Tuesday, July 05, 2011

We're Out the Door!

Well not quite. In today's reality nothing is ever as it seems, or as it's cracked up to be. The denouement of Canada's adventures in Panjwai no less than anything else.

The Canada Day papers were full of the 'last' Canada Day in 'Canadahar' stories. Tales of ebullient Canuck merriment as the last 'roto' rotates its way into history. Stories of the Canada Day party at the base, where all the troops - front liners included - were gathered in for a couple of brewskis, some free red ball caps - a corporate 'goody' from Tim's  to repay the 'opportunity to serve' where the Red Cross and Sally Ann served our sires - with donuts and coffee, and a 'good time'.

How many of to-day's vets will have the same sour taste as their Grampies caused by the Red Cross' habit of charging for what the Sally Ann gave away free? Tim's, after all, is  in Kandahar on a 'cash' basis. Perhaps 'saving the world' and 'defending democracy from evil doers' are substantially different things than 70 years ago and there's supposedly a sense of entitlement missing to-day but it's definitely 'user buys'. I wonder how they work the 'buy a soldier a coffee'  campaign the Legion runs over there? If the bottom line is 'covered' by what they charge the military? The Horton's 'volunteer' staff may qualify for the new 'Afghan service medal' - the one foreign service workers don't qualify for, but this is volunteering with a corporate edge. When the US vets see a Timmy's going up in their neighborhoods, it hopefully won't give them the heeby-jeebies. Let it be known, however, that Tim's plows all the 'profits' of that Afghan operation as charitable donations, back into programs for soldiers. A win-win situation for any 'patriotic' corporation.

There were road hockey games with the politicos, other entertainers and press. 'Bubbles' the Trailer-park boy was there, a French Canadian comic to entertain the rump of the Vandoos was there, the CinC and 'MinDef' were there - sticks, and mikes, in hand. And so was Canada's latter-day 'Cracklin'  Rosie' Di Manno the granny, warrior-groupie of the Toronto Star.

Rosie's is out-doing herself these days. It's almost as if she thinks she won't be going back to Afghanistan over the next decade to report on the 'sacrifices' of our military police units and square-bashing aficionados. She's no spring chicken,  but one might almost suspect she gets moist being around all that military junk  Describing how a unit used an Afghan hill to 'clear' their APC guns and artillery before they were packed for shipping, one might be amused by the apparent glee of the lads on a free-fire exercise. Everybody who hadn't had a chance to shoot something significant must have been bussed out to the site. A jarring little bit of reality intruded into the good time, in the form of a Afghan station wagon,  straying into an area that was thought to 'civilian free'.  It just underscores the fact that our 'intel' still isn't 90 percent.

That doesn't stop Rosie from drooling over some Playgirl candidate's gelled 'stiffie'.  It's good that our guys can manage to look great while fighting terror. And a real bummer they have to slap a 'pot' onto a flashy 'do'. But that's war. To-day's Rosie report is titled, 'No Warning ... No Regrets'.  It tells of the prowess of the Canadian sniper.

The papers speak glowingly, for the saga isn't finished yet, of how Canada's 'footprint' was being 'erased' as we leave. That will be a change, if it's not more BS, as Afghanistan is littered with the detritus left behind by better war-fighters than us. The jury is still out on 'the mark' we've left on Afghanistan. Not only in terms of the stuff we won't be 'repatriating',  but also in terms of  the 'wonders'  Johnny Canuck has wrought. Those wonders are now in the gentle hands of the US Marine Corps. We'll see what happens next.

For the Canadian Forces, however, the gaze is directed northward ... toward Canada's Arctic. The 'challenge' there will not be from Afghan farmers, but from the Bears and Bison. It was our current PM who, only three years ago, 'Stepforded'** the renascent Russian air force's encroaching on Canadian airspace as they flew around their half of the Arctic. Canadian F-18's were scrambled to meet the potential intruder and the case made that we 'need' something stealthier to sneak up on them, and actually 'catch them in some act' or other. I wonder what the PM will think when our 'allies' steam a fleet into the Arctic to protect their vital oil interests and declare the Northwest Passage an 'international seaway'  like the Red Sea, or the Intracoastal Waterway? Our allies seem intent on manifesting their destiny on Canadian sovereignty in the Arctic, while our enemas, the Russki's, don't.

Or maybe we'll be saddling-up the Governor General's Horse guards to ride to the rescue of the gallant little Libyans.  Wouldn't that be a shock?  For they don't particularly like us either.

A country in search of an adventure is a country with too much time on its hands.

** The act of pointing and shrieking - at 'aliens'  a la The Stepford Wives' and hecklers who attend Netanyahu speeches. Alerting the herd to danger.

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