Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Political General

A good number of people have weighed in on General Rick Hillier's comments today.
“Let me just come out and say very frankly here, I met a variety of soldiers who are pissed off,” Gen. Rick Hillier told reporters at the Kandahar air base.

“They are angry that these allegations have detracted from the overall mission here – the focus back in Canada, specifically, on the enormous amount of good that is being done, on the incredible things that are happening here in Kandahar province and around the rest of Afghanistan, and the additional security and the stability and the hope for a future that we are bringing to millions of Afghans.”

Are. They. Now.?

Once again, Rick Hillier steps over the line.

The Chief of Defence Staff has publicly criticized elected members of parliament engaged in a debate in the House of Commons.

That is not the province of a serving Canadian general, regardless of his appointment. If the troops are complaining to him it is his responsibility to explain to those troops that it is an essential element of a parliamentary democracy that the government be scrutinized in anything and everything they do. It is the job of the opposition to probe the behaviour of government.

It is not the job of the Chief of Defence Staff to criticize that opposition. The Chief of Defence Staff has a responsibility to be seen to be totally and impeccably apolitical. Hillier has once again failed in that responsibility.

Given that we know Harper must approve public statements made by Hillier, we can safely assume that Harper was fully aware of and condoned the statements by Hillier, if, in fact, they weren't prepared by the Prime Minister's Office.

Hillier is fully aware that criticism of prisoner transfer arrangements is directed at the government and the ministers responsible; not the uniformed troops deployed to Afghanistan. And that awareness, coupled with Hillier's unrestrained criticism of the questions of elected members of parliament means one thing.

Rick Hillier is a Conservative Party prop.

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