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The tragic murder of Benazir Bhutto in the midst of a Pakistani election campaign is a jarring reminder that politics, particularly in that part of the world, is a contact sport.  Many American pundits and politicians already are filling the airways deploring the attack and calling for democracy.  This shows me we have learned nothing from our debacle in Iraq.

The majority of people in Pakistan favor Islamic fundamentalism.  Got that?  If there is a fully free election we should not be surprised if the winner is someone who is not in sync with a Western view that values pluralism and secularism.  Also, we probably would not be able to count on them insisting that Israel's right to exist be protected.  OK?

Update [2007-12-27 16:7:32 by L C Johnson]: It is important not to confuse or conflate Islamic fundamentalism with Islamic extremism.  I am not arguing that the majority of Pakistanis favor the extremism espoused by the likes of Al Qaeda. ...

But, neither are they eager to promote a plural, secular society where religion takes a back seat.  The situation is made more complex by internal divisions pitting Sunni vs. Shia and ethinic minorities like the Baluchis.  The goal of Islamic extremists to impose Sharia breaks down among the fundamentalists because there is no consensus about which Islamic laws/beliefs are the essence of the Islamic life. [END OF UPDATE]

The military and intelligence services are not a monolith.  There are some in both institutions that are favorably disposed to work with us and believe in the necessity of reining in the Islamic extremists.  But they also contain officers who share the vision and values of the extremists. Men who have helped fund, train, and protect the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and groups such as the Harakat Ul Ansar.  They are committed first and foremost to creating a Pakistan ruled by Sharia and are intolerant of those pushing for accommodation with the west. 

The immediate goal for the United States is to assume a low profile and work quietly behind the scenes.  I'm sure that most of the U.S. pundits and politicians offering prescriptions for Pakistan's future are well intentioned.  But notwithstanding being well meaning, meddling is still meddling.We should recognize that there is a limit to our influence and that those who are perceived publicly as our closest allies may have the most to fear.

We need to define our interests in the country and region and proceed constructing our policy from there.  I suggest we consider the following as our primary objectives:

  • promote a stable government that upholds rule of law and shies away from religious extremism (come to think of it, that should be our goal for the U.S. as well);

  • maintain and strengthen close ties with police, military, and intelligence officials willing to engage Islamic extremists;

  • ensure that Pakistan's nuclear weapons are in the hands of responsible, secular officials and institutions;

  • support economic development activities to counter the influence of the madrassas;

  • encourage regional cooperations among Iran, Afghanistan, and India to eliminate drug trafficking and paramilitary training.

In pursuing these objectives the Bush Administration and its successor would be well advised that working quietly in the shadows will pay more dividends than playing the role of the drunken mother-in-law intent on lecturing her daughter's intoxicated husband on the evils of booze.  The drunken in-law may feel better unloading her concerns but the message is likely to get lost in a storm of resentment and shouting.

Originally posted to L C Johnson on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:48 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You had me at "learned nothing." nt (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, NYFM, Mary2002, madgranny

    It's full of stars... T. Roosevelt: Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.

    by Terra Mystica on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:53:15 PM PST

    •  And what's that supposed to mean? (0+ / 0-)

      Sorry, I don't get it.

      Get to know The Hillary I Know... And come see me at The Liberal OC! :-)

      by atdnext on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:56:55 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  It means that Bush keeps manipulating the facts (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, 3goldens, KingCranky

        on the ground to meet some predetermined world view with disastrous results, as opposed to working to identify critical national foreign policy issues like regional stability and acting to make that happen.

        Democracy is a good thing, but it is not something that can be shoehorned into place.  Bush (Rice) seem to be either incapable of learning this, or forget it quickly.  They have a dangerously political agenda based FP.  Here they have created a nuclear instability by pressuring Bhutto to return, and then being overtly associated with her efforts and success.

        It's full of stars... T. Roosevelt: Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind.

        by Terra Mystica on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:09:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  bhutto was a counterbalance... (10+ / 0-)

    ... to both the military and the islamic radicals. her faction was the only one moving toward a secular, non-totalitarian form of government. without a strong, middle class party, it leaves just the dictators and the radicals. think cuba in the 1950s, and you have the picture.

    now is the time for skilled diplomacy, and george w can't learn how to do anything fancy at this late hour. unfortunately, his heavy-handed intervention in 2001 and absence of a strategic vision is now bearing fruit.

    Hillary 2008 - Flying Monkey Squadron 283

    by campskunk on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:53:49 PM PST

    •  Yep, "skilled diplomacy" is right... (6+ / 0-)

      We are in DESPERATE need of that now. But far too often, Bush chooses instead to use his "cowboy diplomacy" of veiled threats and bellicose language. I hope he just doesn't f*** this up now. Pakistan is already teetering on the edge of total meltdown with Musharraf trying to become "dictator for life" and a population thirsting for democratic reform.

      Now is the time for some real skilled diplomacy.

      Get to know The Hillary I Know... And come see me at The Liberal OC! :-)

      by atdnext on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:00:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  uh (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, Terra Mystica, dantyrant

      Musharraf "gets" it pretty well.  He's made a fairly liberal society, in fact he even used repression in the case of replacing the judges to--much of which is split for Islamists--to maintain Pakistan's liberal system even at the expense of democracy. He may be crooked but he is one of Pakistan's best defenses of secularism and an ordered government.

      It's interesting that a group of people so committed to the fight against Western imperialism cannot wrap their heads around the idea that Western democracy and Western liberalism cannot always coexist in the third world.

      We don't like exporting democracy, and yet we don't like what they have instead?

      It's not often you find a politician talented enough to smear the opponent as a drug dealer, terrorist AND uppity black boy

      by Nulwee on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:01:43 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  And yes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, chigh, Terra Mystica

        we clearly don't like exporting democracy, as per Iraq, and the point that Larry Johnson nailed on Pakistan:

        for Pakistan to be a democracy would make it theocratic.  It would have one of the most far-right authoritarian governments in the world.

        It's not often you find a politician talented enough to smear the opponent as a drug dealer, terrorist AND uppity black boy

        by Nulwee on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:03:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Some Pakistanis would seem to differ... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inky, bronte17, Nulwee, Terra Mystica

      Ms. Bhutto's political posturing is sheer pantomime. Her negotiations with the military and her unseemly willingness until just a few days ago to take part in Musharraf's regime have signaled once and for all to the growing legions of fundamentalists across South Asia that democracy is just a guise for dictatorship.

      Benazir Bhutto's NIECE wrote that. She continues

      By supporting Ms. Bhutto, who talks of democracy while asking to be brought to power by a military dictator, the only thing that will be accomplished is the death of the nascent secular democratic movement in my country. Democratization will forever be de-legitimized, and our progress in enacting true reforms will be quashed. We Pakistanis are certain of this.

  •  Don't forget... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...they gave the bomb to North Korea...

  •  The US (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, 3goldens, unclejohn, duha

    not meddling in another country's business seems like a pipe dream, to me. It's been going on for a very long time and includes both political parties.

    Don't argue against the idea, just don't think that will be the way it plays out. And, with Condi having led the parade leading to the mess unfolding before us at this moment, it seems even more unlikely.

    Common Sense is not Common

    by RustyBrown on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:55:34 PM PST

  •  I'm not sure (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    a majority of Pakistanis want an Iranian style Islamic theocracy, but there is certaintly a powerful Islamic extremist-supporting population there that keeps it's presence known and keeps Pakistan from being anywhere near stable.

    Bhutto would've likely won the free election next month had she lived, but her government and her life would've always been in jeopardy. A free election will probably user in a democracy, but one that is in a constant state of threat by a strong Islamic extremist population.

    The question from here is will this be the point when Pakistanis say "enough" and fight Islamic extremism in the country, or does it lead to a civil war between democracy supporters than theocracy supporters? The fact Musharraf has been tougher on pro-democracy leaders than on Islamic extremists leaves me skeptical that he is on the right side here and the country needs a leader who is dedicated to a free democracy; that was Bhutto. I don't know who else comes next. Sharif?

  •  disagree with one thing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, duha, dantyrant

    I don't believe that the majority of Pakistanis want fundamentalism.

    sure they are a significant minority but not a majority.

    People just live in fear.

    I shall not rest until right wing conservatives are 4th party gadflies limited to offering minor corrections on legislation once or twice a year.

    by davefromqueens on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:57:02 PM PST

    •  Would you disagree that the majority of (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DigDug, 3goldens, borkitekt

      Europeans wanted fundamentalism in, say, the 15th century? That's your parallel. These poor beknighted people still believe that religion has something to offer other than incessant strife, ignorance and brutality. Combine that with an essentially tribal social organization, again like Europe in the Middle Ages, and you have no reason to be optimistic about the near-term prospects for anything that we would recognize as democratic governance.

      That said, many of the backward areas of the world, including the Islamic world, are undergoing the throes of modernization. Literacy rates are, overall, increasing dramatically and female fecundity rates are plummeting. These two indices give promise that in a generation or two, much of the frightful Iron Age indoctrination that we call monotheism will dissipate in the Islamic world, just as it has in the more advanced areas (Western Europe) of the Christian world.

      So, maybe, in the medium term, there is room for optimism.

      •  Pakistan (0+ / 0-)

        was once a democracy, granted being once a democracy doesn't say much, but it has a democratic history (whereas a country like Iraq does not). Democracy can come to Pakistan, the problem is, not everyone wants it.

        The joy of America is that I highly doubt you will find 1% of our population who does not want a true democracy in some sense. Granted people like Rudy Giuliani would rather limit it down to where it barely exists, but in countries like Pakistan and Iran that have had democracies, the problem is the great minority who wants an Islamic dictatorship who will thwart democratic attempts at every turn.

        •  I disagree on Iraq... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Inky, Terra Mystica

          it does have a history of democracy. Unfortunately, it's not a positive one as the British basically used it to set up a puppet govt.

          This link to the bbc is a great read:

          "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

          by grannyhelen on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:41:28 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes (0+ / 0-)

            but that wasn't a democracy, it was a puppet government and there was little freedom. The country has been a monarchy or a dictatorship for almost it's entire history, not the democractic government Pakistan was under Bhutto or Iran was under Mossadegh. Those situations allow those countries to have a foundation to build upon. Iraq has little foundation to build upon

      •  Except for the United States (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, unclejohn, Nespolo

        where fundamentalism is resurgent, despite modernization.  Sad fact of life in this country where intellect is a sin.

      •  Hi unclejohn (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, Dianna

        Could you please tell me which Muslim majority cities you've visited?

        If you have visited Dubai Karachi Islamabad Tehran I'm interested to know how you could conclude...

        These poor beknighted people still believe that religion has something to offer other than incessant strife, ignorance and brutality.

        It would be like claiming the people in Utah represent the views and values of America. Forget that most of the people live in large cities where liberal secular beliefs are the overwhelming majority.

  •  Sometimes liberal governance - (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, SaneSoutherner

    is different from liberal process, I suppose. There is no doubt that a Musharraf administration is more liberal on religious, civil, and especially womens' rights than would be a popular gov't.

    Thanks for your insight, LC. When I point out these things, I get called "just another UChicago wannabe dictator" :)

    I say Billings, be careful with that missile!

    by Chairman Bob on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:57:05 PM PST

  •  Didn't the CIA already "work" in Afghanistan (10+ / 0-)

    Supporting the extremists there (during the Soviet invasion)?..

    How about not meddling at all? There are real people living in Pakistan, this is about them.

  •  What I find interesting is that..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ...our own Ambassador to Pakistan said this morning that "the Democracy Agenda" has taken a back seat to our goal our "War on Terror" goals. Guess we lost a battle in that war today.

    "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

    by Bensdad on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 12:59:23 PM PST

    •  What a crock of shit (0+ / 0-)

      If the U.S. were serious about fighting Islamic terrorism, they would have invaded Pakistan instead of Iraq.  Pakistan was, and is, guilty of everything they accused Iraq of.  From WMD's to harboring terrorists.  All of it.  Instead, Pakistan is our "ally"?  Sure.  If you're GWB and the neo-cons, and you exploit terrorism to further your own political goals of usurping the Constitution.  

      •  Yep. Agree...... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...I find it comical that we go ballistic, so to speak, over Iran's putative nuclear weapons program, when Pakistan has actual nukes, a dictator (love those free elections!), and is our special friend....who is striking a balance for survival which includes protecting international criminals.

        "I am my brother's keeper. I am a Democrat." -- That's your slogan, Democrats.

        by Bensdad on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 07:52:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The majority doesn't wan't sharia law rule (5+ / 0-)

    a sizeable minority.

    The majority want secular rule, but the ruling parties in the 90s before the coup were very corrupt, including Bhutto's.

    "There have been tyrants, and murderers, and for a time they can seem invincible. But in the end they always fall. Think of it. Always." -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by duha on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:02:58 PM PST

  •  How many times can I recommend this diary? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grannyhelen, Dianna, SaneSoutherner

    As always, Larry, your knowledge, your common sense, and your wit comes through..even in dark times.

    What a damned waste of a beautiful life with such potential. She was a courageous and passionate person. I admired her for the love she showed for her country, regardless of the danger.

    Man, that's love.

    I can only be disgusted and sad for Pakistan and  for all of us today.

  •  Update is still bullshit (4+ / 0-)

    provide a link.

    Explain how Butto was elected if your claim is true.

    How would a country that a majority wanted fundamentalism elect a woman?

    How for that matter has the secular Musharaf held power?

  •  This is a most worrisome situation (0+ / 0-)

    thanks for your insight as always Larry.

  •  Why, Larry, are you questioning the wisdom of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    But notwithstanding being well meaning, meddling is still meddling.We should recognize that there is a limit to our influence and that those who are perceived publicly as our closest allies may have the most to fear.

    Sorry - just found this interesting b/c I was in a different diary yesterday when we were discussing US troop increases and how it affects US hegemony.

    I think there's arguments pro and con on that one, but imo what you've outlined is one of the con arguments.

    Unless I'm reading something in here that isn't there...

    "The revolution's just an ethical haircut away..." Billy Bragg

    by grannyhelen on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:19:16 PM PST

    •  No...he is not questioning hegemony... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      just asserting that it should be practiced discretely.

      Larry is an apologist for Reagan's dirty wars in central america.

      The Reagan policy of promoting democracy actually worked and the people of Central America have enjoyed the benefits. -by L C Johnson on Sun Dec 23, 2007 at 06:30:42 PM PST

      Larry is also a sleazy Blackwateresque CEO, who sees some potential business advantage in ingratiating himself with Democrats.

      Larry C. Johnson is CEO and co-founder of BERG Associates, LLC, an international business-consulting firm that helps multinational corporations and financial institutions identify strategic opportunities

      Our Mission
      To help businesses achieve financial security, protect their assets, preserve hard earned corporate reputations and compete successfully in the global economy

    •  Shot as she stood up...waving in an open sunroof (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      in her vehicle.

      Then, when she fell down into the vehicle after being shot, it exploded.

      (CNN) -- The photographer who took images of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto moments before her assassination Thursday told CNN he was "surprised" to see her rise through the sunroof of her vehicle to wave to supporters after delivering her speech.

      "I ran up, got as close as I got, made a few pictures of her waving to the crowd," Getty Images senior staff photographer John Moore told CNN's online streaming news service, Live, in a phone interview Thursday from Islamabad, Pakistan.

      "And then suddenly, there were a few gunshots that rang out, and she went down, she went down through the sunroof," he said. "And just at that moment I raised my camera up and the blast happened. ... And then, of course, there was chaos."

      Someone carefully coordinated this to ensure that she was really totally made dead.

      <div style="color: #a00000;"> Our... constitutional heritage rebels at the thought of giving government the power to control men's minds. Thurgood Marshal

      by bronte17 on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 04:27:58 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democracy Is What Is Needed (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Inky, acquittal, odenthal, pontechango, Number5

    While it is certainly true that active US intervention is the last thing that Pakistan needs, I strongly disagree with the diarist's contention that democracy in Pakistan would be a bad thing and that the "majority" of Pakistanis would favor an Islamic fundamentalist state.  I do not know what the diarist's basis is for saying this, and from what I have read, it is dead wrong.  (As for the fact that most Pakistanis are not pro-Israel, that matters to me not at all).
    Pakistan is a federal state.  Most of the population is in the Punjab and Sindh, and this population tends to be quite secular.  What these people want is to enjoy the economic boom currently being enjoyed by their arch-rival, India.  It is an extreme case of sibling rivalry, but that rivalry makes it highly unlikely that Pakistan is going to fall under the control of some Taliban-like government, since such a government would hinder the kind of economic growth that the vast majority of Pakistanis want to see.  There is a minority of Pashtuns in Pakistan who do sympathize with the Taliban, but they do not pose a real threat of taking over the country.
    IMO, the problems in Pakistan are the legacy of excessive US intervention going back to the Cold War, which built up an oversized military establishment that has consistently thwarted democracy in Pakistan.  Ironically, the Pakistani military, although large, is not particularly adept at fighting the kind of counter-insurgency warfare that is needed to counter the fundamentalists, who are primarily active in the western territories.  The more we have supported the Pakistani military over the years, the less effective they have been in suppressing the fundamentalists.
    This is why I say that more democracy is precisely what Pakistan needs, and therefore, what the US also needs.  There is a great potential for economic development in Pakistan, which in turn will support democratic institutions.  Propping up military dictatorships is only going to impede that evolution.

    •  Democracy is the LAST thing larry (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      acquittal, theyrereal

      and his contractor buddies want.

      The cia and isi have been funding and feeding extremists for decades to control the people of Pakistan.

      Fear keeps musharaf in power, and keeps us supporting him instead of pushing for the RE ESTABLISHMENT of democracy.

      Here larry says Pakistanis left to their own devices would become our enemy so it's best to deny people human rights to keep us safe.

      Surprise surprise.

    •  Charlie Wilson's War- Blowback cont... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Didn't Carter, Reagan, Bush1 push military in Pakistan as a counterbalance to Soviets in Afghanistan. Funded the mooj(Osama) via Pakistan.

      Huk and a series of militarists supported by us. Then when soviets left, we left guns and cadres in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

      Similar cavalier indifferance behind Iraq slogan. "Fight them over there, so we don't have to here".  Fire up a little war in someone else's backyard.  

      Like Iran, where we installed the Shah over a nationalist.  Pakistan harbors some justified resentment toward our meddling.

      Better just to let Islam run it course.  The key is energy independence. Nuclear power. Let China and India fight over the islamo-oil.

      Side note:
      GOP has habit of 2D front man poster boy presidents as a cover for meglomaniacs pulling the strings.  
      Olie North, a rougue GOP playing State, Defence and CIA while Ronnie slept through multiple polyp removals.   Bush reading MyPetGoat while Cheney authorized shooting down airliners. Delegating Dubya
      ceded power to Cheney from an undisclosed location.  The Authoritarians need cover.

      •  Goes Back Before That (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Inky, acquittal, california keefer

        The US has been giving lots of military aid to Pakistan since the '50s.  Anti-Communist hawks in the US disliked Nehru's idea of non-alignment, which they considered to be a communist plot, so they beefed-up Pakistan.  In the '60s and '70s, India tilted closer to the Soviet Union, and US support for Pakistan intensified, culminating in the war for Bangladesh independence (which was then East Pakistan), in which Nixon gave heavy support to Pakistan.  The war was a debacle and Pakistan got a "thumping" from India.
        The Pakistani military is kind of like the military establishments the US supported in places like Argentina and Chile.  It very good at suppressing democracy in its own country, but it is not much good for anything else.

  •  We may be being played for suckers by (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    3goldens, trashablanca

    Al Qaeda.  They tried to off Bhutto twice prior to today.  Yet no one seemed overly compelled to do anything about it.  There are unconfirmed reports that Al Qaeda is claiming credit:

    Al Qaeda tried to off Musharaff also, so their target appears to be destabilization rather than either political party.  If this dumps Musharaff from office, who takes power?  Can the US maintain control of their nukes if someone anti-American ends up in power?

    For those who are feeling paranoid, Al Qaeda did threaten a few things in the past:

    "A high-profile political assassination, triggered by a new message from Osama bin Laden, will lead off the next major al-Qaeda attack, The Washington Times reports, citing US intelligence officials.

    US officials familiar with intelligence reports disclosed that the assassination plan was among new details of al-Qaeda plots and would target a US or foreign leader either in the United States or abroad, according to the newspaper.

    Planning for the attacks to follow involves "multiple targets in multiple venues" across the United States, one official was quoted as saying.

    "The goal of the next attack is twofold: to damage the US economy and to undermine the US election," the official told the newspaper."

    This plot was supposedly discovered on Khan's computer when he was apprehended in Pakistan.  Bush screwed that up too by leaking the info to the press while Khan was working with the Brits to disrupt Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

    There was a tape released recently:

    "Bin Laden uses the broadcast to call on the people of Europe to urge their governments to pull out of Afghanistan.

    "The events of Manhattan were a response to the American-Israeli coalition's murder of our people in Palestine and Lebanon, and it was I who was responsible for 9/11" - Osama bin LadenThe al-Qaeda leader said Western governments were wrong to attack the country in response to the 9/11 attacks in the US.

    Addressing "the peoples" of Europe, bin Laden said he alone was responsible for the atrocities, and neither the government nor the people of Afghanistan knew about them.

    He said: "Before Afghanistan's wounds had healed and their grief had ended, they were invaded without right by your unjust governments without stopping to think about or reflect upon Bush's claim that this invasion was a response to the events of the 11th," he said."

    What we really need in office is someone who has some capacity for international strategy, which Bush and/or Cheney obviously don't.  In short, Al Qaeda is outmaneuvering them because Bush et al are idiots.

    I think the fact that the suicide bomber shot Bhutto before he blew himself up is evidence of how desperate they were to make certain she ended up dead.  It's hard to create a symbol for destabilization if your target lives.

  •  Read "Ghost Wars"... (7+ / 0-)

    by Robert Cole (2004).  There you will see that good ol' Robert Gates was our man in Afghanistan in the late 1980's where he consistently supported the wrong mullahs and tribal leaders and insisted on funneling our money to the Pakistani intelligence service.  This Reagan retread continues his dumb decisions and continues to be rewarded for doing so.

  •  "Low profile and work quietly behind the scenes" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Sounds like a job for Dick Cheney or David Addington.

    It's not that I don't agree with you, but we haven't used diplomacy or behind the scenes politics for almost 7 years and I doubt these bastards are going to start now.  

    Elections in the air, it's time for everyone to be "tough" on terra.  

    "I believe that ignorance is the root of all evil. And that no one knows the truth." - Molly Ivins

    by littlesky on Thu Dec 27, 2007 at 01:49:24 PM PST

  •  I just posed this as a question on Viewpoint (0+ / 0-)

    with James Zogby, to the guest, Mowahid Hussain, Punjab Cabinet Minister.  His answer was that Islamic parties have not fared well in Pakistani elections.

  •  So unbelievable. Recommended, Thank You. (0+ / 0-)

    Again, thank you.  

    Yet somehow I don't believe this critical and sound advice will do nothing but fall on deaf ears in this country.  

  •  I would like to add something. (0+ / 0-)

    This is one of the best diaries I've ever read.  I know you write a lot, but this one is important.

    In your very last paragraph you talk about how the world perceives of us, and Americans just don't really understand they way we come across.

    I have a lot of contact with people from all over and your analysis is right on in this diary. You really know your stuff.  No one likes being lectured and told what to do by anyone.  It is counterproductive.  It does make Americans feel superior and better I guess to preach but it creates such resentment, because we don't know how we sound.  Bush started all of this trash-taling, getting in people's face.  This is the bottom line.  This is what counts in all of this.

    Hearts and minds are what matter, treating others with respect, but also realizing dangers and doing the work we need to without getting in people's face.  

    All reason, intelligence, and logic is leaving this country little by little every day.  I'm glad you wrote this because at least someone knows what's going on.

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