As one looks back on the unremitting gross blunders of this White House, the offical media narrative designed to minimize personal liability has always featured the supposed rivalry between the Pentagon and State for control of America's agenda abroad. The subvertion of the State Department by Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, and their neocon cohorts in the Pentagon with respect to the prosecution and management of America's ridiculous "War on Terror" and the fraudulent Iraq War is well documented. The horrendous fiascoes, and more importantly, the personal embarassment, which resulted led to the political necessity of re-establishing some semblance of authority and control to formulate and implement foreign policy at State. Thus, the Department was butressed with the appointment of a man with undoubted gravitas and authority, and with a long record of dirty deeds for further credibility, to work beside Condoleeza Rice, namely John Negroponte.
In contradistinction to the Pentagon's eternal reply to, what LBJ onced complained of, was for every foreign policy conundrum, specifically "Bomb! Bomb! Bomb!", and its blind faith in Musharaff and the Pakistan military to keep things in order, Rice's State Department appeared to be the only entity on the face of the planet to take seriously the Bush alibi and mantra of "Freedom and Democracy". And no where was America's insistence that all of the blood spilt and money spent was done for "Freedom and Democracy" more utterly exposed for the ugly truth of its detestable hypocrisy than in Pakistan. In cruel contrast to all of the sanctimonious talk of reversing America's traditional support of the most vicious of tinpot dictators and their tyrannical regimes with Bush's Born Again inspiration for freedom-lovin' people all around the world, oft-quoted to justify our recent relish for criminality, there stood the spectre of our active support for General Pervez Musharaff, our "most important ally in America's War on Terror", with his guns and ammo, tanks and torturers, who toppled a civillian government legally elected in a peaceful and ordered way by a nation of 170,000,000 people. Yet, even he was aware of the bad optics of it all. Thus, he claimed, he promised, he decried, he re-promised, he swore, he warned, he guaranteed, he apologized, he excused, and for over 8 years, he sat on top. But at the end of the day, when he had played all of his cards, with an American ace in his back pocket, he was still in danger of being trumped by his enemies, and far worse than any fantastical Taliban or mythical Al-Queda conspiracy, stood his greatest enemy: the people of Pakistan. Thus, he suspended, he declared, he abolished, he imprisoned, and in the end, he assassinated. And with that ace still in his pocket, he continues to sit on top.
Dr. Condoleeza Rice, once a limp academic and present Bush sycophant, after suffering personal ignominy and public ridicule for her strangely dyslexic command of her portfolios, took over the reigns of the State Department. She disappointed no one with a repeat perfomance of utterly ineffectual stewartship, her chief accomplishment being little else but the accumulation of frequent flyer points. And so in watching the time run out in this her last stint in the vainglorious sunshine of power and celebrity, where shopping for shoes or scolding a clerk made her more headlines than her foreign policy, she seized a last chance for redemption and gratitiude from her host ego, George Bush, by thinking up a way to put a smiley face over the glowering scowl of Musharaff, in the vain hope that the hopelessly naive, i.e. the people of Pakistan, would fall in love with its perfect makeup, its perfect hair and its oh so western love for conspicuous consumption. That face was Benazir Bhutto.
Therefore, as only the truly empowered and enriched can do, with nary a care or concern for principles, or victims, Condoleeza Rice began to play house with real people, a Paris Hilton on steroids. In collusion with Negroponte, her chaperon, and Gordon Brown, her footman, the plot was hatched: foist a corrupt and reliable figurehead upon a gullible electorate, get it voted in by hook or crook, ensure it abides by any marching orders emanating from DC, and keep it happy like a Digimon Pet with regular feeding and affection until we can can all flee the jurisdiction this January, 2009 with our amnesties, pardons and most importantly, our contracts intact.
Yet alas, this 54-year-old smiley face came with wrinkles, and to be rude, specifically $1.5 billion-dollar wrinkles, tucked away in various Swiss bank accounts, chiefly embezzled from the horrendously impoverished people of Pakistan. Let no one dare doubt the plaintive professions of love for her people, the regular declamations of the evil of Musharaff, the tireless tirades against the terrorist Taliban, versus the nice Taliban of yesteryear she supported when last in power, all voiced in that perfectly cadenced politician's cant, bred by the best bastions of olde English imperialism: Oxford AND Cambridge. Nothing could keep her back from running to Her People in Their Time of Need. But what money don't buy, she don't need. Hence, the awkward need for an amnesty from a compliant judiciary. For Condy, it would just not do to have Benazhir's trademark glasses and many flounces of fabric flying over who gets the top bunk with an Islamabad hooker in a Pakistani correctional facility ("The people of Pakistan demand I get it!"). Enter Musharaff.
From Vietnam, through Iran to Iraq unto Pakistan: as every deposed US-backed dictator in the history of the post-WW II world would ruefully report, once that proverbial American ace in the back pocket is withdrawn, you may as well pack your bags and start googling all countries with air conditioning and no extradiction treaties. Musharaff knows as well as any corporate shyster how to do "the Google", but he would much rather stay at home than absquatulate to a foreign jurisdiction. Hence, "one amnesty coming right up, Ms. Rice." Presto, the National Reconciliation Ordinance, shoved through an obeisant legislature and soon to be ratified by a "new and improved" Pakistani Supreme Court. And in keeping with the spirit of the matter, Musharaff expanded the amnesty to cover not just the "innocent" Bhutto, but heavens to betsy, everyone everywhere who at anytime embezzled funds from the people of Pakistan, the vast majority being former members of his military. For some, can a silver lining have a silver lining?
Yet in spite of all of these machinations, truth has a terrible way of interfering with the plans of mice and men, ...and women. The woman Rice lured to return to Pakistan to save the day for George Bush and his idea of Freedom'n'Democracy is now dead, possibly murdered with the silent instigation of Rice's rivals in the Defence Department, and by the Pentagon's undoubted Man of the Moment, Musharaff. She is now far more useful to everyone in death than ever in life.
Bhutto was never as popular as her own press releases alleged. Indeed, local polling put her rival, Nazwar Sharif, ahead. Revelations concerning the much vilified amnesty, which legalised grand larceny upon some of the poorest people in the world, knocked down her numbers, and fatally destroyed any legitimacy she might have otherwise held. Furthermore, suspicions concerning both her collusion in an American-brokered deal with Mushraraff, and her ultimate loyalty in Bush's silly "War on Terror", alienated much of her base. She would have lost the election, if and when it would ever had been held.
Ms. Rice has failed in her mad experiment to revive this Pakistani Frankenstein to decorate the already politically dead corpse of the Musharaff regime. She failed with 911, she failed with the Iraq War, and now, most dangerously, she has failed in Pakistan.