So, remember how Benazir Bhutto came back and was all, "I just came back because I feel I need to be in Pakistan"? Well what really happened is she gave the US ambassador to Pakistan a ride on her plane out of Aspen over the summer, and he pitched the idea to her because they were old pals. Then they went to the State Department and convinced the Deputy Secretary of State to go hang out with Musharraf for a few days and try to sell him the idea. "He basically delivered a message to Musharraf that we would stand by him, but he needed a democratic facade on the government, and we thought Benazir was the right choice for that face," explains former intelligence official Bruce Riedel in a story in today's Washington Post. And Musharraf was like, "Seriously? That woman? Didn't I write in my own memoir last year how much I hated that bitch?" After the jump Megan and I explain, because we are so eminently qualified to do that after reading the morning papers, what's next for Uncle Pervy and his country.
MOE: ahaha feeling CRAPPY
MEGAN: why, yes, yes I am!
MOE: This story is the only thing I've read that explains exactly how the idea was hatched to send Bhutto back in the first place. Have you read anything else like it?
MEGAN: No, I hadn't read the article before but it makes a ton of sense. We've never been super-comfortable with Uncle Pervy
MOE: Well yes, but he views his support of us as the main reason for his own shitty approval ratings.
MEGAN: Gosh, so hard to be a popular dictator these days!
Also, he's not entirely wrong either.
MOE: Well no, and we were asking him to take back someone he once likened to an AFRICAN dictator. Did you know that with all the extremist poors he had to alienate in 2006, Musharraf also got around to writing an autobiography? And he didn't have much love for Bhuttolicious, of whom he wrote: "she had twice been tried, been tested and failed, [and] had to be denied a third chance." She had not allowed her own party to become democratic, he alleged. "Benazir became her party's 'chairperson for life,' in the tradition of the old African dictators!"
MEGAN: Ahem. For someone who wants to be military dictator for life and cried when he had to take off the uniform, that's a pretty pot-kettle kind of statement. Does that mean he's really just following in her footsteps?
MOE: haha but he's calling the kettle BLACK.
MEGAN: Wow, crap, she's buried already?
MOE: Do Muslims like to bury their dead super-quick like Jews?
Apparently she was killed by a shrapnel wound, incidentally.
MEGAN: Well, that's what the Pakistani government is saying.
And, yes, I'm going to guess they must because that was like a 24 hour turnaround on her burial.
But, the Getty reporter, John Moore, who took a number of the photos I used yesterday, caught the explosion on camera because he heard the shots.
MOE: Seriously though, i do wonder if that's an extra-harsh dis among the dictatorial set: like "I can play bridge with a Fujimori, share a scotch with a Pinochet, but those AFRICAN dictators — that's where we cross the line."
Oh, and also, those pictures were great. You got a lot of Diggs!
MEGAN: Well, but the pictures were all John Moore and Farooq Naeem of Agence France-Presse. I just saw them and thought everyone else ought to, too.
But on Pinochet and Fujimori, you're totally right.
(Side note: I went to college with one of Fujimori's kids. Nice guy)
MOE: I wonder if the MSM followed suit and printed any of them. I think it's really important to be confronted with the notion that in so much of the Muslim world, you're more likely than not to have witnessed a scene like this
MEGAN: I've heard, but haven't seen, that the NY Times printed this one this morning.
MOE: Wait, wrong link I think!
MEGAN: I know ABC News showed it last night with the bodies blurred out as they were interviewing John Moore.
MOE: Weird. So now there's torching and looting and all sort of chaos. I keep returning to this opinion piece from the Journal in November about "Being Pervez Musharraf." It basically said, Look, Pervez Musharraf thinks he's the best thing to happen to this country since...well ever, and just because he has a bunch of haters and has alienated a bunch of his supporters and now there are people rioting in the street because they're under the delusion their country cherishes democracy, doesn't mean anyone else is going to rise up and snatch power away from him. So like, what does he care?
MEGAN: I mean, aren't most dictators a little Napoleonic? They don't just want to have power, they want to be adored
MOE: Well politicians want to be adored. I don't think it's so much a matter of being a dictator as having a different personality. Look at Bill Clinton. He's adored, yes. But his desire for MORE adulation has led him to say some very unpragmatic shit — like about opposing the war from the beginning and crap — that hasn't been helpful to his wife's campaign. Okay, and then there's Dick Cheney. He has all sorts of power. Does he give a shit that he is hated? No. It's just a matter of what side of that fence Uncle Pervy comes down on and I'm thinking that it's the Cheney side of things, which is, in the long run, probably better for everybody.
Incidentally, the Post story points out that Bhutto's assassination is actually good for her party, and by extension good for us, as the PPP is "best ally the U.S. has in terms of an institution in Pakistan" according to some expert they talked to
MEGAN: I think there are definitely dictators that demand adulation (Hitler, Amin come to mind) and those that could give a shit. And, in the end, I think that the ones that don't are probably more successful in the long run.
Although I thought that was the most obvious point in the entire piece. Of course her party will do well in the elections now, unless they are canceled.
MOE: Good point, it's pretty obvious. It's not like they're going to try and draft her deadbeat husband to run or something stupid like that. So what are your sources saying? Are the elections on? Is Musharraf "finished" as they say?
MEGAN: I think if Uncle Pervy canceled the elections it would only be because his miltary was damn ready to fire on the mass protests and deal with the pictures of those bodies in the streets. And I don't think they want to be China in 1989.
But there's no other credible main candidate for a cooperative government either. Plus, you know, the expected rigging.
So, the cynic in me says he stays in power, Bhutto's party gains more seats and things stay more or less the same for now.
MOE: Um well in china in 1989 there were peaceful demonstrations (no torching, weapons, etc.) run over by tanks. Not that the Chinese would tell you that, because there's no freedom of the press. And mercifully as well, there was no freedom of religion. Either way I think it's a much potentially messier situation in terms of lives lost, bloody imagery, anger, etc. But I dunno. Who did kill her? It's so complicated. I can't wrap my head around it. I mean, at the end of the day it's a lot better for a Muslim country like Pakistan to have a big SECULAR martyr, right? And Jesus Christ, who the fuck killed her anyway? It's not like this is the first time this year they've tried.
MEGAN: I know, though unless it was actually Uncle Pervy, I'm not sure it matters.
But, yes, a political martyr has to be better than a religious one.