Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Military

So, I'm now actually reading The Unexpected War: Canada in Kandahar Janice Gross Stein and Eugene Lang. Here it is - right from the review:
Stein and Lang have made great, sometimes awkwardly charming efforts to make what could have been a baffling policy paper into an eye-popping, very readable, and provocative narrative. They come a hair’s breadth away from pronouncing that the military hijacked Canadian foreign policy.
I wonder if it was the grunts who wanted to fight so bad, ... who wanted to get into combat. You know, ... if you wanted to fight and then you got your leg blown off by a land-mine, would you clench your fist and shout "BOOO=YAHHHH!!!!" as if that was all part of the experience you were hoping for?

Or was it rather the high command and the desk jockeys who wanted to fight? Methinks it's the latter.

Regardless of who it was, the book is an excellent cautionary tale, from two "respectable" Canadian scholars, against letting the military set policy. Afghanistan was a bloody waste of Canadian lives and resources that besmirched our reputation as a nation that respects human rights and the rule of law. It was, and remains, a dark spot in our history.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (and international trade) are also to blame though. Witlessly buying into the notion that the USA is our ally and therefore facts can go to hell, it was quickly decided that we should "do something" to help them and show them that we're their friends after the terrorist attack of 9-11-2001. My thinking at the time was that the US government is involved in so much shit all over the world that you have to expect something to happen once in a while. The country was in no danger of collapse and had more than enough resources to look after itself. The USA inflicts many times that level of trauma on many other countries (proportionately) and they survive, ... even without the international outpourings of support. (If one thinks about how the attacks were aided and abetted by the bush II regime's desires for a "new Pearl Harbour" it makes Canada's snivelling attempts to curry favour look even more pathetic.)

Finally, there's this story at the CBC: "Army commander promises discipline against media leaks." So, this dude says that leaks about how the army is not buying new armoured vehicles because of cash restraints and not because our present vehicles have been upgraded and the new ones are unnecessary, are "hurting the army."

For fuck's sake! I'll tell you what's hurting the army: Sending them into combat and then nickel-and-diming them when they get wounded! And then leaking the psychiatric records of veterans who have the temerity to complain. THAT'S what's hurting the army.

Also, I don't recall anyone complaining about leaks hurting the military when Christie Belchforth and Rosie DiMoron got those CF reports that not even the Parliamentary Committee on Afghanistan were allowed to see, when the powers that be were trying to smear Richard Colvin.

These leaks embarrass the government and their toadying top brass.

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