Saturday, December 29, 2007

Benazir Bhutto and the fight we fight

It's almost like a TV movie. A beautiful woman, her rise to power in her country at a young age, being brought down, prison, exile, and then redemption and possible victory.

Such is the story of Benazir Bhutto.

Her entire life reads like a novel. The daughter of a powerful political family, encouraged by her father to study the great women of history perhaps gave her illusions of greatness or, some might say, a passion for greatness. Given the recent tribute by Condoleezza Rice, some believed her brave and courageous. But some say she was driven by her own personal demons as well:

During her two terms in office as prime minister, Ms. Bhutto earned a reputation among many as an imperious, venal, and corrupt politician, bringing Pakistan to the brink of financial ruin on more than one occasion.

Did President Pervez Musharraf's intelligence and security services have anything to do with her death? Or was it Al Qaeda, who takes credit? It could be a Ken Follet novel. But it does have Al Qaeda's bloody fingerprints all over it.

Look at her personal past, and it is indeed the stuff of espionage movies:

When her father was lying in prison under sentence of death from Pakistan's military dictatorship in 1979, and other members of her family were trying to escape the country, she boldly flew back in. Her subsequent confrontation with the brutal Gen. Zia-ul-Haq cost her five years of her life, spent in prison. She seemed merely to disdain the experience, as she did the vicious little man who had inflicted it upon her.

Benazir saw one of her brothers, Shahnawaz, die in mysterious circumstances in the south of France in 1985, and the other, Mir Murtaza, shot down outside the family home in Karachi by uniformed police in 1996.

Despite the corruption charges, (which she denied) some see her as the modern force of goodness in the Islamic world:

Benazir Bhutto was a brave woman. She was the face of modernity that Pakistan needed to salvage its descent into a sea of Islamist darkness.

And there is the key. Personally, for myself, I don't see being a political hero worth taking the risk of not seeing my children grow up, marry, and have children. Bhutto gave that up. She knew it was a possibility with all the attempts on her life. She knew. Did she not care? Was her country worth that much to her, or was her celebrity worth that much to her? Is that bravery or foolishness? I can't decide. Can you?

According to Andrew McCarthy at NRO, we have one Pakistan of our fantasy and one of reality:

There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the “rule of law” as a cudgel to bring down a military junta. In the fantasy, Bhutto, an attractive, American-educated socialist whose prominent family made common cause with Soviets and whose tenures were rife with corruption, was somehow the second coming of James Madison.

Then there is the real Pakistan: an enemy of the United States and the West. The real Pakistan is a breeding ground of Islamic holy war where, for about half the population, the only thing more intolerable than Western democracy is the prospect of a faux democracy led by a woman — indeed, a product of feudal Pakistani privilege and secular Western breeding whose father, President Zulfiquar Ali Bhutto, had been branded as an enemy of Islam by influential Muslim clerics in the early 1970s.

Bhutto knew this, lived this. I have to wonder if her passion was for Democracy or for herself. Excuse my cynicism. Perhaps she is the brave hero mourned for her great sacrifice for a greater good, a better Pakistan free from extremism and fanaticism, I hope so. A life should be lived for good and for purpose. I hope and pray that her life was.

Andrew warns us that just wishing for Democracy in place like Pakistan will not make it happen:

But we should at least stop fooling ourselves. Jihadists are not going to be wished away, rule-of-lawed into submission, or democratized out of existence. If you really want democracy and the rule of law in places like Pakistan, you need to kill the jihadists first. Or they’ll kill you, just like, today, they killed Benazir Bhutto.

And this is the lesson of Bhutto. A lesson taught with Daniel Pearl, Nick Berg, and all our sacrificed soldiers in Iraq. They will kill us unless we kill them first. And with them, there is no mercy, no prison, no warm meals, no prayer rugs. There is only brutal death. For the innocent as well as the enemy. Do any of us understand this?

President Bush addressed it perfectly in August before the Veterans of Foreign wars, but no one I talk to even heard of this speech. It was a flash in the pan for the msm. Read it and understand that Bush understands our enemy and our history as most of us do not. Think of him what you will, but he gets this.

In this speech he tells us how we are winning:

Our troops have killed or captured an average of more than 1,500 al Qaeda terrorists and other extremists every month since January of this year. (Applause.) We're in the fight. Today our troops are carrying out a surge that is helping bring former Sunni insurgents into the fight against the extremists and radicals, into the fight against al Qaeda, into the fight against the enemy that would do us harm. They're clearing out the terrorists out of population centers, they're giving families in liberated Iraqi cities a look at a decent and hopeful life.

I am not happy with Bush for many reasons, but not understanding this fight is not one of them.

Those who killed Bhutto are the thousands upon thousands that we have killed. They will not kill again the innocent and the brave. They will not breed their hatred.

They are gone.

I wish that we could leave the Middle East to it's own destruction. I wish we could ignore the extremism and the killing. But they have made that impossible. They attacked us on our own soil.

Believe that going into Iraq was right or wrong. Fine. But there is no doubt that we are killing Al Qaeda there now. The brutal enemy of all people of good will.

They killed Bhutto. And they would kill you or me if given the chance. That is a fact no one can argue.

Some tell me that this is a fight we cannot win. They say that nothing we do can change the Middle East.

Bhutto,whether for herself or her country, believed that it could change and she gave her life for it.

I believe that it is a fight, that if we don't win now, our grandchildren and their children will not only fight, but suffer because of it.

I may be wrong. Time will only tell.