Friday, December 28, 2007

What killed Bhutto?

Pakistani officials are saying that Bhutto accidentally killed herself by ducking into a metal object.

Pakistan's interior ministry said Friday that Benazir Bhutto died from hitting her vehicle's sunroof when she tried to duck after a suicide attack, and that no bullet or shrapnel was found in her.

Ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said the opposition leader had died from a head wound she sustained when she smashed against the sunroof's lever as she tried to shelter inside the car.

"The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull," Cheema said. "There was no bullet or metal shrapnel found in the injury."

First Bhutto was reported killed from bullets, then from shrapnel. Now from concussion. Captain Ed notices that Bhutto was the only person in the car to sustain injuries. Some of Bhutto's supporters are refusing to believe this version of events.



NDTV says some Bhutto supporters have denounced the finding as a "pack of lies".:

Benazir peeped out of the sunroof of the SUV but the shock of the explosion by the suicide bomber made her fall back. She got injured on her skull by the lever, Cheema said.

Meanwhile, a top aide to slain Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Friday rejected the government's explanation of her death as a "pack of lies".

"It is baseless. It is a pack of lies," Farooq Naik, Bhutto's top lawyer and a senior official in her Pakistan People's Party, said. "Two bullets hit her, one in the abdomen and one in the head," Naik said. "It was a serious security lapse."

I'm keeping an open mind on how Bhutto died. But events of the past few days suggest that very little in Pakistani politics is either simple or certain; that perhaps the scarcest commodity in that poor country isn't money but the truth.

Ralph Peters says Bhutto was not who she seemed to be.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.

Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools. During her years as prime minister, Pakistan went backward, not forward. Her husband looted shamelessly and ended up fleeing the country, pursued by the courts. The Islamist threat - which she artfully played both ways - spread like cancer.

Since the Tet offensive of 1968 firmly established the vital importance of influencing American public opinion, information operations have been part of the arsenal of not only enemy governments, but insurgencies and aspiring foreign leaders. They are well aware of the weaknesses, vanities and blind spots of the Western press, its diplomats and its spies. They whisper what they know the listeners want to hear. They show them what they know they want to see. The public descries a dim image, but only as through the funhouse mirror. That doesn't mean the voting public in the West cannot discover the truth, only that it must work hard at signal processing.

At some point the news is going to move past the Bhutto event to the consequences of it. The two are distinct but the latter is more important. Right now the Bhutto assassination has been as big a negative for Musharraf as to her self-described assassins. Maybe an even bigger negative. Right now al-Qaeda is waving its arms to say "I done it!" but no one is paying that much attention to them right now.

It may be that Bhutto's death was masterminded by someone in the ISI, which is not notably free of al-Qaeda anyway. So the distinction between Team A and Team B is not as clear as one would think. Or it could be someone inside the Bhutto camp. One of her "supporters". It's a Mafia-type clan, by all accounts. There are players everywhere.

But at some stage, all discussion about sunroofs, bullets, bombs, etc will become moot. What's important to keep in mind is that we are witnessing a struggle for power. And the Bhutto murder is presently the football in that game. But it's not about the football; it's about the game.


And it's a game for the highest stakes.


36 Comments:

Blogger Charles said...

I've posted on freerepublic a series of utube videos I'
ve found in the last hour. In the first bhutto discusses with a british journalist her various enemies inside & outside government who might have been responsible for the first assasination attempt--along with her recommendation for how to handle things if she's murdered.

In the second video there is a discussion of an email that was sent to an american journalist in which bhutto blamed mussharif for not providing her with enough security.

The third video is raw footage of her assasination. It doesn't show much to my untrained eye.

Then of course al qaeda claimed responsibility for the killing.

Not to be left out The US brokered bhutto's return to pakistan

12/28/2007 11:32:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

So first we had the Lone Gunman theory and now we have a few others. By 1 Jan everyone will "know" that Bigfoot did it under orders from the Alien Grays who were acting under the direction the Trilateral Commission as revenge for the murder of Princess Diana, who was the secret head of the Masons before her sex change operation.

Turns out that was an ARMORED CAR Ex-PM Bhutto was in. And she was the only one sticking her head out the hole in the roof. No wonder she was the only one hurt. It is not hard to imagine banging your head pretty hard on some part of an armored car. But hard enough to kill yourself? Hmmmm....maybe...

An explanation I would more tend to believe is that the security personnel in the car with her (must have been some there) grabbed her and jerked her inside as fast as they could when they saw what was going down. Not something that would enhance your resume as a bodyguard so that might not come out.

12/28/2007 11:36:00 AM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

She could've been killed by accidental trauma. In any given month in Iraq a significant number of military deaths are due to vehicles rolling over, plunging into rivers, etc. But politics is a game of perception. And one thing the Pakistani government is probably not in a position to do is say, "trust us".

12/28/2007 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger Doc99 said...

This new explanation is more unbelievable than Arlen Specter's "Magic Bullet Theory." Sorry, Perv, I ain't buying it.

12/28/2007 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Unfortunate Bhutto Family

In 1979, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was executed by the General Zia-ul-Haq in Rawalpindi.

In 1985, Shahnawaz Bhutto committed suicide in mysterious circumstances in France.

In 1998, Murtaza Bhutto was murdered, when he returning from public rally in Karachi.

In 2007, Benazir Bhutto was assasinated, when she was leaving Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi.

The last home of all of them is in Gari Khuda Bukh, Larkana.

Their mother, Nusrat Bhutto, has already lost her mental balance just after the death of Murtaza Bhutto. There is no child left of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto now.

http://pakspectator.blogspot.com/2007/12/unfortunate-bhutto-family.html

12/28/2007 11:55:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

THE BHUTTO ASSASSINATION: NOT WHAT SHE SEEMED TO BE

By RALPH PETERS

December 28, 2007 -- FOR the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Her country's better off without her. She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life.

We need have no sympathy with her Islamist assassin and the extremists behind him to recognize that Bhutto was corrupt, divisive, dishonest and utterly devoid of genuine concern for her country.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.

Educated in expensive Western schools, she permitted Pakistan's feeble education system to rot - opening the door to Islamists and their religious schools.

During her years as prime minister, Pakistan went backward, not forward. Her husband looted shamelessly and ended up fleeing the country, pursued by the courts. The Islamist threat - which she artfully played both ways - spread like cancer.

But she always knew how to work Westerners - unlike the hapless Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who sought the best for his tormented country but never knew how to package himself.

Military regimes are never appealing to Western sensibilities. Yet, there are desperate hours when they provide the only, slim hope for a country nearing collapse. Democracy is certainly preferable - but, unfortunately, it's not always immediately possible. Like spoiled children, we have to have it now - and damn the consequences.

In Pakistan, the military has its own forms of graft; nonetheless, it remains the least corrupt institution in the country and the only force holding an unnatural state together. In Pakistan back in the '90s, the only people I met who cared a whit about the common man were military officers.

Americans don't like to hear that. But it's the truth.

Bhutto embodied the flaws in Pakistan's political system, not its potential salvation. Both she and her principal rival, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, failed to offer a practical vision for the future - their political feuds were simply about who would divvy up the spoils.

From its founding, Pakistan has been plagued by cults of personality, by personal, feudal loyalties that stymied the development of healthy government institutions (provoking coups by a disgusted military). When she held the reins of government, Bhutto did nothing to steer in a new direction - she merely sought to enhance her personal power.

Now she's dead. And she may finally render her country a genuine service (if cynical party hacks don't try to blame Musharraf for their own benefit). After the inevitable rioting subsides and the spectacular conspiracy theories cool a bit, her murder may galvanize Pakistanis against the Islamist extremists who've never gained great support among voters, but who nonetheless threaten the state's ability to govern.

As a victim of fanaticism, Bhutto may shine as a rallying symbol with a far purer light than she cast while alive. The bitter joke is that, while she was never serious about freedom, women's rights and fighting terrorism, the terrorists took her rhetoric seriously - and killed her for her words, not her actions.

Nothing's going to make Pakistan's political crisis disappear - this crisis may be permanent, subject only to intermittent amelioration. (Our State Department's policy toward Islamabad amounts to a pocket full of platitudes, nostalgia for the 20th century and a liberal version of the white man's burden mindset.)

The one slim hope is that this savage murder will - in the long term - clarify their lot for Pakistan's citizens. The old ways, the old personalities and old parties have failed them catastrophically. The country needs new leaders - who don't think an election victory entitles them to grab what little remains of the national patrimony.

In killing Bhutto, the Islamists over-reached (possibly aided by rogue elements in Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence, one of the murkiest outfits on this earth). Just as al Qaeda in Iraq overplayed its hand and alienated that country's Sunni Arabs, this assassination may disillusion Pakistanis who lent half an ear to Islamist rhetoric.

A creature of insatiable ambition, Bhutto will now become a martyr. In death, she may pay back some of the enormous debt she owes her country.

12/28/2007 12:06:00 PM  
Blogger kilmer4 said...

U.S. officials suspect a Taliban leader may be behind the plot to assassinate former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a senior official said Friday.

The official identified Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud as a leading suspect, saying there's "good information that leads us to believe he is the guy responsible."

Earlier Friday, the Pakistani Interior Ministry said it had "intelligence intercepts" indicating Mehsud was behind the opposition leader's death the day before in Rawalpindi.

"As you all know, Benazir Bhutto had been on the hit list of terrorists ever since she had come to Pakistan," said the Interior Ministry spokesman, Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema. "She was on the hit list of al Qaeda."

Cheema said the Pakistani government intercepted a phone call Friday in which Mehsud "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act."

Cheema said his government had "irrefutable evidence" that al Qaeda was "systematically targeting our state institutions in order to destabilize the country."

In the phone intercept that Pakistani officials released Friday, Mehsud is apparently speaking in the Pashto language to another militant, whom he called Maulavi Sahib, or religious leader. The following is from the transcript:

Mehsud: Congratulations to you. Were they ours?

Maulavi Sahib: Yes, it was us.

Mehsud: Who was there?

Maulavi Sahib: Saeed was there, second there was Bilal from Badar and Ikramullah.

Mehsud: All three of them did it?

Maulavi Sahib: Ikramullah and Bilal did it.

Mehsud: Then congratulations.

Maulavi Sahib: Where are you? I want to meet.

Mehsud: I am in Makeen [town in the southern part Waziristan]. Come over. I am at Anwar Shah's house.

Later in the conversation, Mehsud said, "Fantastic job. Very brave boys, the ones who killed her."

12/28/2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doc99 said...

Wretchard said -
"At some point the news is going to move past the Bhutto event to the consequences of it."

At some point someone will ask, "Cui bono - who benefits?" This incredible explanation of Bhutto's modus exitus only hastens its arrival.

12/28/2007 12:33:00 PM  
Blogger Gerard said...

Richard,
You will want to read, if you have not done so already,

http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2007/12/benazir-bhutto-mob-hit-in-pakistan.html

12/28/2007 12:40:00 PM  
Blogger Neo andertal said...

From the news releases and film today it looks as if this was a fairly straight forward attack. Bhutto was standing through the sunroof of the car. A gunman got to the back of the vehicle and fired three shots from a pistol apparently missing. The bomber on the other side of the car than detonated shortly after. Bhutto died from a massive head wound and skull fracture to the side of the head apparently from the shock of the explosion pushing her head up against the latch mechanism on the side of the sunroof. She may well have been ducking the shots when the blast threw her head against the sunroof. Apparently she had no bullet or shrapnel wounds but the head trauma was substantial. There is no record of sniper shots as some reported. Also, all occupants inside the car survived and the bomb and shots didn’t penetrate the interior of the vehicle.

The video I saw does directly show the assailant with the gun firing off the first of three shots. The video does show the timing of the bomb blast moments later but unfortunately only shows the back of some placards after the first shots. At least to my untrained eye, the official statements about her death do seem consistent with the video. It also seems consistent with the intercepted statement that there were three involved in the cell, two of which actually carried out the assassination. The third was probably an observer/cell leader and usually the most senior of them.

Frankly, this makes much more sense than a large scale complex bombing/sniper operation. The assassins picked the right type of attack. This is a small scale attack picking a moment of opportunity when Bhutto was using the sun roof of her armored car. (so much for sunroofs in armored cars) More complex attacks involving snipers seems unlikely or even fanciful at this point. Using snipers at set locations would introduce all sorts of timing problems that a simple attack avoids. The more complex attacks are usually more geared toward pinning down an armored unit and causing multiple casualties.

Of course the conspiracy nuts will be all over this. Nothing ever satisfies them. I’m very open to the possibility that the Pakistani army is somehow involved and would be inclined to say that security has been compromised in a large number of Pakistani units. I doubt that they would get into any direct planning on this sort of thing. Too many possible recriminations. If anything they would likely leave security lax giving ample opportunities for someone to strike.

I do notice that populist Pakistani politicians are expected to press the flesh with the voters to a great extent. Large crowds seem to be lingering and mixing with dignitaries everywhere. Here that sort of mixing with crowds died out with the McKinley administration more than a century ago. Security has been getting tighter ever since.

12/28/2007 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Truepeers said,
I am reminded, as I review some of Stanley Kurtz's essays on Pakistan, how much this is a problem not simply of Islam but of Islam as it buttresses a particular form of kinship and tribal society:

What D’Souza can’t see is that, far more than America’s secular Left, it is the distinctive nature of Islam itself, and of Middle Eastern social life generally, that forces this all-or-nothing choice. A non-creedal religion whose jurisdiction extends to vast areas of social life; a communal religious identity that punishes disloyalty with death; and a marriage system that generates (and harshly polices) a pervasive ethos of in-group solidarity: these are the real sources of the all-or-nothing choice between Muslim tradition and modernity. This is why the current alternatives in the Muslim world sometimes seem to be boiling down to an untenable choice between Iranian theocracy, on the one hand, and Turkish secularism, on the other.

If we want to change any of this, it will be impossible to restrict ourselves to the study of religious Islam. The “self-sealing” character of Islam is part and parcel of a broader and more deeply rooted social pattern. And parallel-cousin marriage is more than just an interesting but minor illustration of that broader theme. If there’s a “self-sealing” tendency in Muslim social life, cousin marriage is the velcro. In contemporary Europe, perhaps even more than in the Middle East, cousin marriage is at the core of a complex of factors blocking assimilation and driving the war on terror.
---
I suggested studying Presidential Candidates from Arkansas for insight.

12/28/2007 01:32:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

There's two things here: how Bhutto actually died, that is to say the sequence of events known to God; and how Bhutto is perceived to have died, which is the sequence of events which will have the most currency. Ideally the first should compel the second; but in actuality they can be entirely unrelated. Why can't we get the two things to merge? Because we may lack a trusted mechanism to determine the facts and communicate it to the public.

If we don't trust the investigators it almost doesn't matter whether they are telling the truth. They could be telling it for all that we know and still no one would believe it.

So the first thing to do here is what often happens when the local cops are believed to be too involved to investigate a case. Bring in the Feds. In Pakistan's case the "Feds" must come in from entirely outside the entire system. Entirely outside the entire country. And even then there would be doubts.

12/28/2007 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger talnik said...

A. She comes back into the country, someone tries to kill her and ends up killing 140 others instead.
B. She goes on TV and lists the people who are trying to kill her.
C. She goes back on TV and says if anybody kills her it will be Mussharif.
D. She is driven slowly through a gigantic, uncontrolled crowd with her head sticking out of the roof, as if to say "here I am, you can kill me now".
It doesn't matter how she died. She martyred herself for her image, before she was killed for what she was.

12/28/2007 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

It doesn't matter how she died. She martyred herself for her image, before she was killed for what she was.
/////////////////
This might read better if there were a conjunction: so that it reads:

It doesn't matter how she died because she martyred herself for her image, before she was killed for what she was.
///////////////////////
I don't think she had any great fear of being "found out". What we read is that all paki politicians played various double games and everyone was pretty much comfortable with the rules of the game including playing one side off against another and murder.

12/28/2007 02:23:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

What we read is that her rallies were small because she couldn't give much notice for them for fear of assassination. If she couldn't get big crowds and build momentum for her campaign--she couldn't win the election.

She had to do something.

So she gave notice.

She got her big crowd.

She also got her assasins.

12/28/2007 02:27:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Doesn't the lack of a Post Mortem eliminate any chance of the official line ever being accepted as true?

12/28/2007 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Peters puts a White Hat on Mushie, but I've read that he's seriously damaged what was best about the Military by replacing veterans in positions of power with his own flunkies.

12/28/2007 02:47:00 PM  
Blogger Ari Tai said...

re: What killed Ms. Bhutto?

Perhaps a lack of (1) Blackwater, (2) insufficient appropriate use of primal fears (without bodily harm) in interrogations, and (3) creation and maintanance of a db of your nation's commerce - from-to data (not the contents as much as who the envelopes, boxes, bits are addressed from and to). The stuff age-old detective work depends on.

12/28/2007 04:24:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Just because someone is lying doesn't mean his opponent is telling the truth. In the case of a Pakistan, maybe the question of "who do I believe?" is best answered by the phrase "no one". There's so much noise in the transmission that you have to tease the signal out. Most of us don't have the time to do that. Maybe many foreign policy analysts don't have the energy to do that. But I think there are no shortcuts.

You've got to get your information from the ground up, double blind even, with lots of collateral.

12/28/2007 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger talnik said...

Charles:
"This might read better if there were a conjunction: so that it reads:

It doesn't matter how she died because she martyred herself for her image, before she was killed for what she was."

I stand corrected(would a conjunction or semi-colon fit better here?). But although you've corrected my grammar, my idea still is not clear.
I didn't mean to imply she was fearful of being "found out". My theory is that in anticipating the inevitable, she chose an end more suitable to her, ala Hemingway, but with a big political statement.
Sure, it's a wacky theory. But it explains why was she making herself such an obvious target.

12/28/2007 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Video at Half-Speed with Shooter Highlighted

12/28/2007 04:46:00 PM  
Blogger JAGS said...

I think the Pakistani government is purposefully creating confusion surrounding the circumstances of Bhutto's death so that the truth behind her death is buried. The multiple contradictory reports are only intended to deflect attention from all the number of parties that were really responsible.

I disagree with the claim that Pakistan is better off with Bhutto dead.

She wasnt the greatest prime minister and didnt do a lot of good to the Pakistani nation both times she served. Both of her terms in office ended amid corruption scandals. Widely considered the Darling of the West, she wasnt quite the supporter of democratic principles that the media here makes her out to be. She compromised on many basic principles while trying to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Musharraf when he still had his uniform, after all he had done to stifle the independence of the Pakistani judiciary.

That said, however, her assassination is surely going to hurt Pakistan and cause more instability than her re-election as Prime Minister would have. Public distrust in the government and the upcoming elections, already at an all-time low, will only be eroded further.

12/28/2007 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Wretchard said...

Interesting video. There's no ripple in the crowd indicating the shooter forced his way to the car. He waited until the car was somewhat past, maybe to lessen the deflection angle, maybe to clear the obstruction of the sunroof hatch to Bhutto's side. Three shots were delivered quickly at a distance of about six feet, because the tail of the vehicle had still not passed the shooter. The blast occurs about 1.5 to 2 seconds after the shots.

A number of observations might be safely made. First, the shooter was already positioned near the road. This was his chosen point of attack. Because he had no knowledge that Bhutto would emerge from the sunroof hatch, the shots must have been taken on the opportunity. The bomb itself detonated long enough after the shots to have permitted Bhutto to duck down, assuming she wasn't hit. The size of the bomb was obviously inadequate to breach the armoring on the vehicle.

Those are pretty much factual observations. What deductions can we make? First. This was an operation with no real guarantee of success. Without Bhutto's emergence from the vehicle the shots were not possible. It could be argued that the bomb had sufficient power to breach the vehicle had the assassin detonated it when it was abreast of him instead of two seconds later. But since the vehicle was moving very slowly the actual distance must have been only about 2 or 3 meters. Surely the planners could not have counted on getting closer to the vehicle than 5 meters. So the bomb was underpowered. It did not have the margin of overkill required to make certain of a hit. After all, if you are going to invest in an assassination, you want to maximize the chances of success at the moment of attack.

So my own person opinion is that the attack was a pretty weak one, which succeeded only by sheer dumb luck. Would the ISI or al-Qaeda go in this light? I don't know.

12/28/2007 05:27:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Bring in the Feds. In Pakistan's case the "Feds" must come in from entirely outside the entire system. Entirely outside the entire country. And even then there would be doubts.
/////////////////
I disagree with Bhutto's take I don't think Scotland Yard or the FBI would lend legitimacy to the investigation in Pakistan when 50% of the Paki electorate thinks Al Qaeda is ok.

US sigint has already shown what donkey the tail should be pinned to. The intel just needs to given a paki face.

12/28/2007 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

...attack was a pretty weak one, which succeeded only by sheer dumb luck. Would the ISI or al-Qaeda go in this light?

America's been gleefully killing any Al-Queda with a semblance of expertise or intelligence in great quantities for several years now. The ones in Pakistan now are there because they're cowards fleeing Afghanistan or not good enough to send to Iraq. Why would we continue to think that there is any such thing as an expert Al-Queda sniper or bomber or ambush planner?

Dumb luck sounds good to me, with an emphasis on the "dumb".

With a proviso that it wasn't a hired hit by Musharref which would have meant that the pay-off would be going to the family of the hit-man, and he still wouldn't be required to be particularly intelligent. See, for example, AlQ using retarded young men to try to blow up the elections in Iraq.

Frankly, if anyone is going to deserve the label dumb, we shouldn't leave out Bhutto, either. What the hell was she thinking, poking her unprotected head out where any nut job could take a whack at her, especially since they've been whacking like crazy for weeks now any way.

If she hadn't ended up dead, it would almost be like she was playing the tied-up goat to lure the lion into an ambush. Even the Pope isn't that saintly any more, since Muslims took their whack at his predecessor.

12/28/2007 06:07:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Take enough shots and luck will sooner or later guide your shot to the mark. Sooner or later they will land a shot on Musharaff too.

I have read repeated stories about the unsophistication the Taliban & the like have in weaponry, most stories I have read from trainers describe the typical Afghan army recruit's shooting technique as point & pray brave yes, smart and wise no.

Was it an official action? I doubt it, but it seems like the Pakistani mob is buying that story. I am sure there are spins with the Moassad and the CIA in on this one. However, often in these cases they ask who is the biggest beneficiary. I think the obvious answer is Nawaz Sharif and Sharif is reported to be closer to the radical Islamists than Benazir or Musharaff.

12/28/2007 06:11:00 PM  
Blogger Neo andertal said...

Wretchard,

“What deductions can we make? First. This was an operation with no real guarantee of success.”

I agree, to have a successful attack Bhutto must be in an exposed position.

“After all, if you are going to invest in an assassination, you want to maximize the chances of success at the moment of attack.”

No. It’s a concealed attack with suicide vest and pistol. If they don’t get a good shot at it this time, walk away. Take a shot at it later. Maybe another cell gets a chance later. Nothing in this attack says they have to commit until the right opportunity presents itself.

“Because he had no knowledge that Bhutto would emerge from the sunroof hatch, the shots must have been taken on the opportunity.”

How often is she poking her head out of the van; seldom – often. I assume they have her under observation and know her tendencies. How many dry runs before they get her.

“The bomb itself detonated long enough after the shots to have permitted Bhutto to duck down, assuming she wasn't hit.”

You assume she isn’t startled by the shots from behind. She has to recognize what is going on and duck. Takes a little more time. Time to get herself part of the way down than boom. The side of her head is thrown into the latch causing a fractured skull and massive head trauma. Everyone thinks “oh my god, she’s been shot or maybe it’s shrapnel from the bomb. Preconception is strong. In the end is it any less traumatic either way, metal hits head, head hits metal.

In the movies it’s always a bullet or shrapnel. People never get hit in the head by a splinter, rock, part of the vehicle, or from massive hemorrhaging without a mark on them. In this case the confused initial reports may be just that, confused initial reports.

12/28/2007 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Ali Eteraz on Pakistan
via Michael J. Totten:

http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/12/auditing_pakistan.php

There have been nine assassination attempts by extremists on Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf in seven years. One would think this would mean that anyone allied with Musharraf should feel threatened as well. Yet Maulana Fazlur Rahman, an Islamist political leader from the MMA party, who has been allied with Musharraf for most of the decade, has never faced an assassination attempt, not even death threats. When I asked one of my friends in Pakistan why this was, she laughed: “Target Mullah Diesel? Are you kidding?”

..

Q: Why the granted immunity?

12/28/2007 06:54:00 PM  
Blogger Zenster said...

Ralph Peters: In Pakistan, the military has its own forms of graft; nonetheless, it remains the least corrupt institution in the country and the only force holding an unnatural state together.

Why do I find this supposedly reassuring statement so deeply disturbing? Suffice to say that, perhaps, Pakistan doesn't need to be held together.

Bhutto may shine as a rallying symbol with a far purer light than she cast while alive.

I think this can safely be said about nearly all Islamic leaders.

the terrorists took her rhetoric seriously - and killed her for her words, not her actions.

Something that Ahmadinejad would do well to bear in mind.

the Islamists over-reached

This is a profound understatement. One of Islam's most egregious hallmarks and signal failings is how it constantly overreaches itself. This one single character flaw may well be its death knell as Islam continues to antagonize far better armed Western nations.

12/28/2007 07:07:00 PM  
Blogger Fat Man said...

I think it is pointless to worry about what "really happened" to Ms. Bhutto. Very few middle eastern Muslims believe that Al Qaeda organized and carried out the 9/11 attacks, despite bin-Ladden's numerous claims of responsibility.

Western notions of "truth" and "reality" are simply not currency in that part of the world.

The real issue is which narrative will come to dominate popular consciousness in Pakistan.

I have no insight on which one it will be, but I am sure that we will not recognize it as factual.

12/28/2007 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger Mad Fiddler said...

So Colonel Peters wants us to feel scorn & contempt for Benazir Bhutto because she was a wealthy land-owner in a country with impoverished peasants.

Sorta reminds me of how we were s'posed to abandon Reza Shah Palavi back in the 1970's because he had secret (gasp) police who brutalized, tortured, and murdered his opponents. Now that we see the vast hemorrhage that is the Revolutionary Islamic Government of Iran, we begin to understand just exactly WHY the shah needed secret police.

Sure, the use of brutality is bad. But you still have to make distinctions between restrained use of violence --- i.e., a few hundred victims of the Shah's SAVAK over three decades on one hand, and the wholesale executions of tens of thousands of citizens each year by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Courts. Those courts have been rounding up, imprisoning, maiming, and executing Iranians for being practicing Catholics, Baptists, Bhuddists, Zoroastrians, Baha'i; for being union organizers, Communists, Leftists; for being fornicators, adulterers, homosexuals; for women being insufficiently modest, wearing too-revealing Western styles or walking on a public street without an accompanying male family member; for being a victim of rape or incest.

Well, jeez. Come to think of it, every SINGLE successful politician in the U.S. is rich rich rich.

I suppose by extension, we're expected to feel contempt and scorn for U.S. politicians and leaders, since they have enormous wealth in a country where there are MILLIONS of people without Health Insurance, without retirement plans, without multiple vacation homes, without seven different flavors of mustard in the fridge.

Another words, we are not allowed to make distinctions between degrees of evil or shadings of righteousness.

Anyone know any un-tainted and infallible politicians for me to give my vote to?

12/28/2007 11:41:00 PM  
Blogger davod said...

"often in these cases they ask who is the biggest beneficiary. I think the obvious answer is Nawaz Sharif and Sharif is reported to be closer to the radical Islamists than Benazir or Musharaff."

This was the furs thing that came to my mind. You could say that Sharif is the fundementalists man. Deals are made all the time and if a deal was to be made then it would seem Sharif and the Taliban/Alqaeda would be compatible.

What would Musharraf have to gain from killing Bhutto?

12/29/2007 03:37:00 AM  
Blogger Wadeusaf said...

Chaos derives the only benefit.

The tigers aren't caged anymore.

Authorities in SF and in Islamabad appear inept and reactionary. Sleeazy politicians like Joe Biden ride the wave for any advantage. Why does Delaware continue to return that putz to the Senate?

Hillary did not kill Benazir, she has enough on her plate trying not to inflict wounds on herself while trying to damage her rivals, to really give a damn about Pakistan or Iran. But the concept is a curious stretch that makes what I don't know. For appearances to seem not what they were intended to appear as without making an affirmative statement of policy.

Meanwhile Clark is picking up the poor Hil being picked on by mean boys routine.

And the taliban rejoice.

12/29/2007 07:08:00 AM  
Blogger Charles said...

Now this is what Dr. Jack Wheeler says about this:

The ghastly murder today of Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan is a classic example. This is an irreversible disaster for her personally, but not necessarily for her country. It offers Pervez Musharraf a platinum opportunity to hold his country together and rid it of its twin evils.

For an understanding of Pakistan from its creation in 1947 to today, you've got to read The Lunacy of a British Legacy. Focus especially on the Islamofascist behind the ISI (Pak intel), Hamid Gul. Musharraf placed him under arrest in early November but released him a month later.

There are two theories over who killed Bhutto, Al Qaeda and the ISI. They are not competing but complimentary with Gul the nexus. Musharraf now has the chance to funnel the outrage towards smashing Al Qaeda in the Pushtun tribal areas and unleash the Army upon the ISI. One indication of how he'll move is if he has Gul arrested and shot.

But if he doesn't carpe diem, 2008 will see Pakistan in a meltdown maelstrom. At this moment, Pervez Musharraf is the only thing holding Pakistan together. And note: Nawaz Sharif is Hamid Gul's stooge. That Sharif is now demanding Musharraf resign is one more indication Gul orchestrated Bhutto's killing.

12/29/2007 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

This video gives more detail than we have seen before

12/29/2007 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Jim in Virginia said...

Where was Cheney when Bhutto "struck her head"?

12/30/2007 08:44:00 AM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home


Powered by Blogger