Thursday, December 27, 2007

On the eve of elections

By Carol Gee

"Pakistan's Bhutto killed in gun, bomb attack," is Reuters' sad, sad headline. To quote:

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, her party said.

"She has been martyred," said party official Rehman Malik.

Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up.

The attack came just a few days before presidential elections were to be held in Pakistan on January 8. The video came into the MSNBC studio raw, bloody and unedited. News reporters and analysts, Mika Brzezinski and Andrea Mitchell are calling the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, this very brave woman, an "incredible tragedy." Earlier Madeleine Albright spoke eloquently about the tragic circumstances of her death, and commented on how difficult and delicate it was to discuss the very disturbing and complex Pakistani situation. Stephen Cohen of the Brookings Institute, called it a potential "failing state."

"Who do you want in the White House when something like this happens," asks Brzezinski's sidekick, Joe Scarborough, another of MSNBC's talking heads who immediately put his finger on the related U.S. election question. All the U.S. presidential candidates will be making statements about this very significant development. The first just came in from Rudy Giuliani, whose candidacy will inevitably be affected by the tragedy halfway around the world, because of his association with New York after the 9/11 attacks.

The two presidents have not yet made their statements. President Bush will speak at 11:00 AM, and President Musharraf reportedly "condemned the killing and urged calm."

I close this post with a report that Mika, who is doing a very good job, is now interviewing her father, Zbigniew Brzezinski, former national security adviser, for his views. He is pulling no punches with his comments critical of the current administration. It will be very interesting to listen to our candidates on both sides of the political aisle. We again get a chance to assess their leadership skills.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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