Benazir Bhutto's Tragic Death

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi today is a terrible tragedy.

Last October I noted, Bhutto's brave words as she returned to Pakistan after a long exile and immediately faced an assassination attempt. Here is an article by Bhutto that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on October 23, and here is an August interview of Bhutto by the Journal's Bret Stephens.

I gather from those who know more than I do that Bhutto was a flawed public official, but she did have a genuine popular following and did seem to be committed--and willing to risk her life--to democratic governance. She seemed to be the only leader who could put together a democratic government and make a transition from the personal rule of Pervez Musharraf. Whether the elections will proceed as scheduled January 8 seems unclear.

Her death is a reminder that we really do live in a dangerous world. Pakistan is a nuclear power with a military and a secret service that seem laced with supporters of Islamist terrorism. Many Americans would like to go back on holiday from history. But as Leon Trotsky is supposed to have said, "You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you." I suspect that this tragic event will have an effect on the campaign going on so hot and heavy right now in Iowa and New Hampshire.

By Michael Barone