Thursday, December 03, 2009

Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant: Douchebag.

Uh huh:

"Mr. Speaker, on the weekend I had an opportunity to speak to a soldier from Canadian Forces Base Petawawa who had served several rotations in Afghanistan.

He urged me not to go forth with an inquiry on this issue. He said that every time the Afghan deployment is debated in Parliament, it puts the lives of our soldiers in theatre at greater risk. He recounted that when the motion to withdraw from Afghanistan or to end the combat mission in 2011 was before Parliament, they were in a operation where they heard the insurgents on the radio saying to each other that they should kill as many Canadian soldiers as possible because we were debating this in the House of Commons and that when Canadians saw the caskets of soldiers coming off the plane it increased public pressure. They wanted the MPs to vote to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible."

There are so many things that can be written about the above, but let's ask ourselves a simple question: How many people believe that conversation actually took place?

OK, THERE'S MORE. Yes, there are a few more things that can be said about the above.

First, I would -- if I was in a position to do so, and as publicly as possible -- ask raving wingnut Gallant whether the above actually happened. Quite simply, it's too conveniently loaded with Harper talking points that it defies credibility to have come, that delightfully choreographed, from a serving member of the Canadian military. I think critics have an obligation to challenge Gallant on this. But wait ... there's more.

Here's the conveniently anonymous Canadian soldier:

"They [other members of the military] wanted the MPs to vote to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible."

Really? What an odd thing for Gallant to be promoting, since it's the Stephen Harper Party of Canada who so desperately appears to want to remain in Afghanistan. For a serving member to be clearly wanting to get out would seem to be a rejection of the Conservative policy, and not one Gallant should be bragging about, wouldn't you say? But here's the best part, where we recap because it's just too adorable:

"They wanted the MPs to vote to get out of Afghanistan as quickly as possible."


And ponder.

Those with more military background (M@? Dave?) are free to correct me on this, but does it strike anyone else as odd that we have an allegedly long-time member of Canada's military, openly telling an elected MP that he(?) does not want to be serving on his current mission?

Is that normal? Is that appropriate?

The last time I looked, if you're a soldier, you do what you're told, and you go where you're told. And if you're not thrilled about it, you can grouse quietly about it with your tentmates but, beyond that, you shut the hell up about it and do your job.

But here we have (according to Gallant) a long-time Canadian soldier who is publicly pleading with a Canadian Member of Parliament to get him the hell out of there!

When did that become acceptable military behaviour? Doesn't that qualify as, I don't know, insubordination of some kind? To publicly undercut your current mission? And make it clear you don't want to be there? Are they allowed to do that? I had no idea.

As I said, perhaps I'm entirely off-base and others can correct me. But having serving members of the military being allowed to publicly slag their current assignment strikes me as a recipe for disaster. Which suggests that, no matter how this goes down, I think someone has some serious 'splainin' to do. Starting with MP Cheryl Gallant.

: And someone should fill in Blogging Tory and "Raging Jewish Weightlifter" Justin Hoffer on this latest development, since he seems to be labouring under a misconception:

The fact of the matter is, our soldiers are doing what they love, and they are fighting for freedom half a world away. If you support our troops, then you support their mission. If you don't support the mission, you don't support our troops.

Um ... Justin? If they love what they're doing, why are they bitching about it? I'm just asking. And the second part of that paragraph is simply too fucking stupid to waste any time on.

CORRECTION: Yup, I believe commenter "900ft Jesus" is right, the word "they" refers to the Taliban, not to the Canadian military, so ignore my point above. And to those Taliban, well, you're going to get what you want since we're leaving in 2011. Stephen Harper says so.

And it's still an astonishingly stupid thing for a serving member of Canada's military to say -- to ask a current MP not to hold a public inquiry on this topic. That still strikes me as inappropriately partisan, but Dave or M@ is free to expand on that.


Southern Quebec said...

I am sure the conversation took was just between the voices in Cheryl's head.

thwap said...

I have my doubts. But you never know. Either way she's a complete idiot.

900ft Jesus said...

I took it as Gallant's fictitious soldier saying they (the Taliban) wanted the MPs to vote to leave Afghanistan. I've heard the CONs use that argument before - the Taliban want to put pressure on the public by killing more soldiers, which will put pressure on MPs to vote for a withdrawal.

Who kows, though. Except that Gallant uses the troops like the whole lot of those bastards. And she has a crappy hairstyle.

Gary Singular said...

Why, I'll bet Justin Hoffer's pickup truck is simply festooned with magnetic ribbons.

Anonymous said...

Why, I'll bet Justin Hoffer's pickup truck is simply festooned with magnetic ribbons.
And he wears a red t-shirt... because that's the way he rocks...

Renee said...

Fafblog said it best:

Let us never forget just what's at stake in the war in Afghanistan: nothing less than the success of the war in Afghanistan.

M@ said...

First, I believe Gallant talked to a soldier, and this is basically what he said. It was either revised into Harperriffic talking points, or she found a soldier who had already swallowed them hook, line, and sinker.

What bothers me about this is the politicization of the soldier in question, and the people, in the end, who Gallant sees as the appropriate opinions to consider when setting policy.

1. Ask a firefighter whether we should increase his area's budget for firefighting. As a police officer whether the powers granted to police are too great, or too limited. It's ludicrous to let people within a certain group that is supposed to benefit society decide what that group's position in that society should be. Their answer is always "as high as possible". That's not necessarily to society's benefit.

2. A single soldier's opinion on the matter is not absolute. They might have a perspective that's informed by the military reality, and that might be valuable, but in the end it's the country's policy, not the military's policy, that we are determining here. To take a soldier's support for your political position as a reason others should support that position is the very definition of politicization of the military.

3. The people who are setting the policy here: (a) an MP who is absolutely partisan; (b) a soldier whose position is decidedly biased by his job; (c) the Taliban. Do any of them speak for all, or even a majority, of Canada?

Frankly, I don't think that fear of the Taliban and Al Qaeda and the rest of 'em should determine our country's direction. I don't know why that way of thinking isn't ridiculed more, to be honest.

Dave said...

Exactly, M@.

Who cares what a soldier said?

I know that sounds disparaging but it is actually the amount of weight carried by any such comment in conversation with any politician, especially one swimming in the same bowl as the governing party.

There's nothing insubordinate about answering an MP if a question's been asked or an opinion has been requested, but where it relates to defence policy, and that's what this is about, it's an empty magazine.

I was present when a young sailor in HMCS Restigouche asked Trudeau, in the presence of reporters, when, (since he had joined the navy to see the world), the Canadian Navy would start visiting more foreign ports other than San Diego.

Trudeau's reply, (heavily reported), was, "If you want to visit foreign countries, buy a plane ticket."

When asked after by reporters about the young ordinary seaman's concerns Trudeau replied, "I addressed them completely."

Trudeau, as much as I disliked him, was right. The armed forces serve the country; not the other way around.

The decision to hold a public inquiry is not in the hands of a single soldier nor even large numbers of them. Hell, if the Harperites held a pointless forces-wide referendum on the subject the results would be non-binding.

What is disturbing is that a government MP is rising in the House and gluing herself to the troops. That violates an unwritten compact between the forces and government. "I will fight your wars. You will not exploit my services for political gain."

And what about the soldier who told Gallant to go ahead with a public inquiry. Knock yourself out. No skin off our teeth.

If she's claiming that didn't happen she's either lying or she made sure there was a filter in place to prevent it.

This is reminiscent of Stockwell Day at Kelowna airport and the mythical "old veteran" he waxed so poetically about.

Ti-Guy said...

How many people believe that conversation actually took place?

I don't. Not for a second. Which is why I didn't waste any more time on the content.

I really get irritated by the tendency to extend the benefit of the doubt to these people and accept that what they're saying, without any evidence whatsoever and then to waste their time analysing it and taking positions on its content. Doing so actually influences one's thinking on a particular issue and that is distracting and distorting if what one is reacting to is a complete fabrication.

Cheryl Gallant is a politician and Reformatory one at that. They often lie. Whether she is in this instance, I don't know. But I don't believe it. If some compelling evidence surfaces to suggest this conservation did take place, I might change my mind.

liberal supporter said...

they heard the insurgents on the radio saying to each other that they should kill as many Canadian soldiers as possible-
It must have been very shocking for this alleged soldier to hear such mean things said on the radio.

So shocked he was, that he didn't bother to fire any ordnance with its radio homing device tuned to the insurgents' radio frequency.

Do they really expect us to believe they can pick up insurgents on their radios but can't trace them? Maybe they need Richard Evens or PR over there, they seem quite skilled at tracking those they would like to kill.

Dave said...

Do they really expect us to believe they can pick up insurgents on their radios but can't trace them?

It would be even more shocking to know that the Taliban are using the same IRIS frequency hopping comm gear.

That calls for an inquiry on its own merits.

liberal supporter said...

They're probably still using the radios from when they were the Mujaheddin, fighting the Soviets. The Singers seem to have passed their best before date and won't work, but radios don't deteriorate the same way.