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JuicyLesson 289 : Rory Roars, Tiger No More … Fear and Loathing; The Phases of War in Afghanistan … Pics of a Quaint Town and the Thousand Islands, Truly Beautiful …

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Just watched Rory McIlroy win the PGA, the year’s fourth golfing major giving him three majors in the last little more than three years. image

He has not yet been anointed, thereby assuming the mantle of dominance worn by Tiger for so long, but he is well on his way to doing so, especially if Mr. McIlroy is able to complete the so-called career grand slam by winning the Masters next April. He has already won the U.S. Open in 2012 and the British Open, just last month.
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About Tiger: well, it seems to be all over for him, except for, as they say, the shouting. At the age of 36 heading for 37, this subject of at least four surgeries – three on his knee and his more recent one, on his back – has never been the same since he got caught cheating, that infamous Thanksgiving Eve way back in 2008 (?), the same year Woods won what will be his fourteenth and final major, the United States Open championship.

I am disillusioned by Tiger, pissed at him in fact. What a prick he turned out to be. When he was great, I forgave him his quirks, his coolness towards the golfing galleries, composed for the most part of his legions of fans, and his general low standing on the “likeability” scale. I was just glad to watch him win, seemingly week after week, lapping the field, thanking The Lord that I was lucky enough to be alive right at this time, and being able to enjoy this one-in-a-million golfing legend-to-be, if he wasn’t already one.

Then everything came crashing down as his serial cheating came to light. As Nick Faldo has commented, in the last year or two, that the public humiliation he suffered was too much for Tiger to overcome and the rest of the prime of his career has slowly but surely slipped away.
Too bad. So sad. In a way, anyway.

That way is the reality that Tiger will not break Jack’s record of eighteen major victories, something that I and millions of others were hoping to bear witness to. (I am aware of the fact that ii is grammatically incorrect and bad form too to end a sentence with a preposition but, throughout my relatively newly-discovered literary career, I have taken liberties with my use of language and there doesn’t seem to be a a decent reason to change this particular behaviour now, as for the swearing, we’ll have to see about that. So, please forgive me.) – As I was saying, Tiger will not break Nicklaus’ record and, therefore, we will not have the chance to see that happen, not with Tiger, anyway.

I don’t believe that anyone will dominate the game, at least not in the foreseeable future, the way Tiger did. That goes for the present crop including McIlroy, Jason Day, Adam Scott, Dustin Johnson, Graeme Delaet, Bubba Watson, Heinrick Stenson, Phil the Pill Mickelsonimage, Ricky Fowler, etc. Fowler image
has yet to win a major, the same with Jason Day and some of the others. So Tiger has behaved irresponsibly, to his family, his friends, and the millions of golf fans throughout the world.

Perhaps if he had been able to repair his marriage, things might have been different. But his relationship with his now ex-wife was irretrievably shattered as a result of Woods’ behaviour.

Once more. All together now. Too bad. So sad.

The Phases of War: Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, and Israel
BY PHYLLIS BENNIS, APRIL 6, 2012.
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The U.S. war in Afghanistan (the current version, that is – the U.S. had just a bit to do with the horrific anti-Soviet war of the 1980s and its brutal aftermath in the 1990s…) is well into its 11th year. The U.S. is still losing. We never did have a chance to “win” this war of vengeance – and while few in Washington are ready to admit that, they’ve continued to revise and rework and redefine just what “winning” might look like.

It certainly doesn’t look much like what we’re seeing in Afghanistan today. A feckless, corrupt, incompetent government kept alive and in place (we can’t really say “in power” since its reach doesn’t extend much beyond Kabul) by billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and tens of thousands of U.S. and allied troops.
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Escalating, not diminishing violence against civilians. More frequent and more deadly incidents involving U.S. troops out of control, from burning Qu’rans to urinating on the bodies of dead Afghans, to the most recent war crime, the murder of 17 civilians including 9 children in Kandahar.

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Above: After days of traveling through the mountains of Hindu Kush on top of a truck, we entered Jabul Saraj on a dusty road leading to Kabul. First I saw the ruins of the buildings and then, the closer we approached, I saw the destroyed artillery and finally, in the middle of a barren, destroyed landscape, an old man with a baby in his arms. I stopped the truck. The thought that struck me was ‘there is nothing left here to destroy. This country, the people, the land, have all been destroyed by more than two decades of war. Even the war machinery in the picture has been destroyed. The only light of hope was the baby in the hands of the old man, the power of life was emerging.’]

No surprise that the number of Afghan soldiers turning their guns on their U.S. and NATO “trainers” is rising too. Fox News is reporting that “U.S. troops in Afghanistan now have far-reaching new protections against rogue killers among their Afghan allies, including assigned ‘guardian angels,’ fellow troops who will watch over them as they sleep. In several Afghan ministries, Americans are now allowed to carry weapons; and they have been instructed to rearrange their office desks there to face the door, so they can see who is coming in, said the official.” To paraphrase my colleague Steve Burns at the Wisconsin Network for Peace & Justice, is this changing deck chairs on the Titanic or what?

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THE PHASES OF WAR
I was at a conference a couple of days ago with the great anti-war military scholar Andrew Bacevich. He described wars like that in Afghanistan coming in phases – Chapter 1 is liberation – or in this case domination, since liberation lost. Chapter 2 is counter-insurgency, and that one didn’t do so well either. Chapter 3, he said, has moved to targeted assassinations, the drone war and beyond (actually WAY beyond Afghanistan…). . Bacevich also reminded us that wars don’t end when one side proclaims victory – they end when the defeated admit that they lost. That reality speaks volumes to the current U.S. interest in negotiating an end to the war with the Taliban – and what face-saving in Washington might have to do with it.

The killing of U.S. troops by their ostensible allies in the Afghan military now make up 20 percent of all the U.S. combat deaths this year. Somehow, though, we never hear that the Afghan soldier who turns his gun on a U.S. soldier has “snapped” – that maybe he has post-traumatic stress disorder ( PTSD), that maybe he was so enraged because he saw his baby daughter killed in a drone strike the night before and he lost control. No, we only hear that “the Taliban must have infiltrated” the Afghan army or police. PTSD is apparently only for trained soldiers on our side. Except that in a 2009 UN-backed survey, the Afghan government’s own Ministry of Health estimated that 66 percent – a full two-thirds – of the Afghan population, suffers from a variety of mental illnesses, most of them stress-related and including PTSD.

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Above: “I was embedded with a psychological operations team attached to the U.S. Army’s 173rd Airborne Division back in early October 2005. We were on a combat mission near the village of Gombaz in Kandihar Province when I witnessed and captured images of U.S. soldiers burning the bodies of two dead Taliban combatants. The ‘psych ops’ guys used the grisly incident to broadcast anti-Islamic statements across the valley in order to taunt the enemy.

There’s a great deal of talk about Sgt. Robert Bales, the apparent gunman in the villages in Kandahar, and whether he had PTSD or other impairments. And we’re right to be concerned about the still-inadequate care U.S. veterans get when they come home – soldiers can be simultaneously victim and war criminal. (Iraq Veterans Against the War have mobilized their Operation Recovery campaign to defend soldiers’ right to heal before being redeployed – a campaign that also denies the Pentagon access to these young instruments of battle for illegal wars.) But we shouldn’t forget that those 2/3 of Afghans – something like 20 million people – face PTSD or other mental disorders with only FORTY-TWO psychiatrists and psychologists in the entire country.

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Above: When the shooting was finished, the dead and dying were scattered about the streets. This Taliban fighter had been shot in the stomach and was slowly and painfully slipping away.

The carefully negotiated hand-over of the city of Kunduz might be as good a reference as any to comprehend the reality of peace agreements in Afghanistan. Located in the north, near Uzbekistan, Kunduz was the last major stronghold of the Taliban following its withdrawal from Kabul. It had been under siege by the Northern Alliance, and an agreement was forged in which Taliban fighters would surrender in exchange for safe passage, and the city would be occupied by the alliance.

For a couple of days, the Taliban began to drive out to their enemy’s lines and relinquish their weapons. On the appointed day, a large convoy of Northern Alliance troops moved forward. As it entered the city center, the remaining Taliban fighters opened fire from every direction. Chaos ensued. Both incoming and outgoing fire, from assault rifles, machine guns and rocket propelled grenade launchers was so dense and haphazard, one was as dangerous as the other, no matter which side you happened to be on. It was impossible to figure out where to take cover. Survival would be a matter of luck, and every moment carried the expectation of being hit.

When the shooting was finished, the dead and dying were scattered about the streets. This Taliban fighter had been shot in the stomach and was slowly and painfully slipping away. The peaceful hand-over was later trumped by the guarantee of safe passage, in which dozens of Taliban who had turned themselves in were suffocated to death in the shipping container that was supposedly being used to transport them to a secure location.”

Read more: War Photographers in Afghanistan: The Images That Moved Them Most – LightBox http://lightbox.time.com/2011/10/07/afghanistan-the-photographs-that-moved-them-most/#ixzz39rYT0oiV

Just returning from another lovely weekend in Ganonoque, Ontario, located about 30 km. east of Kingston, Don Cherry’s home town.

To complete today’s Juice, allow me to present a photo gallery of Confederation Park and the Thousand Islands. The latter were taken while we were on a one-hour cruise in beautifully perfect weather.

Enjoy the scenery.

See you tomorrow when I will try to present something that I promised for today, that is the story by a Bialiker who has made it big.

Peace out.

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