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September 13, 2006

The army that can't fight

NATO has been having some problems scraping together some more troops to battle a pocket of Taliban in the south of Afghanistan. Canada, Holland, Britain and the United States have been willing to pull their weight, but others just find fighting, you know... dangerous. Norway doesn't even want its soldiers to go anywhere near Kandahar, even if they won't be asked to fight:

NATO wants to shift more force to fight the Taliban in the area and sketched out a draft order that would move Norway's Quick Reaction Force from the north to Kandahar in the troubled south. There it would relieve an allied watch force which in turn would join the fight against the Taliban.

Defense Department spokesman Kjetil Eide in Oslo said that NATO had sent an 'inquiry' and not an 'order'. Norway's vice-admiral Jan Reksten decided to exercise the right of members to veto ISAF (International Security Assistance Force) orders.

"This was an assignment not in keeping with the what the Norwegian soldiers were sent to Afghanistan to do," brigadier Gunnar Gustavsen, chief of staff at the Joint Defense operative headquarters, told Aftenposten.

According to Aftenposten's sources, the NATO plan would not have meant using Norwegian soldiers in combat operations.

Norway has made it clear that its forces in Afghanistan are not sufficiently trained to take part in combat and not properly equipped to do so either.

I guess this is the kind of military Jack Layton wants Canada to have...

August 03, 2006

A quick laugh

I got a genuine chuckle out of this one...

(via ¡No Pasarán!)

July 09, 2006

Zidane lets it slip through his fingers

So what the heck was that guy thinking? It's the last ten minutes of a match in which France is clearly outplaying their opponents. A billion people are watching; it's the last game of Zidane's career -- and possibly the most important. And he head-butts some guy out of play and knocks him to the ground? Did he think he could get away with it?

Sure France might have lost anyway, but he killed the great momentum the team had at that moment. And he was definitely going to be needed for the shoot-out in the end. What a waste.

UPDATE: I spent some time looking for this last night on YouTube but was unsuccessful, but here it is, the moment Zidane loses it:

July 05, 2006

Go France, Go!

After my favourites, Argentina and Holland, were eliminated from the World Cup, I thought I wanted Portugal to go all the way. But after watching their synchronized diving routine in their match with France today, I lost all respect for them. Seriously, there was one play today when two Portugese players were approaching the French net with one French defender close by, and as soon as they lost possession of the ball they both fell down together clutching their legs and rolling in feigned agony. The replay showed neither of them had been touched. I found myself rooting for France pretty quickly.

And between France and Italy, it's an easy choice on who should win. I don't make it based on national attributes, or the character of the teams, but on the fans. And Italy's fans are among the most annoying. I can't bear the thought of those smug clowns driving around and around cities all over North America honking their horns and waving their flags -- even though I'll be unlikely to see it. So it's gotta be France.