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Assassination poses dilemma for US


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Assassination poses dilemma for US By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer

24 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration scrambled Thursday to deal with the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's after having investing significant diplomatic capital in promoting reconciliation between her and President Pervez Musharraf.

President Bush, speaking briefly to reporters at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, urged that her murder not derail nascent efforts to restore democratic rule ahead of parliamentary elections set for next month. And he demanded that those responsible for the killing be brought to justice.

"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. He expressed his deepest condolences to Bhutto's family and to the families of others slain in the attack and to all the people of Pakistan.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice echoed those comments, calling on Pakistanis to remain calm.

"The deadly results of this attack will no doubt test the will and patience of the people of Pakistan," Rice said in a statement. "We urge the Pakistani people, political leaders, and civil society to maintain calm and to work together to build a more moderate, peaceful, and democratic future."

Bush's appearance came as U.S. officials struggled with the implications of the assassination on relations with a nuclear-armed country that has received billions of dollars in American financial assistance and is a key ally in the war on terrorism. White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Bush spoke briefly by phone with Musharraf but he had no details.

Bhutto was mortally wounded Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. She served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile Oct. 18. Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people.

Stanzel said it was too soon to say who was responsible.

"I'm aware that al-Qaida may have claimed responsibility," Stanzel said. "I'm aware of news reports of that. But I don't have any specifics for you on that." He did say, "Whoever perpetrated this attack is an enemy of democracy and has used a tactic that al-Qaida is very familiar with, and that is suicide bombing and the taking of innocent life to try to disrupt the democratic process."

The White House expects an open review of the assassination. Stanzel said that was crucial for the long-term prospects of democracy in Pakistan. He would not get specific about what role, if any, the United States would play but stressed that the United States considers Pakistan a close ally.

In his comments, Bush said asked that Pakistanis honor Bhutto's memory "by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life."

At the State Department, deputy spokesman Tom Casey said that meant not postponing the Jan. 8 elections and not re-imposing emergency rule, which Musharraf declared in the fall and rescinded only earlier this month.

"It would be a victory for no one but the extremists responsible for this attack to have some kind of postponement or a delay directly related to it in the democratic process," he told reporters. "We certainly would not think it appropriate to have any kind of return to emergency rule or other kinds of measures taken in response to this."

The United States had been at the forefront of foreign powers trying to arrange reconciliation between Bhutto and Musharraf, who under heavy U.S. pressure resigned as army chief and earlier this month lifted a state of emergency, in the hope it would put Pakistan back on the road to democracy. Bhutto's return to the country after years in exile and the ability of her party to contest free and fair elections had been a cornerstone of Bush's policy in Pakistan, where U.S. officials had watched Musharraf's growing authoritarianism with increasing unease.

Those concerns were compounded by the rising threat from al-Qaida and Taliban extremists, particularly in Pakistan's largely ungoverned tribal areas bordering Afghanistan despite the fact that Washington had pumped nearly $10 billion in aid into the country since Musharraf became an indispensable counterterrorism ally after Sept. 11, 2001.

Said Sen. Richard Lugar, leading Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, "This is a critical moment for Pakistan, for the region, and for the community of nations as we encourage democracy and stability in Pakistan."

Irritated by the situation, Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making "concerted efforts" to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the assassination should spur a recommitment of U.S. support for Pakistan's democracy.

"This atrocious attack should compel the United States to renew our commitment to the people of Pakistan and to the voices of moderation," he said. "Although one of those voices has been prematurely silenced today, it is up to all of us to make sure that those who have perpetrated this hideous act are brought to justice, and that those who continue to spew the venomous, hate-filled rhetoric of extremism are vanquished."

Other U.S. officials and presidential candidates also issued statements expressing shock at Bhutto's assassination. Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden of Delaware, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said, "I am convinced Ms. Bhutto would have won free and fair elections next week. The fact that she was by far Pakistan's most popular leader underscores the fact that there is a vast, moderate majority in Pakistan that must have a clear voice in the system."

___

Associated Press reporters Charles Babington and Eileen Sullivan in Washington and Ben Feller in Crawford, Texas contributed to this story

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Have you never heard of summarising and linking ?

Right here... right now... the opinions of the white house are irrelevant. America is irrelevant.

What happens, will happen on the streets of Islamabad, NOT Pensylvania avenue.

Post this sort of thing in a few days time.

Meow Purr.

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Have you never heard of summarising and linking ?

Right here... right now... the opinions of the white house are irrelevant. America is irrelevant.

What happens, will happen on the streets of Islamabad, NOT Pensylvania avenue.

Post this sort of thing in a few days time.

Meow Purr.

Cant un-post.And im not under orders to post when told.I'll post when i want,if you have any problems with that,im sure you will get a moderator.(like you did just an hour ago to lock my topic.) Have a great day.

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Cant un-post.And im not under orders to post when told.I'll post when i want,if you have any problems with that,im sure you will get a moderator.(like you did just an hour ago to lock my topic.) Have a great day.

Yup - my previous post was a disgrace, and I apologise for it unreservedly. :(

Cat must NOT post after three glasses of wine :(

I'd got irate by some of the politicians jumping in around the world, all making bland comments and prognosticating how they would deal with the situation in Pakistan, when of course they could actually do nothing - the people of Pakistan are the only ones who can do anything at the moment.

How that got translated into the aforementioned ramble on UM, only Jacobs Creek (medium dry) knows. :(

Meow Purr :(

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*arrests the cat for drinking and posting*.....come right this way my errant cat...drinking and posting is a serious offense!

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post-52832-1198846284_thumb.jpg

Meow Purr :(

Edited by ships-cat
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Anyway getting back to the topic at hand and not wanting to see another of soldierspy's topics get closed down.

Other U.S. officials and presidential candidates also issued statements expressing shock at Bhutto's assassination.

Why was it such a shock that she was assassinated? it was obvious she was going to be assassinated.

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Well, it seems the presidential hopefulls where all swinging into 'foreign policy' mode over this, trying to show how good they where at dealing with foreign affairs.

They where all pretty crass, but the award to offensive drivel must surely go to John Edwards, who came up with this gem..

John Edwards said he had talked to Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to urge him to continue "on the path to democratisation, to allow international investigators to come in to determine what happened". Source: BBC

Sooooo.... he is basicly saying that the Pakistani police and intelligence services are either incompetent, or complicit. Nice one John. Push the local foreigners to one side so that the Great Americans (who are the only ones who know how to actually run a country, after all) can come on in and put it all right. (OK, he said 'international investigators', but we KNOW he meant the USA).

I wonder if he even realises how offensive his comment was, or how stupid it makes him look, to non-Americans ?

Meow Purr.

Edited by ships-cat
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Well, it seems the presidential hopefulls where all swinging into 'foreign policy' mode over this, trying to show how good they where at dealing with foreign affairs.

They where all pretty crass, but the award to offensive drivel must surely go to John Edwards, who came up with this gem..

Sooooo.... he is basicly saying that the Pakistani police and intelligence services are either incompetent, or complicit. Nice one John. Push the local foreigners to one side so that the Great Americans (who are the only ones who know how to actually run a country, after all) can come on in and put it all right. (OK, he said 'international investigators', but we KNOW he meant the USA).

I wonder if he even realises how offensive his comment was, or how stupid it makes him look, to non-Americans ?

Meow Purr.

It does seem a pretty odd comment on the surface. It's worth remembering though that after the last attempt on her life (which killed about 170, i think) there were many complaints from within Pakistan that no investigation had been made into the attempt on her life. When outside help was offered to help track down the culprits it was immediately refused. That's hardly a way to convince people your not rigging the game. I can understand his comment in context with that background.

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What's odd about calls for "investigation" is there is no real mystery as to who's behind this and the prior terrorism over there. If anyone needs a hint, let me know. ;)

I do think there are elements of Pakistani intelligence (ISI) that have never lost their support for the Taliban and actively support them, but any alleged complicity on their part in this assassination will never amount to more than speculation.

The real dilemma for the US (and everyone that has problems with Islamic extremism) is the lack of a viable leader in Pakistan. Musharraf has tried to play both sides, championing the war on terror while ceding control to extremists in frontier provinces and has lost the support of both sides. I'd like to think Bhutto's moderate approach might have made a difference over there if she had actually won the election, but we'll never know. I see nothing good on Pakistan's horizon.

Edited by Talos
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It does seem a pretty odd comment on the surface. It's worth remembering though that after the last attempt on her life (which killed about 170, i think) there were many complaints from within Pakistan that no investigation had been made into the attempt on her life. When outside help was offered to help track down the culprits it was immediately refused. That's hardly a way to convince people your not rigging the game. I can understand his comment in context with that background.

How would the average US citizen feel if - say - France said "you've made a mess of the 9/11 investigation. How about we send our own investigators over to help ? Your FBI can carry our bags for us... oh... and you've got to open up ALL of your secret files for our DGSE investigating staff to view." ?

Meow Purr.

Edited by ships-cat
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How would the average US citizen feel if - say - France said "you've made a mess of the 9/11 investigation. How about we send our own investigators over to help ?

I've no idea, i live in the UK. I do know this though, if the British Government was a Dictatorship, opposition leaders were being murdered and the worlds most wanted man was picnicking in the Highlands of Scotland then as much as i might dislike outside interference common sense tells me two things (a) other countries are going to have an interest in what's going on in a unstable, nuclear armed UK. And b( their also going to have an interest in whether the current leadership are murdering or suppressing investigations into the murders of opposition leaders.

Your FBI can carry our bags for us... oh... and you've got to open up ALL of your secret files for our DGSE investigating staff to view." ?

Meow Purr.

Is that what they said then? ..i wasn't aware of that.

Edited by 111
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Bhutto sent Blitzer security e-mail By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

2 hours, 41 minutes ago

NEW YORK - It was a story CNN's Wolf Blitzer hoped he'd never have to report — an e-mail sent to him through an intermediary by Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto complaining about her security. Conditions of use: only if she were killed.

Bhutto, who was assassinated on Thursday, wrote to Blitzer that if anything happened to her, "I would hold (Pakistani President Pervez) Musharraf responsible."

Blitzer received the e-mail on Oct. 26 from Mark Siegel, a friend and longtime Washington spokesman for Bhutto. That was eight days after she narrowly escaped another attempt at her life.

Bhutto wrote to Blitzer that "I have been made to feel insecure by his (Musharraf's) minions," that specific improvements had not been made to her security arrangements, and that the Pakistani leader was responsible.

Blitzer agreed to the conditions before receiving the e-mail. He said Friday that he called Siegel shortly after seeing it to see if there was any way he could use it on CNN, but was told firmly it could only be used if she were killed. Siegel couldn't say why she had insisted on those conditions.

Blitzer reported on the e-mail late Thursday.

He noted that Bhutto had written a piece for CNN.com that mentioned her security concerns and that American politicians had tried to intervene on her behalf to make her feel safer.

"I didn't really think that it was a story we were missing out on," he said. "I don't think the viewers were done any disservice by my trying to hold on to this."

Blitzer was the only journalist sent such a message, Siegel said. He also sent the e-mail to U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, a New York Democrat.

Siegel said he did not believe Bhutto's opinions had changed since she wrote the e-mail. Her message specifically mentioned she had requested four police vehicles surrounding her vehicle when traveling; Siegel said it seemed evident from pictures taken at the assassination scene that the request wasn't fulfilled.

Bhutto did not necessarily believe that Musharraf wanted her dead, but felt many people around him did, he said.

Her husband contacted Siegel on Thursday to remind him about the e-mail message and to make sure it got out, he said.

Blitzer said he had no regrets about the way he handled the story. To report about it while she was still alive would have meant going back on his word, he said.

"I don't think there is a clear black-and-white in this situation," he said. "I did what I think was right."

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Well, it seems the presidential hopefulls where all swinging into 'foreign policy' mode over this, trying to show how good they where at dealing with foreign affairs.

They where all pretty crass, but the award to offensive drivel must surely go to John Edwards, who came up with this gem..

Sooooo.... he is basicly saying that the Pakistani police and intelligence services are either incompetent, or complicit. Nice one John. Push the local foreigners to one side so that the Great Americans (who are the only ones who know how to actually run a country, after all) can come on in and put it all right. (OK, he said 'international investigators', but we KNOW he meant the USA).

I wonder if he even realises how offensive his comment was, or how stupid it makes him look, to non-Americans ?

Meow Purr.

Well, I know hoe it looks to this American :blink:

And this will get other countries to trust us again... :wacko:

I don't think that the US was ordered to have Interpol investigate the Kennedy assassination...

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Yup - my previous post was a disgrace, and I apologise for it unreservedly. :(

Cat must NOT post after three glasses of wine :(

I'd got irate by some of the politicians jumping in around the world, all making bland comments and prognosticating how they would deal with the situation in Pakistan, when of course they could actually do nothing - the people of Pakistan are the only ones who can do anything at the moment.

How that got translated into the aforementioned ramble on UM, only Jacobs Creek (medium dry) knows. :(

Meow Purr :(

you are right , the only ones who can deal with this is pakistan itself. everyone else can shoot thier mouths off , but in the end , brass tax , it comes down to the people not anyone else.

and how does a cat drink wine ? from a special bowl and lap it up ? or lap it from a nice glass ?

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