“The evil men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones,”
It only takes a heartbeat to change the world. Or lack of a heartbeat. A few shots, a bomb, and Benizar Bhutto, Pakistan’s most popular politician, is one with the ages. Her, and the suicide bomber that killed her, don’t have to deal with the mess left behind. And what a mess it is, aside from the more than twenty dead at the scene, violence and unrest is spreading across Pakistan as I type. Will this be the beginning of a new bloodier phase in the spreading “War on Terror?” Or just another bump in the endless bloody road? I don’t know at this point, I do know that if I were to pick the person on the planet whose untimely death would cause the greatest havoc, the late Ms Bhutto might well have been at the top of the list. Assassin’s bullets and bombs have unleashed the dogs of war before, God and Allah help us all if this is another shot heard around the world.
Who perpetrated this crime? Who Knows. Political assassination is as old as politics, and politics in Southeast Asia is particularly bloody. Musharraf and Bush were quick to blame Al Qaeda, but many in Pakistan will suspect that Mr Musharraf is responsible, the military leader of Pakistan and long time foe of Bhutto. He certainly had the most to gain by the untimely death of a populist politician who may well have been about to sweep him from power, but anyone who might think to benefit from further violence and instability in Pakistan is suspect. There are enough extremist elements in Pakistan to supply no end of possibilities there. I doubt there will be much of an investigation, apparently the recent major attempt on her life wasn’t properly investigated either.
So the bottom line is, us peasants will never know for sure who killed her. And it doesn’t really matter. What matters is how the people of Pakistan react and what plays out there…and how the world’s leaders respond. Will Musharraf be able to hold onto power? Who knows. Sadly one thing that can safely be predicted now is that extremists of all colours will be strengthened and encouraged. Al Qaida will be quick to take advantage of the spreading instability in Pakistan, whether they caused it or not. And those in the west who propose more violence and more invasions of Muslim lands as the solution to the “problem” will be ever more insistent that the “war on terror” must never be questioned, only funded.
I suspect that the US will make ever more efforts to shore up Musharraf’s military dictatorship, and widen efforts to stamp out Al-Qaida as it spreads through Pakistan. Which of course will make Al-Qaida stronger and smarter and tougher and more popular than ever, this is not a problem that can be solved with predator drones. The weed killer approach to fighting terror just breeds ever more terror. Pakistan is certainly being touted in the news as a “threat” to the USA. I wish people would ask how the hell we got into a situation where crap that happens on the other side of the planet intimately involves us? Maybe we don’t need to be taking sides in every goddamn fight on the globe?
Sigh. No good will come from this. The ripples from this terrible crime will reverberate around the world for years to come. Sixty centuries of civilization, and young men still go out and commit atrocities at the orders of old men. And now more old men around the world are plotting murder and mayhem in response. Great. We’re screwed. There are no silver linings here. I pray for Ms Bhutto’s soul, I pray for the people of Pakistan, I pray America’s leaders don’t use this as an excuse to get even more deeply involved in Asia’s wars and politics.
(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is an historically important image, and it is just a small edited portion of the original image. It is central to illustrating the post. Credit: Getty Images. The quote in the title is from Julius Caesar.)