News Highlights – 3 Sept 11

  • Libya Mission (1)  Welcome home, HMCS Charlottetown, from “Fighting The Gaddafi Regime” – good to see you and yours back safe and sound – more from the media here.
  • Libya Mission (2)  Canada must help Libya make sure its weapons of mass destruction don’t get into the wrong hands, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said Friday …. “There’s significant stockpiles of mustard gas and other chemical weapons that have been secure for a number of years, but we want to make sure they don’t fall into the wrong hands,” Baird said. “So there’s another area where we can help demilitarize a country so hopefully it’ll have a peaceful future.” ….”
  • Libya Mission (3)  An editorial isn’t happy with the PM’s speech to the troops in Sicily this week.  “…. it’s well worth thinking about what kind of role we want our nation to have in the world, and how we want to be seen by other nations. With our presence in Afghanistan and Libya — despite whatever good those missions may have achieved — we have still clearly moved from a country best known for supplying troops for peacekeeping missions to a nation willing to ride with countries that see interventionist military missions as the way to go in international affairs. In his own way, Harper referenced that change in his speech as well: “They used to claim that in international affairs, and you’ve heard the quote many times: ‘Canada punched above its weight.’ Well, to punch above your weight, you first have to be able to punch. And that is what you have done here.” It is more than a little unsettling, and Canadians should rightfully question whether this is the direction we wish to head ….”  Note to writer: without being able to engage in full combat operations (translation: being able to shoot and maybe kill if needed), peacekeepers can’t do their job fully. It’s sorta like a cop without a gun – some work is doable, but the ultimate sanction to get all sides to play nice is not there.
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (1)  Let’s not forget the Canadians killed in the 9/11 attack ten years ago.
  • 9/11 Plus Ten (2)  On Sept. 11, 2001, Angus Watt walked into the Canadian NORAD regional headquarters at CFB Winnipeg at about 7:30 a.m., just back from a two-week leave. A career air force man, he was a brigadier general who, on that day, was the operations officer for the entire air force. Within an hour, one of his staff told him to turn on the news. A plane had struck the World Trade Centre in New York. “Of course, the first thought was ‘What a tragic accident. ‘There just didn’t seem to be any other explanation at the time.” “Then the second one hit.” Within 30 minutes, the operations centre, normally manned by a skeletal crew, was fully staffed. The secure room features display screens that monitor air traffic and connect NORAD and governments. But even with the most sophisticated tracking systems, the military officers were forced to make life-or-death decisions on incomplete information ….”
  • The Leslie Report/CF Reorg  CDS further refines his position on the report. “Canada’s top soldier says a report calling for personnel reductions needs further study to ensure the recommendations won’t hurt the military’s ability to carry out operations. According to media reports, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie wrote a review calling for savings of $1 billion annually by reorganizing the Canadian Forces and chopping up to 11,000 personnel. Gen. Walt Natynczyk, the chief of defence staff, says while he believes it’s a strong report, he’ll need to consider the impact of reducing the number of full-time reservists or contractors hired to replace personnel sent to serve overseas. Natynczyk says he doesn’t want to implement cuts that will hurt the military’s ability to fulfil its commitments abroad. “I knew the ideas would be novel. I knew the ideas would be contentious and I accept the report,” he said. “From my point of view, it’s a very good report. It’s a question now of parsing through it. What can we do in the short-term? What needs more study? What I don’t want is to recommend a cut to the government that has a second-order effect that affects our operational capability.” ….”
  • Afghanistan (1)  A Canadian General appears to be one of several NATO types who tried to get Afghan military hospital corruption (patients having to bribe staff to food, meds) cleared up (PDF of article here if link doesn’t work).  “…. (Afghan army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Sher Mohammed) Karimi was invited to attend an Afghan shura, a traditional meeting, at the hospital with Canadian Brigadier Gen. David Neasmith, the assistant commander for army development at the NTM-A. NATO officials pressed Gen. Karimi to address the problem of staff absenteeism and missing medicine, a U.S. mentor who was present says. But Afghan hospital and army officials who attended the meeting steered the conversation away from such issues and asked for raises and promotions, the mentor says. As weeks passed without progress, the mentors say they assembled more evidence of neglect, including detailed medical charts and photos showing emaciated patients and bedsores a foot long and so deep that bones protruded from them. In an Oct. 4 document emailed by the mentors to Gen. Neasmith, they complained about the hospital’s intensive-care unit, among other issues: “The most dynamic and ill affected is the ICU, whereby favoritism, ambivalence, incompetence coupled with understaffing lead to the untimely deaths of patients daily, occasionally several times per day.” …. By mid-December (2010), Gen. Yaftali, the Afghan army’s surgeon-general, was moved out of his job without explanation—after the coalition’s commander at the time, Gen. David Petraeus, personally raised the problems at the hospital during a meeting with President Karzai, people familiar with the matter said. The hospital has seen major improvements since then ….”
  • Afghanistan (2a)  Combat tour’s still over (via the CF Info-Machine).
  • Afghanistan (2b)  Combat tour’s still over (via the CF Info-Machine).
  • Afghanistan (3)  Packing Team boss has links to northwestern Ontario.
  • Big military cleanup projects coming to Newfoundland.  The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, along with the Honourable Peter Penashue, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and President of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, today announced three new projects valued at $62 million for environmental remediation work at 5 Wing Goose Bay …. Since the Second World War, 5 Wing Goose Bay has had a continuous international military presence, which has brought significant socio-economic benefits and stability for the local communities. The three new projects include the removal of fuel and contaminants from the ground at the Survival Tank Farm, the Former Hydrant Area, and the Dome Mountain sites. Together, these three projects represent $62 million in contracts at 5 Wing Goose Bay, and create 335 jobs in the Happy Valley-Goose Bay community, and throughout Labrador ….”  More details in the Backgrounder document here, and in media coverage here.
  • Way Up North  OP Nanook 2011 wraps up.
  • Defence Minister making an announcement in Halifax Tuesday.
  • Helping Kids of the Fallen  More on the Canada Company offering scholarships to children of CF members killed on duty here and here.

DND Eyes Sleeping Pigs for Trauma Research

First, the longish version from MERX:

Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield (DRDC S) has developed a fully instrumented anaesthetized swine model that they have used extensively in both research and training efforts. Initial efforts using this animal model focused exclusively on issues involving chemical warfare (CW) agents.  However, due to recent and ongoing conflicts in the world, the focus in military medicine has shifted to non-traditional battlefield injuries, specifically, blast injuries such as haemorrhage, non-penetrating, shock and resuscitation and crush injuries. Plans are in place to install research into these conditions at Defence Research and Development Canada – Suffield (DRDC S), this will necessitate the expansion of the domestic swine model (DSM) out of the operating room suite and adjust it new and non-experienced field conditions. The objective of the requirement is for assistance with an anaesthesized swine model used for trauma research projects and training program. The period of contract is from date of award to October 31, 2012.

Easy peasy version:  According to the Statement of Work (SOW) here (PDF), since 1997, the DRDC labs in Suffield have done research on the effects of chemical warfare agents using anethesized pigs.  Now, it appears the labs want to start looking into more timely medical issues arising out of what we’re doing in Afghanistan.

NOTE TO DND COMMUNICATORS: It might be prudent to develop messaging about how important this research is to saving Canadian and other lives on the battlefield (or elsewhere, for that matter).  I mention this only because of how PETA and other animal rights groups in the U.S. have reacted to similar research and training there:

“U.S. Military Shooting and Burning Live Monkeys, Goats, and Pigs in Trauma Training”

Here are the arguments and alternatives PETA lays out:

The DoD is putting soldiers’ lives at risk by using animals in these experiments. The anatomies and physiologies of pigs, goats, and monkeys are drastically different than those of humans; therefore, these animals will respond differently to treatments than humans would.

There are numerous non-animal training methods available, including rotations in civilian trauma centers; the Combat Trauma Patient Simulation system (CTPS); the Simulab Corporation’s TraumaMan system; and Dr. Emad Aboud’s “living” cadaver model, which Dr. Aboud has personally demonstrated for the Army.

Don’t know about the other alternative systems, but if pig physiology is so different from human physiology, why is it, then, that humans get heart valves from pigs during heart valve replacement surgery?

23 Nov 09 Update: This, from the National Post:

As research animals standing in for real soldiers over the last decade, they have helped prepare Canadian troops for the potential nightmare of chemical warfare. Now domestic pigs are making the ultimate sacrifice in efforts to improve the treatment of soldiers hurt by more conventional weapons: homemade bomb blasts and other hazards typical of the Afghan battlefield.

A new program at a government lab in Alberta will use swine to study how best to treat massive bleeding from severed limbs; mysterious but lethal crush injuries that produce no obvious cause of death; and blast waves that might be triggering brain injuries without any projectile actually hitting the soldier’s head ….

AFG School Poisonings MUST Be Our Fault Too, Right?

Remember this one, where a Taliban official blamed the fate of Afghanistan’s female students on the West:

“…. if the international community had granted us ten percent of the assistance of what they are now giving to the stooge regime in Kabul, we would have opened all the schools and institutes for male and female education and even we would have brought the standards of education in parallel to the world standard of education ….”?

Well, it appears there’s more incidents for the Taliban to pin on us.

Continue reading “AFG School Poisonings MUST Be Our Fault Too, Right?”