Saturday, December 29, 2007

BREATHING LIFE INTO TERROR: The Death of Benazir Bhutto

We have seen this all before. Throngs of grieving and angry mourners amidst the bodies of their heroines, presidents, religious leaders and innocent children. The Palestinians, Israelis - in Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and now Pakistan - where the brutal and senseless attacks breed fear, doubt and the troubling concern that an unstable lack of mutual respect and understanding in a small corner of the world threatens the world itself. It has all come before.

We clutch our loved ones and are falsely thankful that our little corner of the world does not breed such an alarming magnitude of disrespect for human life. We have already forgotten that when the pictures and video of those mourning throngs came from Kenya and Tanzania, dead American ambassadors were being shipped home from that carnage. We forget that when those pictures came from Saudi Arabia, dead American soldiers were being shipped back home. And we forget the murdered American sailors and civilians who felt safe and secure in their workplace, their normal daily routines forever interrupted and their families forever haunted.

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto points out the glaring omissions in the more than year long presidential campaign and so-called debates as the candidates argued life experience versus pseudo experience, whose beliefs in God were more valid, and who changes their mind more often. As the name Osama bin Laden might occasionally cross a candidate's lips, their stand on the threat of worldwide terrorism and how best to combat it did not. Even more unfortunate, the press has not bothered to ask. The multitude of criticism of present American policy failed to yield any coherent plan to go after Al Qaeda. Cries that "We should have finished the job in Afghanistan," failed to recognize that Al Qaeda has continued to wreak havoc on continents around the globe even since we invaded Afghanistan. The aggressive American response since Sept. 11th belies Osama bin Laden's past wartime proclamation that America is "a paper tiger." Our collective suffering during the 1990s, and beyond, at the hands of his maniacal disciples was the result of being saddled with a "paper president." And praising that president's flowery eulogies at the arrival of flag-draped coffins is not a sufficient response to terrorism. Nor is "threatening" to respond an adequate response to terrorism.

As the Iraqi citizenry began to turn against the barbaric insanity of Al Qaeda, its terrorist founder publicly declared that his minions should be actively engaged in planning attacks inside the United States. And as the alleged "experienced" presidential candidates, their supporters and the news media treated that announcement like a short story, the assassination of Ms. Bhutto has revealed that the real presidential campaign may have finally begun. Now if we could only get a few real journalists to ask a few really important questions.

No comments: