Thursday, May 28, 2009

Scott Kesterson's AT WAR Reviewed

Blue, an American Senior NCO and Afghan War veteran finally got his personal copy from Scott. He watched it by himself and was glad he did because he pronounced it "Stunning!"

He writes: "Kesterson captures the Canadians doing a fantastic job as well. He captures Canadians advising and as maneuver forces, showing that the Afghan experience is the Afghan experience, not just an American Afghan experience. The Canadians do themselves proud, and Scott Kesterson's videography captures it."

As far as I know from listening to an interview of Scott by Troy Steward on You Served Radio, plans are to release AT WAR on DVD sometime in June.

As Blue writes: "Afghan veterans, beware; this film may kick your ass. For those who want to get a sense of what it's like, "At War" is the best you can do without deploying."

Read the review:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

God Bless Canada

Last month I recieved in PowerPoint format in an email through some military links I have, the powerful tribute below. What's especially amazing about this is that it was made by Americans as a tribute to our Soldiers in Afghanistan. What a beautiful gesture it was for Lee Greenwood to re-record his hit song in honour of Canadian Soldiers.

An ex-pat Canadian living in the States sent me an email on Memorial Day and I thought to look and see if someone had transfered it to YouTube and here it is. I watched the Memorial Day Concert from Washington DC on PBS on Sunday and was very moved. That was followed by an excellent documentary about The United States Marines.
Yesterday, again on PBS I watched a great documentary about the WWII Memorial in DC and thought it a fitting way to celebrate that day with our friends.

I hope you enjoy Lee Greenwood's God Bless Canada as much as I do.

Lee Greenwood's Tribute to Canadian Soldiers

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Canada wants Kenya to prosecute Somali Pirates captured by Canadian Warships

Following critism by some in the international community for its decision to release pirate suspects rather than bringing them back to Canada for prosecution, Defense Minister Peter MacKay announced recently that Canada is actively seeking an agreement with Kenya to prosecute suspected Somali pirates arrested by Canadian warships.

HMCS Winnipeg, (pictured above in a DND handout)involved in an anti-pirate NATO mission called Operation Allied Protector, has stopped numerous attacks on commercial vessels off the coast of Somalia. It was credited with foiling a Somali pirate attack against the Maltese cargo ship MV Sea Pride in the Gulf of Aden last weekend.

While the The Criminal Code of Canada does allow Canada to prosecute anyone suspected of piracy, Ottawa has declined to follow in the steps of nations that are currently trying suspected Somali pirates. MacKay says he prefers striking an agreement with a country such as Kenya which has a long history of trying pirates. That and Kenya's proximity to the Gulf of Aden allows for a speedy transport of suspects and ensures better continuity of evidence according to Mackay."There are precedents in place that allow for countries like Canada to strike an agreement, an accord or memorandum that would allow for the arrest and then turning over of suspected pirates and evidence necessary to prosecute."

This decision makes perfect sense to me. The last thing Canadian taxpayers need is the cost of trying pirates from the other side of the Atlantic. Nor am I interested in having my tax dollars contribute to what would become an industry for defense attorneys. The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper comes through with a conservative solution and I applaud him for it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

NATO'S top Commander is being replaced.

This is a very big deal. U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has asked for the resignation of NATO's commander in Afghanistan GEN David McKeirnan. This is an event that occurs very rarely in the U.S. military. McKeirnan was scheduled to remain in command of NATO operations for another year. To put this in perspective GEN George Casey, who's strategy in Iraq was a disaster, was allowed to serve out his term as Commander of MNF Iraq by President George W Bush and he then promoted him to Army chief of staff!!

But Bush finally overrode Casey and other senior members of the general staff and went with the counterinsurgency advocate GEN David Petraeus to turn the situation around in Iraq.

Blue, the Afghan Army vet who blogs at Bill and Bob's Excellent Afghan Adventure wrote back on April 24 that he saw room for optimisim on the horizon. "Say what you will about the Obama administration's domestic policies, which this blog is not about, nor will it ever be. Somehow or other, they have managed to put together the dream team on Afghanistan and Pakistan. They have listened to them in forming the new "AfPak Policy," and when you see such men as David Kilcullen testifying before the House Armed Services Committee and hear the things that they are saying... and being taken mui seriously... there is room for hope."

Gates is reported to have consulted GEN David Petraeus, commander of U.S. Central Command; ADM Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and President Barack Obama before requesting the resignation.

Mckeirnan (who has often been accused of "not getting" the War in Afghanistan), is being replaced by GEN Stanley McChrystal who Gates said in the press conference has a "unique skill skill set in counterinsurgency".

Gates also announced that he will nominate GEN David Rodriguez as deputy commander in Afghanistan, a newly created position. McChrystal and Rodriguez are reported to be close friends. Rodriguez was previously in command of U.S forces in Eastern Afghanistan and not under NATO/ISAF command.

What this all means is that this now very much Obama's War and is indeed cause for optimism. These moves to pure counterinurgency (COIN)involve a combination of kinetic warfare and diplomacy and are very much in keeping with what Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been saying recently and is consistent with the Manley Report on Afghanistan. Counterinsurgency is about providing security to the Afghan people.

It is long overdue.

Friday, May 01, 2009

You Served - Military Blog and Podcast

I work in front of a computer all day and on Friday it's just a lot of mindless wrap up stuff so this was a great way to do my job on auto pilot and really enjoy the show. This is an excellent show for anyone interested in the Military.

Today's podcast (recorded live last night) catches up with film-maker and embedded freelance journalist/blogger, Scott Kesterson, live from Afghanistan. He has been out on missions the last few days and gives us a fresh perspective of how things are going with the Afghan National Army in Gardez. Also on the show is Mark Baker, creator of the popular Army Times cartoon "PVT Murphy's Law" ( Last but not least, Wesley Gray, author of "EMBEDDED: A Marine Corps Advisor Inside the Iraqi Army"

Here's the link: (Scroll down to episode 36)