Convention of Statesmen

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Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

From MSNBC we learned this morning:
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally.

The death of the charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 election into chaos and created fears of mass protests and an eruption of violence across the volatile south Asian nation, which has nuclear weapons and a support base for Muslim extremists.

Pakistani troops were put on "red alert" across the country as President Pervez Musharraf condemned the attack and urged citizens to avoid further bloodshed.
And why should this matter to us? Many, many reasons the least of which Benazir Bhutto, who was Prime Minister of Pakistan twice in the 1980's, was a pro-western politician. She was very forward thinking and a woman of great power and strength. She was also Muslim. A woman in power in a Muslim nation is sure to be a target at all times and in all places. Today proved that very tragic fact.

Since her return to Pakistan, which was a very dangerous move, as we can now see, she was has been campaigning to reclaim the office of Prime Minister from Pervez Musharraf. Taliban and Al Qaida followers are thick in Pakistan since being routed from Afghanistan. Musharraf has done nothing to round them up and prosecute them, rather, he has welcomed high-ranking officials in both groups into his government who now hold high-ranking positions in that government.

Musharraf has been a "friend" to the U.S. in word, but in deed he has done nothing to curtail the rising militant movements in his nation. She had received numerous death threats from both Al Qaida and Taliban operatives . . . Musharraf certainly wasn't feeling friendly toward her.

Fox News reports that Pakistan is in possession of over one hundred nuclear weapons. U.S. officials had hoped that Benazir Bhutto would reclaim power and bring stability to an increasingly unstable nation.
Bhutto’s return to the country after years in exile and the ability of her party to contest free and fair elections had been a cornerstone of Bush’s policy in Pakistan, where U.S. officials had watched Musharraf’s growing authoritarianism with increasing unease.

Those concerns were compounded by the rising threat from al-Qaida and Taliban extremists, particularly in Pakistan’s largely ungoverned tribal areas bordering Afghanistan despite the fact that Washington had pumped nearly $10 billion in aid into the country since Musharraf became an indispensable counter-terrorism ally after Sept. 11, 2001.

Irritated by the situation, Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making “concerted efforts” to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Under the law, which provides a total of $300 million in aid to Pakistan and was signed by President Bush on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also must guarantee Pakistan is implementing democratic reforms, including releasing political prisoners and restoring an independent judiciary. (MSNBC.com)

As Americans, we have cause to be worried about this tragic event. Protests have sprung up around the nation. Bhutto's supporters are claiming Musharraf was behind the assassination. Musharraf is condemning the assassination, while I am sure being very relieved his only real opponent is now dead. Instability in the one Muslim nation in possession of nuclear weapons is cause for great concern.

We shall have to stand back and see what occurs. If Al Qaida and Taliban troops manage to take over the nation they now have the arsenal they have long fought, murdered, raped and pillaged for . . . then what will we do? Look very carefully and the candidates for the 2008 Presidential election . . . we do not want, under any circumstances a politicians willing to play craps with the lives of our military and the American people. We do not want, under any circumstances, a politicians who think we all just need to play nice and the bad people will go away. We can not have a coward in office. Think very carefully before you cast your votes in the upcoming elections. The situation in the Middle East has now become much more unstable, and it wasn't in great shape to begin with.
Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto Assassinated Reviewed by Candace Salima on Thursday, December 27, 2007 Rating: 5