Monday, July 03, 2006

DND thumbs its nose at Harper

Stephen Harper said that the media were not allowed to cover the repatriation of soldiers killed in Afghanistan. The Department of National Defence was told to keep the press away. The military’s response? Up yours!

The military has its own way of letting their opinion be known. As someone who has spent a lifetime surrounded by the military in one form or another, I can attest to the remarkable ability of a military man to gleefully wreak havoc on all and sundry while maintaining a perfectly straight face.

A Department of National Defence official snapped photographs outside a repatriation ceremony in April to illustrate how the government's policy was causing security concerns.


About 20 photographs were shown to Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier, according to the documents.

"This may cause safety issues and generate even more frustration, particularly in winter," Lt.-Col. Richard Lavoie, a departmental public-affairs director, wrote in an e-mail in which he forwarded the photos to several colleagues.
“Safety issues”. Right. Gotcha. I’ll bet it didn’t take more than a couple of beers over at the officers’ mess to come up with that one. And just to make sure the message was clear:

Military officials found other ways to express their displeasure: they cleared equipment from the airport tarmac so the news media outside the base could have an unobstructed view of the ceremony.
And it never hurts to call in reinforcements:

The e-mail exchanges between departmental officials were accompanied by photographs of police cruisers blocking a highway lane outside the base. That security blanket allowed journalists standing by the highway to capture distant images of the incoming flight and solemn ceremony.

Department of National Defence: 1
Tory government: 0

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