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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

posted by on December 27 at 7:18 AM

We haven’t even gotten around to electing our first female head of state—but Pakistan? They’re already assassinating their former female heads of state.

An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon by a gunman at close range before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.

Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dead by doctors at a hospital in Rawalpindi at 6:16 p.m. after the doctors had tried to resuscitate her for thirty-five minutes. She had suffered severe shrapnel injuries, the doctors said. At least a dozen more people were killed in the attack at the rally, which was being held ahead of elections scheduled for January, at a popular park in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to the capital.

Pakistan, of course, is our ally in the War on Terror.

RSS icon Comments


I hate to say it, but I can't believe she wasn't rubbed out sooner. Women like her don't stand a chance in shitholes like Pakistan.

Posted by Mike in MO | December 27, 2007 7:28 AM

This has nothing to do with gender.

Posted by www III | December 27, 2007 7:32 AM

No one could have predicted that destabilizing the mid-East could ever lead to the destabilization of the entire fucking mid-East.

Posted by George W. Boosh | December 27, 2007 7:35 AM

God rest her soul. But, her prominence as a target, I think, had little to do with gender... had she been a male opposition leader, she would have been just as much a target. She will (and should) be recognized in history for her prominence as the first prominent female politician from a majority Muslim country... but, the tragedy here - and her likely transformation as a martyr by the Pakistani opposition - has much less to do with her gender.

And Mr. S., Benazir Bhutto was never Pakistan's head of state. Never. The President of Pakistan is the head of state. She was (twice) Pakistan's head of government, as Prime Minister. It's a subtle but critical distinction, especially in semi-presidential and parliamentary systems of government.

Posted by James | December 27, 2007 7:45 AM

Islam a religon of love! Yeah right.

Religon poisons everything.

Posted by Just Me | December 27, 2007 7:47 AM

This has nothing to do with religon.

Posted by cochise. | December 27, 2007 7:51 AM

www III, i don't think her gender was the main reason for her assassination, but it certainly didn't help things. the ruling party was being threatened, not only by a powerful opposition, but a group being led by a woman? i doubt they were particularly happy about that. it is a shame. all of her shortcomings aside, she was that country's best chance at progress.

Posted by j | December 27, 2007 7:53 AM

Makes me glad we just have things like the YouTube debate instead.

Posted by PA Native | December 27, 2007 7:54 AM

@6, Yeah it does. It is all about religon in the Middle East.

Posted by Reality Check | December 27, 2007 7:55 AM

@9 and the US is all about fast food and video games. and all illegal aliens work in construction. and all russians are great kick boxers.

bush would of assassinated gore if he had the chance in 1999. security is just more lax in Pakistan. musharraf had the chance and took it! it's about power. duh.

Posted by cochise. | December 27, 2007 8:08 AM

I want to say I'm shocked but her enemies were after her head ever since she returned from exile.

Posted by Gomez | December 27, 2007 8:21 AM

Sadly, it seems that anyone with political aspirations in Pakistan is risking their life. Fundie nuts aplenty we may have, but be thankful you live in a nation where the political battles with them are fought via civil means, for the most part.

Posted by tsm | December 27, 2007 8:24 AM

Can we just let them all kill the shit out of each other? They're all animals. All of them.


Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 8:30 AM

@12, give our fundies a little more time, just a little more time.......

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | December 27, 2007 8:34 AM

Hmmm...i wonder who bush would have assassinated to keep his seat??

After all, the US put the current military leader in charge and recently asked him to put his soldier suit in mothballs so he won't look like the dictator he is...and now the opposition is murdered.

Do we stop using the word terrorism when it is sponsored by the state...or when it stops suiting our purposes?

Which of these two are terrorists - Musharraf or Bhutto?

We are the fools sticking our foot in the cage, Mr. Poe. Maybe we should stay out of the zoo.

Posted by patrick | December 27, 2007 8:37 AM

Cato! You're back! Yay!

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 8:37 AM


the moist likely scenario here is that the ISI, and by extension, Musharraf, used a muslim extremist to carry out a suicidal political assasination.

why did a muslim extremist participate, if NOT for religious reasons? a woman defying the role assigned to her by allah seems a likely rationale.

Posted by max solomon | December 27, 2007 8:48 AM

Mmmmm...moist scenarios

Posted by Jubilation T. Cornball | December 27, 2007 8:58 AM

In other news, Kelly Caldwell, A 45-year-old Barstow, CA woman, was attacked and killed by Israel"a pack of pit bulls" Tuesday night, according to the San Bernardino County sheriff's department. Two dogs were shot by deputies.

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 27, 2007 8:59 AM

"...a woman defying the role assigned to her by allah seems a likely rationale."

if not over simplified.

Posted by patrick | December 27, 2007 9:02 AM

How dreadful. And sad.

Posted by Michigan Matt | December 27, 2007 9:04 AM

Oops...delete "Israel" from that last post (fucking BlackBerry thinks ht knows more than I do).

Posted by Fifty-Two-Eighty | December 27, 2007 9:04 AM

Hmmmm I smell a religious apoligist on Slog today. Mr. Poe beat them up!!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | December 27, 2007 9:04 AM




Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 9:06 AM


Posted by SEAN NELSON, EMERITUS | December 27, 2007 9:32 AM


Posted by i only like him when he's singing | December 27, 2007 9:35 AM


why can't it be simple? al q has already claimed responsibility.

just because they're smarter than bush doesn't mean their motivation & goals are tangled webs. she was an uppity woman. so was indira ghandi.

Posted by max solomon | December 27, 2007 9:43 AM

Seriously suspicious in light of recent Pakistani presidential actions. And when shit hits the fan it sticks to everyone near it, like the US. It sucks to be under a Bush admin.

Posted by MLM | December 27, 2007 9:46 AM

I saw Benazir Bhutto deliver the commencement address at Harvard one year (I was staff, not a student, sorry). She certainly talked a good game about spreading democracy. In reality, she wasn't very interested in it, and her People's Party was about as democratic as the People's Republic of China. And she was a terrible, terrible PM, worse than Musharraf.

Her fundamentalist opponents did not assassinate her because she was a woman; www iii is correct, this has nothing to do with gender. This has to do with the triangular political battle in Pakistan. The fundies want a Taliban state, not a no-women state. Musharraf wants economic development through military fascism, and Bhutto's corner is just a cult of personality and wealth. The millions of ordinary Pakistanis have no political representation, and none is likely to emerge.

Keep in mind that this country has nukes, and has bitter enemies who have nukes. This is bad. Oddly the best we can probably hope for at this point is a total military crackdown. Bush's foreign policy -- but to be fair, the foreign policy of Clinton and Bush and Reagan before him -- is to encourage the growth of heavily armed, heavily subsidized police states around the middle east. Bush II and the neocons' stated aim was to crack that policy wide open and let democracy flower in its place. In the middle east democracy's flowers look like bombs, unfortunately.

Add the Pakistan crisis to the chaos in Iraq (and two-million-plus hated refugees), the Turkey v. Kurdistan war, the crisis in Lebanon, the Hamas-Fatah war, the Saudi succession crisis, the imminent takeover of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and nukes. O frabjous day. I'm worried.

Posted by Fnarf | December 27, 2007 9:50 AM

There is nothing suspicious or surprising about this news. Musharaff has been trying to take Bhutto out since she returned from exile. This is a political killing. Perhaps religion or gender was used as a motivation when hiring the assassin, but politics is the reason. If anything, this bolsters Musharaff in the short term (and fundies HATE him).

And, there isn't anything in common here with Indira Gandhi, @27 (other than she was female). Gandhi was assassinted by her Sikh bodyguards in retalition for the Indian Army's attack on the Golden Temple in Armritsar. It had nothing to do with her being an "uppity woman".

And Al Qaeda claiming responsibility? Frankly, that means nothing anymore. Since it is a faceless and loosely linked "organization", any dumbass can claim Al Q. You might as well blame it on the Crips or the Eugene Anarchists.

Posted by Mahtl69 | December 27, 2007 10:09 AM

Man, FUCK the Eugene Anarchists.

Posted by Greg | December 27, 2007 10:21 AM
Islam a religon of love! Yeah right.

In the past 25 years:
- Indonesia (the largest Muslim country) has had a female president.
- Pakistan (the 2nd largest Muslim country) has had a female prime minister.
- India (the 3rd largest Muslim population) has had both a female prime minister and president.
- Bangladesh (the 4th largest Muslim country) has had a female prime minister.
- Turkey (the 5th largest Muslim country) has had a female prime minister.

Yet, the largest Christian country (the US) apparently thinks electing a female president is wayy too controversial. Islam may not be the religion of love, but it sure seems a lot more tolerant than Christianity in some ways.

Posted by jamier | December 27, 2007 10:26 AM
The fundies want a Taliban state, not a no-women state.

Is there a difference?

Posted by keshmeshi | December 27, 2007 10:27 AM

jamier @ 32:

Thanks for posting those figures. They're interesting points to consider.

One minor point to boost your point: Bangladesh has had two female prime minsters, not just one.

Posted by James | December 27, 2007 10:35 AM

the blame game is fun!

bhutto would probably still be alive, in exile if bush never got elected.

the 1999 WTO debacle led to bush becoming president. the eugene anarchists started the riots.

blame the eugene anarchists.

(ps - right on fnarf)

Posted by cochise. | December 27, 2007 10:41 AM

I actually agree with FNARF. Amazing. Except that a military crackdown in Pakistan will only delay Pakistan's decay except to the degree that it's heavily subsidized from the outside (ie US). And Israel's occupation of Palestinian land is also a contributor to the police state/ murderous democracy axis that seems to define a lot of mid east politics today.

Posted by wf | December 27, 2007 10:44 AM

@31, @35 - Funny, I always thought the Eugene Anarchists were made up by Paul Schell so he could blame the vandalism on outsiders. Kinda like how the Mardi Gras riot was caused by a bunch of hoodlums from Kent.

Posted by Mahtli69 | December 27, 2007 10:49 AM

Israel's occupation of Palestine doesn't have fuck-all to do with it. Nobody, but nobody, in the Islamic world gives a shit about the Palestinians. Pan-Arabism doesn't exist. Opposition to Israel among Middle-eastern countries and peoples is rooted in hatred, not any concern for the Palestinians, who are treated with total contempt and enslavement everywhere there go in the Islamic world.

To suggest that the plight of the Palestinians has anything at all to do with ANY of the other conflicts in the middle east, or that resolving the conflict with Israel would ease all the other tensions, is ridiculous. The only connection is this: the hapless Palestinians remind the other hapless Muslims just how powerless and doomed they themselves are, whether they are in Egypt or Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or Sudan. The people hate the Israelis not because they are Jews (almost half of them aren't) but because they are free. Their leaders hate them because their success is a slap in the face of their failed regimes, none of which have any hope of ever achieving anything of value or pride.

I sometimes think that the Iranian model may ultimately be the only one that works. The fascist regime is brought down by the Islamists, coopting someone else's revolution (the mullahs did not start the Iranian revolution; they stole it). It then takes thirty or fifty years for the oppressed people to take their freedom back. Consider this: Iran has the most anti-US government in the Islamic world, but the most pro-US people. Can this happen in Pakistan or Egypt or Saudi Arabia? Definitely not the latter, but maybe in the others.

Bhutto's assassination is going to have seriously bad effects instead, though. The mullahs didn't have nukes.

Posted by Fnarf | December 27, 2007 11:03 AM

I think we're all missing the point here. I Am Legend sucked.

Posted by Mr. Poe | December 27, 2007 11:12 AM

Not that she deserved it, but Bhuto's goverment was just as corrupt as the current Pakistani goverment and she left in disgrace.

This is certainly tragic and I agree that it will have serious repercussions. But Bhutto wasnt going to do any better than uncle Pervy.

I do want to say however that political assasinations happen in Israel, Mexico, our good old USA, France, India and just about any country in the world, so lets cut this "only the extremists" assasinate their leaders crap. It happens all over. more than 2 of our presidents here have been capped. And yes the blowing up thing is a bit extreme but is not just the damn muslims, the Provo catholics were blowing shit up in the 70's as were the protestants so is not just the middle easterners or did yall forget Tim and Oklahoma.

Oh and Fnarf youre spot on, most Arabs dont give a rat's ass about the Palestinians and treat them like garbage when they flee the occupied territories. It must be said that they were treated decently under Sadam.

Posted by SeMe | December 27, 2007 11:38 AM

Fnarf@38: I read your postings all the time, with varying opinions. This may be your best post, ever.

As any Iranian (often 'Persian' now) will tell you here, they are NOT ARABS. It's sad about the political history there, that country has the best chance of being a decent civilized place.

Posted by Right on Fnarf | December 27, 2007 11:46 AM

What I find interesting is how the media is playing up the chaos and the leaders of the world are asking for calm. those supporters of who are angered over there have every right to be angered and , I'll probably burn in hell for not being a peaceful thinker, they have every right to be angry.
No our media says. they must be calm. The military must crack down on them and tell them srry your leader was shot, just deal with it. Mushariff is not so bad.
Hell with that. Chaos is bad, but I bet those angered will get to the culprits responsible faster than the military. Street justice is all I'm saying. And sometimes the angry ones are right for being angry. I'm sick of our media looping them in as extremists or terroists just because they are flipping out and portoesting over Bhuttos death. just like LA. riots. some saw that as justifiable.

Posted by sad times | December 27, 2007 12:07 PM

counting the days until Angelina Jolie announces that she's starring in the Benazir Bhutto bio-pic....

Posted by michael strangeways | December 27, 2007 1:08 PM

kudos to fnarf, as always

Posted by astin | December 27, 2007 8:59 PM

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