December 30, 2007
The death of Benazir Bhutto is a tragedy for the entire world,
and a lesson for Americans about real national leaders.
Isn't it puzzling what it takes to stir your soul and get
you off the dime to do something - like writing this column
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has done that. I am in
mourning over her death and I want to share with you why she
was one of a kind, one in a million, and why I admired her
so much and now weep for her and for her loss, which affects
each and everyone of us, whether you know it or not..
I have every reason in the world and plenty of excuses to
explain why I have been away so long from writing these small
epistles. I've had two knee replacements, I started another
new company, I left a great corporate job to spread my wings
yet again, and I have experienced the joys and wonders of
my first grandchild.
It is the quashed potential, and now memory, of Benazir Bhutto
that weighs heavy on me. She was just about everything you
want to see in a world leader - bright, eloquent, charismatic,
and above all - fearless! Hopefully, YOU will appreciate her
willingness to die for her country and why that matters to
us here in the U.S.
She represented probably the last opportunity for ending the
growth of radical militants and extremists in the Pakistan
region of the world. Saving Pakistan was her cause and it
would have made America's life a lot easier in hunting down
and killing those who want to come here and kill us on our
own precious soil.
Bhutto was, in the embodiment of her entire being, the one
person who could change the course of human events in the
world. These comments of mine, and my feelings for her, have
NOTHING to do with the war in Iraq or the debate about it.
People in this country need to develop some intelligence in
their one-track, politically-ignorant and vacuous minds when
looking at world issues that have an impact on us here in
the good old USA.
Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff, in my humble opinion,
has been a Jekyll and Hyde
character on which the U.S. has had to rely in the fight against
terrorism in Southern Asia. He is not a completely open and
honest man and his abject failures as general of the Pakistan
military, in a country where coups and bloodshed have been
a mainstay, constitute an on-going danger to the free world.
It seems likely the killing of Bhutto will cement the military's
grip on power for the near future, give Musharaff more justification
for his declared state of emergency, and further create havoc
in connection with the planned January 8 national election.
Any hope of having free and fair parliamentary elections,
with a strong choice OTHER than Musharaff, appears to have
been crushed by the assassination.
The suspicion for Bhutto's death falls on either Musharaff,
the radicals who want a Muslim-run state, or the country's
inept and highly questionable intelligence services. Bhutto
knew she was risking her life and two months ago, she sent
long-time friend Mark Siegel an email foreshadowing security
problems that ultimately led to her death.
She told her friend of 25 years in the October 26th email
that Musharraf had refused the extra security precautions
she sought. She said security was sporadic and erratic. The
frequency jammers she requested to combat improvised explosive
devices never materialized, as well as her pleas for police
escorts and vehicles with tinted windows.
Imagine if the major American presidential candidates had
asked for, and been denied, Secret Service protection. That
is exactly what has happened here and the blood of Benazir
Bhutto is on Musharaff's hands.
As we all have seen, the Bush administration had been working
behind the scenes since last summer to encourage Bhutto to
end her exile, take a major risk by returning to Pakistan,
and then seek political compromise with President Musharaff,
which he ultimately rebuffed, although he still tried to appear
as being a team player for America's benefit.
With Bhutto now dead, and Pakistan's instability raising
serious questions about who will keep its nuclear weapons
under control, there are critical concerns about our country
having one less reliable partner.
For most of her life, Bhutto has been willing to sacrifice
her life for her country, just like our men and women in the
military have been willing to sacrifice their lives for OUR
country for generations. She believed in democracy and in
standing up for her people, just like brave generations of
Americans have stood up for our sometimes troubled, but great
It's a shame we do not have anyone in our current presidential
race that possesses the strengths of Benazir Bhutto. PLEASE
don't suggest Hillary Clinton just because she's a woman.
None of the men on any of our political party tickets have
Benazir was not just a powerful woman, nor was she simply
an intelligent leader, and her charisma wasn't what defined
her. Unlike just about ALL of our presidential candidates,
who fail to directly answer the difficult questions of our
time about the economy, or health care costs, or the loss
of jobs to foreign nations, Benazir was one of a kind.
We haven't had such a rare combination of "Benazirian"
attributes in a national leader in this country or on the
planet for a very long time. Unfortunately, I am afraid it
will be yet another decade or more before we're blessed with
the likes of such a strong and committed jewel of a national
political leader willing to die in the streets in order to
preserve democracy for millions - both afar and indirectly,
on our shores.