Saturday, March 04, 2006


Let me stray from the usual political comment and rail against basketball officials instead of the usual target, the Bush administration. In the last two weeks, there have been two instances of clear injustices, one minor and one major.

Minor: In the slam dunk contest, held during NBA’s All Star weekend, both finalists provided exciting dunks.that had the crowd cheering. Nate Robinson was declared the winner even though Andre Iguodala clearly gave the superior performance. We don’t know why, although it could have been sympathy for the 5’9” Robinson. The misjudgment deprives Iguodola of $12,000. and a bit of prestige.

Major: All Star Allen Iverson was not included on the list of 22 NBA players chosen to qualify for the United States team scheduled to play in the World Cup tournament and then the 2008 Olympics. This is a major omission and a major affront.

Iverson is clearly among the 10 best NBA players and one of the most exciting players in the world. While many NBA stars have declined to play on our national teams, Iverson has been one of the leading vote getters for the annual all star team and has played well in the games. He has been named MVP of the game and has also been named MVP of the NBA, He has won the NBA scoring title and currently is second in the league with a 33 point average.

While many NBA stars have declined to play on our national teams, Iverson has played, and played well, for the U.S. team in 2003 and 2004. He expressed his desire to contribute once more and now, inexplicably, has been rebuffed. Iverson has stated that he is not bitter, but this unwarranted rejection must hurt, and hurt a lot. He has earned the right to be on our team and since he is one of the best and most popular players in the world, our prospective opponents must be wondering, as are we, what was the selection committee thinking.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


President Bush's brief visit to Afghanistan stirs thoughts of missed opportunities.
He went only to a military base and a secured area of Kabul. This is understandable; much of the rest of Afghanistan is too dangerous. And the Taliban remains a threat.

It didn't have to be this way, 4 years after the ouster of the Taliban. The U.S moved swiftly to remove the Taliban government, to obtain elections, and to support President Karzai. We failed to capture Osama bin Laden or to secure the country, but we had greatly limited the power and operations of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. But then, to a great extent, the U.S. moved on - to Iraq. As a result, we failed to build the infrastruture, to do the needed reconstruction, and to provide the expertise, the
financial means, and the military support needed for governance of the entire country.

Afghanistan presented a difficult challenge and there was help from the other nations and the UN. But this challenge required a massive U.S. effort. Neither the will nor the resources could be mustered because President Bush misled us into the misguided invasion of Iraq.

The most positive act of the five years of the Bush administration was the swift response to 9-11 by moving quickly to Afghanistan. Bush then jeopardized the opportunity for success there by starting and poorly executing an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Would it have been different if Senator Gore had been elected? I think that Gore would also have taken the Afghanistan step right away. After all, this was a military and intellignce driven decision. I doubt if Mr. Bush even knew where Afghanistan was.
Given Mr. Gore's knowledge and experience, and caution, there is little chance that he would have had us invade Iraq. I hope that he would have devoted the resources and obtained the international support to help Afghanistan become a successful nation. But, of coursr, we'll never know.