President George W. Bush, in his statement on the assassination of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, pinned her killing on "murderous extremists." News reports say that the administration does not yet know who ordered or executed the attack on Bhutto. If that is the case, it would appear that Bush is seeking to deflect attention from Pakistani dictator Pres. Pervez Musharraf and the Pakistani military as potential suspects.

The phrase "murderous extremists" immediately brings to the Western mind the image of an Islamist terrorist, but of course an extremist is anyone who is extreme in his or her views. It's an artful use of language. Hard to argue that anyone who would assassinate a politician is neither murderous nor extreme. So, it's accurate on its face. But the face that comes to mind, that's another thing.

Overshadowed by the story of Bhutto's killing is today's attack on Musharraf's other rival for power, former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, whose rally in Islamabad was fired upon, allegedly by members of a political party loyal to Musharraf.

--Adele M. Stan

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