Thursday, August 18, 2005

Canada's Viability as a Country is in Serious Doubt

Canada's Viability as a Country is in Serious Doubt
It almost seems as if the foolish dithering prime minister of Canada Paul Martin, has deliberately set up the cogs in motion for the dissolution of Canada. Certainly his appointment of a Haittian born CBC news reader, with dual French and Canadian citizenship, if is as researched as he contends then he has just dealt a strong hand to Quebec sepratists and former terrorist who are part of her social circle.

In western Canada more and more young people are considering the prospect of separation due to feelings of alienation by the government in Ottawa which is put in power by the politically challenged voters of Ontario.

Whereas once Pierre Trudeau a strong, charismatic ( but wrong headed) prime minister fought for a strong federal government, the current prime minister Mr. Dithers has a day dream of something he calls "asymetric federalism" which leaves little room for a strong country called Canada.

In liberal circles it is equated with racism to pronounce your pride in Canada's proud history during the wars. I'm sad to say that I can find little left to be proud of in the current Canadian political climate and I believe that the country is inevitably drifting apart.

It seems Peter Worthington has come to the same conclusion:

More and more I have come to the conclusion that we would be better off as part of the United States. Think of the economic juggernaut that would create!

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

If you think it's hot here, you should try Iraq.......

...........with full body armour no less. It's so hot in Iraq right now that the average person from North America can't comprehend it. Around here in Toronto we are having are a record hot summer with temperatures consistently above 30 degrees Celcius and into the high 40's with the humidity off Lake Ontario. But Iraq is off the scale. I've read a number of posts in various Soldiers blogs but none so eloquently describe what American Soldiers are dealing with (besides the terrorists) than Thunder6. If you are following the War on Terror you should be reading Thunder6. Here's two of his posts on the topic of heat:

August 16, 2005

We are all in thrall to the fulgid patriarch that boils the summer sky. In Baghdad the sun claims dominion over all, there is no sector of the city that doesn’t bow before its scathing wrath. The sun is utterly pitiless; those foolish enough to shed tears in the blistering onslaught would find the drops evaporating before they hit the ground.

The heat is manageable, even with body armor. Miserable, but manageable. The sheer force of the sun is another matter entirely. The rays burn down with such force that the palm groves here rain down boiling sap. And manmade structures fare much, much worse.

Yesterday our patrol linked up with an armored task force and we fell in line behind some M1 Abrams tanks. As soon as we settled in behind the tank we noticed it was leaving soot black impressions on the roads as it rolled by. It seemed like some massive stamp pad was leaving a breadcrumb trail of hundreds of jet impressions in perfectly symmetrical lines.

It took us less then a minute to realize the superheated asphalt was literally melting the tanks rubber track pads. Boots suffer the same fate, if you stand in place too long you will often find the spongy roads have settled around your soles like so much boiling tar.

I’m really starting to miss the rainy season... even if it does mean ankle deep mud.

August 14, 2005

Range Day

The M4 carbine is a lethal tool, but in the end it is just that… a tool. The situation profoundly changes when that tool is placed in the hands of a trained infantryman. It is as if the two exist in some martial symbiosis; each taking, each giving. When an infantryman picks up a rifle those carefully machined components stop being callous collections of metal and become the fluid extension of his will. The catalyst for this hybridization isn’t some technological marvel – it’s the natural result of trigger time.

When I say trigger time I’m not referring to pressing a button on a video console. Comparing first person shooting games to combat marksmanship is like comparing a ride on the plastic pony in front of a supermarket with saddling up a thoroughbred. If you want to be deadly accurate there is no substitute for being on a range.

This of course means that even here in Baghdad we have to set up firing ranges to hone our marksmanship skills. Today I was tasked with serving as the OIC (Officer In Charge) of the firing range while Killer Company’s platoons confirmed their optics.

Under most circumstances I would jump at the chance to spend a day on the range; but today wasn't just hot, it was infernal. The sun flared like with star gone nova, the heat compunded by our thick layers of body armor. By time the range was ready to go I was well on my way to being parboiled. As the trapped pools of sweat started soaking through my uniform all I wanted was to get away from the crushing heat. Since that wasn’t a viable option I just focused on watching platoon after platoon fire their weapon. Out of sheer curiosity I pulled out a small backpacking thermometer to index the misery. The little thermometer made it to 122 degrees before the heat burned out the LCD.

When it gets this hot you have to drink water in great heaving swallows even when you don’t feel thirsty. If you are drinking too much, too fast you will know in less then a minute - the only thing more uncomfortable then wrapping yourself in an armored sauna is the bloated feeling that comes from having water slosh around your distended stomach. As the hours ticked by I emptied bottle after bottle and watched as a slow parade of troops confirmed their accuracy. Despite the sun’s bright tirade the day passed without incident and the range came to a successful conclusion. It wasn’t pretty, and it wasn’t fun, but in the end every troop on came away knowing that their weapons were once again dutiful agents of their will. And that knowledge is a very valuable thing indeed.

You can read his excellent posts here:

Friday, August 05, 2005

Boots in Baghdad

As I've mentioned before, I started my occasional blogging, when I was made aware of a Soldier's Blog hosted by Blogger and the only way to comment on their posts was to register at Blogger. That gave me an opportunity to start this blog, which is no great shakes I admit. Hell, I can't even figure out how to get my profile, which arbitrarily decided to relocate to the bottom of the page, back to the top of the page.

Which brings me to the subject of a remarkable young man, Spc. Miner, an infantry Soldier serving in Iraq. Baghdad to be exact. Which is why his blog is called 'Boots in Baghdad'.

Spc. Miner is what is in military parlance known as a Grunt. He's an Infantry Soldier at the pointy end of the stick, doing daily patrols in Baghdad. And he still finds the time to blog!!! And his optimism is infectious.

And it's not just an ordinary run of the mil (pun intended) blog. It's an ambitous, creative, well produced blog that has a component for pictures; another recently created for videos, and I see today he's posted a song written and performed by one of his mates.

Many people, too many, think that Soldiers who sign on to do grunt work are too stupid to do anything else. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Spc. Miner is a shining example of that. He is thoughtful, caring, courageous, and intelligent. He is man who is goin places. You only have to vist his blog to see that.

Previously I have written in praise of American Soldiers and I'm proud to do so again. I'm a Canadian who is proud to have served in the Armed Forces of my country and I have a soft spot in my heart for Soldiers both Canadian and American, it's just that I've not found a Canadian Soldier blog to discuss.

We are in a war whether you want to believe it or not, for our very civilization. Thank God for the likes of Spc. Miner who describes his bog thus:

"I am a twenty-two year old National Guard Infantryman serving in Baghdad. I've been in Iraq for nine months now. As hard and discouraging as it can be at times... there is no where else I would rather be at this stage in my life. I am sharing my experiences in an effort to portray to anyone interested what life is like here for American soldiers. Please keep in mind that the views and opinions I may share are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for my unit, the National Guard, the United States Army, the Department of Defense or any other governmental agency within or affiliated with the United States."

I encourage you to visit his blog: