Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Operation Medusa

Recently, hysterical Liberal Party hack Montreal Simon had been swooning about attacks against Liberal Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan. Apparently Sajjan wilfully overstated his role in the planning of one of the Canadian Forces' biggest operations; "Operation Medusa." Now, some political columnists who I tend to respect (and you can check this blog and find out that I do respect several of them) said that this was a pretty serious faux-pas on Sajjan's part. Obviously, the Opposition parties, being who they are, were out for blood. Was that fair? I don't know. Sometimes when you lie on your resume and it's found out, that can get you fired, even if you had been doing good in the actual job. To lie about your contribution to a major initiative as Sajjan did would be similar I suppose. To tell you the honest truth, I'm not sure where I stand on that issue. Perhaps that makes me a racist? But I don't care too much about this incident wherein the Defence Minister is a fabulist.

Because when I read the words "Operation Medusa" this is what I think of:

Razik’s clandestine smuggling operations have spilled over into the allied fight against the Taliban, thereby bolstering the widely held perception that the ISAF and the central government are favoring certain tribes and marginalizing others. Soon after he assumed power at the border, Razik began to feud with elements of the Noorzai tribe, particularly the Sultanzai, a rival smuggling clan spread between Spin Boldak and Chaman. One notorious incident took place during the summer of 2006 in Panjwaii District, a volatile area just west of Kandahar city. A predominantly Noorzai district, Panjwaii is a lush river valley crisscrossed by thick orchards and mud-walled compounds, and it provides an excellent springboard for attacks on Kandahar city. During the course of the summer, Taliban fighters had infiltrated the valley, and eventually the district governor, an Achakzai, called in Abdul Razik’s border force.
What followed was a debacle. The Noorzais, fearing their tribal enemies, rose up and joined forces with the Taliban. Razik and his men responded to the unexpected resistance with brutality. “They were killing women and children,” said Ustaz Abdul Halim, a Noorzai and former mujahideen commander who lives in Kandahar city. “After that, everyone was with the Taliban.”
Capitalizing on the tribal dynamics, the Taliban installed a Noorzai, Mullah Rauf Lang, as their commander in Panjwaii District. Later that fall, newly arrived Canadian troops in the area would launch Operation Medusa, a large-scale assault that killed hundreds of fighters and scores of civilians in weeks of close combat and withering bombardments. Today, the area remains one ofthe most violent in Kandahar Province—the Canadians suffer many of their casualties there and have recently abandoned two untenable forward operating bases in the area—and anti-government sentiments still run high.
Warmaking trumps "reconstruction" In early September, the 2,300 Canadian troops in Kandahar launched a massive ground assault in Panjwaii district, code-named "Operation Medusa" and backed by U.S. troops and airpower. Residents were warned in advance of the offensive to leave their homes and villages.
The assault was declared a huge success several weeks later. "More than one thousand" enemy fighters were said to be killed. But reporters saw few bodies of resistance fighters.
Canadian and NATO authorities admitted that fighters had staged an orderly retreat and appealed for more troops into the area. Canada quickly dispatched several hundred more soldiers, and for the first time it will be deploying tanks. Deadly attacks on Canadian and other NATO forces resumed within days of the "victory."
Meanwhile, some 20,000 residents were made homeless after their homes, villages and crops were destroyed in the fighting. Winter is approaching and they face an uncertain future.

[Please note: The above quotes are not my own. They're pasted from my original blog posts wherein the original sources are linked. In case anyone thinks I'm overstating my contributions here.]

Also, given Sajjan's relatively high rank in the field, what did he know about our detainee policy wherein Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin stated every single one of the prisoners we handed over to the Afghan authorities was tortured? We were all pretty riled-up about that issue when harper was the enemy. Perhaps Sajjan could now shed some light on the subject?

Or not.

Anyway, Niki Ashton for PM!

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