Friday, June 23, 2006

The Military/Civilian Compact

I normally ignore emails from people too stupid to be acknowledged. The delete key works quite well and addition to the spam list is convenient. However, this one deserves to be answered, if only because it provides some satisfaction to demonstrate the poor comprehension skills of the author. In all its unedited glory...

For someone who supposdly was in the army or whatever you write like some antiwar freak. Maybe if you knew anything about what is happenning in the afghan you wouldn't be so against it.You antiwar fucktards are deluded and you shouldn't be alowed to write at the Torch.
I was never in anybody's army. I was a Royal Marine. Most of my armed services career however, was as a sailor. My role in those branches of the service is something I will not discuss, however, if one is not able to make the distinction between a marine and a soldier I hesitate to think of the reaction should you make the mistake in face-to-face discussion.

I am certainly not an anti-war freak. I've fought in more than one war during my lifetime, without objection and without postbellum criticism. I paid dearly for participation in those conflicts, but if one thing stands out its the knowledge that I was able to do my job effectively despite the constant fear. And unless you're were willing to stand with me on a two-way rifle range or during a close quarters action, you know nothing of the fear, the horror and the disgust. If you think there's glory you've been reading too much of this crap. Now, that's a freak.

I have not come out against Canada's participation in Afghanistan. Indeed, I supported Canadian involvement. How this is interpreted differently is curious indeed. I do however, view all military entanglements with a healthy skepticism. All expeditionary troop deployments should face the question, "Is this absolutely necessary?" If the answer is, "no" then a much more serious debate needs to occur. Given the fact that Afghanistan was the cauldron from which premeditated and vicious attacks occurred, the question was properly answered. However, that does not mean that such a mission should not be continuously questioned, and if conditions exist whereby national goals will no longer be met then the question should be revisited.

I have a pretty good idea what's going on in Afghanistan. I am assuming that the author's reference to "the afghan" was a failed attempt to employ the common jargon, "the Afstan". I don't particularly like that bit of slang. I see it used by all sorts of people. As far as I'm concerned I hold that the only people who have the right to use that lingo are those who have Afghanistan's dirt in the soles of their boots. The rest of us can call it Afghanistan.

The rest of the email suggests the author is shallow of thought and deficient of education. It also suggests that he (gender verified) doesn't know much about what an armed forces is all about.

The compact which exists between the civilian population and the armed services of a country, particularly a developed, industrial nation like Canada, is unwritten, but it exists all the same. Members of the forces are voluntarily sworn to service and in return they have certain expectations of their civilian government. The government of Canada, regardless of political stripe, has met this compact with only marginal success since World War II, and in some cases has failed miserably.

1. If you commit me to combat or active military service you will have done so only after exhausting all other avenues and resources at your disposal to resolve the situation without armed force.

2. If you commit me to combat you will provide me with a clear goal which I can identify as the end of that operation.

3. You will never send me into combat with the knowledge that I cannot succeed.

4. If you commit me to combat you will ensure that I have everything I need to perform my task including appropriate manpower, high-quality equipment and continuous, unfettered materiel support.

5. If you commit me to a domestic non-military emergency you will guarantee that no other domestic resource exists.

6. You will never require me to fire on a citizen of my own country unless that person represents a clear lethal threat to me, my force or others I am tasked to protect.

7. You will not deny or suborn international agreements regarding the rules of armed conflict.

8. If I am killed as a result of you committing me to active service you will provide for the continued welfare of my dependents.

9. If I am maimed as a result of you committing me to active service you will provide for my complete rehabilitation.

10. You will never use my existence, duty, accomplishments or service for personal political gain.

The problem, of course, is that while those who serve and have served understand the above points very clearly, most politicians don't get it.

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