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Jewish World Review
January 3, 2008
/ 25 Teves 5768
Does the US need Pakistan?
The tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto is further proof that
Pakistan is a weak reed and an unstable partner for the United States to
Musharaf himself is in constant danger of assassination and has survived
at least three attempts on his life by Islamic terrorists. I believe
Musharaf sincerely wants to help the United States prevail against the
Islamic terrorists. However, he is largely unable to pursue the
terrorists who apparently are everywhere in Pakistan, including within
the Pakistani army. In Pakistan today, there are those who believe it
was those elements in the Pakistani armed forces that killed Benazir
We can be sure that the kind of conspiracy theories that appeared after
the assassination of President Kennedy are swirling in even larger
numbers in Pakistan today. Those theories are being aided by the
Pakistan government's initial refusal to allow an independent
investigation of the assassination and the Pakistani government's
initial accounts of how Bhutto was killed. First, the government
announced that Bhutto was shot. They then changed their story to say she
was not shot, but suffered a fractured skull as a result of striking her
head on the car's sunroof as she dropped back into the vehicle when the
shooting began, which in turn was followed by the suicide bomber and
shooter blowing himself up.
The Pakistani government's second account is undermined by pictures
taken at the time of the shooting which show the assassin, gun in hand,
shooting at close range, and Bhutto slumping, recalling how President
Kennedy slumped when he was shot in the head in Dallas. The Pakistani
government has subsequently announced that it will permit foreign
experts to investigate the assassination together with Pakistani
experts, but not independently.
Many in the U.S. support the creation of a true democracy in Pakistan, a
foreign country that has no democratic tradition and which might become
a nuclear armed enemy of the U.S. They want to replace the military
dictatorship headed by Musharraf who, for perhaps personal safety
reasons, has thrown his lot in with us. I do not agree with those who
call for the immediate democratization of Pakistan, and I would not
press Musharraf at this moment to take any action, political or
military, which he believes will place him in additional danger or cause
his immediate downfall. If Musharraf disappears from the scene,
Pakistan's nukes could fall into the hands of terrorists, and the
consequences could be catastrophic for the entire world.
That Musharraf is in great personal danger, almost everyone would agree.
Indeed, there is great likelihood that efforts to assassinate him will
likely come from within his own security forces. When Anwar Sadat was
President of Egypt, he was killed by elements of the Egyptian army as he
sat reviewing the Egyptian armed forces on parade. Indira Gandhi, prime
minister of India, was killed by elements of her own Sikh security
The turmoil in nuclear-armed Pakistan is further evidence that we are at
war with a fanatical enemy seeking our destruction. We must make the
national sacrifices needed to win that war.
It is amazing that with our less-than-total resolve as a nation to win
the war in Iraq, we have successfully come as far as we have. What is
needed now is a call to arms by President Bush, including a demand that
our nation recognize the costs of war and be prepared to bear that cost
now which includes an increase in taxes on those well able to afford it.
Further, if our volunteer army is not able to attract sufficient
volunteers, we should enact legislation re-imposing a draft and finally
imposing on industries which have hugely benefited from the war, e.g.,
the oil industry, an excess profits tax.
The Democratic Majority Leader of the U.S. Senate, Harry Reid, and the
Democratic Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, are clearly not up to
their jobs. Their tiny, tinny, tired opposition voices are unable to
lead and inspire the nation. They should be replaced by the Democratic
caucus in Congress with more able leaders.
And the presidential candidates in both parties do not seem able to
arouse the public to the dangers that confront us. They must be willing
to acknowledge the need for greater sacrifice by the American public if
we are to win this war of civilizations, a war that we are fighting
every day and will probably be fighting for decades to come.
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JWR contributor Edward I. Koch, the former mayor of New York, can be heard on Bloomberg Radio (WBBR 1130 AM) every Sunday from 9-10 am . Comment by clicking here.
© 2008, Ed Koch