Posted January 7, 2015 on 9:13 pm | In the category Iraq, Obama, syria, U.S. Foreign Policy | by Jeff

Why was Iraq in 2003 not a “vital American interest” while in 2014 it is. Bush certainly made an awful mistake in his judgment, no doubt aided by lousy advisors, but the US is once again attacking in Irag – and Syria -, and did not leave Afghanistan during most of the Obama presidency – and actually still hasn’t. This time it is on Obama’s orders. How come Bush was a fool while these military actions are (still?) supposed to be considered wise diplomacy?

Comment to earlier blog from Flaming Bombadier

Hey Flamer: Whoa!! take a deep breath and sit down. Fan yourself and relax. And consider some history and some contemporary events.

1. Iraq invasion in 2003 was an illegal invasion of a country, based on fabricated intelligence which led to the dismemberment of an (unpleasant, but recognized) government to satisfy the wet dreams of Dick Cheney and possibly W. Bush. It involved over 200,000 American troops, killed nearly 4000 of them, added hundreds of thousand of Iraqis to the death list, sent some 4 million Iraqis to refugee camps and cost the U.S economy between 2 and 3 trillion dollars. In terms of national interest it was an enormous deficit and we continue to pay the price., Which brings us to number:

2. U.S. troops sent into Iraq by Obama were and are sent specifically to support the currently existing Iraq government – not a terribly difficult to understand difference from sending in troops to overthrow a government – but it is a government produced by the Bush/Cheney war. It is a great example of the consequences of stupidity, but Obama has sent 1500 – soon to be 3000- and maybe more later – in response to a real threat. Ask The Parisians. Ask London, Ask Madrid. There is – in my view- a threat to not only our national interest, but the interests of all Western liberal democracies iby a theocratic, existential movement opposed to Western ideals and our right to hold them.

3. It has taken a long time (too long) to get out of Afghanistan, but to say the U.S. is ttacking Syria is a rather bizarre comment. Obama has been butchered in the U.S. by McCain, Lindsey Graham and their ilk for not invading Syria. He is holding back and resisting anything more than plane attacks on ISIS. And it is very hard to argue in favor of letting ISIS go its merry way unmolested.

It is an ugly world out there and today’s murder of journalists in Paris, and the beheadings of American and British journalists and the random bombings of innocent people every day, yes, every day, makes this battle one of national interest for us all.

Obama has been criticized for 6 years for being who he is – a thoughtful, careful, rational leader who has led America out of most of their foreign battles. It has become easy to just criticize him without thinking about what came before, what he was left with and what he has accomplished. Perhaps Flaming Bombadier would have been happier with a McCain or a Chamberlain, but I think not. There are always disappointments but in these issues Obama has acted wisely and with restraint.

Maybe Flaming Bombardier has some thoughts on how best to negotiate with ISIS, Al Queda, et alia and how to bring diplomacy to the process. if not maybe a bare chested Putin can do it. We shall see. But probably not


Where Juniors become Seniors

Posted January 5, 2015 on 7:59 pm | In the category Canada, Sports, U.S. Domestic Policy | by Mackenzie Brothers

In the great world of men’s ice hockey, the results in the World Junior (Under 20) Championship that is now going on in Toronto and Montreal both confirm and rattle the previously  understood natural order of things among elite national teams.    While it is true that three of the four teams that will meet in the semifinals  have long belonged to that elite (Sweden, Canada, Russia), it is the surprising rise of new entrants to the quarter finals – Denmark, Slovakia, Switzerland –  and  the quick exit  of former occasional pretenders to the throne  that has  hockey fans reflecting on the future.  There seems to be no obvious reason other than ongoing decline for the collapse of last year’s champion, Finland, as well as formerly perennial challengers, the  Czech Republic  and the USA in this tournament that can be used to predict the future of the upcoming men’s national teams..   Suggestions   by veteran US hockey commentators that  the Yanks, who were quite easily knocked out in the quarterfinals for the second straight year by a pretty  unconvincing Russian squad, may have been  because the largely college-based players   felt sorry for their Russians because of the sad state of their country at the moment must be taken with a grain of salt.  The more likely reason is that the attempt to turn hockey in the US into a college-based minor league, much like football, playing out of  hockey-mill colleges, particularly in the Boston area, is a failure for obvious reasons.  Hockey demands well-trained team work and students at Boston College, Boston University, Tuffs, Harvard, etc  (which seem to make up a serious percentage of the US payers), can’t spend all of their time practicing,as football players can .

The Russians traditionally play unpredictably in early relatively unimportant matches (they tied Denmark), but not in the ones that count against Sweden or Canada.  So don’t be surprised if the Russians  look like a different team against Sweden in the semi-final and face a Canadian squad in the final that has been untouchable so far.  Most commentators still believe that Canada has too much depth  to be considered an underdog to Russia this time, but it is a virtual guarantee that this final would be one of the best hockey games played this year.  And don’t put too much  money against Russia.  If Sweden meets Slovakia in the bronze-medal game, don’t be surprised if the totally undervalued Slovaks, who have the best goalie in the tournament and have been playing with great passion, don’t upset the rather  lackadaisical-seeming Swedish squad.

Who would have thunk it?


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