Another Ugly Day in Pakistani Politics

Let's look at hard at the narratives that are emerging about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Here's Bush's spin on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto:
"The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy," said Bush, who looked tense and took no questions.
It's clearly too early to say, but the "murderous extremists" are just as likely to have been elements of the Pakistani military as anyone else. But more on that in a minute.

There are a few narratives that are being reinforced by the media today, all of which are, at best, badly oversimplified. They are:

  • Benazir Bhutto was a brave democracy activist, a symbol of women of color breaking down the doors and storming the corridors of power. She was a much-beloved figure who gave up a cushy life in exile to return to Pakistan to bring stability and democracy to a troubled land.

  • Musharraf is a "moderate Islamic leader" whose reckless abuses of power are tolerated by the international community because he stands as a bulwark against Al Qaeda radicals.

  • It's simply a given that the assassination was directly related to the struggle against "Islamofascism" -- or whatever silly label one prefers.
Joshua Holland is an editor and senior writer at AlterNet.
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