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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Pakistan - The Most Dangerous Place in the World

Photo: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was finally assassinated in Pakistan today. I say finally because it is the third attempt on her life since her return to Pakistan to run for President. This is important because Pakistan is the most dangerous country in the world. It ranks with the death of JFK. Benazir Bhutto had been the first woman leader of a Muslim country when she was 35. That era is over.

Pakistan has gone from democratic hopeful to nuclear nightmare. Either Al Qaida or even Musharraf himself was behind this horrible act. It was a suicide bomber, an Al Qaida trademark. But then the shooter first shot her in the neck with a bullet before blowing himself up. That is NOT an al Qaida trademark. It's been reported that the head wound was what killed her. For Musharraf it is a convenient way to suspend the Constitution and avoid the only opponent that could beat him in January's election. But Al Qaida has also tried to kill him as well.

I just saw "Charlie Wilson's War" yesterday, and how we dropped the ball in Afghanistan after one man helped bring down the Soviet Union. Charlie was in Islamabad about the same time I was there on business negotiations - but we never met.

What comes out in the movie is how the then Pakistan President Zia had killed his predecessor, who was Benazir Bhutto's father. (The movie doesn't say that Zia himself was later killed in an assassination when his plane was shot down).

We risk the same thing in Pakistan, the only major nuclear power with a growing nest of Islamic militants, including Osama Bin Laden who live in Pakistan's safe havens and are turning their attention from Afghanistan to Pakistan (according to Robert Gates).

Great turmoil and risk is ahead for the U.S. as much as the people of Pakistan. The killing of Ms. Bhutto in the Pakistan-equivalent of Washington DC leaves her moderate bases without a leader. They could turn to the extremists who could gain at least 30 nuclear warheads. This will happen even if Musharraf succeeds in becoming a dictator, now that democracy has died with Ms. Bhutto. It's a worst-case scenario.

Americans should pay attention to this. Start by seeing "Charlie Wilson's War" to educate yourself on that part of the world. If one of their nukes or the technology falls into the hands of Al Qaida sympathizers we are in serious trouble. A nuclear 9/11 would make the first event feel like a gnat bite in comparison.

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