Saturday, January 05, 2008

Meanwhile ...

It seems while a lot of people in America were distracted about the Presidential candidates sniping at each other, the so-called "War on Christmas," and Britney Spears' apparent mental and physical collapse, a few things were going in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The day after Christmas, two US soldiers were killed and three injured (along with an interpreter) when, during a patrol, an Iraqi soldier started shooting at the US troops. The fun bit is that the US Army at first tried to cover up the shootings, using the catch-all phrase "hostile fire." If someone's shooting at you, chances are there's at least some hostility. Anyway, the reason the shooter did his deed is being investigated, since he's still alive to talk.

According to MSNBC, 46,000 more Iraqi exiles have filtered back into the country from Syria. While some extol the improved security situation, others (Iraqi Red Crescent, the equivalent of the Red Cross) cite financial trouble and expired visas. And the troubles won't end there. A lot of the reason that the neighborhoods in Baghdad are no longer so violent is because they're no longer mixed on religious lines - a neighborhood that may have been 40% Sunni is now 100% Shiite because the Shiites have driven them out and put new people in those vacant homes. Talk about a bad situation going worse.

Which leads me back to the only righteous war Bush ever started (and is in danger of losing - seriously, everything this man touches turns to shit) to Afghanistan. Worsening security, smuggling and a reduction of imports from Pakistan are raising the spectre of a wheat shortage in that country, with its attendant civil unrest that will play into the hands of the Taliban. But not to worry; there's going to be a record opium poppy crop this year. Also, there are other troubles plaguing the Afghans, like the fact that about 30 children have died there of the measles.

2008 will be an interesting year.


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