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...a sweatshop of moxie

Monday, December 01, 2008

Back In The Saddle

I have just returned, and pray Sundries readers' indulgence just a while longer.

Have you ever gone on holiday and (perhaps naturally) avoided watching the news?

That was largely my situation this past week. It's not that I wasn't shocked by the Mumbai attacks and didn't want to follow its sad drama unfold; it's just that I wanted a little peace of my own, albeit the cruel irony of being in a 5-star hotel just like the victims there were, didn't go unremarked by me, or my parents.

(I confess, though, that my cable news viewing has declined a full 50% since President-Elect Obama's victory. I suspect I am not alone amongst you in this)

If you have your own reasons for not having followed this mind-bending tragedy in India, I urge you to read this post on the police (non-)reaction by Neo-Neocon. The comments section, as usual, shines.

She wrote this below.

Having been to India, and having seen the overzealous attitude of the police, which often confused a high-handed dismissiveness with professionalism, I was left depressed. It was like watching the CNN reporter within a few feet of the Taj Hotel, as another explosion went off behind her. The police hadn't even bothered to cordon off the active crime scene and establish a perimeter, as even I would know to do.

It seems that in India, even “commandos” (which indicates at least some sort of specialized preparation) are not trained to face the chance that they might possibly inflict civilian casualties themselves in a situation like this. But such a risk is an inevitable part of dealing with terrorists willing and eager to fire into crowds. The police must be willing to do the same. The big difference is that the terrorists are aiming for the civilians, whereas the security forces are aiming for the terrorists.

In a dazzling documentary about a Rio de Janeiro hostage situation inside Bus 174, one elite SWAT team member, Rodrigo Pimentel, said the following:

Nothing exposes a nation's weaknesses more than a violent confrontration. If there is no training to overcome it, the culture allows the will to sag where it needs to be toughest.

We are all the victims and benefactors of our respective cultures. It is only through vigilance that we gain the upper hand and conquer it.

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  • I urge you to read this post on the police (non-)reaction by Neo-Neocon.

    Richard Fernandez has been blogging the Mumbai attacks nonstop. One commenter remarked:

    As for why the Indian policemen didn’t shoot back, I was stationed in India in 1965-67, and in those days (and presumably today) policemen were not routinely issued ammunition. link.

    I wonder if that's true--sheesh.

    By Blogger chickenlittle, at Mon Dec 01, 02:42:00 am GMT-5  

  • Yes, Vic, I, too, have radically cut back on news watching for similar reasons...It's change I can believe in!

    By Blogger Ron, at Mon Dec 01, 04:08:00 am GMT-5  

  • I wonder if that's true--sheesh.

    I wonder if it's an imperial holdover? As everyone knows, our police do not carry handguns...

    (Don't call them Bobbies though! That's for tourists)

    BTW, that was an interesting commentary read, Chickenlittle, thanks. I also knew someone who was held captive in the Japanese embassy in Lima. Fujimori reaped praise then for his tough Cindero Luminoso stance. Tout passe...


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Dec 02, 02:41:00 am GMT-5  

  • Yes, Vic, I, too, have radically cut back on news watching for similar reasons...It's change I can believe in!

    Curiously, considering I became very depressed watching or reading anything Lefty during the election (and therefore tended to stick to Drudge, Malkin, Hot Air, and Fox News -- which made me feel guilty) I have stopped even that now.

    People like us, Ron, have refuges -- films, books, etc. But I fear for those who do not, but are in our position.

    Guess they'll just have to take up a hobby. :P


    By Blogger vbspurs, at Tue Dec 02, 02:43:00 am GMT-5  

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