. More than that, I don't want to know. A man would have to put his soul at hazard. He would have to say, okay, I'll be part of this world.

    Also - Remember in the following scene that Bell visits his uncle Ellis? During their conversation he admits that he’s retiring. He admits to feeling abandoned by God. And he admits to knowing that God doesn’t think highly of him -

    ...I always thought when I got older God would sort of come into my life in some way. He didn't. I don't blame him. If I was him I'd have the same opinion about me that he does.

    You don't know what he thinks.

    Yes I do.

    - His response to Ellis is revealing in the context of this unseen confrontation with Chigurh. How else would he know what God thought? Would Lucifer have such information? Was Chigurh God? Was Bell?

    As far as Bell’s retirement; He was old, and cynical of the times. However, he had not intended to retire. Something happened between the time we left him at the motel room and when we picked up with him at Uncle Ellis’. It’s also worth mentioning how Moss refered to himself as retired when Wells inquiried. Moss playfully called Carla Jean retired during their bus trip. And when Bell gets the money, Bell does the same. Or so I presume. His wife Loretta isn’t retired, and she reminds him of this over breakfast that morning.

    See- Bell hasn’t told her yet. He will never tell her. He will never tell anyone. And this is the suffering that really materializes in that last shot. Bell is not a man devastated by his own physical or intellectual limitation, but by that of his morality.

    Remember when Chigurh wastes the Steven Root character? The accountant asks Chigurh if he plans to kill him as well. Chigurh replies with; “That depends. Do you see me?” On one level, this dialogue plays on the practice of “killing the witnesses”. On a subtexual level, there a lot of religious and ghostly implications in that question.

    Again, Back to the Motel Room.

    There have been a number of disagreements about the facts of the scene. Here is what you must understand.

    Chigurh was in the room. It was not imagination on the part of Bell. Chigurh was not renting the room next door. End of story. The Editing was clear. In fact, it was traditional. The original screenplays supports this position.

    Chigurh did not escape out the window. I picked up on this immediately. Do folks not recall an awkwardly long take of the small bathroom window? You may remember that the window was locked from the inside (supported in the screenplay). And, not to mention, the window was too small for Chigurh to climb out of with his weaponry, satchel, and busted leg.

    Chigurh DID NOT have the money at the end of the movie. In fact, no one even sees the satchel again after the poolside prostitute conversation. Chigurh wasn’t interested in the loot. He refused to even entertain Wells’ claim of its whereabouts. In a fantastic line of dialogue, Chigurh explains how he doesn’t know where the money is but he knows where it will be; “It will be brought to me and placed at my feet”.

    In a nutshell -

    Bell busts in just as Chigurh is about to grab the loot and leave. Bell sits on the bed. Sees the vent. Decides to check it out. Chigurh confronts him. Coin gets flipped. Chigurh buys his freedom and moves on to another soul. He is evil personified.

  40. To repeat:

    Bell is not a man devastated by his own physical or intellectual limitation, but by that of his morality.

  41. The whole film is a set up to make you go see it again.

  42. No Country for Old Men

    by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen

    Based on the Novel
    by Cormac McCarthy

    Screenplay draft: November 28, 2005

  43. Bobal: The whole film is a set up to make you go see it again.

    Actually, it's a set up to make me not go see it in the first instance.

  44. Soft White Wheat delivered at Portland--today $13.00/bushel, the climb continues.

    That cattle whapper is an effective intstrument, in the wrong hands.

  45. There's none for sale, just around here, right now.

  46. bob had quoted some of the Reaganites, whom said that the film promoted the idea that they had funded Osama.

    Which I had said I had not seen, but for the closing credits,

    "We fucked up the end game"
    signed: Charlie Wilson

    Which could have happened if we had spent $100s of millions USD or so, regardless.

    If + then / who = unknowable.

  47. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN -- U.S. officials suspect a Taliban leader may be behind the plot to assassinate former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a senior official said Friday.

    Benazir Bhutto greets supporters Thursday at the Rawalpindi, Pakistan, rally before a suicide attack.
    The official identified Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as a leading suspect, saying there's "good information that leads us to believe he is the guy responsible."

    Earlier Friday, the Pakistani Interior Ministry said it had "intelligence intercepts" indicating Mehsud was behind the opposition leader's death the day before in Rawalpindi.

    "As you all know, Benazir Bhutto had been on the hit list of terrorists ever since she had come to Pakistan," said the Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema. "She was on the hit list of al Qaeda."

    Cheema said the Pakistani government intercepted a phone call Friday in which Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act." Watch how the Taliban operate in Pakistan »

    Cheema said his government had "irrefutable evidence" that al Qaeda was "systematically targeting our state institutions in order to destabilize the country."

    In the phone intercept that Pakistani officials released Friday, Mehsud is apparently speaking in the Pashto language to another militant, whom he called Maulavi Sahib, or religious leader. The following is from the transcript.
    Mehsud: Congratulations to you. Were they ours?

    Maulavi Sahib: Yes, it was us.

    Mehsud: Who was there?

    Maulavi Sahib: Saeed was there, second there was Bilal from Badar and Ikramullah.

    Mehsud: All three of them did it?

    Maulavi Sahib: Ikramullah and Bilal did it.

    Mehsud: Then congratulations.

    Maulavi Sahib: Where are you? I want to meet.

    Mehsud: I am in Makeen [town in the southern part Waziristan]. Come over. I am at Anwar Shah's house.
    I'd think if the Pakis were cooperating with us the house should no longer be standing, but I bet it is.

  48. If + then / who = unknowable.

    Fri Dec 28, 03:50:00 PM EST


  49. At least two previous years out of wheat or barley.

    Well, at least one, and it helps if that one year had peas on it. You got to have that rain at the right time, otherwise you got 100bushel straw, 40 bushel wheat:(

  50. From the Ralph Peters link:
    But she always knew how to work Westerners - unlike the hapless Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who sought the best for his tormented country but never knew how to package himself.

  51. The blast video is here. Scroll down the page.

  52. talnik said...
    A. She comes back into the country, someone tries to kill her and ends up killing 140 others instead.
    B. She goes on TV and lists the people who are trying to kill her.
    C. She goes back on TV and says if anybody kills her it will be Mussharif.
    D. She is driven slowly through a gigantic, uncontrolled crowd with her head sticking out of the roof, as if to say "here I am, you can kill me now".
    It doesn't matter how she died. She martyred herself for her image, before she was killed for what she was.

    While not agreeing with the last two sentences, it sure does seem just dumb as hell. I've read that the others inside the car weren't even injured, much less killed, though I don't know the truth of it.

  53. THE MORE YOU LEARN, the wronger Wrong Paul gets:
    Ron Paul: Quackery enabler

  54. Mat and WIO:
    Don't miss link above!

  55. " I don't know the truth of it.
    You can let us know after listening to tonites Late Nite (Lite)

  56. "If the sunroof did it, that is an obvious plus for the leadership of Edwards. He knows how to handle these sort of things."
    His latest Ad lets us know what he's learned from communing with her ghost.
    (and also from the Ron Paul Bumper Stickers on the back of the Ambulance)

  57. And I will do so, and let you know, for sure.!

  58. That place beats the Bar Hands Down for Nicks:
    Mencius Moldbug said...

    Studd Beefpile said...

    Mike Linksvayer said...

  59. Whit,
    What was your point with the Peters Quote?

  60. "Don't miss link above!"

    Doug, what exactly is it that I'm supposed to catch there? :)

  61. Warm feelings of Antisemitism!

  62. This comment has been removed by the author.

  63. Mike Vickers is a busy man
    Please see this must-read article in today’s Washington Post on what Mr. Michael Vickers is up to these days.
    The answer, it seems, it just about everything, when it comes to current U.S. military operations and planning.

  64. And I've been looking forward to this--finally! a year that amounts to Something

  65. "He thinks like a gangster."

    "It's not just the Middle East. It's not just the developing world. It's not just nondemocratic countries -- it's a global problem," he said. "Threats can emanate from Denmark, the United Kingdom, you name it."

    Doug, are you certain this guy is 100%?

  66. God bless Vickers.

    As for Charlie Wilson's estimation that the Afghan operations couldn't be undertaken in today's poisonous political atmosphere, I concur. They couldn't be. Sixteen years and two combative, divisive, arrogant SOBs are largely to blame for this.

  67. No better example of Bush's combative divisiveness can be found than his attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him, namely a majority of the American People, on illegal immigration.

    Complete Disdain for the People and the Laws he swore to Defend.

  68. Mr Bush deciding that the Senate is not in session, even when it is called to order.

    Stirring a Constitutional Crisis, sure as shootin', as pocket vetos are only valid when Congress is adjourned. Otherwise the Bill becomes Law, without Mr Bush's signature.

    Bush Gives Pocket Veto to Defense Bill
    CRAWFORD, Texas (AP) — President Bush on Friday headed toward a constitutional confrontation with Congress over his effort to reject a sweeping defense bill.

    Bush announced he would scuttle the bill with a "pocket veto" — essentially, letting the bill die without his signature 10 days after he received it, or the end of Dec. 31.

    But that can happen only when Congress is not in session; otherwise, the bill becomes law without a formal veto in 10 days. And the Senate maintains it is in session because it has held brief — sometimes only seconds long — meetings every two or three days with only one senator present.

    The White House's view is that Congress has adjourned.

    It was unclear how the executive and legislative branches would determine whether, in fact, Bush's lack of signature would amount to vetoing the bill or turning it into law.

    "My withholding of approval from the bill precludes its becoming law," Bush said in a statement of disapproval sent to Congress.

    The president said he was sending the bill and his outline of objections to the House clerk "to avoid unnecessary litigation about the non-enactment of the bill that results from my withholding approval, and to leave no doubt that the bill is being vetoed."

  69. Hubris Personified.
    Arrogant, Elitist, Dishonest SOB.

  70. The White House is rejecting the bill over a provision that could leave Iraq liable for compensation claims from Saddam Hussein's victims.

    The bill authorizes $696 billion in military spending - including $189 billion for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - for the next year starting last October.

    It authorizes a 3.5 percent pay raise for uniformed service personnel and guarantee that combat veterans receive mental health evaluations within 30 days of their request.

    Funding for troops returning from war is provided by the bill.

    It also requires private security contractors in a war zone to comply with military regulations and orders issued by commanders.

    The Supremes will get to decide, as the Bill passed the Senate on Dec 14 by a vote of 90 to 3

    More than enough to override a standard veto.

  71. The Senate not in recess, but in Session, legally if not spiritually.

  72. Pains me to say it but the only guy under which we might again be able to purchase enough comity (and STFU) for actions like that is McCain.

  73. "No better example of Bush's combative divisiveness can be found than his attitude toward anyone who disagrees with him, namely a majority of the American People, on illegal immigration."

    The Bushes, like the Clintons, are loyalty fetishists. You don't have to dive into the Skull and Bones malarkey to recognize this, nor be party to a maligned majority.

  74. Hey, 'Rat and I have put a LOT of work into the Skull and Bones MeMe.

  75. "nor be party to a maligned majority"
    What's that mean?

  76. trish is married into the group, I believe she saying her brother-in-law being a member of the fraternity.

    Which could change the perspective a tad, not wanting to think poorly of the In-Laws, or becoming a defacto defender of the cause.

    Which is easy enough to be, if one believes in the causes of "proper" power management and expansion of the "greater good".

    But I'd not apply a "Boner" Standard to the President's attempt to subvert the letter of the Constitution, in this particular case.

  77. You, Doug, belong to a maligned majority on the illegal immigration issue specifically. The Bush fetish for loyalty - or pathological resistance to criticism and dissent - is apparent in much smaller (quantitatively) institutional dealings as well.

  78. "trish is married into the group..."

    Not Skull and Bones. Freemasons. And no one takes it seriously. Old Connecticut family but they're now as Birkenstock as the day is long.

  79. Article II is clear

    Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings,...

    Article III

    If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.

    Since the Bill originated in the House, not the Senate and the House is adjourned, the President may be right.

    If Ms Pelosi were call the House into Session, by Monday night, the President would lose the argument, for sure.

  80. This comment has been removed by the author.

  81. Almost everyone has freemasons in their genealogy, trish.
    I certainly do. Most are honorable and just folk. Most of them not at all part of a secret conspiracy, just a society with secrets.

    There are those that misuse the Organization, the P2 Lodge of Freemasonry, in Italy, to name only one. The P2 also operating in South America.

    Beside Italy, P2 was also active in Uruguay, Brazil and especially in Argentina's "Dirty War"

    But as in all things secret and clandestine, it's hard to prove to a legal US standard, beyond a reasonable doubt.
    But proof to a preponderance of evidence standard is obtainable.
    In some cases.

  82. "There are those that misuse the Organization..."

    Well they and similar organizations (of which there is no shortage) can be misused anywhere. Me, I've got a constitutional aversion to the glorified secret tree house club. At the same time they're private outfits and as a libertarian by nature I'm not particularly concerned with them.

  83. "You, Doug, belong to a maligned majority on the illegal immigration issue specifically."
    That's what I thought:
    You are too, that you are in denial of it does not change the facts of the matter.
    ...unless things like hospitals, public health, and public safety are of no concern to you and your family.

  84. "I don't need no stinking hospitals, I'm a Librarian!"

    (Similar to the Christian Science Sing Song.)

  85. "That's what I thought:
    You are too, that you are in denial of it..."

    Superior psychologyzing, Doug. My hat is off to you. It's not enough that I recognize your acute frustration and anger; you have to return the tiny gesture with some cheap, third-hand Freud.

    Apropos of nothing:

    Wretchard thinks we might have to break up Pakistan. Got 'Dumb Ass' written all over it and that's the Dumb Ass that lowered the boom on his own commenters.

  86. "Got 'Dumb Ass' written all over it.."

    Why is it a bad idea, Trish?

  87. Looks to me like Pakistan is breaking up, beginning stages anyways, all by itself, no help needed.

    I was in de Moley til I quit, what's that make me?

  88. Lemme see, mat, overstretched, overhung, sucking for legitimacy, authority, and a shred of concord in two far less challenging locales and couldn't engineer our way out of paper bag on a good day. For starters.

    How many Kashmirs do you want?

  89. If you're winding up a Creative Destruction pitch, mat, I'm going to smack you with a 2 by 4.

  90. "How many Kashmirs do you want?"

    Zero. Stop giving Islamists your support.

  91. Light. It's in your mind.

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