Saturday, June 23, 2012

Thanks an Effin Lot, Eh?

In a new book by  Rajiv Chandrasekaran ("Little America: the War within the War in Afghanistan") Canada's noble contribution to the little girls of Afghanistan is being panned by some of the warrior elite of America. Canada's lack of 'performance', or failure to do what it took, or lack of caring about Kandahar, or just not getting out of the way so the guys who knew better could do it right, is being blamed, as a causal factor, in  ISAF's notable  failure-to-thrive.

The Canadian 'lack' has been apparent from the very beginning. When the Martin government signed on to the UN 'mission' to rebuild a devastated Afghanistan, it only took a couple of weeks before Canada's military approach was being criticized as not being military enough. Engineers were less needed than infantry. Even when Canadian soldiers, undergoing 'security training' were mistakenly bombed by a USAF  jabo and the shortcomings of our light-skinned patrol vehicles were made apparent in a couple of  mine incidents, Canada was criticized for its 'peacekeeper' mentality. The criticism came from within the Canadian Forces too. There was a shooting war going on as America had engendered an Afghan insurgency across the formerly-pacified southern provinces. America wanted a more 'robust' Canadian presence. And so 'they' gave 'us' Kandahar.

Canada's 'warfighters' took up their bunker HQs  at the airport facility and extablished a FOB in downtown Kandahar to protect the 'government area'. In typical fashion, however, and in hindsight, what was thought to be 'enough',  wasn't. Out of a deployment rotation of 2500 troops, only 800, or less, qualified as 'fighting forces' - the rest were administrative, or training types,  assigned to base area duties or logistics. The fighters were expected to maintain security in the Kanadahar area. That was soon extended to the Panjwaii and other areas south and west of the city. A massive jail break in Kandahar resulted in a temporary shift of focus to the Arghandab river valley north-west of the city in an unsuccessful joint ISAF operation to bring the escapees back to  prison, or kill them. 

Canada's main war-fighting efforts were centered on the Panjwaii. The first introduction - 'Operation Medusa' - the pacification of the Panjwaii area - led to Canada's first battle deaths and the first criticism from US commanders that Canadians were a bit 'diffident' about getting shot, lacking in the 'warrior ethos' that makes a frontal assault the thrill it is. That lack of 'robustness' would become a chorus in the ballad of how Canadians 'helped', or didn't. Canada went on to pacify the area and build a couple of  'model villages' that were held up as examples of what ISAF intended to do.  When Canadians combat units  were pulled out in 2011, the US moved in and quickly returned the area to 'Dodge City 'status, with their night raids and destruction of  'abandoned' compounds. and marketplaces. It was in the Panjwaii area that the notorious 'one-man massacre' was to take place in early 2012.

The 'girls' club' at US headquarters in Kandahar also managed to remove the Canadian 'hotshot' - Brigadier Danny Menard, when they made sure gossip and war reporter Mike 'Yawn' got to find out he was 'having it off' with a female corporal. That was only the last nail in his coffin, as the 'warfighters' had criticized his 'security performance' on an IED attack on the main road bridge between Kandahar and the airport, and he had been fined for almost shooting the Canadian CinC,  smilin' Walt Natanczuk, in an weapons discharge accident.

We all know that, as Canada was getting ready to leave, President Obama was preparing to 'kick the cat' one last time. Meeting with his military advisors, the 'surge' doctrine was adapted to Afghanistan. The Petraeus part of the strategy - the "I can do that with less troops, Mr President", saw a change of command as 'new boys' moved up to the plate.  Command deals were made, the Marines were tasked with the greatest part of the labour,. timelines were set, success guaranteed and the cavalry rode off to eliminate the savages. 

It failed.

The new boys have been replaced, the old boys have been promoted and other than much more damage than had previously been done to southern Afghanistan, little more than some photo ops has been changed. The insurgency, while diminished perhaps - significant populations being killed, interned or refugeed out of Kandahar and Helmand provinces - is as nasty and as ubiquitous as ever. In fact it has moved from the hinterlands of the south and now occurs, as viciously and regularly, everywhere else. 

And now as things 'wind down' to the vict'ry stage of the Petraeus model, Canada remains, for the time being, engaged in a fairly useless training role and a probably  more useful SF role. Canada's famed SF 'killers' who won glowing accolades from American killers will, no doubt, be part of that 'presence' that will be remaining behind to assist the Afghan 'killers' to eliminate  the insurgency.  Unless, of course, the Afghan 'killers'  continue to kill their allies, as they've increasingly taken to doing.

Whatever happens the Canadians' sub-par performance will be a part of the myth of how America was cheated out of another moral victory (like Vietnam) - to go along with the, obvious, battlefield wins.

It's a Nutty Old World

The Canadian News was monopolized by a story that began with somebody's foot being mailed to a political office in Ottawa. The next day the postal department headed-off what turned out to be a hand, in the mail to a different political office. Then the headless, limbless torso of a body turned-up in a suitcase put out for garbage pick-up. Since then, the story has morphed into the world-wide (Europe at least) manhunt for a fugitive porn-star cum (no pun intended) artist, who allegedly video-taped himself murdering and dismembering a 'pal' in his apartment. The victim was to-day identified as a nice-guy university student of Chinese extraction who was looking 'for a friend'. His friend, the killer, is being described as someone very closely related to the great lord Beelzebub. He's also managed to make himself go 'poof', allegedly leaving Canada by air shortly after the murder and disappearing from the radar screen due, we are told, to the possibility that he has created multiple identities for himself and can change his appearance with some facility. That he doesn't have a proverbial pot to piss in, is, apparently, no impediment to his ability to get around and get away.

As an update: the killer was arrested while using the facilities of an internet cafe in Germany to keep up with his facebook following.  The latter, we learn, are a growing number  who see the gender-confused 'prawduct' of modern society as a 'troll model'. The cafe manager 'saw through' his disguise - ie recognized him from news posts, and called the police. The police were, it is reported, taken in by his denials - (keine deutsche spreche?)- but he finally 'fessed-up'. He was flown back to Canada on a military aircraft and is now undergoing intensive counselling. In sidebar, a teacher was fired for showing the u-tube vodeo of the murder/dissection to his civics class in a lesson about how to treat, or not treat, other people.

Bizarre as that might be,  is an even better story coming out of Miami this week where an apparently 'decent human being' (according to his family) reportedly got 'hepped-up' on some new style 'acid' and, after stripping naked while making his way home, assaulted and ate the face of a homeless individual he encountered, who was sleeping on a bridge. Numerous passers-by witnessed the attack and eventually police showed up. They ordered the man to stop feeding but after he refused and 'growled' at them, they shot him, and then shot him again whan he resumed eating. The assailant died, the assailed is reported to be a candidate for facial replacement surgery - having lost most of the skin on his forehead, his nose, his eyelids and lips. It was only the apparent  lack of a decent shave that saved the lower part of his face.

More mundane was the reported massacre of more than 100 people including a large number of women and children in a place called Houla in Syria.  Within  minutes of the occurrence the world press was laying the killings at the door of Bashir Assad, describing how the army had been shelling the area. It later turned out that the majority of the dead had been killed up close by gunshot. The notion of the Syrian army shooting civilians while under a barrage of friendly artillery fire seemed a little out of whack. Then the killings were laid at the door of 'government militia' who can, apparently, better stand the shelling whilst killing the innocent. An eyewitness, a little lad who drenched himself in his dead brother's  blood and avoided detection by the killers, when asked who did it, he responded, 'Why are you asking me that? Everybody knows who did it."

Since the intial reports,  at least three 'dissonent' ones are reporting the dead weren't shiite Arabs, but rather Armenian Christians and others aligned with the Assad government and  the killers now might well be the anti-government 'free Syria' forces. The UNHRC is calling for an investigation.

FARC,  the almost-defunct 'terrorist' organization in Colombia, recently released the French reporter they had taken 'hostage' when they ambushed a group of Colombian military engaged in a "peaceful" drug lab take-down operation a month ago. The release was accomplished in a village where the people seemed to be happy and  supportive of FARC - or all looped-up on the local 'medication'. A Colombian ex-senator and the IRC were on hand to take the 'victim' under protection. Notable in its absence was the Colombian military, which has stage-managed so many other such 'rescues'  and 'releases'. It will be interesting to find out if the 'hostage' bad mouths  his captors now that he's free, as has been the 'de rigeur' exercise on such similiar cases. Colombia is well on its way to having one of the world's premier fighting forces that American money can buy, it's certainly of a quality to-day to be able to make FARC permanently defunct. Then all the 'illegal' drug trade can stop. Unless those FARC are like the Taliban.

We were told this week that President Obama, as part of his duties has assumed the mantle of  'killer-in-chief' of the United States of America. In his duty as chief protector of America, we are told, he meets with his advisory staff and vets all those, world-wide, who are targeted for extinction due to their 'threat to  ___________'  (fill in the blank). What we weren't told was how somebody gets on the list, and how many times these targets have been acquired and attacked. Taking it on faith -  it's 'all good', clean, kills and totally necessary - otherwise it wouldn't be done, see? 'Legs Diamond' running 'Murder Inc' was  a crime, the President's-class world-wide version is a 'necessity'.