Author Topic: The Canadian Peacekeeping Myth (Merged Topics)  (Read 228837 times)

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Offline Rider Pride

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #50 on: July 27, 2005, 04:19:53 »
What people don't understand is we don't want to be weak, nor do we want to be overly aggressive.

So if you think of it terms of a school ground:

being the bespeckled brainiac, while noble, will get you beat up,

Being the bully, will get you no friends, and eventually gets you beat up,

But what we need to be is the tough guy everyone knows will kick their butt if they piss him off, but is still friendly enough to have many friends...

Occasionally the tough guy needs to get into scraps to reinforce to everyone he is not to be messed with.
 :cdn:

This is how we as a Canadian Armed Forces and as a country need to be thought as.  Not the gentle giant nobody respects we have become
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Offline Hunter911

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #51 on: July 27, 2005, 09:27:41 »
Alot of people i know are talking about how if we send troops over there its only a matter of time before we get hit over here... I will sit there, and listen to what they have to say respectfully, not saying what i am thinking... And at the end of the conversation all i have to say is that its alot harder for them to plan their attacks when theres a large group of Canadian Commandos knocking on their door :D

Offline Teddy Ruxpin

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #52 on: July 27, 2005, 10:22:38 »
Well, I read this with some dismay this morning (emphasis added):

Quote
Peacekeepers leave Canada for Kandahar: Team will join U.S. forces facing Taliban resistance

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDMONTON - The main contingent of <Canadian> peacekeepers heading for Afghanistan left Edmonton yesterday for a region where U.S.-led attacks on Taliban warlords and al-Qaeda operatives are expected to intensify before September elections.

Canadian Defence Minister Bill Graham and Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Rick Hillier watched the 110 soldiers from the 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade take-off at the Edmonton International Airport.

The total contingency of 250 troops will help form the Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) travelling to Afghanistan's Kandahar province, where American-led troops have recently encountered a stepped-up Taliban resistance.

Across Afghanistan, coalition troops have killed hundreds of insurgents in recent weeks in an attempt to secure the country in the lead-up to the Sept. 18 parliamentary elections.

Mr. Graham says the role of Canadian troops in Afghanistan over the next six months will be to aid coalition forces and bring stability into the lives of Afghanis.

"They have to be combat-ready to do that, to provide stability," Mr. Graham said. "That's what Afghans want, that's what [Afghan] President Hamid Karzai wants, and that's what they need."

Upon arrival, the PRT will work with local police, the Afghan army, provincial politicians and bureaucrats to stabilize the nation's government and thwart a growing insurgency.

As recently as six months ago, Afghanistan was viewed as the prototypical result of President George W. Bush's nation-building policy.

But the progress Afghanistan had made on peace since holding democratic elections last October has deteriorated. Near-daily suicide bombings, ambushes and execution-style killings are threatening almost three years of progressive state-building as the deposed Taliban regime has intensified attacks against coalition troops in an attempt to regain their stronghold on the country.

Gen. Hillier expects Taliban and al-Qaeda terrorists to continue attacking coalition forces, which could include <Canadian> troops, with land mines, vehicle-born explosives and rifle fire.

"Kandahar and southern Afghanistan is a risky and dangerous region. [The Taliban] has been much more active in the past month than it has in the past year," Gen. Hillier said.

Recent casualty numbers support Gen. Hillier's claim. With yesterday's killing of at least 40 Taliban militants by U.S. soldiers in Uruzgan province, the death toll resulting from political violence in the country in 2005 is more than 800, compared with 850 in all of 2004.

Gen. Hillier sparked controversy earlier this month when he told reporters that Canadian troops will go to Afghanistan to fight "detestable murderers and scumbags" and their role in the upcoming deployment is "to be able to kill people."

Yesterday, Gen. Hillier softened his comments by telling reporters he simply meant that Canadian troops will have to be combat-ready.

"[Our troops] are still peacekeepers. They're making lives better but they're also realizing that in order to move to that level, they have to make the place secure, and they'll do what they have to do to do that," Mr. Graham said in support of Gen. Hillier.

The PRT also consists of soldiers from the Third Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and 1 Service Battalion.

The six-month mission will be bolstered by members of the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs Canada, the RCMP and other aid organizations and Canadian diplomats.

Although this was the CP story this morning, which reads a lot better:

Quote
Tough-talking military chief defends blunt remarks: Brushes off criticism after saying soldiers' job is to be able to kill

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EDMONTON - Canada's top military officials are brushing off criticism from Independent MP Carolyn Parrish over the blunt language of Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier.

The maverick MP, a former Liberal, has called Hillier "dangerous" and "testosterone-fuelled" for saying the job of Canadian soldiers is to be able to kill people.

Hillier was in Edmonton yesterday with Defence Minister Bill Graham to see off about 110 soldiers who are on their way to Afghanistan for a reconstruction mission. The plain-speaking general said he hadn't seen Parrish's comments but wasn't particularly concerned about them.

"I'm part of ensuring that Canadians understand and appreciate just what these fine men and women ... just what fine work they do on their behalf," Hillier told reporters at Edmonton International Airport. "I'm not offended at all. I have a job to do, and I'm concentrated on doing that job."

Parrish is rumoured to be negotiating to return to federal Liberal caucus after being banished for criticizing Martin and his team and stomped on a George W. Bush doll as part of a TV skit satirizing her opposition to the U.S. president's ballistic missile defence scheme.

Graham described her as "a person with strong opinions an strong views," but stopped short of censuring her over her latest remarks.

If Parrish could see the work the Canadian Forces are doing in Afghanistan, he said, she could appreciate that the mission is dangerous and potentially deadly.

"To bring stability to a place like Afghanistan, they're risking their lives and they have to take measures," Graham said. "They have to be combat-ready to do that.

"They're still bringing Canadian values in making lives better, but they're also realizing that in order for them to move to that level, they have to make the place secure first. That's what Gen. Hillier has been saying, and I have to say I back him up 100 per cent."

The soldiers who left yesterday are part of a 250-member provincial reconstruction team that also includes representatives from the Canadian International Development Agency, Foreign Affairs, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and various non-governmental organizations.

Most of the troops are from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, mainly members of Edmonton Garrison's 1 Combat Engineer Regiment, 3 Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry and 1 Service Battalion. Another 50 from other Canadian bases will provide specialized skills such as satellite communications.

In Kandahar, the southern Afghan region that was once a stronghold of the Taliban, the reconstruction team will assist in defence, diplomacy and development. Members have been prepared for direct combat with Taliban fighters as insurgents promise more - and more sophisticated - attacks on foreign troops.

I wonder what the terminology will be when TF 01-06 goes in in Feb...?
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.

Dulce bellum inexpertis.

Offline RangerBoy

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #53 on: July 27, 2005, 10:39:08 »
Rick Hillier vs. Carolyn Parrish ... hmmm ... I'm guessing that's a matchup the government will be quite happy with.
The chief is fighting a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.
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Offline Jaxson

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #54 on: July 28, 2005, 09:27:35 »
"Alot of people i know are talking about how if we send troops over there its only a matter of time before we get hit over here... I will sit there, and listen to what they have to say respectfully, not saying what i am thinking... And at the end of the conversation all i have to say is that its alot harder for them to plan their attacks when theres a large group of Canadian Commandos knocking on their door" -hunter911


as wrong as this will sound but it would almost be a good thing if a bomb went off in Canada from a terrorist, i believe the army would undoubtedly get an extremely enhanced Budget and the Canadian public would get a little slap in the face of a wake up call that would bring HUGE support to the Canadian forces (hopefully). although don't get me wrong i don't like to hear or see of innocent people dying.

Offline 48Highlander

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #55 on: July 28, 2005, 09:57:22 »
as wrong as this will sound but it would almost be a good thing if a bomb went off in Canada from a terrorist, i believe the army would undoubtedly get an extremely enhanced Budget and the Canadian public would get a little slap in the face of a wake up call that would bring HUGE support to the Canadian forces (hopefully). although don't get me wrong i don't like to hear or see of innocent people dying.

First of all, yes, it sounds horribly wrong, and you should probably think about re-phrasing it.

Secondly, I think the Canadian public would be more likely to stick it's collective head in the sand, and insist we pull out of Afghanistan.

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #56 on: July 28, 2005, 11:33:03 »
"Alot of people i know are talking about how if we send troops over there its only a matter of time before we get hit over here... I will sit there, and listen to what they have to say respectfully, not saying what i am thinking... And at the end of the conversation all i have to say is that its alot harder for them to plan their attacks when theres a large group of Canadian Commandos knocking on their door" -hunter911


as wrong as this will sound but it would almost be a good thing if a bomb went off in Canada from a terrorist, i believe the army would undoubtedly get an extremely enhanced Budget and the Canadian public would get a little slap in the face of a wake up call that would bring HUGE support to the Canadian forces (hopefully). although don't get me wrong i don't like to hear or see of innocent people dying.

How quickly your hope for something like that would change if your friends or family were those that were hurt or killed. Grow up!
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
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Offline Jaxson

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #57 on: July 28, 2005, 11:34:04 »
well i dont know how to rephrase it other wise id of never said it that way in the beggining so let me just say, im sorry to everyone it offends and in no way do i mean we should infact be bombed or anything such as that.. im just saying if people THOUGHT it was an actual threat to canada, the millitary would probably have more support... in my opinion.


dragoon, like i just re-said i dont mean we shoudl actually be bombed, perhaps i said the Very wrong thing, i meant, if people didnt think it could never happen to us...

Offline on guard for thee

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #58 on: July 28, 2005, 11:46:20 »
Jaxson...........I'll try another approach and see if I'm getting your drift........

In a fist fight, a guy generally get's much more motivated after getting popped in the nose that first time...........

I think your point was, the Canadian public would become much more engaged if they did get that pop in the nose.....

Was this what you were getting at?

Offline Jaxson

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #59 on: July 28, 2005, 11:51:04 »
yes, but i didnt mean that i WANT it to happen, by far that is the complete opposite of what i meant to say or want to happen.

Offline on guard for thee

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #60 on: July 28, 2005, 11:55:22 »
Understood, and in full agreement.

Offline Ex-Dragoon

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #61 on: July 28, 2005, 12:02:13 »
Any form of attack on Canada would not have the effect you would hope for guys. What would end up happeneing is the vocal peacenik types would say its because we are involved in Afghanistan or something other. People would get in an uproar and things for the CF would go from bad to worse.
I will leave your flesh on the mountains and fill the valleys with your carcasses. I will water the land with what flows from you, and the river beds shall be filled with your blood. When I snuff you out I will cover the heavens and all the stars will darken. Ezekiel 32:5-7
Tradition- Just because you've always done it that way doesn't mean it's not incredibly stupid
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Offline Mark C

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #62 on: July 28, 2005, 18:08:18 »
Jaxson,

Don't fret.  It may suprise you to know that there are many of us wearing the uniform who fully expect your "hypothetical situation" to come true sooner rather than later.  None of us want a terrorist strike on Canada - indeed, the opposite is true for anyone wearing the uniform or our nation.  We work every day and put our lives on the line in far-flung places precisely to prevent such an occurence.  But we are also realists and we therefore know (without question) that barring a fundamental change of world events, such an incident in Canada is all but inevitable. 

The problem is that even if ((name your diety here) forbid) such an event should occur, the Canadaian government and general populace would be so far behind the power-curve in terms of sorting ourselves out that our immediate response would be entirely inadequate and meaningless.  The thing about combatting terrorism is that you have to PRE-EMPT the terrorists - ideally through a combination of "good works" overseas and by killing those who presume to challenge our way of life.  That's it - that's all there is too it.  Unfortunately, those things are far easier said than done.

I'm with you - I think that Canada is primed for a big terrorist hit, and it is going to happen.  And then what?  A bunch of self-reflective hand-wringing combined with navel-gazing and self-serving "K'um Ba Ya" candlight vigils and a renewed pledge to be friends to the world?  Or will we finally "get it" as a mollycoddled citizenry and promptly sort ourselves out as a nation - recognizing an immediate threat to our well-being and that of our children?  Just as we have done in two world wars and several overseas combat actions during the earlier years of this century?

The fact is that Canada has grown too soft for its own good.  Our collective conscience has been overtaken by rampant and unwarranted political correctness, coupled with a misplaced utopian belief that we can "get by" without overtly offending anyone.  Unfortunately, that Canadian societal premise is fundamentally flawed, and has been from the outset.  We are already at war, and we chose our side/made our bed when we sent 3 PPCLI on combat operations against the Al Quaida and Taliban in Afghanistan 3 years ago.  There is no turning back, unless we collectively choose to turn belly-up and have our women don Burkhas.  Because that is the choice.  There is no middle ground to be negotiated with those who would purport to impose their radical religious beliefs upon us.  We fight, or we die.  Simple eh?  Sadly, most Canadians cannot yet comprehend the fundamental reality of the situation.  We are at WAR.  Full-stop.

Getting back to your point, we all know that you don't want a terrorist strike against Canada resulting in mass casualties in one of our urban centres.  None of us does.  Heck - I've been wearing the uniform for 25 years in an active personal attempt to prevent just that.  But the fact remains that if we don't get our collective societal crap together, that is precisely what is going to happen.  You know it, and I know it.  And I'm sorry to have to agree with you that such an event is likely the only thing that will awaken the navel-gazing, self-indulgent and falsely secure Canadian public from their collective slumber.  I sincerely rue the day, but I have zero doubt that it is coming.  And sooner rather than later.

All of the above to say that your concerns are fully warranted, and you are not off-base.  It is only a matter of time, and the "grown-ups" know it - even if they are not yet admitting it.

See you when the dust settles.

Cheers,




Offline MCG

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #63 on: July 28, 2005, 21:35:54 »
Quote
"We're sending in armed troops to kill people (in Afghanistan). This is a drastic change in direction,"
"I don't think anybody has consulted with the Canadian public."
Independent MP Carolyn Parrish

It is inexcusable that a Canadian MP could be so miss-informed as to believe that we are making a "drastic change in direction" and not recognize that we are just carrying on with the same job.  However, because we have used dishonest vernacular to soften our image, it is our fault a a military that some in the public will believe her. This goes back to my earlier observation of how shocked the average citizen is about the violence involved in "peacekeeping."  We should have dropped that term long ago.  "Enforcers" may have been better but, personally, I think we should have just stuck with "soldiers."

If the CF had always used the honest language of our current CDS, then the public would see Ms Parish's current act for its true stupidity.  Unfortunately, because we have sugar coated our work, some people will believe her.

Offline MCG

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #64 on: July 28, 2005, 23:40:56 »
Here is another example of the importance of pushing the correct language.  The following quotes of the same paragraph are taken from the article by Anne Dawson & appearing in newspapers today.  The first quote is from the Edmonton Journal and the second is from The Ottawa Citizen.

Quote
Parrish is furious that neither Canadians nor their politicians have been consulted about what she calls the "new" role Canadian soldiers are being asked to carry out in Afghanistan, which could include killing the enemy, a traditional role of soldiers.
The Edmonton Journal has used language that is honest about our roll.  Doesn't Ms. Parish come off a little goofy by being furious that Canadian soldiers are being asked to fill a traditional role of soldiers?

Quote
Ms. Parrish is furious that Canadians and their politicians have not been consulted about what she calls the new role Canadian soldiers are being asked to carry out in Afghanistan, a role that includes killing, which is not the traditional job of peacekeeping. She warns there will be outrage when Canadians in uniform return home "in body bags."
We know that it is incorrect to suggest that the use of lethal force is foreign to "peacekeepers."  However, to the uniformed civilian, Ms. Parish's ignorance based arguments may seem valid.

If we choose to use honest language & stick to that language, then eventually the news media will start to portray us in an accurate light.  In some papers, it is already happening.

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #65 on: July 29, 2005, 00:01:05 »
i like that " peace maker" thats really good.

Offline pbi

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #66 on: July 29, 2005, 08:03:55 »

It is inexcusable that a Canadian MP could be so miss-informed as to believe that we are making a "drastic change in direction" and not recognize that we are just carrying on with the same job.   However, because we have used dishonest vernacular to soften our image, it is our fault a a military that some in the public will believe her. This goes back to my earlier observation of how shocked the average citizen is about the violence involved in "peacekeeping."   We should have dropped that term long ago.   "Enforcers" may have been better but, personally, I think we should have just stuck with "soldiers."

If the CF had always used the honest language of our current CDS, then the public would see Ms Parish's current act for its true stupidity.   Unfortunately, because we have sugar coated our work, some people will believe her.

Hear, hear! Well said and right on the money. We (the big "corporate" we...) tried for too long to to garner favour by selling a false  but supposedly more palatable version of ourselves to an abysmally ignorant public. Like most poorly conceived image programs, it carried a risk. This is it, right here: when we go to do what soldiers are supposed to be able to do (or why have us at all?...) people like Carolyn Parrish begin to squawk. This reminds me of the (apocryphal?) tale of the Federal MP who, during the Somalia situation, allegedly rose in the House to state how shocked and indignant he was that Canadian peacekeepers were actually carrying weapons on a mission. Where was Carolyn Parrish during Op APOLLO, or any of the other missions that we've embarked on in the last decade or so? She must have freaked when she saw the Army taking Leos to Kosovo.

Cheers
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Offline silentbutdeadly

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #67 on: July 31, 2005, 21:47:07 »
OK! question Ms Parrish: If Canada is such a Peaceful nation , then tell why do our police officers carry guns then?The reason they do is for protection, and the fact that one day something or someone might take there life! or better yet Ms Parrish lets have them not go into the Bad areas within our cities just incase they get killed hows that. So if our Police forse loses and friend in the line of duty, that must mean we have to take all the offiers off the street! So end my rant! haha

Offline bobthebui|der

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #68 on: July 31, 2005, 22:19:41 »
Is anyone else totally lost for words nowadays, with this whole Parrish issue? I keep going to type something, only to find myself getting riled up and having to implement that backspace button for fear of my rant never coming to an end.

Politics in general, and specifically those concerning the Canadian Military is leaving a bitter taste in my mouth, that seems to just get worse and worse.

Bah, i need to go fishing!

 :salute:
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Offline 48Highlander

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #69 on: August 01, 2005, 06:55:02 »
or better yet Ms Parrish lets have them not go into the Bad areas within our cities just incase they get killed hows that. So if our Police forse loses and friend in the line of duty, that must mean we have to take all the offiers off the street! So end my rant! haha

You've got the right idea now.  In fact, as any leftie can tell you, the propper way to fight inner-city crime is to pull out the cops and send in aid-workers to distribute food and clothing.  In addition to, ofcourse, petitioning the G8 to donate billions of dollars, and organizing rock concerts in Barrie to raise awareness of the problem.

Offline Hatchet Man

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #70 on: August 01, 2005, 08:21:40 »
You've got the right idea now.   In fact, as any leftie can tell you, the propper way to fight inner-city crime is to pull out the cops and send in aid-workers to distribute food and clothing.   In addition to, ofcourse, petitioning the G8 to donate billions of dollars, and organizing rock concerts in Barrie to raise awareness of the problem.

hahaha that is funny.

But seriously we do we even give her the all this attention. She is just saying all this nonsense cause it gives her a chance to extend her 15 minutes.  Before the "Bastards" comment she was just some no name backbencher from the 905, who has been riding the fortunes of the liberals since the 90s to a big fat pension.  Now all we need to do is convince the CBC, The Star, Globe and Mail, and maybe the Post to stop giving her a platform.

Offline mainerjohnthomas

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #71 on: August 01, 2005, 12:52:55 »

hahaha that is funny.

But seriously we do we even give her the all this attention. She is just saying all this nonsense cause it gives her a chance to extend her 15 minutes.   Before the "Bastards" comment she was just some no name backbencher from the 905, who has been riding the fortunes of the liberals since the 90s to a big fat pension.   Now all we need to do is convince the CBC, The Star, Globe and Mail, and maybe the Post to stop giving her a platform.
      The problem with that is the Canadian press would report those sentiments, from her, or anyone else they could find, as they represent the opinion they want to express.  The CBC and the leftist journalists want to embrace social justice, rather than the justice system, and far prefer beating our swords into plowshares than extolling the virtues of our own "swordsmen".  Our right wing publishers with to pursue a continued downsizing of government, slashing away at expensive capital costs like the purchase of new first rate military equipment, and shy from anything that might call for increased federal spending that might require  increased taxes.  Our limited military industry likewise doesn't want a credible threat against, or offensive opperations for our military as that might require hardware not made in Quebec or Ontario.  It is in not in the interests of the press, their owners, their favourite sources, or the bought dogs of the "think tanks" to point out the facts of life to the Canadian public, too many people are doing too well off our happy defenceless ignorance.
When cowards run from death, it is life they escape.

Offline >>Paladin<<

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #72 on: August 05, 2005, 11:59:29 »
In the words of a thoroughly trained and wise PPCLI Capt. "I didn't know a peacekeeper who didn't train for war first." Cheers!  :cdn:
"I chose nothing...I was born and this is what I am."---Achilles---

Offline reccecrewman

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Re: Peacekeeping or Fighting? or Both?
« Reply #73 on: September 02, 2005, 20:12:08 »
Well, I for one have been hearing a whole lotta chatter in the past couple years about the "Three Block War" which basically encompasses the entire spectrum of the Army's capabilities.  Seems the big guys up at the top have their plans for us, we just have to sit back and be prepared for whatever role they come up with for us on any given mission.  Be trained and prepared for peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance or full fledged war fighting
Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference....... Soldiers don't have that problem.

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Offline muskrat89

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I thought peacekeeping was "our forte"??
« Reply #74 on: October 10, 2005, 09:23:20 »
Anyone in the know care to comment on this?

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20051009/military_report_051009/20051009?hub=Canada

Quote
Report critical of Canada's peacekeeping mission

Canadian Press

OTTAWA â ” A highly critical report on a mission in Africa has raised questions about Canada's long-standing reputation as an effective peacekeeper.

Ottawa had little justification for sending military observers and others to a UN mission in Sierra Leone, says a Canadian Forces study on the seven-year operation.

And Canadian soldiers and reservists were so poorly matched to tasks that the British officers in command often had to find them low-level work.

"The problem is seen to be a lack of depth of experience or `operational maturity,' particularly in the case of reservists," says a lessons-learned report, obtained under the Access to Information Act.

"Often personnel without the necessary operational experience have been unobtrusively moved to less demanding positions more fitted to their real skills."

Training to prepare Canada's observers for the mission was so inadequate that they were given instructions on how to avoid landmine -- even though there was no landmine threat in Sierra Leone, says the study.

The problems have remained hidden because operations were in a remote area and involved only about 100 Canadian personnel in total over the years.

"The fact that these were small-scale missions likely discouraged detailed and searching analysis," wrote Lt.- Col. A.F. Robertson, author of the March 2005 report.

The UN first stepped into Sierra Leone in the 1990s to promote peace after an insurrection by the so-called Revolutionary United Front, which ultimately failed.

Canada became involved in 1999 when it agreed to send a commander and military observers to support a UN force made up of soldiers from at least nine countries.

Ottawa also sent soldiers to help train the Sierra Leone army. The Defence Department dubbed the contributions Operation Reptile, which ended in July, and Operation Sculpture, the training mission that continues.

In a recent publication, the Canadian Forces hailed Operation Reptile as a success, saying it made a positive impression on officials in other contributing military forces.

Robertson's report, however, questions whether Canada should even have participated, based on a checklist established in 1994 to determine whether Canadian troops should become involved in such peacekeeping missions.

The initial mandate in Sierra Leone was vague and unenforceable; there was no clear division of responsibilities between military and civilian authorities; the operational plan was "unworkable"; and at least one of the parties -- the Revolutionary United Front -- was opposed to the mission.

These were all contrary to Ottawa's checklist standards.

"The humanitarian disaster in Sierra Leone led Canada's commitment to two tasks, even though neither fully met published policy guidelines," the report concluded.

"In neither case is there any evidence that a review of the prospects of success, a risk-benefit analysis, an assessment of the national interest in the area, or an analysis of adherence to the . . . guidelines, was undertaken."

A peacekeeping school at Canadian Forces Base Kingston, Ont., briefed soldiers poorly for what awaited them in the tiny coastal state in West Africa.

"The cultural briefings were inadequate, and did not effectively prepare them for the social and security environment in Sierra Leone," says the study, based partly on interviews with returning soldiers.

Canada's international reputation as an effective peacekeeper dates from the 1956 Suez Crisis, when then-foreign affairs minister Lester B. Pearson helped broker a resolution.

Many governments have since tried to establish clear rules about which peacekeeping missions Canada should join, said Martin Rudd, a defence analyst with the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.

But governments too often ignore the criteria in an effort to help, or to be seen to be helping, when a crisis breaks out.

"The desire to do something often gets the better of them," Rudd said from Toronto.

"The tendency to want to take on so many missions can have serious implications" for military resources.

In addition to the Sierra Leone mission, Rudd cited the example of East Timor, where Canadian soldiers were sent in the fall of 1999 for six months when Australian forces were capable of doing the job themselves.

Canada often joins too many missions abroad, partly because peacekeeping has become part of the country's mythology, says a political science professor at the University of Calgary.

"We've bought into our own press clippings," said Rob Huebert, who is also associate director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies.

"We're doing it because we believe it's the Canadian way and peacekeeping is seen as an end rather than a means _ and that just creates all sorts of difficulties for our forces."
The standard you walk past is the standard you accept.