"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."
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.
BONUS TRACK: 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.