Monkey Wars

In just a couple of months, this nation will have been at war in Iraq for half a decade. To date, 3,909 American soldiers have perished. Tens of thousands more have been physically and psychologically wounded. Who are these men and women who fight on our behalf? Often, they are those who, due to economic class and/or race, seem to have fewer options and opportunities than their fellow Americans. Rather than promoting social and economic justice, the Bush administration prefers to stuff the over-swelling coffers of the wealthy and to exploit and oppress the underclass. The message is clear: if you want to pull yourself up by your bootstraps, consider wearing combat boots.

In northern India, however, the message is slightly different. If you want employment, consider sterilizing monkeys. The Associated Press (via the Boston Globe) explains:

Unemployed to sterilize monkeys in India

NEW DELHI—A northern Indian state said Thursday it planned to use unemployed youths to sterilize monkeys to try to combat aggressive primates who have been raiding farms. The idea drew immediate condemnation from conservationists, who said the plan was unscientific and would likely worsen the problem.

Indian authorities have struggled in recent years to deal with the tens of thousands of monkeys that live in and around cities. They are drawn to public places such as temples and office buildings, where devout Hindus feed them, believing them to be manifestations of the god Hanuman.

In recent months, the deputy mayor of New Delhi was killed when he fell from his balcony during an attack by wild monkeys, and 25 others were injured when a monkey went on a rampage in the city.

The mountainous state of Himachal Pradesh is infested with rhesus macaque monkeys, who have been driven to farms and cities after losing their natural forest habitat.

Prem Kumar Dhumal, the state’s chief minister, said Himachal Pradesh would go on a “war footing” to fight the thousands of monkeys who have been turning farms into wastelands and attacking people, according to a statement from his office.

“Affected districts would be identified and local youth involved in the process, who would be provided training in capturing and sterilization by the experts,” the statement quoted Dhumal as saying, adding that they would use “laser sterilization”….

Conservationists condemned the proposal to let inexperienced youths sterilize monkeys, saying it was cruel and would not solve the problem.

Sujoy Chaudhuri, an ecologist who co-authored a report by prominent primatologists and conservationists that was submitted recently to the federal and state governments, said the plan would make the monkey problem worse.

“It is a ridiculous idea and what is worse, it will do nothing to contain the problem and probably make it worse,” Chaudhuri said. “Can you imagine what having badly sterilized monkeys running around will do to the levels of aggression?” [full text]

Gee, can you imagine what having badly treated Muslims running around will do to their levels of aggression?

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2 thoughts on “Monkey Wars

  1. that is a real punch in the gut. no one ever loved an occupying army, even the British called us, ‘over fed, over sexed and over here.’ war is a force of mindless destruction and the consequences will be with us and our children, as well as the Iraqis and their children for several generations.

  2. This is obviously a mix of conflicting notions and more like a bean bag chair that you punch in one place and comes out in another. The Indian “monkey” issue is easy. The simians have no natural controls on their populations and one suspects importing leopards or tigers would not go over well. The cultural component, peculiar to India, where overpopulation seems to be the norm (1.3 billion humans and still counting!), impacts lots of “special” beasts, monkeys and cows come to mind. Apart from bites, our primate cousins are vectors for any number of diseases transmitted to human neighbors (and likely vice versa by the way). The defecation habits of tens of thousands of these primates, mostly in public places is another very serious health issue. There are similarities between the monkey issue and our own Virginia deer problems–lack of predators, uncontrolled population growth and serious safety and health issues–the deer seem to be a vector for a nasty “mad-cow” type disease, apart from the habitat destruction they cause.

    I won’t dwell on Iraq, but one can make the case that the occupying foreign Army is actually the islamofascist terror wingnuts, who now seem to have been rejected by the local population. The accomplishments of the “surge” are so well documented, and the favorable response of the Sunnis and Shities so favorable, that one wonders why the this had not been attempted earlier. An interesting sidelight that has mostly gone unnoticed is the openess that the Iraqi Christian community (older that the Moslem component in Iraq by the way), is now able to come together and have religious services. The horror continues and the terror tactics have shifted: use of young women with explosives strapped to their bodies, for example. Recent American casualites have hit closer to home for us here. A fine young Captain from just up the road was guunned down three days ago in Baghdad. Of course a case can be effectively made that this entire excercise was not worth the pain and anguish brought to the thousands of American families. A case can be made that we have squandered enormous wealth and the intangible of “influence” and “prestige” in a place we should never have entered. But we are there, and we cannot simply leave in chaos, and we need to end it (although I am not sure what that means any more).

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