Sunday, October 18, 2009

Blowing Up in Baluchistan, Shootout in Rio

Jonathan Alter
David Frum
"But Republican ways of thinking have infected the minds of too many Democrats. More than a few have fallen into the GOP habit of selling out to corporate interests, pandering to banks, and reflexively assuming that just because the Pentagon recommends escalation in Afghanistan, it must be necessary."  - Jonathan Alter
"Because the world sees that America might just hold the keys to solving the three greatest threats we face on this planet: extreme poverty, extreme ideology and extreme climate change. The world senses that America, with renewed global support, might be better placed to defeat this axis of extremism with a new model of foreign policy."  - Bono

beware the baluchs...

Here's a news item that I view with mixed emotions. In southern Iran, a suicide bomber has killed 11 of the elite Revolutionary Guard, including two of its top commanders. 31 others were harmed. A local ethnic Sunni group called the Soldiers of God claimed credit.

The official government response is to turn the incident into political spin: that the Saudis and Americans support them, and that it will be difficult to trust the Americans in any future negotiations. But there has long been a history of clamping down on the ethnic minorities in this region, Iran has also blamed Pakistan for supporting the Baluchs, who are also located in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and pretty much ignore official borders. Iran finds it hard to believe that not everyone supports their glorious Revolution, which has become a myth that the old people bask in.

The ironic part is the Revolutionary Guard was in the process of getting all sides in the area to sit down and air out their grievances. Instead, the Guard will now come in and try to wipe out all Sunni opposition. I can hear the conservative hawks in the US saying, yes, that's how you treat those running dogs, want a trip to Afghanistan?

It may be true that my enemy's enemy is my friend, but its also true that we have become so jaded and cynical from the constant reports on bombings, that we have forgotten the real tragedy lies in the innocent lives that are lost as fodder for these religious wars. I'm waiting for these persecuted ethnic minorities to take up the American strategy and open up casinos on their land. Anyone up for lunch at the Baluchistan Hard Rock Cafe?

its just something to do with the night...

Now that Rio de Janeiro has won the 2016 bid for the Summer Olympics, the hard task ahead of them is to urb the rampant drug gangs, who make the Mexican Mafia look like Cub Scouts. Right now, the police are too weak to have a real presence in the slums, so its every man for himself after the sun goes down. This Weekend, a police helicopter that was monitoring a shootout between rival gangs was shot and had to crash land in a nearby football field. Even though the cops were finally sent in around 5 am, shooting and the finding of dead bodies continued throughout the day.

The Brazilian strategy isn't to clean up the slums and help these people work towards a better life. They'll do what little they can until 2016, then flood the streets with 40,000 extra cops. They had 15,000 extras in 2007, when Rio held the Pan-American games without any major incidents. On the plus side, I wonder if the Samba will be added to Olympic competition...

OK, I was joking about the Mexican Mafia, they really are much worse, ruthless, amoral, and blood-thirsty than any other gangs in the Americas. Not content to just shoot and kill their rivals, recently 9 bodies were found in 18 bags in an abandoned pick up, with a warning note from the La Familia drug cartel: "La Familia doesn't kill innocent people - those who die deserve to die," 11,000 people have died in these wars since 2006...

this just in from Colorado: it was a hoax. Well, duh...
 "If nothing else, we've had a fascinating hour and a half with no commercials, watching a beautiful day in Colorado." - Fox News Channel's Shep Smith

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