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January 7, 2008
When in trouble, blame the victim
President Pervez Musharraf said in an interview broadcast last night on "60 Minutes" that Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was to blame for her own assassination:
For standing up outside the car, I think it was she to blame alone -- nobody else. Responsibility is hers," the former general told CBS' "60 Minutes." Musharraf isn't doing himself any good with western audiences by blaming the victim for her own death. But his claim appeals to some factions in Pakistan who opposed the former prime minister's return to power - including the military and some of the religious parties.
Bhutto was killed December 27 in Rawalpindi, south of the Pakistani capital Islamabad, while she was standing in an armored moving car after rallying supporters for now-postponed parliamentary elections. Her head was above the roof and unprotected at the time of the attack.
The cause of her death is not clear: a bomber blew himself up near Bhutto's limousine and videotape showed a gunman present, though no autopsy has been carried out. Asked if Bhutto could have been shot, Musharraf said, "Yes, absolutely, yes. Possibility." He has said he welcomes an international investigation.
Musharraf, who seized power in a bloodless coup in 1999, rejected criticism that his government did not do enough to provide security to Bhutto, who was seeking to regain the post of prime minister. He noted that she had already survived one assassination attempt and "was given more security than any other person."
By absolving the military of any blame whatsoever, Musharraf stays in their good graces while avoiding the touchy situation of acknowledging their incompetence in protecting Bhutto. And his "welcoming" an international investigation is a sham. He will place so many obstacles in their path that he will insure that they never discover the entire truth of what happened.
Musharraf has been doing this with the United States for years - saying he will do something and never following through. It's getting to be an old song and dance by now and Musharraf performs it expertly.