Andrew C. McCarthy thinks Benazir Bhutto’s assassination should be no surprise, considering the real nature of Pakistan.
A recent CNN poll showed that 46 percent of Pakistanis approve of Osama bin Laden.
Aspirants to the American presidency should hope to score so highly in the United States. In Pakistan, though, the al-Qaeda emir easily beat out that countryâ€™s current president, Pervez Musharraf, who polled at 38 percent.
President George Bush, the face of a campaign to bring democracy â€” or, at least, some form of sharia-lite that might pass for democracy â€” to the Islamic world, registered nine percent. Nine!
If you want to know what to make of former prime minister Benazir Bhuttoâ€™s murder today in Pakistan, ponder that.
There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the â€œrule of lawâ€ 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 â€” 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.
The real Pakistan is a place where the intelligence services are salted with Islamic fundamentalists: jihadist sympathizers who, during the 1980s, steered hundreds of millions in U.S. aid for the anti-Soviet mujahideen to the most anti-Western Afghan fighters â€” warlords like Gilbuddin Hekmatyar whose Arab allies included bin Laden and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, the stalwarts of todayâ€™s global jihad against America.
The real Pakistan is a place where the military, ineffective and half-hearted though it is in combating Islamic terror, is the thin line between todayâ€™s boiling pot and what tomorrow is more likely to be a jihadist nuclear power than a Western-style democracy.
In that real Pakistan, Benazir Bhuttoâ€™s murder is not shocking. There, it was a matter of when, not if.
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