Friday, May 11, 2012

The Mulroney question

#Cdnpoli - 

It took a shortage of parkas, winter tents and basic all round cold weather gear for it to finally sink in.
Six years after the Harper government declared the Arctic to be a new operations area for the Canadian military, the army has struggled to find enough parkas, cold-weather tents, lanterns and heaters to equip forces that take part in its annual summer exercise.

The "critical equipment shortfalls" were so bad last year, the head of the army approved a request by area commanders to buy missing gear themselves, say internal briefing documents.
University of Calgary Associate Professor, Rob Huebert, who pays keen interest to Canadian Arctic operations was, well, shocked. (Emphasis mine)
"The most likely scenarios they need to respond to are a ship going aground and an airliner going down up there. I mean, that can occur any day now, and so to say we don't have enough equipment, even to keep our own troops warm, says a lot about the priority the government places on the Arctic."
And then the Mulroney shot.
"Are we back to Mulroney's time period, when it was a lot of talk and no action?" said Huebert.
Actually, Mr. Huebert, the current crop of self-adoring Conservatives are much worse. The Mulroney gang didn't parade about in uniforms they hadn't earned or take salutes to which they were not entitled. 


The Mound of Sound said...

Dave, entirely off topic but I've wondered if you had a look at the US Joint Forces Staff College scandal broken by It's about a course that taught America might have to exterminate the world's Muslims to ensure the security of the United States. That's genocide to the tune of 1.4-billion people.

This isn't made up. Even BBC today has the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs denouncing the course and ordering an investigation. Yet according to people like Andrew Bacevich, retired career officers, this seems to be just a symptom of a disease that has swept through America's hyper-militarized armed forces.

What do you make of this?



Edstock said...

Mound — Remember Herman Kahn's opus? " On Thermonuclear War: Thinking About the Unthinkable"

The point is, general staffs are always drawing up contingency plans. Is that one somewhat extreme?

Probably — but remember, the Muj have Jihad as a sacred duty to slay the infidel, or is that BS? Their madrassas would seem to indicate otherwise. Their suicide bombers also support this conclusion.

So, if you're a staff planner, faced with a strident, implacable threat, pondering such extreme scenarios is not surprising. Is it achievable? No, not without unbelievable collateral damage, which makes the idea a non-starter.

Boris said...

Flip it around. Yes, there are crazy fanatical Muslims out there, but then there are also crazy fanatical Americans who seriously contemplate genocide against the former based on the actions of an absurdly small number of the former. Plenty of crazy all around, not to mention (on the part of the US) an understanding of conflict that privileges killing as the path to victory over nuanced strategic manoeuvring and deep study. A decade of killing in Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam, etc did nothing but feed the motivation of the enemy to carry on fighting and destroy millions of lives on all sides.

I remember years ago seeing an interview with a West Point cadet around the annual West Point vs. RMC hockey game. The West Point kid being interviewed went on about fun of the friendly rivalry but then couldn't resist adding that he was totally prepared to kill the RMC adversaries. Yeah, I think I see where the problem begins.

The Mound of Sound said...

Ed, you might find Bacevich's "The New American Militarism" helpful. It chronicles the evolution of a radically different American military in the post 9/11 era, one that has emerged out of the union of the radical right neoconservatives, the radical religious right evangelican fundamentalists and the unparalleled military/industrial/corporate warfighting complex operating under the umbrella of a corporatist government. Bacevich, a retired US army combat command officer turned professor, sometime lecturer at West Point, describes a modern American military that has evolved into a fourth branch of government, one that now at timeslikes to make government policy rather than give effect to it.

This isn't a matter of staff planning, Ed, anything but. This isn't limited to battling the Islamists but eradicating the Muslim population. It contemplates using "Hiroshima tactics" on major Muslim centres including Mecca. Some of the course materials are even posted online, Ed.

What you get from reading Bacevich and others is that this business is actually just a symptom of a contagion within the US military establishment.

The Mound of Sound said...

One other point you're overlooking, Ed. If this was a general staff planning exercise it would have remained tightly under wraps. It wasn't. It was a course at staff college. It advocated the extermination of an entire civilization of 1.4-billion Muslims - the few radicals and the 1.399-billion peaceful Muslims as well. It advocated nuking Mecca.

Now it's out. The documents are on the web. Every Muslim can read them and, when they do, every "crusader" myth the radicals have tossed about is going to seem infinitely more credible.

You're a Muslim doctor who's been sitting on the fence and you learn that American military leaders are being taught that they might have to wipe out your wife and kids to secure America. You even get to read their course documents justifying mass murder, genocide of your people. How do you see America now?

C'mon, Ed, give your head a shake.

Anonymous said...

Here's a scenario to consider for arctic gear troops.. One of the largest tailings ponds in the world begins cracking, then several of its almost as gigantic neighboring ponds begin weeping, shrinking and cracking in the cold. Its way, WAY below freezing in December, just before Christmas .. in the tar sands of Canada. The cracking sounds are like rifle and howitzer shots in the wicked cold air, and one nasty leak is now jetting out about 300 yards before losing velocity. Putting a thumb into this dike is a dog that don't hunt at all. When the largest pond breaks its 200 foot high walls loose it will send a toxic howling surge into the Athabasca delta that will never be forgotten. Think Red RIver or Quebec floods with bitumen extracted yum, plus five other dangerous flavors. Duh .. ! Of course there are people just downstream of the monster pond/lakes ! Schools even ! Who else but Canadian troops would we send there to rescue or defend Canadians.. The Mounties ? The Conservative Cabinet ? The Girl Scouts ?

Dave said...

Dooley is actually another of the whackjobs that got loose. His course, (not a planning exercise), is full of inaccuracies and wrong headed assumptions.

I've lived in a country governed by Muslims. There are no more "extreme jihadists" among the population there than there are Christian freaks in the US. Maybe even less.

I agree, this is another example of the US military going edgewise over the end.

Purple library guy said...

I have often noticed that right wing militarists always want to spend lots of money on the military, but they never want to spend any of it on stuff that has any relationship to actual people in the military and what they actually use to do their jobs. It's always cool toys, which admittedly have the double advantage of being (1) profitable to defense contractors and (2) cool toys.

So, lots of money for F-35s, no money for parkas. Lots for uber-cool concept armoured vehicles, not so much for armoring the bottoms of trucks.
In the US, lots for drones, not so much for training or flak jackets. And on and on. And of course in both cases, diddly for veterans, injured soldiers and other no-longer-usable people.