Sunday, April 15, 2007

Tanks for the enemies.

Photo: CP/Bill Graveland

New Canada's Minister of the Defence Lobby is such a fucking optimist! On CTV's Question Period, O'Connor justified spending almost two thirds of a billion on tanks. He's gone shopping and bought a hundred mothballed Leopard tanks from the Netherlands and leased another twenty from Germany. Let's hope that we have better luck with our used vehicles this time. At least a tank won't catch fire under water on the way home.

For me, the money quote, "We see Afghanistan is the future. Afghanistan and these type of engagements are the future for 10, 15 years," said O'Connor."

Well pardon me but fuck that shit. Just where does that time frame come from? Who knew you could pull random numbers out of a half ass? I know that I am not the only Canadian that is uncomfortable with the shift in our military from peace keeping to combat force. And forgive me if I have no faith in the vision and wisdom of Gordon O'Connor but this bumbling fuckwit doesn't even know the role of the Red Cross in regard to the transfer and treatment of detainees. Alison at Creekside has been doing a stellar job cataloguing O'Connor's serial ineptitude. Go on, go read.

The Conservative vision casts Canada into a more aggressive stance, none of that wimpy diplomacy, enough of that wussy peace keeping. Harper and his band of gym class drop-outs want to be tough guys. They believe that Canada should be a force to be reckoned with. Well Mr. O'Connor, your vision of the future is pretty myopic. If the grinding, ill-led clusterfuck of Afghanistan is a model for the future, well sir, you can take your vision of the next ten or fifteen years and stuff it. You have ignored history, hell, you've ignored the present and your future is that of dismal failure.

Evidently O'Connor hasn't bothered to look into the booming success of the Soviet experience in Afghanistan. All of the tanks in the world could not defeat a deeply entrenched resistance. More than any speech Ronnie Reagan gave, it was Afghanistan that brought down the iron curtain and broke the USSR. We are five fucking years into Afghanistan and we are failed and failing. Bigger tanks and better bombs will not achieve the victory we seek. The Taliban is resurgent and they won't be defeated by force of arms. The only sane way to defeat the Taliban is make them irrelevant. We have failed at diplomacy, we have failed at development and we are losing the patience of the Afghan people.

Shit that blows other shit up and kills more efficiently will not help the people of Afghanistan. Bigger guns make bigger targets and even a pacifist like me knows that tanks are not defensive weapon systems. O'Connor wants to try and spin the world counter clockwise,

"They will go into positions and defend the infantry where they're holding strong points, or lead convoys because they can withstand a lot of mines and things like that so these tanks are being used in a defensive role only."

So we're going to deploy tanks to roll over 'mines and things like that', are we? They can withstand plenty of that stuff going boom. I'm sure that the tank commanders are very happy to hear it. I mean what could go wrong? The Taliban will be so disappointed as the convoys go streaming past. Unless of course a tank blows a tread on one of those mines, creating a long narrow string of targets. And who am I to question the idea of using tanks as mobile pillboxes to hold positions. It's not like anything bad could happen to a big, static target. It's not as if the Taliban will adapt to new conditions and challenges. It isn't as though an insurgent will watch the tank pass and remotely detonate an IED as the lighter vehicles come into range. Why that's just crazy talk.

There's nothing like five and a half million bucks worth of rolling fire power to win those hearts and minds. Don't worry, we'll come back later and paint a few schools, if there are any.

"If the Taliban concentrate against us and start taking areas which are difficult for the infantry to get at, the tanks will go in and break down the walls and get at them -- certainly they will. But this still is a defensive mode."

Yeah, the locals should love that.

"This term, spring offensive, I don't know that there is ever going to be a spring offensive, certainly in Kandahar province," said O'Connor.
"What we're seeing in Kandahar province is increased activity of these people who have set IEDs. But we haven't noticed at this time, anyway, any large numbers of Taliban returning into our province."

This is the forward thinking visionary at the helm. Seems there's a long list of things that Gordon O'Connor doesn't know.


Anonymous said...

Well said. This is expensive lunacy getting worse.

Anonymous said...

First we buy used submarines, now we buy used tanks. Don't we ever learn? Time for Canada's 'New Government' to become Canada's 'Old Government'! (They probably didn't even get the extended warranty.)

Strong Conservative said...

With all due respect, I would disagree that the Canadian military was designed for peacekeeping duties. Since WWII it has been modelled and structuredd for combat, first against the Soviet threat and recently molded into "evolving" threats, whatever that is. Canada has not had many active peacekeepers in more than a decade since we pulled most of our troops out of Bosnia and all of them out of Kosovo (which started as a combat role).
Ok, I'm sure you've had enough of my knuckle-draggin-neo-con-war-mongering-Haliburton-coddling self.

Lindsay Stewart said...

actually strong-con, you are welcome to disagree. peace keeping is not and has never been the sole purpose of the canadian military. we have armed and trained our forces for combat roles. i would argue that since korea, the primary use of our forces and the majority of force deployments have been in peace keeping roles and disaster relief. i also believe that the majority of canadians prefer our forces to be used in those roles. that in no way diminishes the concept of combat preparedness or the use of forces in combat where deemed necessary.

one of the reasons that i think canada has earned such a good reputation overseas has been the non-aggressive deployment of canadian troops in troubled regions over the last fifty years. that positive reputation has been bolstered by the honourable service of canadian troops and the diplomatic will of the canadian people. our military has, more often than not, been perceived as a force for positive change and security rather than conflict.

what we are seeing under harper is the retooling of our forces toward a tougher stance. i'd much rather see 2/3 of a billion dollars spent on the tools to enhance life and security on troubled regions rather than on great big guns and tanks. more water purification and infrastructure building tools and less weapons.

in any case, given the mounting evidence of ignorance and incompetence on the part of minister of defence, can you defend his rationale that tanks are defensive weapon systems? are there not better ways to spend such sums? things like, say, funding the navy to put gas in the boats so they don't have to stay dock side during coastal exercises. and couldn't we get a minister of defence that actually has a clue about the role of the red cross, maybe someone that isn't beholden to the lobby that employed him?