UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has condemned the killers of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto as "cowards afraid of democracy".
It was a "tragic hour" for Pakistan but terrorists must not be allowed to "win there, here or anywhere", he added.
Earlier, Foreign Secretary David Miliband called the apparent suicide bombing a "senseless attack".
Seriously, it's kind of embarrassing, isn't it? The Bhutto assassination is very sad for her family and probably heralds a lot of trouble. Bhutto was meant to be a popular secular politician who could bolster Musharraf in the forthcoming elections. Now, her supporters are accusing Musharraf of deliberate negligence if not active involvement, and worry that he'll call off the elections.
If he does, attempts by the West to build a proverbial shining democratic beacon in Pakistan go into remission. If he doesn't, who is likely to win? Will the secular groups spend so much time quarreling with each other that more fundamentalist Islamic groups benefit?
Whatever. The assassination was undoubtedly the work of careful planning and concerted effort by groups who had a definite goal of what they want to happen as a result of this. Do these political speeches give any indication that the politicians really have a grasp on the situation here? Do we really think that the people who killed Bhutto were "cowards"? Or "afraid" of democracy (rather than just out to sabotage it)? Or that the act was "senseless"?
How can you win any kind of fight, when you keep insisting to yourself and everyone else that the enemy is "irrational" and acting without motive or strategy? Just for once I'd like to hear a politician get up and say "Damn! We were beaten this time. Better pull our socks up before the next round." Just for once I'd like to imagine a media who wouldn't dive in and punish such an admission as a "gaffe" and start a witch-hunt against the offending politician.