Rescues in Afghanistan, sitting out elections and border troubles in Colombia
After the Read More! Routine marvels in Afghanistan. A British conservative warns against yielding to frustration. Colombia versus FARC.
A reader sends this picture of casualty evacuation in Afghanistan. "This photo was taken by a soldier in Afghanistan of a helo rescue mission. The pilot is a PA National Guard guy who flies EMS choppers in civilian life."
From airline pilots to cops to paramedics, the reserves underscore the crossover between civilian and military life. During the Second World War one of the key, but unstated advantages of the US military was simply that most of its members could drive. This was not necessarily the case in some European armies. A skilled manpower pool is one of the greatest assets of a modern technological army.
Andrew Ian Dodge at Pajamas Media warns against following the fate of conservatives in Britain, especially the idea that a political movement can "sit a cycle out".
The reason the various ilks of the right lost their foothold in the Conservative Party is that they didn’t stick around enough to fight their corner and keep their ideas in the mix. They allowed their frustration and angst to get the better of them. They flirted with the various minor fringe parties of the right like the Referendum Party and UKIP; in some case losing the Conservatives seats that were held by similar minded Members of Parliament. I was among those on the right who got fed up and frustrated enough to go home and not bother.
There are of course those who feel that David Cameron's Tory Party is in the doldrums precisely because it left its conservative wing and became 'Labor lite'. One commenter writes:
1) In 1989, the Tory party’s left wing knifed our most popular and successful Prime Minister since the war, Margaret Thatcher. 2) The party elite drifted sleasily leftwards until it became unelectable in 1997. 3) Several sane Tory leaders tried to cope with the party’s left-wing and the consequent massive loss of conservative votes. All failed and resigned.
But however that may be, Dodge's advice about the need to remain in the political arena is probably sound because only continued viability in the electoral process gives a movement the necessary skills to compete in that process. One of the key advantages of many liberals is that they have no 'day job' to go home to. Politics is their life and they become perforce if not competent, at least facile. If conservatives leave the arena they lose skills at a time when they are even more at a premium.
Maybe sitting out a political cycle has its disadvantages.
A cross-border raid by Colombia to hit out at FARC rebels based in Ecuador has precipitated a mini military crisis in South America. With Venezuela now mobilized at the Colombian border, the Colombians now claim they've discovered documents showing Chavez was funding FARC.
Although the crisis originally involved Colombia and Ecuador, it has become dominated by an increasingly bitter war of words between Colombia and Venezuela, and especially their ideologically divided presidents, the pro-US rightwinger Alvaro Uribe and Chávez, the self-styled scourge of Washington in the region. Chávez ordered his own military response - announced on his weekly television show on Sunday - and cut diplomatic links with Colombia. ...
The Colombian response has been equally vehement. The country's government says documents recovered from a laptop belonging to Reyes, the killed Farc commander, show the Chávez government gave the rebel group, which the US and EU consider a terrorist organisation, $300m (£150m) in funding.
Such support for Farc meant Chávez should be tried by the international criminal court, Uribe said today.
In a still more dramatic development, Uribe's vice-president, Francisco Santos, told a UN disarmament forum in Geneva today that the Farc documents also revealed that the group was seeking to acquire uranium to build a radioactive "dirty bomb".
Fausta, who has been following the Colombia-Venezuela dustup writes "Let's not mince words here: Colombia is sandwiched between two countries who are aiding and abetting the forces that have waged a four-decade long war against its citizenry."
At any rate, Uribe feels confident enough to seek charges against Chavez at the International Criminal Court.
"I'll present to the International Criminal Court charges against Hugo Chavez for financing and sponsoring genocide," said Uribe, on Caracol Radio, after a meeting with a former rebel-held hostage in Bogota.
Uribe also called on Colombia's neighbors to show solidarity with the country in its long-running conflict with the drug-funded guerrillas. The International Criminal Court, based in The Hague, was created in 2002 and both Colombia and Venezuela are signatories to it.
Colombia yesterday said it uncovered evidence on the laptop of slain rebel leader Raul Reyes showing Venezuela had funneled at least $300 million to the FARC, as the rebel group is known.
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