Thursday, September 17, 2009

Oops! They've Done it Again

Canada's boyz 'n girlz in red have been earning campaign medals - just like the real sojers - for service in Afghanistan. This continues a fine tradition that saw 'volunteer' detachments of Mounties posted to South Africa to police the Boers and, for a while, posted as an independent unit in Canada's WW1 expeditionary force in Siberia and a separate unit of the Provost Corps - no doubt to 'police' the troops. In Afghanistan the Mounties are supposed to be fulfilling the vital function of turning the Afghans into a bunch of latter-day Dudley Doowrights - sans horses, and striped trous, lacking tasers and mace as well, no doubt.

'Supposed' might be the operant word here, for the Afghans probably have a firmly set idea of policing that stands little comparison to working traffic at Lester B, a booze run in Winnipeg or even Saturday night patrol among the Gleichans. So that leaves the 'postees' with, what, at least 6 months to hang around base thinking up some 'diversions' before they can complete the indent for the gong.

And hence the post. To-day's Star ran another little 'black eye' for Canada's valiant effort in south Asia - the tale of the lesser mortals. It seems our multicultural police force in Afghanistan divided itself into two homogeneous groups - the 'real' Mounties - scions of Wee Georgie French and his pale boys from Belfast - and the 'darkies' - those latter-day Mounties hired as a sop to Canada's multi-ethnic make-up. So in with the Pakis and the Sikhs, the Jamaicans and the Chinese went the original Canadians who might in no way be described as pale in the face, or apparently 'military enough'.

"Afghan Tour Race - based"

A native-born officer complained to his superior about the Team 'A', Team 'B' set-up and some of the high jinx 'A' was playing on 'B' - he was told 'Don't go there.' when he mentioned the race word. I wonder if there were Team 'A' subdivisions for 'dogans' and the loyal believers? What about the 'ladies' assuming female RCMP types get posted into war zones. Two senior officers are suing the force.

I would imagine that having Afghans trained by people who resemble them might be a benefit of some kind in the current situation. I'm pretty sure that the white 'Sahibs' are better viewed though a set of gunsights in the minds of most Afghans, police included. So Canada has a wonderful opportunity to impress upon the Afghans the importance of even-handed policing for which we are renowned and instead the best we can muster is a double ration of mental midgets who might otherwise be engaged in tasering travelers or putting the fear of the lord into another generation of reservation youngsters. This story would have us believe that they've taking their barrack-room bullying overseas.

But what if it's only a 'horsefly in a nosebag'? After all it's an in-house matter, something with which the command echelon can deal. It's notable that the Mounties have been in country going on 6 years now and this is the first it's been noised around. Stuff like this doesn't usually stay unnoticed so long. It might be nothing, but it may indicate something happening with indiscipline, or indifference, over there.

Neither one should be happening here, let alone in Afghanistan.

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