Thursday, November 27, 2014

Be Thankful: We Live in America, and we vaccinate against Polio

"In July the Guardian revealed that the CIA used a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, in the hunt for Bin Laden. In the weeks before the 3 May operation to kill Bin Laden, Afridi was instructed to set up a fake vaccination scheme in the town of Abbottabad, in order to gain entry to the house where it was suspected that the al-Qaida chief was living, and extract DNA samples from his family members."

There have been 260 case of polio in Pakistan this year; this year 65 anti-polio workers have been murdered in Pakistan. 

Mad Dog was as happy as anyone when they got Osama Bin Laden, but when he heard they had used an anti-polio worker as part of the plot, he thought "Uh-oh."
Of course, this has been used by the Taliban to bolster its contention that polio vaccinations are "dangerous to health and against Islam."

Wait, polio vaccination is "against Islam?"  Remarkable, really,  thinking the Prophet could have been so prescient as to inveigh against polio vaccination as being "against Islam"  so many centuries before the vaccine became available. But if the vaccine is used to hunt down heroes like Osma Bin Laden, okay, maybe this begins to make sense to villagers in Pakistan.

Prevention of polio has been one of major triumphs of 20th century medicine. It is a dreadful disease, a true scourge. A nightmare, really. Paralysis. Children. And even if the child survives, and even if the child is able to recover and to walk and function afterward, there is post polio syndrome which can make life pretty miserable decades later. 

Who could find a dark lining in that story? Militant fundamentalists, apparently.

But before we get too superior about those wacko Islamists, we have to look around at our own well meaning neighbors who refuse to allow their children to be vaccinated against measles, pertussis, tetanus and HPV and yes, even polio.

But we can be thankful our rational citizens can be vaccinated.
And here is another bit of good news to be thankful for: In the first week of open season more than a million people signed up on the government site for health insurance. The Affordable Care Act is actually working. 

But we can be thankful, there's a new Congress on the way, all set to kill Obamacare, castrate hogs (and maybe other species)  and maybe even stop those damn vaccination programs. 


  1. Mad Dog,
    Using polio vaccinations as a ruse to uncover Bin laden was a perfect example of the ends not justifying the means. It will probably take many years to convince rural villagers that polio vaccines are not a Western plot against Islam. In the meantime children, who's lives would never have been easy anyway, will suffer a lifetime of even greater hardship due to polio. Tragic in so many ways, not the least of which is there is the science to eradicate the disease but not the political or social will in some places.

    As for things to be grateful for this year, although I agree with all those you mention-our continued ability to say whatever we want in this country, well short of yelling "Fire", is at the top of my gratitude list. China continues to round up people for saying what we in this country would consider to be fairly mild criticism of members of the government- I'm thinking the Chinese government wouldn't take to kindly to some of the things we've had to say-you and I and a lot of others would be doing hard time if we lived in some other locales around the globe... Even more disturbing was the story of religious persecution out of Pakistan earlier this month. A young couple was burned alive, by a mob of 1200 of their less than neighborly neighbors, when it was suspected they had disrespected the Koran. That horrific end came after their legs were broken so they couldn't escape and the pregnant woman was wrapped in cotton to ensure she was more flammable. We are so used to freedom of speech we take it for granted until reminded by these acts of barbarism in the extreme.Yep, we have the GOP and the Tea Party, but there are creatures masking as human out there that make the Republicans seem as sweet as kittens...

  2. Maud,

    Republicans, "sweet as kittens." What is the world coming to?
    Strange thing is, those 1,200 villagers, like the lynch mobs in Mississippi likely thought they were doing the right thing, don't you think? Or do you think they were just frothing and rabid?
    The most basic right, the reason it's the First Amendment, is freedom of speech, so, as always, you focus on the most essential truth.
    Mad Dog

  3. Mad Dog,
    My guess is those villagers were feeling both righteous and frothing at the mouth...what I wonder is how do they feel the next day when they wake up and realize what they did to another human there remorse or continued righteousness..probably depends on the person...fear must be a big factor in the whole mob scene as well-a lot of participants most likely join in because they're afraid if they don't they'll be tossed on the burning pyre as well.. how can you ever look at your neighbors in the same way after witnessing that horror-what a way of life....