Author Topic: The Canadian Peacekeeping Myth (Merged Topics)  (Read 203035 times)

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Offline Young KH

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #25 on: July 23, 2005, 16:58:30 »
Yes the media and I guess for publicity sake many terms are not to my liking, such as

Friendly fire,
collateral damage,
smart bomb
and so on.
Ken
Pro Patria
And God Bless
I may disagree 100%, with what you have to say.
But will fight to the death, your right to say it.

Offline Dare

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #26 on: July 23, 2005, 17:00:27 »
At the tactical level, politicians and the public are not at all responsible for training, and are at least arms distance from equipment and funding.  It is an oversimplification and in many ways the shirking of responsibility to blame the public or the politicians for failures in the nuts and bolts of our battalions, BG's or TF's who are deployed or preparing to do so. 

No one has disagreed that those outside of the military have the foggiest idea of the difference between peacekeeping, peacemaking, war fighting so I would argue that the differences in the terms are truly only semantic. Personally I know enough to know when I am on an operation or an exercise and don't particularly feel a need to substantiate my existence with what are little more than media terms. 
The name isn't for boosting moral. It's to give a public face to C.F. operations. Yes, the C.F. is created to kill people but I don't think that the label Killer is very Public Friendly (if you will). The outcome of C.F. killing Bad Guys is designed to be peace. You might not feel the need to substantiate your existence to yourself, but you definitely should to your employer because without public support, the C.F. has little to nothing. Currently, they think the C.F. are Peace Keepers and they are funded as such (much like one would fund a large police force). Peace Maker implies force and could (positively) change the way the C.F. is perceived, so the public understands it does take effort and force to accomplish our goals (there are *a lot* of voters who don't get that simple concept, thus the media successfully playing up the "shocked" act).


Offline MCG

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #27 on: July 23, 2005, 17:47:09 »
At the tactical level, politicians and the public are not at all responsible for training, and are at least arms distance from equipment and funding.
Yes, we must bear responsibility for the equipment we choose and the training we conduct.   However, it is naive to assume an incorrect understanding of our roll/function by our political masters cannot have life threatening consequences.   Remember what happened the last time the public opinion went against the CF getting the "Cadillac" equipment?   The Sea King replacement was cancelled.   The politicians control the purse strings and approve money for projects.   Do you think they will approve an aggressive direct fire anti-tank system (or even a MBT) of non-warfighting peacekeepers?   Do you think they will determine that "peacekeepers" need to invest in an expeditionary capability like naval weapons systems capable of long range inland fires in sp of our ground forces?

No.   The government & the public must understand that we are warfighters that, because of our big stick, can enforce peace when required.

How many times in the last 100 years have we heard the favourite phrase of Generals that   "the troops will be home by Christmas?"   
This misses the point.   If the public thinks we "peacekeeping" in some fuzzy comfy place, they will be less supportive of major projects to ensure our combat effectiveness.   I'm still surprised by the number of voters that I encounter who are oblivious to the fact that our soldiers fought a major battle while "peacekeeping" in the FRY.   I've met people that state "but it's peacekeeping" and are shocked to hear that belligerents intentionally engaged our soldiers in Bosnia, they are more surprised that some of our soldiers have died this way.

The fact is, if we do not use honest language with civilians, then we should not expect them to support our real needs.

Offline jerrythunder

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #28 on: July 23, 2005, 18:34:35 »
I think the usage of the term Peace Keeping has been a poor policy move for a long time. The focus of our nations defence forces should be on Peace *Making*.
U're right, you have to make the peace before you can gard and keep it.
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Offline jerrythunder

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #29 on: July 23, 2005, 18:42:53 »
OH MY GOD!! FINALLY! Ive been waiting for someone to finally it!!! :threat:  "our job is to be able to kill people" and " we are the canadian forces and our job is to be able to kill people" that in itself is the truth i believe. why else do our forces carry guns? to scare people? i dont think so! im very pleased that it has finally dawned on a top canadian forces officer that we need to be more aggresive force. because that is what an army is for basically, to kill another army.
They can run but they will only die tired

Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #30 on: July 23, 2005, 18:46:23 »
i think thats right! We must be honest with the public and call it what it is! this tour to Afghanistan is warfighting, we will be going out in the Kandahar region and stopping bad guys from doing bad things point! yes there will be CIMIC and all that come with it. It puts the public into a false sense, so when the CDS says there could be soldiers coming home in boxes we can't and don't want people going " But we are peacekeepers how can they do that!" I just think our leaders sugar coat things , so we don't look like the americans and follow there poilices.

Offline jerrythunder

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #31 on: July 23, 2005, 19:27:06 »
true but this operation to Afganistan is one of the first offensive operations that canada has had in a while and it will be good for the military's morale when we show the world what our canadian warfighters are capable of! make us proud boys( and girls)!!! :salute: :cdn:
They can run but they will only die tired

Offline Chimo

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #32 on: July 23, 2005, 19:58:44 »
I think DND first started using the term "Peacekeeping" because it garnered a lot of public support, was nice and fluffy, and lots of pics of men and women in blue berets, holding babies in far away lands. Don't forget, where there is public support, there is money!

This was far from the reality of any peace support operation I was ever involved in. We need to adjust our thinking to the three block war. That is the reality of todays mission, not all combat and not all HA, a bit of this, some of that, and a whole bunch of some other stuff.

Whatever, the mission calls for from killing the enemy to handing out rations and blankets to the locals, I know our Soldiers will do us proud. :salute:
All my heroes are soldiers...and all my soldiers are heroes.

Offline Mark C

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #33 on: July 23, 2005, 22:49:26 »
true but this operation to Afganistan is one of the first offensive operations that canada has had in a while...

Hmmm....tell that to the 800-odd members of 3 PPCLI Battlegroup who conducted no less than 4 deliberate offensive combat operations against Al Qaida and Taliban in Afghanistan back in 2002.   Not to mention defensive combat operations around the Coalition bases at Kandahar Airfield and Khowst whenever not otherwise engaged in   carrying the fight to the enemy.  

No offence to you personally "JerryThunder".   Whether intentional or not, your comments are sadly indicative of the disturbingly short memory that the Canadian public holds for the deeds of its uniformed servants.   I can't count on both hands the number of media stories I have read over the past 2 weeks regarding the ongoing PRT deployment to Kandahar and the follow-on 1 CMBG mission in Feb 06.   Most of which take pains to note that this will be the (I directly quote) "first combat deployment since Korea".   Funny, they said the same thing about our crew when we deployed....

I have always empathized with those who served in the Medak Pocket crew and were not recognized in a timely nor substantive manner for their actions.   It was shameful.   At the same time, I would not for a second presume to infer that the same situation is ongoing now.   The members of 3 PPCLI BG were well recognized at the time for their efforts.   Having said that, some 3 years later it seems that an admittedly small but significant piece of Canadian Army history is all but forgotten - at least in the infamously attention-deficit minds of the Canadian media.  

What irks me in a rather silly (and admittedly petty) way is the fact that the Canadian media quite apparently have no institutional checks and balances when it comes to recounting history.   The deeds of yesterday may as well have never happened.   The media are hauling out the EXACT same cliched phrases that they used to describe our operations 3 years ago - to the further detriment of those who saw combat with 2 PPCLI in Medak, and now to the apparent disregard of those who served during Op APOLLO.   Which leads an aging  soldier to query whether or not anything we do truly ever sinks into the quasi-permanent public conscience, let alone that of the so-called keepers of public situational awareness (eg.   the media).   Sadly, I think not.  

I'm not unduly upset about the historical oversights and/or falsehoods perpetuated by the Canadian media.   Such oversights are sadly a fact of life in a navel-gazing nation such as ours.   I am merely disappointed and resigned to the regretfull reality of Canadian public awareness - more specifically the dreadful lack thereof.     

I wish those who are headed back to Kandahar Godspeed and every success.   It was with no surprise that I saw a bunch of the same faces from 2002 ponying up yet again.   Now THAT is a story deserving of print.   The guys and girls who have been there/done that, and are willingly putting it all on the line AGAIN.   In keeping with the above however, we will probably never hear their stories....

My hat is off to them, and to those who are headed over for the first time.   Godspeed, and come home safe.

Mark C
« Last Edit: July 23, 2005, 23:58:21 by Mark C »

Offline mainerjohnthomas

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #34 on: July 24, 2005, 00:00:21 »
     Peacekeeping is a politcal myth that has never had a basis in fact.  Peacekeeping is the net effect of positioning a warfighting force of sufficiently overwhelming force in postition to deter would be agressors.  It is possible only when the perception of a political will to comit those forces to the systematic destruction of beligerants exists.  In the 1950's we kept the peace, those who violated the peace had their butts kicked up between their ears, and our declaration that peace was declared was accepted; it was accepted because those who would break the peace feared our military force.  By the seventies and eighties, we did not keep the peace, we refereed the wars.  The political will to fight to stop someone else's war was gone.  Peacekeeping was a sick joke.  We guarded the villages until our political masters ordered us out, at which point the massaccer we were there to stop happened, was duely doccumented, and our troops moved somewhere else.  All sides in our peacekeeping missions laughed at us, for our ROE kept us from making a difference, and our greater military potential was irrelevant, as men with machetes and the will to use them will always trump men with APC, artillery, and jet fighters who have to get Ottowa and the Peace Corps rejects at the UN in New York to authourize the use of force.  Our troops can make peace in Afghanistan, as they have the mandate from our politicians to prosecute the war on terror and take whatever steps are necessary to MAKE PEACE.  No peacekeeper will ever get that mandate, so no peacekeeping mission will ever bring about peace, and soldiers by nature detest half measures.  General Hiller calls it like it is, he is probably never going to end up a senator, like some Generals we know, because he actually remembers what we are here for, to seek out and kill the enemies of our nation.
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Offline bobthebui|der

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #35 on: July 24, 2005, 00:10:38 »
Mark C, the public cant remember something that they've never really known about...
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Offline Gunnerlove

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #36 on: July 24, 2005, 00:34:10 »
Cyprus seemed to work.
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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #37 on: July 24, 2005, 01:53:55 »
Well, maybe I'm over simplifying it, but to me Peacekeeping is little more than a task, albeit a complex task. The 'job' of an army (or Navy, or Air Force) is to wage war, and everything else is secondary. Peacekeeping is a task just as forest fire fighting, floods, humanitarian missions, etc are tasks. It just so happens that there is no other group out there that can DO this particular task, unlike fire fighting et al. I know people who feel that peacekeeping is 'enlightened soldiering'. I was baffled into silence when I heard that particular nugget of poop.

It's the media, and by extension the public, that get all wrapped around the axle with labelling operations. IMHO, the lads doing the job just worry about the job, and could give a rat's arse what it's called.

This fascination with 'Peacekeeping' has been a double-edged sword for Canada. On one hand it put a   :) on the CF, particularly in the last 10-15 years when our image was taking a beating. The cost of this 'kinder, gentler CF' image is that many Canadians actually believe we can exist strictly as a Peacekeeping force, which is of course ludicrous.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2005, 01:56:51 by Caesar »

Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #38 on: July 24, 2005, 11:07:43 »
This is my favourite subject upon which to rant, so I couldn't resist.

The public has the image of the happy "peacekeeper" precisely because that's the image that many in DND, the CF and the government wished to project.  DND still uses the term to describe soldiers, although there appears to be a concerted effort to move away from the "peacekeeper" legend.  An example:

http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/focus/decpr/teachers_friends_e.asp

Using the term allows the government (and by extension DND) to:

1.  Put a uniquely Canadian "spin" on the use of military force.

2.  Distance our military from those of our major Allies (the US and UK , in this case).

3.  Display, to a nation that doesn't know better, our "commitment" to the UN and multi-lateralism.

4.  Justify an unwillingness to embark in major capital procurement programs.

5.  Indicate that the military is a "progressive" institution and put a kinder, gentler face on our operations.

I am completely convinced that the term came into vogue as we civilianized the military in the 1970s.  "Peacekeeping" put operations into terms civilians liked, and we raised an entire generation of soldiers to believe that being a "peacekeeper" was the norm for CF deployments.  This has created huge disconnects between the CF and the public and, even, within the CF itself. 

I used to take great pains when providing operations briefings to the press that Bosnia was not a peacekeeping mission.  Many reporters were shocked to discover that we had the authority and obligation to use force to ensure the Dayton Accord was followed and that our job there was not to come between two combatants, but to direct that fighting cease.  NDHQ, of course, had deliberately avoided saying so.

We (the military) have done this to ourselves.  Embracing the term "peacekeeper" has mollified the Canadian public, but has hidden what we really do for about three decades.  It has cost us institutional credibility - to the point were there are people who do not believe we can/should undertake any combat roles; it has cost us within the world of capital procurement - to the point where specific weapons system are questioned because they are"too aggressive" (dig up Sheila Copps' old comments on the Eryx ATGM for an example); it has cost us institutional pride as peacekeeping as degenerated into a failed and morally bankrupt policy; and finally, it has created a myth with which soldiers at all rank levels, including the CDS, have to struggle every day.

Frankly, I loathe the word.  While I can understand the pride of those who truly were "peacekeepers", it has cost us far too much as an institution.
A man may fight for many things. His country, his friends, his principles, the glistening tear on the cheek of a golden child. But personally, I'd mud-wrestle my own mother for a ton of cash, an amusing clock and a sack of French porn.

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Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #39 on: July 24, 2005, 14:15:23 »
Haha trust me my section/platoon/company do not consider ourselves PeaceKeepers! i have banned the word in my section! haha

Offline Chimo

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #40 on: July 24, 2005, 15:04:09 »
"The members of 3 PPCLI BG were well recognized at the time for their efforts.  Having said that, some 3 years later it seems that an admittedly small but significant piece of Canadian Army history is all but forgotten - at least in the infamously attention-deficit minds of the Canadian media. " MarkC

I believe that the PAOs have a duty and an obligation to correct the media, during the many interviews conducted before during and post missions. I have yet to see any PAO correct any media on any issue. In there press releases and briefings they have a duty to remind Canadians what the CF role is and that as MarkC pointed out earlier has conduct many successful combat operations in the not to distant past.

IMHO, I think PAOs are many times a hindrance in getting this message out.  :salute:
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Offline see

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #41 on: July 24, 2005, 21:17:45 »
Is going to Afghanistan to hunt down the al-quadea not peacekeeping/making ??

People always seem to think that just because you use force and/or there are casualites that it is no longer a peacekeeping mission...
« Last Edit: July 24, 2005, 21:21:06 by SeanPaul_031 »

Offline Jaxson

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #42 on: July 24, 2005, 21:25:47 »
in my opinon, peace keeping means avoiding deaths as much as possible, not killing people  but peace Making does require you Kill whatever is in your way, to achieve your objective

Offline MCG

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #43 on: July 24, 2005, 21:34:43 »
Is going to Afghanistan to hunt down the al-quadea not peacekeeping/making ??
No.   It is not peacekeeping.   It is war and there is an enemy.   "Peacekeeping" would imply that the theater contained two or more opposing beligerents and we were there to prevent thier continued use of force.

Offline mainerjohnthomas

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #44 on: July 25, 2005, 00:16:10 »
in my opinon, peace keeping means avoiding deaths as much as possible, not killing people   but peace Making does require you Kill whatever is in your way, to achieve your objective
    In many cases, killing is the only way to save lives.  To keep the peace in fact is to use force on those who would break the peace, to apply the weapons and training to eliminate the abiltiy of beligerants to make war.  In Rwanda, the UN avoided killing anyone.  Thousands died because the UN was sent in without the force, or the mandate to kill to keep the peace.  If the UN would have had the force and will to kill hundreds, thousands more would be alive today.  Whose deaths do you wish to avoid?  Do you wish to save the unarmed innocents, or the armed combatants?  To keep the peace in truth, you must be willing to kill those who wish to break the peace.  The UN has lost the will to fight to save lives, its peackeepers are too often prevented from using their weapons to prevent hostilities, and attrocities.  Peace at all cost is a childs dream, and cynical politicians lie.  Peace at the cost of genocide, at the cost of opression, banditry, and barbarism is not worth having.  To be a soldier is to know that sometimes the problem is not that peace must be kept, but that war must be fought and won.  It has been said that justice flows from the sword, or gun in todays world, that is not always true.  It is true that those who cherish justice, have been able to see it restored only after the triumph of their guns.  How many lands live under laws today, because we didn't keep a peace, but fought for something better?
When cowards run from death, it is life they escape.

Offline Jaxson

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #45 on: July 25, 2005, 00:48:04 »
even though your right.... for making me doubt myself and my opinion i do not like you anymore     jokes man,     but yes you do have a point  :D

Offline E.R. Campbell

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #46 on: July 26, 2005, 18:49:34 »
I think this answers the original question, and that blithering idiot Carolyn Parrish, too.

From today's Ottawa Citizen:

http://www.canada.com/ottawa/ottawacitizen/news/story.html?id=2626f528-61b1-496d-a0f3-50782e2b5a3a
Quote
Casualties of war

Andrew Cohen
Citizen Special

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The first of hundreds of Canadian soldiers are leaving for Afghan-istan, where they will become part of a "provincial reconstruction team" in the southern city of Kandahar. Although they are well-led, well-trained and well-equipped, they are going to a dangerous neighbourhood. Some will be hurt. Some will be killed. Our military is ready for this.

Are we?

That Canadians are reluctant to have their troops go into harm's way is reflected in the response to the artlessly frank comments of General Rick Hillier, the chief of the defence staff. He calls the terrorists "detestable murderers and scumbags" and warns that there will be deaths on both sides.

"They want to break our society -- I believe that," he says. "And I believe that therefore we are going to be a target in their sights."

It is an unusual declaration for the top soldier in Canada, where we no longer think of soldiers as professional killers. Over the last generation, we have come to see them less as warriors than as peacekeepers, when it was a "safe" international vocation.

So, when Gen. Hillier talks the truth in clear, compelling English, the tender, weak-kneed souls who find this language offensive call him belligerent, trigger-happy, aggressive, and -- the unkindest cut of all -- American.

For example, Maude Barlow, the chairwoman of the Council of Canadians, hoped that "Canada would play a thoughtful, moderating position in this." Stephen Staples of the Polaris Institute said he found the comments "rather alarming," fearing that Canada is becoming a legion in George Bush's army. In newspapers, critics decried Gen. Hillier "as a street punk looking for a fight on a Saturday night," a tribune in the American "simplistic war on terror" and a "self-serving military opportunist."

All of this reflects an enduring skepticism about the military in Canada. For years, skittish governments have played down the dangers of peacekeeping (as in 1993, when Canadian blue berets were in an intense fire-fight in the Medak Pocket in Croatia. Their courage would go unrecognized until Gov. Gen. Adrienne Clarkson acknowledged them in a ceremony nine years later.)

This great delusion -- soldiers as boy scouts and do-gooders -- has taken root in the Canadian psyche. We have fallen in love with the idea of Canada as peacekeeper. It has become a cherished part of our iconography, celebrated on the $10 bill and in that imposing granite monument on Sussex Drive in Ottawa.

But peacekeeping was always just a part of our international military commitments. Although Canada supplied 10 per cent of troops to the United Nations, more than any other nation, our commitment to NATO in the Cold War was greater.

Yet, so important is peacekeeping to us -- in a 2002 survey, 73 per cent of Canadians said peacekeeping was one of those things that defined them as a people -- that many do not know that we have fought real wars. Or that 100,000 men and women died in Korea and the two world wars.

Now, it seems, we're just nice guys, congenitally incapable of pointing a gun or dropping a bomb. We are mediators and conciliators rather than gladiators or warriors. "No death, please," we say. "We're Canadian."

We have a military, yes, but we do not have a military culture. The military isn't part of the national consciousness as it is in Russia, Israel or Indonesia. That isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it has made us naive about this unpleasant world and our responsibilities to it. We have become so wary of our soldiers dying, accidentally or otherwise, that when they do, it fosters a ritualistic outpouring of grief from politicians, who issue condolences, lower flags and rush to funerals. However sincere, it makes our soldiers wonder about the determination of their society in the face of sustained casualties in the field.

This kind of ignorance allows us to believe that we have no enemies, that we'd never be a target of terrorists at home and that peacekeeping is really no different today from what it was in the 1960s, when there was actually peace to keep in Cyprus and the Sinai.

That's why Gen. Hillier said what he said; he's warning a complacent people about what lies ahead. His choice of words bothered some of his colleagues, and yes, he might have put things more delicately. But do not mistake the urgency of his message.

Canada is in Kandahar to do the work of nation-building, helping a shattered society rebuild itself. It is honourable work, shared by the Norwegians, the Japanese, the Germans and other high-minded democracies. But there will be a cost. Gen. Hillier understands this. Canadians should too.

Andrew Cohen is a professor of journalism and international affairs at Carleton University.

E-mail: andrew_cohen@carleton.ca

© The Ottawa Citizen 2005

The great delusion, highlighted above, is a major Canadian blind-spot, it ranks right up there with free healthcare and our deeply ingrained thoughtless anti-Americanism.  Canadians who believe this drivel, and a majority do, are ill educated and incapable of making mature decisions about their country and its place in the world - that's probably why we elect so many, many quite third rate people to parliament and why we are, broadly, afraid of any politician who challenges the fat, dumb and happy national status quo.

It is ill that men should kill one another in seditions, tumults and wars; but it is worse to bring nations to such misery, weakness and baseness
as to have neither strength nor courage to contend for anything; to have nothing left worth defending and to give the name of peace to desolation.
Algernon Sidney in Discourses Concerning Government, (1698)
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Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #47 on: July 26, 2005, 20:17:44 »
What the hell is the Polaris Int.? don't they make snowmoblies there? We as Canadians and i mean people not in or have family in the military live a very sheltered and : that can't happen to us" lives!

Offline KevinB

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #48 on: July 27, 2005, 01:49:02 »
Gee there are some pretty dumb Canadians out there...
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Offline beltfeedPaul (Banned)

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #49 on: July 27, 2005, 03:43:59 »
I think we have to bear in mind that the Canadian public, short of Sidane Arone and broken submarines, are quite content to go on with with life not caring a whit for the CF. It sucks, but we are not in the periscope of most(99%) Canadians. We get minor tips of the hat for ice storm rescues, or filling sand bags on the Red River, but lip service, from the public, and the federal government is a long sad tradition. The Pearsonian concept of peacekeeping(Cyprus, Iran Iraq 88, Golan Heights) was a cheap, no risk of loss method of inserting troops into areas that the opposing forces had already demarcated, giving Canadian politicians an opportunity to deploy forces they were loath to sustain, missions they could exploit for their own politcal ends, "punching above our weight", so to say. The illusion of putting on the line, without really doing so.
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