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Bully Pulpit

The term "bully pulpit" stems from President Theodore Roosevelt's reference to the White House as a "bully pulpit," meaning a terrific platform from which to persuasively advocate an agenda. Roosevelt often used the word "bully" as an adjective meaning superb/wonderful. The Bully Pulpit features news, reasoned discourse, opinion and some humor.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated at Rally in Pakistan

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Fox News) — Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a homicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally.

Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest as she was entering her vehicle, and then the bomber blew himself up, FOX News has confirmed.

The former prime minister died in Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she had been rushed to surgery. She was 54.


Anonymous Mark Steyn said...

From National Review Online:

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.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 11:06:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sure that all of the neocons, from Podhoretz to Kristol have called the White House half a dozen times this morning to insist that we invade Pakistan.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Byron York said...

From National Review Online:

It's always hard to gauge the domestic political effects of an event like the Bhutto assassination, but to the degree that it reminds voters that the world is dangerous, and that the actions of Islamic extremists can change things in the blink of an eye, it seems that the major beneficiary would be John McCain. More than any other candidate, McCain has the national security credentials to speak with authority on this kind of stuff, and the assassination comes at just the moment he is rising in the polls because people have decided to give him a second look. To a much lesser degree, the situation benefits Rudy Giuliani, who has made the "terrorists' war on us" the centerpiece of his campaign, but who does not have McCain's history. It doesn't help Mitt Romney, who has no real credentials on this stuff beyond his considerable studies, or Mike Huckabee, who also doesn't have the credentials and hasn't done the studying. Finally, Fred Thompson has had a serious message about this, but like the rest of his good policy stuff, has had a hard time breaking through.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Ledeen said...

From National Review Online:

This is another event in the real war, not "just" a Pakistani thing. And until we have leaders who both understand that and are willing and able to develop the strategy to win the real war, our battlefield victories will be short-lived. Al Qaeda and its sponsors and allies had to demonstrate the ability to win one against us. Listen to their language: “We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen.”

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Michael Rubin said...

From National Review Online:

I don't want to say much; it's been a few years since I've been to Pakistan. But this artificial dichotomy between supporters of Musharraf as suspects and Islamists being voiced by some TV commentators right now seems to miss the point.

The problem in Pakistan, especially since the days of Zia ul-Haq, has been the extent to which radical Islamist cells infiltrate the military, ISI, and police. Compounding this problem is the defensiveness with which Pakistani generals and security officers deny the problem and the corruption which lets such infiltration continue.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark Steyn said...

From National Review Online:

Michael Rubin's point is well taken. Almost every institution in Pakistan has been hollowed out by agents of the forces it claims to be opposed to. That's why thinking of these factions only in terms of the front man is not useful. Whether Musharraf represents "the army" any more than Nawaz Sharif represents "democracy" is unlikely. All that matters on the street is a crude symbolism: Miss Bhutto was seen as Washington's choice. Now she's dead. From an Islamist point of view, when we try to export our influence to Islamabad, it's a bust. When they try to export their influence to the west - via the perpetrators of the London Tube bombing, the Daniel Pearl killing, etc - they seem to have rather more luck.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:35:00 PM  
Anonymous Cliff May said...

From National Review Online:

Bhutto's murder points to a lesson we (the Foreign Policy Establishment in particular) has been slow to learn:

This is not some extraordinary event. This is not the work of some lone madman. This is how militant Islamists contest elections – not just in Pakistan but also in Lebanon and Gaza and wherever they they get a foothold.

Why bother with opeds, TV commercials, high-priced campaign strategists, spin doctors and pollsters when with one suicide bomber you can eliminate your opponent entirely?

Hard to argue with the logic.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 12:50:00 PM  

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