Monday, December 31, 2007

Live From Karachi: The Bhutto Assassination (Friday's Show)

Hi everybody. The regulars know I don't do Fridays (nor do I do windows), but I figured if 360 is going to fly 16 some-odd hours across the globe to bring us the news, eh, this week I can do a Friday review. As the title says, we've got Anderson Cooper coming at us live from Karachi, Pakistan and he gives us the rundown on the latest. We then get an Anderson piece that contains new video and recaps the assassination. Also, you know how she died from being shot? Scratch that. Well, maybe scratch that. Like a lot of things in life, it depends on who you talk to. Because Pakistan's Interior Ministry says she died from a skull fracture that occurred when she ducked down in the vehicle. This is contradicted by, well, everyone else--including rational logic. I'm no doctor, but I'm thinking that a skull fracture and a bullet wound to the neck are fairly distinguishable from each other. So now we've got a martyred leader and controversy about her cause of death, which is always fabulous when you've already got fire-setting protests going on. Also? Pakistan is pointing the finger of blame squarely at al Qaeda, specifically Baitullah Mehsud, a linked Taliban leader.

For discussion about this, Peter Bergen joins Anderson in Karachi and Nic Robertson is live from Switzerland, uh, doing some banking or something. So, okay, another horrible news story; another complicated name to learn. I guess they all can't be Mullah Dadullah, which still kind of cracks me up. You've got to find your fun where you can. Anyway, Peter tells us the Mehsuds are a tribe from Waziristan, which we all remember is not a happening vacation destination. Anderson notes that Pakistan really has no control over the area. He also points out that some think it's pretty convenient for Pakistan to suddenly name this guy (you can throw me into that some), yet he's also a likely suspect. Nic explains that Mehsud is associated with al Qaeda leaders and recently Ayman al-Zawahri said Bhutto was a US plant, essentially putting a target on her. Then they all talk about the peace agreement Pakistan signed with the tribes, which 360 talked about extensively last year when they went to Afghanistan (see my September 2006 archives). Nic then talks about how Pakistan's intelligence officials actually helped train some of the people that are fighting for the Taliban and al Qaeda today, only they were trained to fight a proxy war with India. Well, now that sounds familiar, doesn't it? Funny how those proxy wars always work out.

Next up, we have a David Mattingly piece where he and CNN security analyst Mike Brooks kind of analyze the video of the assassination. Basically, the gunman was able to get way too close. "With all the threats she has had and the attempts against her life, she should not have been out of that vehicle at all," says Mike. Thank you! I don't mean to blame the victim, but she knew the threat and was reckless. I understand that she didn't want to hide and she loved her people, but now what can she do for them?

Coming back from commercial, Anderson assures us that he will be back in New York for the New Year's Eve special, which I hope to be the case. Because man, I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that being stood up on New Year's Eve by your cable news anchor boyfriend that doesn't know you exist, might just possibly be the most pathetic thing ever. I mean, I'd have to double check the "Official Book of Pathetic", but it's got to be close. Sigh.

Moving on now to an Ed Henry piece for the latest from the White House. Some people may not realize it, but the Bush Administration had their fingers all up in this Bhutto situation. You see, Musharraf's power was slipping, so the plan was to bring home Bhutto and have them potentially share power. But like everything the Bush Administration touches, it all turned to crap. Okay, don't get me wrong; I'm not saying they had anything to do with the assassination (which wouldn't make any sense, anyway). I'm just saying their problem-solving track record isn't so hot. They're really more in the problem-creating business. So with plan B out the window, what's plan C? One option is Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Sure, he's got "connections to Islamist parties", but who doesn't these days, right? Or, you know, maybe they'll just let Musharraf have his police state. I guess we only get really stubborn about democracy and rooting out terrorists when the country begins with an "I."

Transitioning back to Anderson and Peter, who are joined by Reza Aslan. Reza smacks down some conventional wisdom, telling us Bhutto really wasn't all that popular and because of that, the US might have compromised her by putting all their eggs in her basket. He further explains that now we're up a creek because in Pakistan, it's all about leaders with charisma, and there's nobody else like Bhutto. Apparently the Pakistanis also elect their officials based on who they'd like to have a beer with. The panel then talk a bit about whether the election will be delayed. Peter tries to go glass half full on us, suggesting that maybe now ordinary Pakistanis will put pressure on their government to crack down on al Qaeda and the Taliban. Well, not if they're too busy watching "Pakistani Dancing with the Stars." I mean, Americans slept while Congress took away habeas corpus, so forgive me if I don't have much faith in people rising up. Anyway, Reza then tells us that Musharraf is a "dictator in civilian clothing," who we're going to be stuck with for a while. Awesome. Also? The satellite delay during this segment was kind of bordering on the comical, but whaddaya going to do, you know?

We're next played Hillary Clinton's recent statements on the Pakistan situation. Let's see, she wants an independent international investigation, Pakistan has no credibility, Bush sucks, blah, blah, blah. Good luck with that first one. And the others? Duh. Moving on to an interview that Anderson had with Edwards, he begins by asking the candidate what he would do in this situation. First off, Edwards throws down that he not only called Musharraf, but also met with Bhutto. Look at that foreign policy cred! He then talks a very, very long time, yet manages to not really answer the question. After that he starts talking about why we shouldn't trust Musharraf and there's nothing to be snarky about.

On now to a discussion with Candy Crowley and Mark Halperin of "Time." Anderson begins by playing us a clip of Huckabee, who says that besides the Mexicans, Pakistanis are coming over our border in higher numbers than any other nationality. So be afraid, people! Be afraid...and vote republican. But Anderson tells us that, uh, that Huckabee claim is actually not true. Oh, good lord. I love how the media swooped on this guy like he was the second coming, but it turns out that if he has to say anything of substance, well, he's kind of an idiot. He's got the charisma thing, but not much else. Kind of reminds me of a certain eight-year mistake I know. Anyway, Mark is marveling at Huckabee's teflon-like abilities. He says it's up to journalists to hold him accountable. Well, crap. We're out of luck then, aren't we? Aw, 360, you know I'm just kidding you. Sort of. Candy tells us that voters still want to talk about domestic issues, but the candidates are insisting on flaunting their experience. We then get played a McCain ad and Anderson is so sick of this satellite delay, he wants Mark to take it right after. Anderson will defeat the delay, yes he will!

The hour ends with more talk from Peter....and that's it. You'd think that they'd do two hours after coming all that way, but then again, they probably didn't have time to have two hours ready. As for the Saturday night special that wasn't, your guess is as good as mine. Technical problems? Changing flights? Kind of weird though. I mean, at least give us a blog post or something, people. Anyway, I'm assuming the NYE show is still on. Obviously I'm not going to be reviewing it, but maybe I'll have something fun for you guys, depending on what happens. I mean, c'mon, Anderson and Kathy Griffin together for two hours? I don't see how hilarity wouldn't ensue. Shall we place bets on whether she keeps her hands off the anchor? Heh. Show was good. A-


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