Bloggers discuss the possibility of elections in Pakistan, bicker over the latest news from Iraq, and marvel that nothing can stop Jack Bauer from saving the world short of a Hollywood writers' strike.
Electoral Demands: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf has agreed to hold parliamentary elections in mid-February in response to increasing international and domestic pressure since he declared a state of emergency. The announcement won't stop former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from holding a rally Friday. Bloggers parse the change in tune.
In the Pakistan Defence forum, Pakistani military officers vent about the announcement, and many agree with the assement by commenter "dabong1," who's identified as a lieutenant colonel, that it all adds up to nought: "So what if there are elections! Mushy will stay on as president ... like a true dictator he did what he wanted not giving a damn about what the law had to say. In the space of a few years he has taken us from having india as the enemy to attacking his own people. ... the guy's a idiot."
"The conflicting signals about the holding of elections from the government means that they are under great pressure from all sides," writes a Pakistani lawyer at Cyrilalmedia, pessimistically. "This much is clear: the shaky Bhutto-Musharraf alliance never had a good chance of co-existing in government for five years to begin with; as events are unfolding, the chance of a successful Bhutto-Musharraf government looks slimmer than ever."
Omer Pervaiz at Metroblogging Lahore posts a report from a participant in ongoing demonstrations. "When we, the protesters were just 5-10, they were already 15-20 in number, some in police uniform and some in plain clothes," the protester reports. "As the number of protesters grew to around 20 or a bit more when the people passing by also joined us (or just stayed there to watch the 'drama') the police started getting a bit violent. They started to push every individual to move and started asking them where are you from and noting down the details?"
Stateside, James Joyner at Outside the Beltway pooh-poohs complaints that the official U.S. response to Musharraf has been too hesitant: "Well ... duh. United States national security interests trump our concerns for internal politics of faraway countries. Substitute any other country for 'United States' in that sentence and it remains just as true." Bryan at Hot Air elaborates on the national security position. "In Pakistan, currently about half the country thinks more highly of Osama bin Laden than of Musharraf and Bush combined. Do we really expect people holding those views to vote for Musharraf or Bhutto or any other moderates or democrats?"
Steve Gilbert at Sweetness and Light calls Bhutto's continued opposition tantamount to a coup. "If you look back on Mr. Musharraf's past statements, he has regularly said that he would hold elections around that time. But all of this is about one thing. Trying to overthrow Musharraf. … This is so different from a coup, right? But because a woman and former backer of the Taliban) is doing it, it's okay by our media's lights."
Dubious milestones: The death of six soldiers in Iraq last Monday brought the total number of Americans killed in Iraq this year to 852, the highest annual amount since the war began. Bloggers squabble over the significance of the dubious milestone, and what it means about the surge's success.
Lefty Daniel DiRito at All Spin Zone is convinced that any success claimed by the surge is mitigated by these new numbers. "The fact that 2007 will be the deadliest year suggests that the problems we have confronted since the fall of the Hussein regime remain formidable and its even possible they have continued unabated."
Jeffrey at Iraqi Bloggers Central accuses the media of biased reporting. "No mention of the dramatically low figures for both U.S. and Iraqi fatalities during the month of October. … As many of you have recognized, the MSM uses a playbook in which a dramatic increase in Iraqi and US deaths is 'newsworthy' but a dramatic decrease is not."
Righty AJ Strata at Strata-Sphere tries to put it in perspective: "Like all conflicts, the bloodiest moments are right before the end. … The last gasp of the combatants has a Battle Royale where both combatants give it their all until one side destroys the loser. And that is typically the period of highest casualties. But the peace that comes afterwards is hard to ignore."
Anupam Chander stays away from the political fray, calling it simply, "A tragedy for everyone."
Read more about the deadliest year in Iraq.
Mourning Bauer: The writers' strike claimed its first major victim when Fox announced that it would be holding off on airing Day 7 of the hit show 24 unless the season can be shown in its entirety. Bloggers mourn the loss of the otherwise indestructable Jack Bauer.
At the fan blog, Blogs4Bauer appreciates the irony: "A stupid little contract dispute long overdue labor dispute has killed Jack Bauer. Something that nuclear blasts, CAIR, Russian separatists, drug cartels, overdoses, a shooter on the roof, Nina Myers, Kim Bauer, bombs, viruses, nuclear meltdown, President Logan, bullets, poison gas, an airplane with no pilot, guns, torture, black helicopters, other Bauers, Marwan, moles, CTU, the government, one human rights lawyer, Audrey, Behrooz, Middle Eastern terrorists, lesbians, and even death (twice) could not do."
Melanie at A Coffee To Go offers a solution for 24 fans. "Keifer Sutherland should don his Jack Bauer bulletproof vest, bomber sunglasses and canvas knapsack, storm the offices of the Writers Guild and demand that they start writing scripts again. After all, he would tell them, the future of the world rests on their shoulders and, dammit, if they don't start writing, the life of the President may be in jeopardy!"
Read more about 24's postponement.