A lot of bad things occurred this past week. Real bad things. Perceived bad things. Real people died. Real cable news pundits produced not-so-real outrage.
In regards to foreign terrorism those Afghanistan Taliban prisoners recently released and the situation in Iraq are getting most of the attention, and obviously given our country’s recent history in shaping events in both of those nations. However, I’d argue what transpired in Pakistan is much more worrisome.
Gunmen attacked Pakistan’s international airport in Karachi Sunday night, and the fighting continued into Monday morning.
The reported death toll has been rising: The latest from Pakistan media is that at least 23 are dead, including airport guards and the 10 militants said to be behind the attack.
A spokesman for the Airport Security Force told The Associated Press that the military was called in, but after that the fighting is now over.
The New York Times reports:
“Security forces sealed off the airport, and flights began being diverted away from Karachi within minutes of the fighting. Witnesses saw smoke rising from the airport’s old terminal, and one Pakistani news channel showed footage of a fire burning close to a plane.”
The AP notes that Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city, “has been the site of frequent militant attacks in the past.”
Just for a moment, let this sink in.
Pakistan is a nuclear power. It produces a lot of nuclear weapons. This requires producing a lot of nuclear weapons-useable material.
This nuclear power cannot keep it’s largest international airport in it’s largest city safe. This was not a small airfield in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. This was JFK or O’Hare or LAX being attacked by armed militants.
Any insurgency in a nuclear weapons state should be worrisome. Since they are able to assault the most important airport in perhaps the most important city in a nuclear weapons state should be especially worrisome.
In my opinion, ignore the loud voices worried about the situations easiest to explain/blame someone. Worry about the ones few are talking about but that include nuclear weapons and material.