Once the US squandered its post-Sept. 11 leverage with Pakistan it was left with only bad options for coping with the nuclear-armed jihadist incubating country. And these too, it has ignored in favor of the chimera of democracy and elections.
After Sept. 11, President George W. Bush declared war on the forces of global terror and their state sponsors. But as the years have passed since then, he has done more to lose the war than he has to win it simply by ignoring it.
Bhutto’s murder is not a sign that elections and democracy frighten al-Qaida and therefore must be pursued. It is a sign that the Taliban and al-Qaida – together with their supporters in the Pakistani military and intelligence services and Pakistani society as a whole – don’t like people who are supported by the US. Her assassination was yet another act of war by the enemies of the West against the West.
If democracy and freedom are the US’s ultimate aims in this war, the only way to achieve them is to first fight and win the war. Bhutto – like her Palestinian, Egyptian and Lebanese counterparts – was a sideshow.