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May 11, 2008

Cyclone Nargis; some unasked questions...

It’s been a week since Cyclone Nargis surged ashore in Burma’s Irawaddy Delta and, by some accounts, rushed as far inland as twenty-five miles through densely populated, but desperately poor, areas with few reinforced buildings and generally primitive transportation facilities. News coverage has (slowly and hesitatingly) revealed that the shadowy military junta running that nation is responding with the same remarkable combination of incompetence, suspicion, and resentment that has typified every Burmese government since1962 when a military coup ended the fledgling nation’s first attempt at democracy. Military dictatorships have retained power ever since, albeit under several changes of name and organization. The SPDC is merely the most recent, having replaced SLORC, its similarly named predecessor (with many of the same principals)  in 1997.

By whatever name they have been known, the military juntas holding power in Burma for well over fifty years have protected the opium growers of the Golden Triangle while successfully shrouding their nation’s internal affairs in nearly impenetrable silence. As usual, press coverage of Cyclone Nargis has assisted them by ignoring logical, but potentially embarrassing connections with American drug policy, Andean Nations, Plan Colombia or Hurricane Katrina. One wonders if the credibility of Burma’s military government, can withstand their current exposure.  Five decades of recent history suggest, like the drug war itself, it probably can.

But one can always hope...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 11, 2008 02:36 AM