Obama’s Strategy

I subscribe to the Dry Bones Blog by Yaakov Kirschen, an Israeli cartoonist. I enjoy seeing how he views the world, even though I don’t always agree with him. For instance:

Kirschen adds, “His ineptitude is becoming embarrassing!”

Obviously some people agree with that, but I agree with Andy Borowitz — “Don’t do stupid stuff,” is a great place to start. In his latest article Borowitz says,

Arguing that his motto “Don’t do stupid stuff” is not a coherent foreign policy, critics of President Obama are pressuring him to do something stupid without further delay.

A few weeks ago I read an article where the author said we should keep out of the Middle East, because every time we do something we make it worse. There’s some truth to that.

And Peter Bienart in The Atlantic argues that Obama does have a strategy. It’s “fierce minimalism,” to focus on counterterroism — keeping jihadists from attacking American/Americans — rather than trying to fix all the problems in the world.

From the beginning, the president’s political team has understood that on foreign policy, Obama faced two political dangers. If he got too many American troops killed in the Middle East, he risked alienating his liberal base. If he permitted a major terrorist attack against American civilians, he risked empowering the Republicans eager to paint him as weak. The way to protect against both dangers was to keep American troops out of harm’s way while pulverizing alleged jihadists from the air.

Regardless of what you think of the merits of that approach in terms of statecraft, it’s worked politically…. [Obama’s] fierce minimalism fits the national mood.

President Obama’s Mideast strategy is not grand. It’s not inspiring. It’s not idealistic. But it’s what the American people want and what their government knows how to do. And Barack Obama didn’t become president by tilting at windmills.

My own guess is Obama will do his best to kill the leaders of the Islamic State the way he finally got Osama bin Laden. It’s a tall order and he may not be able to do it, but if that’s what he’s thinking he would be a fool to announce it to the world.


 

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MRAPs

So, after Ferguson, the US is starting to rethink giving military equipment to local police. It’s just too tempting to use when other methods would be a lot more effective.

The question is why did the Pentagon start giving it away in the first place? A columnist for our local paper explained the reason for Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles. He has a friend who served a tour in Iraq managing a motor pool who said maintaining them was a maintenance nightmare.

MRAPs started when the troops started installing steel plates to their humvees to protect themselves against mines/IEDs (improvised explosive devices). Then the military started building MRAPs to protect the troops, the IEDS became more powerful, the military made the MRAPs bigger and stronger, and the cycle continued. By the end the MRAPs were so big and heavy they could only travel on paved roads and couldn’t maneuver through narrow city streets.

The military now has a lot more than they need, and the MRAPs are expensive to dismantle, so the military started giving some of them to local US police departments. The police love driving them, of course, but a lot of citizens/taxpayers don’t think they’re such a great idea.

It will be interesting to see what happens. If I saw the police riding around our little town in one of them, I would feel more nervous than reassured. What about you?


 

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Listening to Doctors — Or Not

My conversation about eyes with Ursula yesterday reminded me of a checkup with an opthamologist years ago. When she did the exam she said I had a retinal hole — a small tear in the retina that had healed itself — but it was nothing to worry about. Don’t come back for two years.

Huh? I had been going once every two years, but it sounded to me like it was time to start going once a year. I compromised. I went back in a year and a half. She remembered me and said, “I thought I told you not to come back for two years.”

Everything looked okay, and she again told me not to come back for two years. :?: :?: I was covered by insurance, which had nothing to do with her office, so she had no financial reason to put me off.

Fortunately after about a year and a half it was clear I needed a new prescription, so back I went again. This time there was a new fellow in the practice, so I chose him. He examined my eyes and said I had a torn retina. It wasn’t an emergency, but I should have surgery within the next two weeks to keep it from detaching.

Sometimes it pays not to do everything a doctor says — sometimes it’s better to switch doctors. Have you ever had an experience like that?


 

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We Can Relate to That

Andy and I can relate to that. (I’m the one searching, Andy doesn’t need glasses for distance.)

Do you have any physical problems you have to work around?


 

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Gold-Star Kid

The world could use a lot more people like these.


 

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It’s Not Just the Drones

It’s not just drones that ruin the experience of nature.

The pastime of rope-swinging from a towering red-rock arch in Utah could be banned within weeks, as government officials weigh the objections of hikers and environmentalists against the wishes of a hard core of thrill-seekers.

Shrieks of excitement regularly fill a remote canyon near the town of Moab, as adventurers fling themselves off the top of the 140ft Corona Arch and swing in a breathtaking pendulum.

But after one death, at least two serious injuries and a rapid increase in numbers flocking to take part, after online videos spread the word, the sandstone-swingers’ days may be numbered.
The Guardian

Not being a thrill-seeker myself, I would vote for peace and quiet.


 

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Anti-Bullies

To stop bullying we need fewer guns and more kids like this.


 

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How Clever of Us

We sure picked a good day 50 years ago, didn’t we, Jean?
—Andy on our 50th-wedding-anniversary picnic last night

We certainly did. It was a glorious afternoon/evening. The air was clean and fresh after the recent rains, the temperature was ideal, and the sky was clear except for a few fluffy white clouds. How clever we had been. Yay, us! :D

Do you ever enjoy being silly?


 

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Only in America

The Bullets and Burgers Adventure is a private outdoor range set in a stunning outdoor desert landscape. We separate ourselves from all other Las Vegas ranges with our unique ‘Desert Storm’ atmosphere and military style bunkers….

Our guests have the opportunity to fire a wide range of fully automatic machine guns and specialty weapons. You will choose the guns which you want to shoot from our extensive collection and we provide the eye/ear protection, ammunition, and expert guidance.
Bullets and Burgers

Apparently it’s a top-rated tourist attraction in the Las Vegas area. It’s the place where a nine-year-old girl lost control of an Uzi submachine gun when it recoiled and killed the instructor. The incident happened Monday, but it didn’t dissuade all parents. Here’s a review of the place posted yesterday.

This is a great place for young children to learn to fire Uzis. With this kind of training, kids will never have to worry about bullying in school.
—Review on Trip Advisor, August 27, 2014

Why does that make me feel uncomfortable?


 

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Poor Floors

Torben made another video:

Montana doesn’t need toys as long as she has her tail to chase!

I especially liked the sentiment at the end:

AntiAnxiety meds for Sam….$35.00
Refurbishing floors…..$2500.00
Having a dog like Montana….Priceless

Thanks again, Torben!


 

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