Saturday, December 29, 2007
Watching the Conventional Wisdom on the Benazir Assassination shift and re-congeal these past few days has been interesting to say the least. First out of the gate were the Mighty Defenders of the Status Quo, those who insisted that Despite the Tragedy and Shock, nothing must change, Musharraf must be supported, life and elections must go on, The Woman Would Have Wanted It That Way. David Ignatius was perhaps the premier example, but they opined on all the shows, and littered the governmental spokesmouths top to bottom, Over There and Over Here.
There was no other Wisdom at all, Conventional or otherwise, at least at first. Even the Lefty Blogosphere repeated the Usual Nostrums.
Then slowly and reluctantly, other voices started to break through the usually impenetrable wall of Convention. They started Over There, where the predominant idea from the beginning was that Musharraf was responsible for Benazir's assassination, even if he or his minions were not directly involved. Since nobody really knew who the triggerman was or who he was aligned with, let alone why this deed was done, speculation on motives and who was behind it were just that. Speculation.
What was not speculation was the fact that Musharraf had set himself up as an Autocrat, had been ruling by decree, had subverted and undermined democratic processes and had dismissed an independent judiciary not of his liking. He rules Pakistan with a heavy hand, and he alone determines such matters as whether or not people like Benazir shall have freedom of movement and what sort or whether they shall have security protection when they do move about and speak.
Nobody knew who the killer or killers were, but Musharraf's responsibility for the assassination could not be avoided. And that was the message out of Pakistan during the initial hours and days of turmoil and chaos. No one who was anyone was listening to Those People, of course, they being Brown Rabble and all, but one of our Democratic candidates, Bill Richardson (he being Brown himself and thoroughly versed in South Asian diplomacy among other things) did listen and said, "Musharraf has to go."
The screaming from the Palace Chatterati was immediate, yet there was near unanimity from Pakistan: Musharraf was the Problem; American support for this Problem was destroying Pakistan. Benazir -- whatever you thought of her -- was dead because of this Problem. And Nuclear Armed Pakistan was going up in flames.
The American policy of supporting this rascal -- who allowed Ur-Nemesis Osama a safe haven in the "Ungoverned Tribal Areas" of Pakistan, whose military and intelligence services were long known to be infiltrated by Taliban and al Qaeda forces, and whose security forces (so called) were unable to prevent the assassination of one of the most popular politicians on the Subcontinent (let alone unable to prevent the deaths of hundreds of Pakistanis through incessant terrorist bombings) -- was an abject failure. Those calling for continuing American support of this insouisant devil were pissing upwind. They began to realize it.
And not in a nice way. The worst of all possible worlds was nearly upon us.
Democracy Now! gave its whole hour yesterday over to discussion of the mess in Pakistan. It was illuminating to those just getting their bearings on the Crisis Over There, but of course it was on Democracy Now! and only dedicated Socialist Revolutionary Cadres watch that. Much better to spend quality air time ragging on Bill O'Reilly.
But meanwhile, those tectonic plates continue to shift.
By early in the New Year, expect to hear revived calls for an Invasion of Pakistan.
It's in the National Interest. Pervez Must Go.