Posts Tagged ‘Colin Kenny’
- Here’s a bit more information and context behind at least one of the Challenger trips Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk in the media lately.
- Afghanistan (1) What the CF is doing about cleaning up the ground underneath what’s soon to be their former base in Kandahar. “Master Corporal Ken Stewart has an important job. The water, fuel and environment technician (WFE tech) is responsible for soil remediation at Kandahar Airfield (KAF) as part of the Mission Transition Task Force (MTTF) working to close down Canadian operations there by the end of the year. Soil contamination from the daily activities of thousands of Canadian soldiers and hundreds of commercial and tactical vehicles is a major concern. Consequently, mitigation of soil degradation is a priority task for the MTTF, a responsibility being undertaken by a team of WFE techs, field engineers and infantry soldiers ….”
- Afghanistan (2) The Army Run’s not JUST in Ottawa today. “More than 600 civilians and military personnel representing multiple allied nations are expected to run tomorrow in the heat, dust and altitude of Kandahar Air Field (KAF), Afghanistan in the KAF Canada Army Run ….” Good luck to all the participants.
- Afghanistan (3) A bit of one Canadian Forces Info-Machine worker’s story in Kabul. “…. It is a somewhat surreal experience to be standing here in Afghanistan. The hot barren mountains of the Hindu Kush which surround the city have been witness to a dramatic stream of human history. I am now part of that history. As I ride in a convoy through the streets of Kabul I am amazed at the differences, and the similarities between here and Canada. On a side street, for example, I see a young father holding the seat of a bicycle while his son learns to ride. The feeling that most consumes me is an overwhelming sense of responsibility. I have a responsibility to the Afghan people who smile and wave to me on the street. I have a responsibility to the mission, and I have an inherent responsibility to those Canadians who have preceded me here. It is their dedication and sacrifice that passes the torch to me. I do not accept it lightly ….”
- “The Royal Canadian Mint has donated $10,000 to the Military Families Fund, raised from sales of its 2010 25-cent poppy coin collector card. The Military Families Fund is a non-profit organization that assist military families who land on unforeseen needs resulted from conditions of service. When launching the 25-cent collector card last October, it was announced all profits would be donated ….”
- Way Up North Senator Colin Kenny on how Canada can show that the Arctic is important. “…. If Canadians want to maintain our sovereignty in the Arctic, we should start demonstrating that we give a damn about the Arctic. Imposing tough environmental regulations on drilling would signal that we are not only in control in our portion of the Arctic, but that we deserve to be.”
- Historian Jack Granatstein on what REALLY drives Canadian foreign and defence policy: “…. for the Harper government, the new reality is that Alberta attitudes drive defence policy, not Quebec opinions. Virtually every opinion poll over recent decades has shown attitudes in Alberta consistently more hawkish than quasi-pacifist opinion in French Canada. The Tories have little support in Quebec, and the last election confirmed that they don’t need Quebec M.P.s to create a parliamentary majority. The coming addition of some thirty more seats in the House of Commons for Ontario and the West will entrench this new reality. In the circumstances, the Conservatives have a free hand to build the defence and foreign policy that suits their view of the world. And they will ….”
- Remembering the Battle of Britain, 71 years later, with a renewed name. ” “For the first time in more than 40 years, we will celebrate the Battle of Britain with the restored name of the Royal Canadian Air Force,” said the Honorable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence …. The Battle of Britain, the first major campaign to be conducted entirely in the air, took place in the skies over south eastern Britain and the English Channel from July to October 1940. Vastly outnumbered by the German Luftwaffe, allied pilots and aircrews, including more than 100 Canadian pilots, held the enemy at bay and prevented Hitler’s planned invasion of Great Britain ….”
- So, what’s with the mysterious Russian helicopters Canada is reportedly buying, according to the Ottawa Citizen, for “combat missions in Afghanistan”? Could it be another version of offering support to the military fight in a civilianized way, like we’re apparently doing with civilian spy planes?
- Counterinsurgency as oncology – one Canadian general’s assessment of the fight in Afghanistan: “A Canadian two-star general brought in to provide an independent assessment of the state of the war in southern Afghanistan for NATO’s new commander here says the Taliban is being dealt with as if it is a malignancy. “It is a cancer and the cancer is being treated,” said Maj.-Gen. Dave Fraser, who commanded Canadian and coalition forces in Regional Command South during 2006. “Even if this cancer goes into remission — and that is a ways down the road here — you have to make sure it is not hiding somewhere and comes back. “Once you are in that permanent watch category, as someone who has had cancer, people look out for you to make sure it doesn’t come back. We must never assume that this cancer is gone.” “
- Meanwhile, “the tumour” lies speaks to southern tribal elders, who speak to the Canadian Press: “The district governor in Panjwaii says he’s been warned the Taliban intend to continue fighting throughout the winter months and not give NATO forces any rest. Haji Baran, the Noorzai tribal elder who has been the face of the Afghan government in the restive district for three years, says he received the news from contacts in Pakistan. His tribe has a deep, long-standing ties to the insurgency that normally chooses to fight between May and late October. Baran urged Canadian military commanders to be vigilant in the coming weeks. “The fall of Panjwaii is the fall of Kandahar,” he said Sunday, repeating a well-worn line of many in the rural part of the province. “So we have to be careful with that.” …”
- Remember all the video games the CF is buying? It appears they’re headed downrange to the troops in Afghanistan: “…. Defence officials confirm that 500 copies of games such as “Gears of War,” “Call of Duty,” “Mortal Kombat,” and “Assassins Creed” are destined for Canada’s forward operating bases in the war-ravaged country. An estimated 500 to 600 soldiers are stationed at Ma’sum Ghar and Sperwan Ghar, Canada’s main bases outside Kandahar, which works out to a video game for almost every gamer-in-uniform. “It helps in keeping good morale … to bring some relief to people working long hours,” Cmdr. Hubert Genest said in an interview ….”
- On the political front, NDP leader Jack Layton accuses the PM (and the Liberal leader a little bit) of “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire”: “The Conservative can’t be trusted to end the Afghan training mission in 2014, NDP Leader Jack Layton charged Sunday. “I remember when he said 2011 was the absolute limit, the end of the military mission, we are out of there,” Layton told CTV’s Question Period. “And now they are saying 2014. I don’t think anybody believes them.” In 2006, Prime Minister Stephen Harper asked Parliament to extend the military mission in Afghanistan until 2008. In 2008, he asked MPs to approve extending the mission until 2011. Layton warned at that time the government couldn’t be trusted to end the mission in 2011. Now, the NDP leader says 2014 is an arbitrary deadline that is unlikely to be met because of unpredictable conditions on the ground ….”
- CBC’s Brian Stewart reminds us that Canadian troops training Afghan security forces “inside the wire” doesn’t mean zero risk: “…. To almost every question so far, the prime minister and his team have repeated the mantra that this will be “a non-combat mission” only, suggesting maximum safety. But keep in mind that the Taliban will also have an important say in this …. Rockets and mortars regularly rain down on training camps and Taliban units have grown increasingly bold in striking at highly protected NATO camps and headquarters …. nowhere in Afghanistan can now be assumed to be beyond attack. Even the heavily guarded diplomatic corps of Kabul has been hit this year and is always braced for a possible suicide offensive ….” Also, let’s not forget instances where NATO trainers have been killed by their Afghan security force trainees (examples here, here and here).
- A senior Afghan officer, speaking to QMI/Sun Media’s Mercedes Stephenson, sums it up pretty succinctly when it comes to what will happen when we leave Afghanistan completely: ” “Please,” he implored, “go home and explain to your people what will happen if they leave us alone here with these terrorists. Everything we have worked for will be gone. They will kill us all. “We need Canada to stay.” “
- Blog Watch: Terry Glavin over at Chronicles & Dissent offers an interesting theory regarding why more Canadians are not supporting a Canadian mission in Afghanistan: “…. The best explanation I know about is revealed in an ambitious 20-country opinion poll conducted under the auspices of the University of Maryland’s World Public Opinion initiative, which shows global opinion similarly split, with the following insight: “Among those who believe that the Afghan people want NATO forces to leave, 76 percent say that NATO forces should leave. Among those who believe that the Afghan people want NATO forces to stay, 83 percent say NATO forces should stay.” I don’t have any polling data to prove it, but I would bet a dollar to a dime that most Canadians believe the lie that most Afghans want NATO forces to leave their country. The primary function of Canada’s so-called “anti-war” activists is to make you to believe that lie, and Canada’s punditocracy has encouraged you to believe it. I would also bet a dollar to a dime that if most Canadians knew the truth, which is that the overwhelming majority of Afghans have consistently supported and continue to support NATO’s efforts in their country, Canadian support for a robust Afghan mission would be overwhelmingly favorable …. And then we could move the Canadian debates out of the weeds, to questions that really matter ….”
- While Canada and others are saying aid shouldn’t be flowed through the hands of Afghanistan’s, um, “fiscally leaky” government, an Afghan human rights group says doing anything different will cut into the government’s legitimacy. “The chairperson of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission says that if the Hamid Karzai government doesn’t receive foreign aid from Canada and other countries, it will never achieve legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people. Dr. Sima Samar (said) “After all, (Karzai) is elected president …. We want him to complete his term, so we have to find ways to help him and to put him in the right direction.”….” Same same from an international development professor, via the Ottawa Citizen: “…. Because the donors plan, implement and control the budgets of the bulk of the programs, without delegating these responsibilities to Afghans, the latter lose the opportunity to learn the trade ….”
- Liberal Senator Colin Kenny, former chair of the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defence, continues to be underwhelmed about how wounded warriors and their families are treated: “…. The New Veterans Charter was a mistake. All parliamentarians are complicit because the charter was passed unanimously. But that doesn’t relieve the government of its obligation to fix the mistake. The Charter does deal more fairly with some people than did the old Pension Plan, such as war widows (or widowers) and their families and soldiers in the highest ranks. But when you look closely at who comes out ahead, that’s about it. Who’s worse off? Just about everybody else. The biggest losers are privates and corporals (those most often wounded on any battlefield), members of the reserves, wounded vets who manage to live to 65, wounded vets with families and wounded vets who don’t live near case workers ….” Meanwhile, here’s one man’s story after losing his legs on operations in Bosnia, via the Kingston Whig-Standard.
- Taliban Propaganda Watch: A quick response to what the NATO bosses decided in Lisbon (links to non-terrorist web site).
You’ve heard or read all the iterations of the predicted mission in Afghanistan post-2011 (check, chronologically, here, here, here and here if you feel like confusing yourself). We’ve now heard from Canada’s Defence Minister, and it doesn’t seem to help a whole lot.
CBC had a chance to chat with him briefly (less than 2 minutes) on the issue (video of exchange here), and here’s what the Minister said when asked about the gap between previous political statements of Canadian troops staying behind post-2011, and the CDS’s read that none (apart from a few at the embassy) will be there:
The military mission as enunciated in the parliamentary motion calls for an end to military operations, so that is clear.
I think I said many, many times we are living within the spirit of the parliamentary motion. We are respecting the democratic decision that was made by a majority of parliamentarians here.
I’m saying we’ll live within the spirit of the parliamentary motion.
Well, the TEXT of the motion reads, in part (highlights mine):
…. the government of Canada notify NATO that Canada will end its presence in Kandahar as of July 2011, and, as of that date, the redeployment of Canadian Forces troops out of Kandahar and their replacement by Afghan forces start as soon as possible, so that it will have been completed by December 2011 ….
Now, what do you think the “spirit” of the motion might be?
More tea leaves to be read, I suppose.
A bit more on the (lack of) evolution of the mission messaging here.
Meanwhile, a Canadian Senator opines we may be waiting:
(Colin) Kenny acknowledged that Canada may be delaying any post-2011 pronouncement until after the American strategy becomes clearer.
U.S. President Barack Obama is expected to decide imminently whether to send a troop surge to Afghanistan.
The reality is, Canada has no natural allies in Congress and must always rely on the administration to be positively disposed to it.
Thus, any request for help in Afghanistan from the Obama team would have to be carefully considered.
“Canadians don’t like to hear that too often, but it’s a reality.”
Finally, someone being clear.
You know I’ve been cranky in the past about Canada’s politicians not being out there communicating about the Afghanistan mission.
While I agree with Mark at The Torch about Senator Colin Kenny’s recent defeatism about the mission, I have to agree with this bit from the Senator:
“The Prime Minister should be leading this dialogue, but he is not. He issues the odd platitude, but is largely mute on what seems to be going so terribly wrong, and what he thinks we can do about it.
Similarly, if Michael Ignatieff – who has in the past voiced his strong belief in the role of the noble western warrior – believes that we should dig in and continue to try to play that role in Afghanistan, I would like to hear his arguments. Let the dialogue begin.”
We wait with bated breath…
They don’t get much more behind the Canadian Forces than Senator Colin Kenny. He’s now the latest (Liberal Party of Canada) voice calling for Canada to GTFO* Afghanistan – this, from the Ottawa Citizen:
“…. Our troops have performed magnificently under conditions much more odious than any of us would have predicted. They persevered as a tiny band against huge odds, and the lack of success of far greater numbers of U.S. troops demonstrates what an impossible mission they were faced with.
But we are not achieving anything close to our objectives in Afghanistan, and there is no sign that we will. Why would we continue to risk lives under the pretense that there is good news around the corner?
If Prime Minister Harper has good news, he should share it. Otherwise, he should do the right thing, and start moving toward a word that no soldier likes to hear, but that is sometimes the only intelligent thing to do. That word is retreat.”
* – GTFO: Get the f**k outta