Day By Day

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pious Nonsense and the Bhutto Assassination

The narratives are taking shape.

Here in the US the MSM are working hard to portray Bhutto as a secular saint, an enlightened, liberal, Westernized vision of the perfect moderate Muslim. This image serves the political interests of both Democrats and Republicans.

For Republicans Bhutto serves as a reminder of the global nature of the war on terror, the continued puissance of our enemies and the need to maintain our efforts to marginalize and destroy them. For Democrats she represents a crushed hope for effective political action that would promote democratic reforms throughout the Muslim world.

Ms. Bhutto was, for many, a living symbol of their naive faith that political and diplomatic, rather than military action would be sufficient to bring about fundamental change in Pakistan. Her death revives the argument that Muslims just "aren't ready" for democracy and therefore attempts to bring liberal reform to the region cannot succeed.

In the more despicable and deranged precincts of the Left there is a determined attempt to lay the blame for her demise on President Bush and to revive the long discredited "take your eye off the ball" theory as a means of increasing the plausibility of their cherished myth of administration incompetence.

There is little attempt outside the blogosphere to come to some realistic understanding of the deceased and what she represented to Pakistanis. The sanitized image of a secular saint is far too useful to too many political interests. But amongst bloggers a very different picture of Mrs. Bhutto is beginning to emerge.

Yesterday I linked to commentary by Mark Steyn, Andrew McCarthy and "Spook 86" that punctured the "freedom fighter" image Bhutto so carefully constructed in her tireless and promiscuous courtship of media figures [sometimes it seems that there isn't an anchor alive who has not interviewed her].

Today Ralph Peters fills out the picture:

FOR the next several days, you're going to read and hear a great deal of pious nonsense in the wake of the assassination of Pakistan's former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto.

Her country's better off without her. She may serve Pakistan better after her death than she did in life.

We need have no sympathy with her Islamist assassin and the extremists behind him to recognize that Bhutto was corrupt, divisive, dishonest and utterly devoid of genuine concern for her country.

She was a splendid con, persuading otherwise cynical Western politicians and "hardheaded" journalists that she was not only a brave woman crusading in the Islamic wilderness, but also a thoroughbred democrat.

In fact, Bhutto was a frivolously wealthy feudal landlord amid bleak poverty. The scion of a thieving political dynasty, she was always more concerned with power than with the wellbeing of the average Pakistani. Her program remained one of old-school patronage, not increased productivity or social decency.

There's much more. Read the whole thing here.

What is most depressing in the current situation is the willingness, even eagerness, of people who staff our major political and journalistic institutions to spin politically useful fantasies rather than to take a hard look at the real state of the world.


Roger Kimball has a nice roundup on attempts to apotheosize Bhutto over at Pajamas Media [here]. In his mind the worst of these efforts was penned by the insufferably absurd Bernard-Henri Levy (who for some reason is beloved by the PBS crowd). I particularly like this passage:
Doubtless the Augean stables of sentimentality have more in store for us on this subject. But to date, Bernard-Henri Levy’s intervention is the most appalling piece of sentimentalizing rubbish since irresponsible journalists abetted the transformation of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales from a nuisance for the Paris tunnel cleaners into an international embarrassment.
"Nuisance for the Paris tunnel cleaners" -- I love it!