Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Finally!! A Canadian General who tells it like it is!!

For too many years the Chief of The Defence Staff of Canadian Forces have been little more than bureaucrats with no real soldiering ability. The Last Canadian fighting general we had was Lew MacKenzie, who commanded the UN forces in Bosnia in 1993. He was passed over for Chief of Defense Staff because he was a soldier's soldier. Now we have in General Rick Hillier a soldier's soldier. His words were music to my ears:


By DANIEL LEBLANC The Globe and MailFriday, July 15, 2005

OTTAWA -- Canada's elite JTF2 soldiers are heading to Afghanistan as part of a 2,000-troop deployment that will target the "detestable murderers and scumbags" behind the rise in international terrorism, General Rick Hillier said yesterday.In a blunt briefing that signalled a new aggressiveness at the top of the Canadian Forces, the Chief of the Defence Staff said the impending operations are risky but necessary in light of last week's bombings in the British public-transit system.

"The London attack actually tells us once more: We can't let up," Gen. Hillier told reporters.He said terrorists are ready to target Canada as much as any other Western country and that Canadians have to be aware that their soldiers are in for some "risky business" as they head out to Afghanistan.It was the first time Gen. Hillier has confirmed that members of the Joint Task Force 2 -- the country's secretive commando team -- will be involved in combat missions against the remnants of the former Taliban regime and supporters of al-Qaeda.

"These are detestable murderers and scumbags, I'll tell you that right up front. They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties," Gen. Hillier said. He stressed the new face of the Canadian Forces, which he said are now focused on the first job at hand: protecting Canadian interests at home and abroad.

"We're not the public service of Canada, we're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people."

Previous Canadian missions in Afghanistan have provided security in Kabul, the capital. But the next three missions, involving 2,000 troops, will be heavily centred in the southern mountains, where soldiers will be called upon to hunt down and fight the insurgents.Gen. Hillier said Canada is already in the crosshairs of the terrorists, and he does not believe it becomes a bigger target by participating in military operations that give hope to the Afghans.

"We're not going to let those radical murderers and killers rob from others and certainly we're not going to let them rob from Canada," he said.He pointed out that during the Second World War, Canadian soldiers did not shy away from fighting the Nazis."Did they say, 'No we might be attacked over here if we actually stand up against those despicable murderers and bastards?' No, they did not," Gen. Hillier said.

The native of Newfoundland has been the top soldier in Canada for five months. Bolstered by a growing budget, he is promising a "radical transformation" of the forces to make them more effective in their daily operations.With his straight-talking style, Gen. Hillier has already effected a major change at the top of the military hierarchy in comparison with his blander predecessor, General Ray Henault.

Gen. Hillier is a popular figure among the troops, and he has impressed his political bosses with his vision for the forces.His goal now is to rally Canadians behind the military and convince young talent to join the expanding forces.He would not speak about the number of potential casualties among Canadian troops in Afghanistan, while stating there is no such thing as a safe mission."You can't reduce the risk to zero," he said.

The recent Canadian rotations in Afghanistan have been centred at Camp Julien in Kabul. Gen. Hillier said that the coming missions will "shift the centre of gravity to Kandahar," the area of southern Afghanistan that saw the rise of the Taliban.The goal is to bring stability and democracy to the area, he said, adding that this is "the exact opposite of what people like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and those others want.

"Later this month, 250 Edmonton-based soldiers will head out to southern Afghanistan to form what is known as a Provincial Reconstruction Team.The soldiers will be accompanied by officials from the RCMP and the Canadian International Development Agency, the federal aid agency, to develop ties with local officials and help with the reconstruction of the war-torn area.In addition, 700 soldiers from Petawawa, Ont., are heading to Kabul to help the Afghan authority conduct a general election, planned for September.

After the vote, a large portion of the forces will move down south to join the PRT and prepare for the arrival of the biggest deployment in Kandahar.In February of next year, about 1,100 soldiers will set up a new camp in the area, heading up a new multinational brigade that will eventually operate under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, alongside American troops already in the area.

Gen. Hillier also said the army is sending at least 100 armoured vehicles to Sudan. The Grizzlys are military surplus and several will be sent later this month, with the remainder to follow, he said.

Canada's role in AfghanistanThe Canadian Forces are entering a new stage in their operations as part of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan in coming months, with a renewed focus on the more volatile southern region of the country.Three distinct deployments involving more than 2,000 soldiers are in the works, culminating with the presence early next year of a combat force in Kandahar, the birthplace of the terrorist-supporting Taliban regime.


Late July and early August:250 soldiers leave Edmonton to join a Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Kandahar. The goal is to patrol the area in armoured G-Wagons and forge ties with local officials during the six-month mission.

Late July and early August:700 soldiers from Petawawa, Ont., head out for Kabul to provide security for the general election, scheduled for September.

Late 2005: After the vote, a number of them will join the PRT and prepare for the arrival of a Canadian-led multinational brigade in Kandahar.

January-February, 2006:1,100 soldiers from Edmonton head out to Kandahar, which will be the home-base for the Canadian-led multinational brigade. Canada will ensure leadership of the brigade for nine months, but the Canadian Forces will provide troops for a full year.

In addition to patrolling streets in G-Wagons, the Canadian Forces will use larger armoured vehicles to hunt terrorists and Taliban supporters.


Brian H said...

Could you be clearer about the Grizzlies going to Sudan? The way you put that, they could be going into the hands of the government there for use against the rebels. Wassup?

Brian H said...

Actually, it's the way the reporter put it, of course. Do you have any other info on it?