Sunday, July 27, 2008

All is forgiven.

At least as far as Big Daddy and Junior are concerned.

For Serge Labbé – the once-rising star of the Canadian Forces whose career came to a grinding halt after he led the disastrous Somalia mission – a promotion from colonel to brigadier-general comes with a financial windfall both immediately and for the rest of his life.

The Canadian Forces confirmed Friday that Brig.-Gen. Labbé has been promoted. In a rare move, the general's promotion will be made retroactive – both in pay and rank – to July of 2000, meaning he will receive not only significant back pay, but a boost to his pension.

The soldier was officially promoted on July 2, the same day as the chief of the defence staff change-of-command ceremony.

Given Brig.-Gen. Labbé's involvement in the Somalia mission, and the fact that two review boards previously recommended against such a promotion, critics quickly described the move as appalling. One military expert described the promotion as “almost like a presidential pardon.”

You read that right, boys and girls — eight years of retroactive pay for a man whose leadership or, more importantly, lack thereof played a significant part in the Canadian Joint Force Somalia affair and the eventual disbandment of the Canadian Airborne. According to DND’s pay scale table here, General Labbé’s increase works out to be approximately $21,900.00/year ... multiply that by 8 and you get a nice big fat cheque for just over $175,000.00.

Nice work if you can get it, huh?


Anonymous said...

Big Daddy - sending the message that you will be rewarded for billing brown people.

Anonymous said...

billing - killing....

Anonymous said...

Let's key in on something here.

Col Labbé's testimony indicates that he assumed that when the CAR was declared operationally ready, it "would have had to have been declared ready to go based on complete training".

In other words, "complete training" implied training on everything required for the mission, including "Rules of Engagement, laws of war and the Geneva Conventions".

Col Labbé testified further that he was justified in drawing this conclusion from a brief verbal interaction with LCol Mathieu: "I do recall asking him something like, 'Are the boys good to go?' And he said, 'Absolutely.' Or words to that effect."

Relying on this brief interaction, Col Labbé then admitted at several points in his testimony to knowing very little about the troops' state of ROE training at the time of deployment. Moreover, Col Labbé vigorously maintained that despite this limited knowledge, his actions were nonetheless justified based on training assumptions he was entitled to make as Commander.

I take him at his word on this (knowing the man). However, he is ultimatly responsible for what happened. The harsh reality of command is that things go up in magnitude rapidly the higher you go. We have to rely on our subordinates at times to make things work on schedule... And sometimes the schedule gets accelerated on us against all sound advice.

The CAR was ordered into Somalia on very little notice, and against the advice of senior officers with Peacekeeping expereince.

The Somalia Inquiry was terminated early, just as the Inquiry was starting to look into the role of the day's government in the mess.

Today's ROEs are generated by none-less then the CDS, making them a direct order from the CDS to all troops in the mission area. Our ROE training today, is a direct result of the mistakes and lessons learned from Somalia.

As for Shidane, Rest in Peace. I hope you are in a better place, for we did you wrong in this life.

Anonymous said...

cherniak_wtf I find your comment appalling, and lacking in substance. Perhaps there is something intelligent you would like to say.