Friday, December 28, 2007

Extreme Violence

One of the more interesting facets of the wall-to-wall coverage of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is that one of the usually unstated premises about Pakistan and other Muslim countries, that they are riddled with violence and extremely dangerous places, actually got stated and published in a major American newspaper. This premise has long been used to justify US intervention in those countries' internal politics, especially in the last seven years. The theory is that if we bring democracy to those countries, the violence would disappear with the oppressive regime. People who vote don't engage in violent acts. And we prove it by invading those recalcitrant countries who disagree with us.

That usually unstated premise depends on the underlying assumption that the US, which votes its leaders into office, is a safe and peaceful country. Political violence just doesn't happen here. Or does it? That same major American newspaper had another article which seems to give the lie to that underlying assumption:

A rash of attacks on abortion and family planning clinics has struck Albuquerque this month, the first such violence there in nearly a decade.

Two attacks occurred early Tuesday at two buildings belonging to Planned Parenthood of New Mexico, according to Albuquerque police and fire officials. An arson fire damaged a surgery center the organization uses for abortions, and the windows of a Planned Parenthood family planning clinic 12 blocks away were smashed, the officials said. ...

A study issued last year by the Feminist Majority Foundation, which monitors attacks on abortion clinics, concluded that the most serious anti-abortion violence had declined since 1994, when federal legislation gave greater protection to providers and patients. According to the report, 18 percent of clinics experienced severe violence in 2005, compared with 52 percent in 1994.

Still, the report said, many clinics are still targets of extreme violence.
[Emphasis added]

I don't mean to belittle the tragedy of Ms. Bhutto's needless death by an unfair comparison, nor do I wish to equate the destruction of property to the wholesale destruction of a nation. The fact is, however, that this nation is just as prone to violence as any other nation on the planet, and our hypocisy when it comes to how we conduct "foreign policy" needs to be checked.

How ironic that both articles in today's NY Times involved acts of violence against women.

How horribly ironic.

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Blogger Woody (Tokin' Lib'rul/Rogue Scholar & O'erall Helluvafella!) said...

There was a previous attack, about 6 mos ago, on the only providing clinic in town. They're announcing today that the culprits in that attack have been caught. The perps broke out windows, poured gas inside, and lit it. The clinic was ruined. The perps were room-mates. They burned the clinic (allegedly) to prevent the EX-girlfriend of one of 'em to have an abortion there.

6:15 AM  
Anonymous larry, dfh said...

You mentioned Ms. Bhutto. I wanted to share this 'story', but am somewhat reluctant. Anyway, in late '88 my boss at a new atart-up outside DC was intervied by a young reporter from the NYT. We were chatting around the coffee-pot and he said he was at Harvard with Ms. Bhutto. I asked him what she was like, and he said "She would sleep with almost anyone, I know because I was an 'almost'." He didn't say that in a malicious way, but rather in a way that showed his appreciation of her joie de vivre. He left the impression that she loved life and love. So I've been very depressed since her slaughter, and feel for those people who were fortunate enough to have woken up in her arms. Because surely a little piece of them has died, as well. She graduated Harvard at age 20; she's a couple of years younger than me, and has done so much more.

5:02 PM  

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