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Pakistan Perilous for Everyone

Wednesday, 02 Jan 2008 03:02 PM

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The tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto is further proof that Pakistan is a weak reed and an unstable partner for the United States to rely on.

Musharraf himself is in constant danger of assassination and has survived at least three attempts on his life by Islamic terrorists. I believe he sincerely wants to help the United States prevail against the Islamic terrorists. However, he is largely unable to pursue the terrorists who apparently are everywhere in Pakistan, including within the Pakistani army.

In Pakistan today, there are those who believe it was those elements in the Pakistani armed forces that killed Benazir Bhutto.

We can be sure that the kind of conspiracy theories that appeared after the assassination of President Kennedy are swirling in even larger numbers in Pakistan today. Those theories are being aided by the Pakistan government’s initial refusal to allow an independent investigation of the assassination and the Pakistani government’s initial accounts of how Bhutto was killed.

First, the government announced that Bhutto was shot. They then changed their story to say she was not shot, but suffered a fractured skull as a result of striking her head on the car’s sunroof as she dropped back into the vehicle when the shooting began, which in turn was followed by the suicide bomber and shooter blowing himself up.

The Pakistani government’s second account is undermined by pictures taken at the time of the shooting which show the assassin, gun in hand, shooting at close range, and Bhutto slumping, recalling how President Kennedy slumped when he was shot in the head in Dallas. The Pakistani government has subsequently announced that it will permit foreign experts to investigate the assassination together with Pakistani experts, but not independently.

Many in the U.S. support the creation of a true democracy in Pakistan, a foreign country that has no democratic tradition and which might become a nuclear armed enemy of the U.S. They want to replace the military dictatorship headed by Musharraf who, for perhaps personal safety reasons, has thrown his lot in with us.

I do not agree with those who call for the immediate democratization of Pakistan, and I would not press Musharraf at this moment to take any action, political or military, which he believes will place him in additional danger or cause his immediate downfall.

If Musharraf disappears from the scene, Pakistan's nukes could fall into the hands of terrorists, and the consequences could be catastrophic for the entire world.

That Musharraf is in great personal danger, almost everyone would agree. Indeed, there is great likelihood that efforts to assassinate him will likely come from within his own security forces. When Anwar Sadat was president of Egypt, he was killed by elements of the Egyptian army as he sat reviewing the Egyptian armed forces on parade. Indira Gandhi, prime minister of India, was killed by elements of her own Sikh security guards.

The turmoil in nuclear-armed Pakistan is further evidence that we are at war with a fanatical enemy seeking our destruction. We must make the national sacrifices needed to win that war.

It is amazing that with our less-than-total resolve as a nation to win the war in Iraq, we have successfully come as far as we have. What is needed now is a call to arms by President Bush, including a demand that our nation recognize the costs of war and be prepared to bear that cost now which includes an increase in taxes on those well able to afford it.

Further, if our volunteer army is not able to attract sufficient volunteers, we should enact legislation re-imposing a draft and finally imposing on industries which have hugely benefited from the war, e.g., the oil industry, an excess profits tax.

The Democratic majority leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, and the Democratic speaker of the house, Nancy Pelosi, are clearly not up to their jobs. Their tiny, tinny, tired opposition voices are unable to lead and inspire the nation. They should be replaced by the Democratic caucus in Congress with more able leaders.

And the presidential candidates in both parties do not seem able to arouse the public to the dangers that confront us. They must be willing to acknowledge the need for greater sacrifice by the American public if we are to win this war of civilizations, a war that we are fighting every day and will probably be fighting for decades to come.

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