I have to admit that I’m stuck on Benazir Bhutto.
Quoting Mark Steyn again, “She was beautiful and charming and sophisticated and smart and modern, and everything we in the west would like a Muslim leader to be”.
Writing about her murder, Andrew McCarthy had this to say about the nation she once led and, I think, would have directed again in 2008, had she not been blown up in the streets of Pakistan’s capital:
There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the “rule of law” 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.
McCarthy isn’t speaking of the official government of Pakistan, of course, but rather of the large, festering pockets of Islamic radicals who seethe just beneath the surface of our erstwhile ally’s society.
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 today’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 Bhutto’s murder is not shocking. There, it was a matter of when, not if.
Pervez Musharraf, McCarthy says, is not the problem. In his view the people of Pakistan are the problem and he pulls out the CNN poll that showed Pakistanis supported Osama bin Laden 5% more than Musharraf and 5 times more than George Bush.
But Benazir Bhutto was a threat to the jihadists because she was both hostile to their fundamentalist beliefs and likely to gain power next year. She was killed because people supported her and this fact demonstrates yet again how inherently evil the jihadists are and that there is hope yet for Pakistan to join the ranks of civilized nations.
McCarthy doesn’t think that is likely and I can’t say as I blame him, although I do expect someone to step up and hoist Ms. Bhutto’s banner into the air, regardless of the risk.
The transformation from Islamic society to true democracy is a long-term project. It would take decades if it can happen at all. Meanwhile, our obsessive insistence on popular referenda is naturally strengthening — and legitimizing — the people who are popular: the jihadists. Popular elections have not reformed Hamas in Gaza or Hezbollah in Lebanon. Neither will they reform a place where Osama bin Laden wins popular opinion polls and where the would-be reformers are bombed and shot at until they die.
we should at least stop fooling ourselves. Jihadists are not going to be wished away, rule-of-lawed into submission, or democratized out of existence. If you really want democracy and the rule of law in places like Pakistan, you need to kill the jihadists first. Or they’ll kill you, just like, today, they killed Benazir Bhutto.
On this point westerners should all be able to agree, though I expect that we won’t.
We are too scattered and too scatter-brained to circle up around the truth, which is that there is no truce to be negotiated with men whose immediate response to Benazir Bhutto’s leadership is to plot and execute cold-blooded murder.
Denying this, our intellectual elite, represented so well by the likes of the faculty of Columbia University, among others, too often act as influential apologists for Muslim terrorists to the detriment of western society.
This is, of course, another strike against them from the perspective of the common person. We recognize immediately that high priests should not dictate legalities to citizens, that women should be able to educate themselves, dress as they will, and participate in and lead governments, that victims of rape should not be castigated or bull-whipped, and that a proper response to an offensive book, beauty pageant, or teddy bear’s name is not rioting and murder. That the self-appointed best and brightest among us are willing to split intellectual hairs over the relative value of radical Muslims’ contribution to the global family of man and the moral code that drives them to mass murder is both offensive and an abuse of the position of influence these men and women occupy in our society.
Judging from his excellent article, it seems that Andrew McCarthy understands this quite well. I wish the Americans and other westerners who lend comfort to our enemies – and the killers of Benazir Bhutto – actually saw matters as clearly as they think they do.
But it seems to me that our elite are utterly occupied with their opposition to all things conservative and Christian and so choose to make common cause, as David Horowitz describes eloquently, with people who can only be described as the intelligentsia’s worst nightmare.
As the extermination of Benazir Bhutto reminds us, the ultimate form of anti-intellectualism is being practiced as law in many places in the world even now. Its name is Sharia and it should not be confused with either liberal or conservative politics as practiced in western democracies.