Tidbits from Both Sides of the Fight News Highlights – 3 Mar 12

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  • One reporter’s take on why there’s no appetite to take on Syria:  “…. As heart-wrenching as it is to watch Assad’s soldiers kill a hundred civilians a day (by UN estimates), leaders in Washington, London, Paris and Ottawa are loath to start a war that could see tens of thousands more die. Beating Assad’s army would be harder than defeating Gadhafi’s less formidable force, and “winning” could just push Syria further into turmoil ….”
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (1)  How’d the Friday meeting between potential F-35 buyers hosted by Canada in Washington go?  Hard to tell from the Info-machine’s summary“…. “The perspective gained from discussions with our allies and industry partners, including the Joint Program Office and Lockheed Martin, has been valuable,” said Minister Fantino. “While good progress continues to be made, we will always be vigilant with our stewardship of taxpayers’ hard earned dollars. Canada has set a budget for replacement aircraft and we have been clear that we will operate within that budget.” …. “We are demonstrating leadership to improve how Canada and our allies approach multinational development initiatives,” said Minister Fantino. “ We agree that similar meetings will help improve mutual understanding and collaboration to protect international stability from threats to security and human rights.” “
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (2)  La Presse:  Julian Fantino’s briefing note said “concerns about costs/prices” while his mouth said “yup, we’re good to go” (original in French – Google translation here).  Usual caveat:  no sign of sharing ATIP’ed documents as of this post, so no way to know what else is in them (thanks to Mark Collins for sharing this first)
  • F-35 Tug o’ War (3)  Declining orders for Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter from Washington’s international partners reflect economic pressures in those countries, not a lack of commitment to the multinational program, the top U.S. Air Force general said on Tuesday. Air Force Chief of Staff General Norton Schwartz said military leaders in Canada, Australia, Turkey, Italy and other countries helping to develop the new fighter plane have told him they remain committed to buying the stealthy new fighter “as soon as their economic circumstances permit ….”
  • Way Up North  Canada says it is open to collaborating with Russia to establish national boundary lines across the High Arctic, opening the door to joint exploration and mapping after years of tough talk from both sides about sovereignty and the ownership of untapped resources. “Canada’s North is central to our government’s vision for Canada’s future,” Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said Friday. “We’re actively mapping the Arctic continental shelf. This is part of our plan to defend Canada’s sovereignty. We welcome any co-operation.” ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  Former OMLT’eer Bruce Ralston points out southern Afghanistan tends to be quiet any February (not just the ones where Americans are there), and a less-than-optimistic assessment of the future of Afghanistan:  “…. The West is war-tired. The insurgents see the light at the end of the tunnel, meaning stats on dropping violence now will always be suspect. And after all the money goes away, Karzai and the rest of the kleptocrats will light out for Dubai, leaving the dispossessed to fight over the bones of a country ….”
  • Afghanistan (2)  The latest on Trevor Greene’s recovery:  “There were times when Trevor Greene didn’t want to soldier on. One of those moments came without warning, two years after the incident in Kandahar, when he’d been attacked by an axe-wielding teenager. His brain was left damaged. His arms and legs no longer worked. His recovery was slow and painful. The setbacks and disappointments were taking their toll, on his body, on his mind. Rats had infested his body, he told himself. They were devouring his stomach, gnawing at his heart. “I’ve gone completely insane,” he raged, directing all of his frustration and anger at the person closest to him, the woman who believed in him, the mother of their child ….”
  • More on pressing for the First Special Service Force from WW2 to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal:  “Their story isn’t well known, but Canada’s Special Forces JTF 2, the Green Berets and U.S. Navy SEALs can trace their heritage back to the first top secret commando unit called the “Devils Brigade.” During the Second World War, the idea was pitched to Lord Mountbatten and with Winston Churchill and FDR’s blessing they agreed to train an elite force to fight the Nazis. It would be The Allies’ “secret weapon.” …. At the Canadian Embassy in Washington DC there was a ceremony to honour the Devils and raise awareness about legislation before the U.S. Congress to honour the 230 survivors with one of America’s highest awards, the Congressional Gold Medal. Only 144 have been given out, the first to George Washington ….”  More on the legislation in play in the U.S. here and here.

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