Soldiers hello

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Slumberjack

Webgear wrote:
Slumberjack...I like BGen Thompson the most of the previous commanders. I think he is true concerned about his soldiers compared to other generals. He just has a different manner of showing his emotions.

While it's true that different individuals have varying delivery styles in front of a microphone, it's also true that in the carefully crafted messages to the public, some thought goes into how the message is presented.  Public Affairs are not that far removed from the delivery style.  My sense is that the image of heartbroken commanders delivering the bad news has been played out enough in recent years, and that maybe a fresh approach would impart a more determined front in the face of adversity, and especially so when the audience is comprised of an increasingly skeptical public at home.  To use a crude analogy, it's sort of like spraying a little frebreeze on a turd, and hoping no one will notice it in the middle of the floor.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Realigned wrote:
  

I'm surprised to read about the aliban eradicating the poppies. As far as I knew they were still big on cultivating them for opium, I wonder how accurate that fact is.

 

Prior to 9-11, the US government had a good working relationship with the Taliban - including significant payments in exchange for the Taliban pursuing a no-cultivation policy.

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Unionist wrote:
Why don't you take your war stories to [url=">http://army.ca/]Army.ca[/url][/b][/u], where you'll find a more sympathetic crowd?

 

Perhaps, unlike some, Realigned isn't afraid to have a real conversation with people who disagree with him.

remind remind's picture

Unionist wrote:
Incidentally, Realigned, I certainly don't "hate soldiers in Afghanistan". I have consistently reported their deaths over the years and expressed my sympathies for their families.
I know, and no one has said here, ever, that they hate soldiers, not in this conversation, nor  in any other that I have ever read here regarding Afghanistan. But apparently, if you do not believe in the "nobleness" of their actions, nor with the notion that there is "honour" in their being there, or even disagreeing with Canadian military personal being in Aghanistan as a combat mission, and are expressing non-complince in the false belief of "hero'", it is played to their minds, that anti-colonial occupation equals 'hate' the soldiers.  It is a propganada use of "othering" and it allows the playing of victim, in order to justify something that they need to have justified to themselves. Plus it is also  useful propaganda plank for other reasons.

What some millitary personel, that come here, and others that I have met before, fail to realize is that you can't be both hero and victim at the same time, it sets up a internal cognative dissonance, that plays out negatively in personal actions. As such, expressions of "hate" arise, because people are failing to play the game they so want them to play, which is that of honouring the "rescuing hero". If they do not have the mindset afforded by the conceptual framework of "hero" then they have to actually look at their actions, and what they are really doing to Afghans, Afghanistan and indeed their own families here in Canada. And to a lesser extent, all of Canadians.

The "hero" role allows them to escape the reality of what they are doing and what the implications and ramifications of what immoral colonial/occupationl war actions are. It is pure hedonistic escapism that allows them to avoid introspection of themselves and their actions and from realizing how they are being exploited. And for those who cannot swallow the "hero" bull shit propaganda, they escape their actions through drug and alcohol use.

Though of course there are those who just "like" war, for what war situations allow them to do, that they could not do in normal society without retribution and consequences.

Another role that "hero" propaganda factors into, is that in the class based society of the military, the infrantry, is considered to be the lowet rung. They are the pawns that get thrown out first. Or the "grunts" as they are called in the military ranks. So it suits military propaganda purposes, to play up the role of "brave hero". It keeps those "grunts"  coming forward and then paying the heaviest price, out of all the other ranks.

Quote:
But a soldier in Afghanistan who goes around justifying Canada's presence there is as repugnant as any other warmongering propagandist, perhaps more so.
I agree and that sentiment too, does not equal hate. It equals disrespect of actions.

Quote:
It is Stephen Harper and your commanding officers who "hate soldiers in Afghanistan". They place them in harm's way in an evil cause. And every time another young person is maimed or killed, they shed crocodile tears and pledge to redouble their evil efforts.

I do not know if they hate them so much as consider them to be dixie cup people, to use and expend, as beings who are worth less than themselves. It is definitley class contempt at work, both within the military ranks, and externally by the Harper 'pinkie and the brain' types.

Though nowadays, they restrain themselves from throwing so many lives away, in order to keep public, and indeed military personal, sentiment against such immoral missions relatively low. It is not like the warfare from the good old days when they could waste 100's and 1000's of lives, in just a few minutes.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Slumberjack

remind wrote:
I know, and no one has said here, ever, that they hate soldiers, not in this conversation, nor  in any other that I have ever read here regarding Afghanistan......

.......I do not know if they hate them so much as consider them to be dixie cup people, to use and expend, as beings who are worth less than themselves.

Occasional displays of utter contempt could mistakenly lead to that conclusion.

As to the second snippet, I've always felt that elitism on either side of the spectrum might lead to the same thing, a capacity to view other beings as less than themselves.

I thought you made valid observations throughout your post.

Stargazer

What a great post remind.

Unionist

Remind, just switched on this computer and read your post. It's a good way to start the day. Thank you so much.

martin dufresne

Has anyone read or observed first-hand how poppy crops are exported out of Afghanistan? I would think that in an occupied country with unidentified airplanes spotted and shot at, that route has to operate with at least the approval if not outright participation of the occupying forces. I have heard that U.S. military planes were involved in that transport, but can't offer a reference.

 

Realigned

You're right Malcolm I have no problems with people disagreeing with me at all. I'm a big fan of the classic "naysayers" when I'm incharge of anyone.  People who question my beliefs and make me think of an answer help me

 

Malcolm wrote:

Prior to 9-11, the US government had a good working relationship with
the Taliban - including significant payments in exchange for the
Taliban pursuing a no-cultivation policy.

In your opinion what changed the working relationship the US had with the Taliban?

 

George Victor

"Prior to 9-11, the US government had a good working relationship with the Taliban - including significant payments in exchange for the Taliban pursuing a no-cultivation policy. "

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

And prior to that they supplied the Mujahedeen with ground to air missiles that killed Russian soldiers who had had a field day killing Afghans from helicopters.

And Graeme Smith tells us, this morning, that Highway No. 1 to the west out of Kandahar city, where Canadians are dying, is coming to be controlled by the Taliban, and "Elders say the most alarming sign of the insurgents' strength in Senjaray, only 10 kilometres outside the city, was a peaceful display of audacity. Well-known figures in the Taliban movement attended public prayers at Senjaray's mosque during the Eid alo-Fitr holiday two months ago, and repeated the performance during Eid al-Adha last week."

 

Webgear

Almost all of the crops are taken out by ground transport, either by animal or vehicle, the major transport routes are south into Pakistan or north into Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

There are some routes into Iran and China.

You can find a lot of decent information at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) website.

http://www.unodc.org/afg/index.html

http://www.unodc.org/pdf/afg/publications/afghanistan_drug_industry.pdf

 

Realigned

If I was the Taliban I would feel safe at public prayers during Eid too.

What kind of properganda victory would it be for the Taliban if the NATO targeted them with an airstrike or cruise missle or something? Obviously (being surrounded by locals) people would die.

Even a specops team swooping in to 'nab em' would be seen as retardedly disrespectful to the locals and probably cause a riot.

That prayer groups are probably thee safest place for Taliban during Eid.

Taliban on the other hand are not so concerned with that kinda stuff. After those last 3 Canadian soldiers died a couple of days ago the Taliban realized the next day we would "most probably" hold a ramp ceremoney and send the soldiers home. Ramp ceremonies mean lots of people out in the open. Istead of the random harassingrocket or two the Taliban launched probably over half a dozen hoping to get a lucky shot in.

Clever of them in anycase.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Realigned wrote:

You're right Malcolm I have no problems with people disagreeing with me at all. I'm a big fan of the classic "naysayers" when I'm incharge of anyone.  People who question my beliefs and make me think of an answer help me

Which sums up exactly why I am enjoying these posts so much. IMO the tone of some of the responses are of an attacking nature and was thinking of commenting on it however I see that Realigned needs no help in deflecting them. I don't agree with everything that is being said here but it is helping me think of why and that is helping me and entertaining me at the same time! So I pay homage.

George Victor

That prayer groups are probably thee safest place for Taliban during Eid.

Taliban on the other hand are not so concerned with that kinda stuff. After those last 3 Canadian soldiers died a couple of days ago the Taliban realized the next day we would "most probably" hold a ramp ceremoney and send the soldiers home. Ramp ceremonies mean lots of people out in the open. Istead of the random harassingrocket or two the Taliban launched probably over half a dozen hoping to get a lucky shot in.

Clever of them in anycase.

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

Clearly different rules of engagement.

But do you disagree with Graeme's point? He has for some time been presenting evidence about an emboldened Taliban building up strength.(And I guess you are yourself not yet plugged into his work?)

 

Jingles

Quote:
I like BGen Thompson the most of the previous commanders. I think he is true concerned about his soldiers compared to other generals. He just has a different manner of showing his emotions

C'mon, Webby. General officers care for their soldiers the same way a rancher cares for cows.

Quote:
This guy does it with a smile, inserting a little barrack room description of each casualty, complete with nicknames like Dip, Jonesy, and Hammy.

That's a good example of what I mean. No General would address his fodder as "Hammy". In fact, they do their best not to address the lower orders at all. That's what the chain of command is for. So, for that wad to stand there and "mourn" the soldiers killed just drips with contempt and reeks of insincerity.

BTW, the "ramp ceremony" is one of the cleverest perception warfare exercises invented. Whomever came up with it should be given a medal. Come to think of it, he probably was. 

Realigned

Hey George.

I am reading his stuff (thanks to you).

Is the Taliban building up strength? I'm not so sure. I know their leadership is suffering big time. Their leadership is getting hit hard and the guys replacing them are making a lot of amateur mistakes. I haven't heard anything of a build up in strength though.

martin dufresne

Realigned, is your participation here part of your duties? I don't mean whether you are happy or proud to defend what Canadians do in Afghanistan, but whether you are in any way mandated to write here, in some public affairs role for instance. What is your Military Occupation?

Slumberjack

martin dufresne wrote:
Realigned, is your participation here part of your duties? I don't mean whether you are happy or proud to defend what Canadians do in Afghanistan, but whether you are in any way mandated to write here, in some public affairs role for instance. What is your Military Occupation?

I believe that would imply a specific intent, such as trolling, or covertly mining the threads for public opinion research.  I also believe it is of no concern whatsoever as to what an individual's occupation is.  Military Public affairs are not good at asking questions, they are trained to provide scripted answers for our consumption.

martin dufresne

Why not let him simply answer the question, Slumberjack?

Webgear

martin dufresne wrote:
What is your Military Occupation?

Try looking at the opening post.  

oldgoat

Yeah, I think if he was a PR guy he'd sound more like a bot.

Personally, I had the pleasure of spending a most pleasant afternoon in Calgary once sitting in a backyard with a Colonel, drinking beer and staring at a BBQ as it slow cooked a roast.

 

I found him to be pleasant company, and a thoughtful person, trying to do the right thing in life, and not entirely without a leaven of self doubt. He was also pretty candid about what knobs the gov't could be.  I also got to meet him again after he retired. I can see some soldiers, once they can bridge the admittedly broad cultural gap, doing well here.

 

remind remind's picture

Slumberjack wrote:
Occasional displays of utter contempt could mistakenly lead to that conclusion.
Then that would be the mistake of the receiver to equate their personal being with that of  their conditioned actions. And it would also seem that the receiver, is perhaps perceiving it thusly, as that is what they themselves perceive about others and indeed are perhaps ascribing that internal belief of theirs to those who disagree with their actions.  A state of being which you bascially say below.

Quote:
As to the second snippet, I've always felt that elitism on either side of the spectrum might lead to the same thing, a capacity to view other beings as less than themselves.
In my world, there is no lesser or greater peoples, just differing ones. And one can feel contempt for actions, but one can still care about them deeply.

The ideology of only be able to see things in an either or framework, without a sliding scale of reality, is a falsely generated, or fostered, perception, IMV. It affords propagandists lines of division and control of segments the population, as people in their sphere of influence, are then reacting emotionally, as opposed to critical thinking. As critical thinking is deadened by the insertion of propaganda stress and entrenched systems of societal control.

We can see this playing out across Canada, in respect to the framing of non-confidence in parliament as being anti-democratic. Such propaganda plays on the lack of understanding of the populace and inserts negative emotions or conditions that people react to, instead of looking for truth and information. People believe their generated emotions against "others" are real feelings from within, when in fact they are being told that is what they should feel emotion wise, so they do.

This has played out throughout history and it is why the most heinious dictators on their way to a dictatorship get rid of the "thinking" segments of the population first. The thinker is dangerous to their end goal. Now, I am not saying that the non-thinkers are less than the thinkers, I am saying that there are many reasons why people do not think critically, until there is no other option available to them, in some cases.

In this instance, I am reminded of a girl friend I had long ago, who would get annoyed with her 3 year old son, because he asked why about everything. She would actually berate him when he asked why. Thus he became a non-critical thinker, and a follower, as critical thinking and questioning of why brought out unpleasant historical feeling of hurt and perhaps even feelings of being  unworthy, or stupid, because he did not somehow know the why, or how to, of things automatically.

Being not allowed to ask "why", in all of its dynamics, such as blind belief, is a facet of patriarchy, race and class control. The foundation of the manufacturing of non-critical thinking is being conditioned to believe/perceive through historically entrenched systems of conceptual authortarian frames. We are told from birth that there is always someone who "knows" more than we do. Once this conceptual frame is established, then it is a short step to relying upon those "others" that know more than we do, as we have been told, to tell us what to think, not think, be, and do.

It is very difficult to step out of this merry-go- round of conditioned inadequacy, in respect to self, and self-perceptions of "others". To do so often, if not always, means one gets slapped back into line. However, in order for social change to happen, people need to be jolted out of the entrenched conceptual frame that they hold. And sometimes the jolting required is not so pleasant, but required nonetheless. (not setting myself apart from this needed dynamic at all)

 

Quote:
I thought you made valid observations throughout your post.


Thanks!

 

And thanks too, unionist and Stargazer. I was at the Legion Christmas party last evening before I wrote that, and had watched the class, rank and worth dynamics play out before me, while I participated within it, too. One thing good about small towns, is if one is a social scientist, one can see all the dynamics of society in micro.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

Realigned wrote:

In your opinion what changed the working relationship the US had with the Taliban?

 

The fact that the author of the 9-11 attack was living comfortably in Afghanistan as a guest of the Taliban government.

 

(Which, before Unionist launches off on one of his diatribe of distortions, I do not offer as a justification for the invasion, but as an explanation why a functioning relationship ref: payments for no poppies was ended.)

Papal Bull

Thank you for coming here Realigned. I'm not going to lie and say I am a fan of the military institution, but I have a healthy fear of its coercive nature and have many friends who are currently training (we're all in our early 20s, so none have seen duty in Afghanistan...yet). I have to say that I respect your coming here to discuss with us a side of the story that we don't get to hear. You're speaking openly and honestly about your experiences as a soldier, without an anti- or pro-war spin, without layers of media meddling, nor an ideological line with which to bludgeon people. That said, I must confess that I was originally rather supportive of the Afghan mission. I'd been misled to believe that we were there for people, rather than a geostrategic position in the heart of C. Asia and the ideological drive of elites in Washington, Ottawa, London, and countless other capitals seeking to show themselves that their theories are correct.

However, I'd like to take this away from our current war and ask you a few questions about what you think regarding Canada's current procurement agenda. I'd be hardpressed to find anyone against replacing the Sea King helicopters (as they are a distinct danger to our coastal workers and other service people), excluding the awfully large amount of political wrangling that goes along with new systems acquisitions. Right now we're sitting on, I think, about 100 Leopard 2s that we got from the Netherlands. What do you think of the models that we received, do you think that they are offering our troops a functional advantage in our current engagements, or do you think that acquiring lighter, more mobile, and less threatening vehicles would be a good idea? Their positioning in Afghanistan, a mountainous country where massive steel husks moving about the landscape isn't particularly praticle, is necessity - I think. Given the need for new Canadian tanks and, at the time, the lack of heavy armour to protect our troops, are they fulfilling such a role? Also, as a service person what are your thoughts on the new ships that are coming for our Maritime services - the JSS project?

Realigned

martin dufresne wrote:
Realigned, is your participation here part of your duties? I don't mean whether you are happy or proud to defend what Canadians do in Afghanistan, but whether you are in any way mandated to write here, in some public affairs role for instance. What is your Military Occupation?

Hi Martin,

Like Webgear said, you could find all that information on my first post on this thread.

My duties don't require me to come here no. I'm in the infantry, my role overseas is acting as an armored vehicle crew member. Driving it, working the main gun system, commanding it and/or dismounting on foot and either patroling doing security or peaking my head in culverts and holes in the ground to look for IEDs.I'm gonna loose what little hair I have left.

I think if the military wanted to send someone to do psyops work they would snd someone with better grammar and more articulate. Then again you guys would see through that so on second though they might be clever and send someone who comes across as a grunt :)

(Just kidding, I'm here on my own)

Refuge wrote:

Which sums up exactly why I am enjoying these posts so much. IMO the
tone of some of the responses are of an attacking nature and was
thinking of commenting on it however I see that Realigned needs no help
in deflecting them. I don't agree with everything that is being said
here but it is helping me think of why and that is helping me and
entertaining me at the same time! So I pay homage.

Thanks dude. Like I said if the average babble poster went to a military themed forum they would unfortinuately get the same treatment. Some would pause to hear they they are saying, some would ignore them and others would try and drive them off.  Sooner or later people will put their swords away. Oddly enough the martial arts I study trains with the ultimate goal being to defend yourself against an attack without hurting them in return-since we're all humans and all related and hurting someone else is just hurting yourself <insert big hug here>. I know some people might see that as another attempt to pull sympathy strings so don't read too much into it =p

 

 Papal Bull, thanks.

I'll try and answer your questions without going too far out of my lanes.

"What do you think of the models that we received, do you think that
they are offering our troops a functional advantage in our current
engagements"

I think their awesome. The troops who use them on a regular basis think they are awesome.  The models we have are rated among the best in the world, often winning diferent 'tank competitions'.

When employed for the role they are intended yes they provide a big advantage. I also think they act as a very big deterrant against attacks.  I know I feel safer around them. Other countries here are very jealous and envious of our tanks.

On the other hand it's common knowledge that tanks provide a very big disavantage when looking at things from the 'hearts and minds' perspective. Their loud, intrusive and inimidating

Afghanistan is known for it's mountians but the Canadian area of Operations isn't high up in the mountians like you see more toards Kabul or up north.  In Khandahar province there is a lot of flat open space. Also some thick heavily wooded areas and closed country, but a lot of terrain here I think favors tanks.

Lighter and more mobile vehicles  would depend on what you intend to use them for. Protecting convoys, survalance, transporting people? Not really that much of a vehicle guy. I wouldn't mind seeing something heavier than a LAV3, maybe inbetween a LAV3 and a tank. The thing though with heavier armor to protect soldiers, you can only put so much armor on something until it starts to become a disadvantage due to lack of speed and mobility making it a sitting target basically. Someone could just make bigger bombs. Some IEDs have flipped tanks on their sides over in Iraq..

You probably know more about  the JSS project than I do. I'm not sure what kinda ships their talking about or what role theywould play. I DO think it's important for Canada to have transport ships of our own which allows us to deploy our military both for combat missions, peacekeeping missions and especially (in a hurry) humanitarian missions. We should have to depend on other countries. 

 

Wilf Day

Loretta wrote:
Looks like you've got your work cut out for you, Realigned. 

When we get mad at a media outlet like CTV -- which I can barely watch -- we have to remember not to get mad at working journalists there, who may be just as annoyed at some editorial edicts as we are. (Remember the definition of an editor: someone who thinks it tastes better after he's peed in it. Is there a similar definition of a general?)

There might, similarly, be a few babblers who assume that a working soldier shares the outlook of the brass. That's human nature, but not a good political work style.

martin dufresne

"There might, similarly, be a few babblers who assume that a working soldier shares the outlook of the brass."

If a notable difference surfaces, just wake me up. So far, "Realigned" reads exactly like the self-congratulatory prose put out in publications like The Maple Leaf (with ", Dude" added...)

So I, for one, will refrain from paying hommage - and will probably be awarded a curt, congenial putdown from our guest.

Realigned

Martin you read The Maple Leaf? Horrible man. Their amost as bad as that american freedom watch or the soldier of fortuine magazines everywhere. Properganda at it's 'best'.  No reason to put you down. I've been called a murderer on here, calling me self-congratulatory isn't that bad, dude ;)

George Victor

"So I, for one, will refrain from paying hommage - and will probably be awarded a curt, congenial putdown from our guest. "

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

If you can tear yourself away from all those of us who are paying homage, by all means, MD.

And as the man says, no reason to put you down. 

 

Marched around a bit as a cadet at Ipperwash, the year the Korean War wound down. Good enough refleman to go to DCRA shoot at the Connaught Ranges looking over the Ottawa. Got smashed for the first time on a couple of quarts of Moulsons from Quebec.

Then learned how to really drink beer with some Second War vets who were NCOs for a RCEME reserve unit in Peterborough. Saw action in every pub from Kingston to CFB Borden. Survived.

We are going to need a better navy for our three coasts. Aircraft for surveillance and rescue wiould be good. But I believe we are going to have to stop playing empire lite just to keep the oil flowing west.

Read Rory Stewart, about his life with the marsh people of Iraq, Realigned. Read him on Afghanistan, and why he's not up to shooting any more. Heck, try to find a copy of John Masters' Bugles and a Tiger (a 1950 memoir about fighting on the North-West Frontier of India (now in Pakistan).

"The task of disarming the tribes might have cost about 20,000 lives and taken 10 years of all-out campaigning" by colonial forces in the 1930s.

Nothing cold be done without the timeless compromise of paying government"allowances" and keeping them within a tribal territory where "the old bloodthirsty ways" constituted "for them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That had been the way of it since before the arrival there of Alexander the Great. 

Your general has just been quoted as saying things are going to get worse next year.  Which suggests, to me, that Graeme Smith is getting the true stuff from his contacts with the villagers, and UN forces are just not listening. Or they are perhaps not letting on?

remind remind's picture

I would say your final sentence is correct George, given the amount of spin happening here lately.

___________________________________________________________

"watching the tide roll away"

Unionist

Wilf Day wrote:

When we get mad at a media outlet like CTV -- which I can barely watch -- we have to remember not to get mad at working journalists there, who may be just as annoyed at some editorial edicts as we are.

What if the working journalist, on her day off, gets on babble, and defends exactly the same line as her editors?

Are we entitled to draw conclusions?

Same question for a working soldier.

Jingles

Quote:
 When we get mad at a media outlet like CTV -- which I can barely watch -- we have to remember not to get mad at working journalists there, who may be just as annoyed at some editorial edicts as we are.
 

 

Those journalists choose to do that. They can be embedded and file "double-double" stories, or they can venture out. That they don't do so speaks to a lack of moral courage that they'd rather repeat DND talking points and keep their job, or abide by journalistic standards and lose it.

Same with soldiers. They can refuse. They don't because they lack the moral courage. They'd rather the Afghan people pay the price for their cowardice. Usually, a soldier will complain about everything, but all I've seen are soldiers eager and willing to kill Afghans for whatever reason the government tells them to. Their willingness is complicity, and their complicity ensures this occupation continues. 

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
I've done interviews or seen interviews and when it came out on the
other end had to blink and take a double take to see if it was the
right story, it looked completely alien.
Got an example?

Realigned

Jingles wrote:

Those journalists choose to do that. They can be embedded and file "double-double" stories, or they can venture out. That they don't do so speaks to a lack of moral courage that they'd rather repeat DND talking points and keep their job, or abide by journalistic standards and lose it.

"choose" is a matter of opinion.  If a reporter choose to, technically, they could smuggle themselves into an outgoing local cargo truck and go film their uncensored uncut story of Afghanistan. 

These guys have bosses to answer too though, sometimes the bosses are goods, other times (like all of us deal with) their bosses have their heads up their ass.  I really like the comment about how editors think the coffee tastes better after they piss in it, thats perfect.

Some journalists (or perhaps editors)are yes men just saying anything DND wants them to say, others try to tell it how it is (and again are subjected to hardcore editing)

I've done interviews or seen interviews and when it came out on the other end had to blink and take a double take to see if it was the right story, it looked completely alien.  Some guys are just dicks and treat you like monkeys and have their own agenda. I remember being asked to "write letters home" to be published in a paper. My boss at the time felt that he needed to edit them (not just for grammar but to make it sound more up beat and include properganda in the form of our mission statement-"we are enjoying bringing the good people of afghanistan a sae and secure working environment" bla bla bla bullshit. I said screw that and told them I wasn'tdoing their little project. I've butt heads with journalists a few times but I can't help but feel bad for them having to work within what must be sometimes suffocatingly narrow lanes set by their bosses.

 

George, things don't change. Alcohol is still just as prevailant in the military.  Still a big device used for conditioning IMO. I've been in the same boat, hitting every mess, legion & bar.  From basic training on.

You say 3 coasts, not many people take into consideration the arctic. I don't know anything about the Navy save that many of the people I do know complain because thy don't get to sail as much as they would like. Sailors join the navy to sail, pilots to fly etc.. I take it our navy is under par?

The more and more I work with the locals the more I start to see how complex things are. It's not a matter of taking some jobless kids (teenagers and young adults I mean) and ptting them through bootcamp and makeing an army starcraft style. We're dealing with a completely different culture.  Imagine people you're "training" stopping during the middle of a firefight to have lunch.

Quote:
within a tribal territory where "the old bloodthirsty ways" constituted
"for them life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." That had been
the way of it since before the arrival there of Alexander the Great.

So true. Some friends and I had a debate about this today centering around what "occupying forces" did back in the roman era compared to today. What methods they used to deal with the locals compared to today. If us throwing money around helps the situation orjust makes it worse (ie Africa and the UN where EVERYONE working with the UN expects hand out-been cases where locals or even members of other UN countries would become visibly angered when Canadians wouldn't 'give' them laptops or computers etc..)

Quote:
Your general has just been quoted as saying things are going to get
worse next year.  Which suggests, to me, that Graeme Smith is getting
the true stuff from his contacts with the villagers, and UN forces are
just not listening. Or they are perhaps not letting on?

I've heard this from him too. I wonder what it's based on. It seems like activty is down.  Graeme Smith seems to have a good inside view of what's going on, he seems checked out.  Do you mean UN forces or NATO though? I ask because I have seen UN guys here too but not in an intervention role.

I think the US is sending an additional 20 thousand soldiers? I know their making a huge base out near Helmand. I wonder if he is suggesting the 20'000 additional soldiers will cause more problems here?

 

Incidently could someone exlain how PMs work on this fourm?  I son't see where I can click to send someone a private message.

Slumberjack

Jingles wrote:
Same with soldiers. They can refuse. They don't because they lack the moral courage. They'd rather the Afghan people pay the price for their cowardice. Usually, a soldier will complain about everything, but all I've seen are soldiers eager and willing to kill Afghans for whatever reason the government tells them to. Their willingness is complicity, and their complicity ensures this occupation continues. 

I don’t know what motivates journalists.  As for soldiers, it may very well be the case that many have not been exposed to the sort of uncluttered moral clarity that you seem to have arrived at, and as such, they may actually believe in what they are doing instead of cowardly participating in a known falsehood.  In the context of Afghanistan, from what I’ve seen, those that do manage to discover the existence of a previously unrecognized moral plateau, where the more righteous people reside, usually end up leaving the military.

Refuge Refuge's picture

Realigned wrote:

Thanks dude.

Dudette, actually. I would bat my eyes right now but it doesn't go well with my combat boots....um, might be the wrong analogy for this discussion! ;)

Jingles

Quote:
uncluttered moral clarity 

It's pretty simple, actually. If it's wrong done to us, it's wrong to do it to others. Many patriots seem to think that if it's done to us it's wrong,  but if we do it to others (especially if those others cannot defend themselves) then it is always justified. The morality of the sports fan. 

George Victor

Realigned:

"I've heard this from him too. I wonder what it's based on. It seems like activty is down.  Graeme Smith seems to have a good inside view of what's going on, he seems checked out.  Do you mean UN forces or NATO though? I ask because I have seen UN guys here too but not in an intervention role.

I think the US is sending an additional 20 thousand soldiers? I know their making a huge base out near Helmand. I wonder if he is suggesting the 20'000 additional soldiers will cause more problems here?

 

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One of the questions presented to the three dozen Taliban front-line fellas that Graeme had interviewed and videotaped (faces hidden), was "why" they were fighting. A very  large proportion said that relatives had been killed by bombs.

I believe that is why there would be a certain nervousness generated by the pending arrival of 20,000 Americans. Is it called increased "tactical" support? And, of course, they would be there for the duration (after Canada's - and probably some other NATO - forces depart). As Allan Greenspan said in his autobiography, the U.S.presence in the Middle East is ALL about oil. The former U.S. federal reserve chief said that one honest thing.

As for the tactics of occupying forces in Alexander's time ( he probably got some mileage posing as an immortal) Masters found near his Gurkha batallion's summer home in India - at intervals on a line of hills descending down to the plains - small clusters of date palms growing where any military commander, then or now, would place observation posts. The date palms were a Mediterranean variety. Alexander didn't go farther into India, and he certainly had to be watchful.

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And, yes, Canada's third ocean coastline will be open in summer in another decade. We'll have to face down God knows how many navies  pursuing territorial claims. Then, I think, we will have to depend on UN (not NATO) forces to intervene. There should be lots of volunteers from the equatorial regions by then.

 

 

Realigned

Sorry Refuge :)

(I can get you a good price on desert boots)  ;)

Let me try and offer a different option over the murderer and misguided soldier.

Olympic athletes train their whole lives to go to the olympics. Test themselves. Challange themselves. See how well they perform under pressure. See how they do.  They could spend 10 years training. (How young does China start training their athletes?).

Remove the ethical/moral angle for a moment [Because quite frankly I think holding the Olympics in China given their history of human rights abuse was BRUTAL. I don't think Canada should have sent ANYONE there, anyways]

Like professional athletes, soldiers train and train and train. The chance to deploy on an actual mission can really attract a lot of soldiers. Their not war mongers, they just want todo what they are trained to do. They want to put their skills to use, they want to test themselves. It's what their trained and conditioned for.  In a perhaps dangerous way, it is alsoa way to see who shouldn;t be in themilitary ie people refusing to do their job.

Some soldiers I'm sure want to deploy for the wrong reasons. Their assholes who get off on the idea of  hurting or shooting someone. (In my experiences these guys are the loudest but usually the most 'full of shit')

We find the same unhealthy attitudes from police officers wanting to abuse their authority (how many times haveyou been dicked around by a cop on a power trip? How about  coaches being inappropiate. These people are everywhere)

Still I think most soldiers who DO volunteer for deployments or look forward to going overseas do so because it is a chance to get out and do their job, be the professional soldiers they are. Like a validation. This doesn't have to be in a war fighting enivronment but for combat arms soldiers being actively engaged in a combatzone is the only real time they will be performing their job to it's fullest extent.

 

George,

The 'they killed my brother so I joined the Taliban' answer given to Graeme makes sense. If someone indiscriminately killed my family I'd try and get back at them too. The issue with that answer though is that the Taliban are just as guilty if not more of killing local Afghan's family members but we only seem to hear about people joining the Taliban out of retributuon. I wonder why that is. Not only are locals hit by Taliban Mortars and IEDs but murdered too for associating with ISAF. One really has to feel for the locals who are between a rock and a hard place.

I think the US will be here a long time. The base they are building is very large, said to rival (ultimately) the Khandahar airfield. I wonder if they will all be combat troops or willhe Americans employ more CIMIC, OMLT and other reconstruction teams.

I think in the past it was easy to get compliance (for lack of a better word) Do what we want or we'll kill you. And they would listen. (The Taliban did this and were largely successful at creating a peaceful albeit violent rule.  We can't do that. We ask them to, if they say no we offer them money. The smart ones realize how to capitalize on this. I'm not saying we should threaten them with violence, that should never be an option toget someone to work with you but I really wonder how effective using money is especially considering the greed factor.

 

I wouldn't depend on the UN for anything really. In theory I think the UN is great but in practice when countries aren't offloading their problem soldiers/officers, I think all the politics and too many hands in the pot ruin any ad all effectiveness they might have.

 

 

martin dufresne

"Canada's third ocean coastline will be open in summer in another
decade. We'll have to face down God knows how many navies  pursuing
territorial claims."

I can almost hear the rustle of a DND talking points guidebook...

Realigned

Frustrated Mess wrote:

Quote:
I've done interviews or seen interviews and when it came out on the
other end had to blink and take a double take to see if it was the
right story, it looked completely alien.
Got an example?

 

Sure but you gotta tell me what that picture is of/represents.

 

While serving as a pacekeeper I was interviewed. I was asked how safe I felt on the streets of Bosnia.

Thinking to tote the party line a little I responded.

Quote:
With the high quality of raining I recieved during our pre-deployment training and the professionalisim of my fellow soliders, along with the fact that I'm carrying an assault rifle *big smile* I feel safer here than I would say ....downtown Toronto.

The article which partially misspelled my name and incorrectly identified my hometown  sounded somehting like this.

Quote:
So and so really wonders what they are doing in Bosnia and questions the need to have the military here. He feels safer here than he does at his hometown of Toronto.

The comment about feeling safer was taken completely out of context and they added the lie about me questioning the need to be there. I got a good talking to for my comments.

During an incident (Afghanistan) our platoon was hit with an IED and we stopped to set up a cordon and do first aid on some locals injured and killed in the blast. 2 minutes after we were hit a news crew (Aljazeria I think) stopped and set up and started filiming us.  I don't remember if it was CTV or Global but it WAS a Canadian news agency who later reported that witnesss had said Canadian soldiers were randomly opening fire at crowds and shooting everything that moved. It was utter BS but itbuged me that a commentlike that wouldget aired without more fact checking.  Even just implying something like that can have serious reprecussions. I think media outlets need to be held to a higher standard when reporting stories and checking facts.

 

martin dufresne wrote:

"Canada's third ocean coastline will be open in summer in another
decade. We'll have to face down God knows how many navies  pursuing
territorial claims."

I can almost hear the rustle of a DND talking points guidebook...

Huh??

Frustrated Mess Frustrated Mess's picture

Quote:
Sure but you gotta tell me what that picture is of/represents.

It is a Darwin fish. 

Slumberjack

Realigned wrote:
  Remove the ethical/moral angle for a moment [Because quite frankly I think holding the Olympics in China given their history of human rights abuse was BRUTAL. I don't think Canada should have sent ANYONE there, anyways

Nice way to remove it, by following on with your own angle.  If you're going to use that example, then the Chinese would be justified in not sending their athletes to Vancouver because of our own brutal human rights record.  Complicity in the torture of Maher Arar, Omar Khadr and others, genocidal actions against First Nations, secret security certificate detentions without trial, the list is a very long one.

Realigned

Slumberjack wrote:

Realigned wrote:
  Remove the ethical/moral angle for a moment [Because quite frankly I think holding the Olympics in China given their history of human rights abuse was BRUTAL. I don't think Canada should have sent ANYONE there, anyways

Nice way to remove it, by following on with your own angle.  If you're going to use that example, then the Chinese would be justified in not sending their athletes to Vancouver because of our own brutal human rights record.  Complicity in the torture of Maher Arar, Omar Khadr and others, genocidal actions against First Nations, secret security certificate detentions without trial, the list is a very long one.

Do you feel the examples you mentioned are on par with the abuses happening in China currently and in the recent past?

Slumberjack

I believe that comparing degrees of brutality is of little use when it exists everywhere.  The prelude for any discussion of loathsome excesses must involve an inward reality check.  Numerical comparisons are dubious quantifiers, given the large differences in population, which in my mind would necessitate some reflection on the motivation behind such an approach.  If a per capita methodology were applied, then I do believe we are not in a position to point at anyone else.

Le T Le T's picture

"We are trying to teach [a] culture built on revenge (eye fo ran eye) no[t] to harm prisoners who may have really hurt a lot of people."

You do realize that the official reason for invading Afghanistan was to seek revenge for the 9/11 attack? For the 3000 people killed in the WTO our own culture built on revenge have murdered more than 13 000 people in Afghanistan and more than 700 000 people in Iraq. That doesn't even come close to eye-for-an-eye.

You're either hopelessly naive or wilfully ignorant. As much as some people are all about some kind of love in with soldier boy, there are other CFers on this board who contribute to the conversations without being apologists for the heinous crime in Afghanistan.

Realigned

Care to give me an example where I am appologizing for crimes against Afghanistan?

 

If I had to choose I supose I'd go for Ignorant. Blessed is the mind too smallfor doubt and all that, right?

When I say a culture built on revenge it goes much deeper than th 9/11 retributon attack. Any CFer here who has deployed will easily tell you the depths Afghans place on honour and revenge. It's perfectly acceptable here to strangle your wife to death if she commits adultry,because after all it's an insult against your honour.

I guess I am naive too, I had always thought that the US invaded Afghanistan to get Bin ladden thus preventing the planning and execution (atleast by him) of another 9/11 type attack.

 

Slumberjack good post.

Jerry West
remind remind's picture

Ya, I know jingles the hypocrisy is staggering.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Ghislaine

Realigned, I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your service. Whatever the disagreements here, you seem to have good intentions and want to work to help the people of Afghanistan.

 

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