Skip to comments.Carolyn roars again
Posted on 07/29/2005 2:54:03 PM PDT by Clive
Carolyn roars again
Independent MP Parrish has been vocal in criticizing the leadership and role of Canada's military, something she knows nothing about, writes Peter Worthington
By Peter Worthington
One thing that can safely be said about Carolyn Parrish is that she knows diddley-squat about the army.
The maverick MP -- a Liberal who is too "liberal" for her party and so is relegated to the purgatory of independence -- knows diddley-squat about a lot of things, but it's the military that has her attention at the moment.
She's upset that our soldiers are being sent to Kandahar, one of Afghanistan's hotter spots, "to kill people."
She says if Canadians "come back in body bags" she'll vote to bring the government down.
Guess that'll show Paul Martin!
Who does she think she is? Jane Fonda?
What Sweet Carolyn doesn't seem to understand is that our soldiers don't go anywhere "to kill people."
These days, they go to dangerous places to protect people and to encourage peace and security.
Ironically, soldiers are Canada's best diplomats, humanitarians and on-the-spot social workers. All because they are well trained, know their job, and are prepared to fight. Professionals.
In Kandahar, those whom our soldiers may kill are al-Qaida zealots, or remnants of the Taliban, who are the real killers of the innocent in Afghanistan.
This is what soldiers do. It's what police also do in a civilian context. Would ditzy Parrish suggest that the role of police in society is to "kill people" when they shoot to protect others or in self-defence?
Maybe she would, but if so she'd be wrong.
Parrish also wrote Defence Minister Bill Graham with regards to Chief of Defence Staff General Rick Hillier, urging him (Graham) to "muzzle the beast" (Hillier).
More diddley-squat comprehension.
There's all sorts of reasons to be upset with Hillier's recent name-calling of the "enemy" in Afghanistan as "despicable murderers and scumbags."
Some find this description of al-Qaida and the Taliban commendably frank "soldier-talk." Others (and I am one) are not impressed with this sort of Rambo rhetoric.
Where is the army's penchant for understatement, inherited from the British military tradition? ("Bit of a sticky wicket, old chap," says the colonel as the Zulus wipe out his regiment at Isandhlwana).
Hillier's view of the enemy as murderers and scumbags seems to preclude interest in understanding what motivates or influences the "enemy," which one would think is essential if one is to fight and deal with them successfully.
"Know thy enemy," is an age-old dictum for successful commanders. Viewing the enemy as "scumbags" hardly qualifies as understanding their thinking.
One hopes Gen. Hillier was merely posing, or hoping to appear colourful, like a modern General Patton or even Stormin' Norman Schwarzkopf of Gulf War fame. ("Going to war without the French is like going deer hunting without your accordion").
Parrish may feel she's speaking up on behalf of soldiers who can't speak up for themselves when she talks indignantly of casualties and body bags.
Risks are known
If so, she couldn't be more wrong.
Soldiers and their families are acutely aware of the risks involved in their chosen trade. All they ask is support from their government in the form of sufficient equipment, effective weaponry, clear leadership.
As for the Canadian people, they trust their military more than they do their politicians -- and with good reason.
The military, deflated and deprived, has never let Canada down -- which is more than can be said of Carolyn Parrish.
Anyway, she's the one who needs a muzzle more than Gen. Hillier, who, of late, seems to have tuned down his Hollywood machismo.
And Hillier does know his trade. When he took over he was presented with a study on overhauling the Canadian Forces. The study was a classical example of bureaucratese, a "horse designed by a committee". His first significant act as Chief of the Defence Staff was to scrap the "study".
But I do agree with Worthington that our traditions is to understate and to make bloody sure that we know our enemy.
And before anyone takes any shots at Worthington, he earned his right to discuss military affairs as an infantry officer in Korea.
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, I dunno...
"We are not the Public Service of Canada," he declared. "We are not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces and our job is to be able to kill people."
"These are detestable murderers and scumbags," Hillier said. "They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties."
And the Prime Minister's response to the above:
"General Hillier is not only a top soldier, he is a soldier who has served in Afghanistan," Paul Martin said Friday in Nova Scotia.
"The point he is simply making is we are at war with terrorism and we're not going to let them win."
Wow. Can't argue with either of them.
Not really possible, I don't think.
Maybe so, but she's an UGLIER Jane Fonda.
Now that the border is open again to live cattle, perhaps we could ship this cow south.
'Canners and Cutters' placemarker.
(Denny Crane: "Sometimes you can only look for answers from God and failing that... and Fox News".)
Deport the mad cow to Guantanamo Bay!
I think a week in Kandahar in with a blue potato sack over her head would do her some good.
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