Monday, March 17, 2014

Wasn't That a Party?

As Canada has now wound down its great Afghan adventure, the 'post mortems'  are beginning to appear. The standard, 'bringing down the standard' and 'bringing the boys back home' coverage is there,  some of it remarkably interesting.

Last week it was the standard fare about the ceremony at the embassy in Kabul, where the military entrusted the nation's flag to the diplomatic corps. That might have been the best idea 11 years ago. It certainly would have been less expensive.

The national papers are printing pieces  on how we can 'recognize the sacrifice' and 'pay tribute to those who served'. Military plans for such celebrations have beeen kiboshed by government announcements that, if the military wants it, the military will be paying for it.  The $10 million 'recognition assembly'  last year in Ottawa, to fete the Libyan humanitarian bombing, was billed to the D.N.D. The 'pols' will be there for the free canapes, and the people will be paying the shot, but it's coming out of the military budget. In much the same way as, I'd imagine, the 'tab' for  the Defence Minister  Julian 'il magnifico' Fantino (MPP and former 'chef' of the OPP) who's appearing, to-day, in Famagusta,  to welcome the last contingent 'decompressing' from Afghan service (I'm pretty sure they

weren't impressed to see that 'twat', with his 'service medals', rather than the other kind). According to the Cypriot press, Fantino was there to 'celebrate 50 years of Canadian peacekeeping' on Cyprus by opening a memorial museum and art gallery (another DND expense?). One would think if anybody would be paying for that,  it might be the Cypriots, they're the ones the peacekeeping was all about, no? And why a museum there, they've had first-hand experinece to remember. The Museum should have been in Canada.

The Prime Minister, not to be outdone, has announced he'll be on-hand to gladhand the boys as they alight in Canada. But that cost might be folded-into his 'succour the valiant Ukrainians tour'. He's also jetting-off to see if he can't get us into a shooting war with the Russians.

Naturally, too, there are a plethora of ruminations about the 'costs'.  One of the main causes of  Harper government's deficit-financing is a reputed $20 billion spent on warfighting. Now that figure is being 'attritted' down to the 12 billion dollar 'chump-change' region, as future costs aren't costs yet. All-in-all, this leaves the military in relatively worse shape than it was before they got the new desert 'cadpat' uniforms  and IED-resistant vehicles we won't be using, and in need of naval vessels and new aircraft we can no longer afford. At the same  time the government needs to come up with its first balanced budget - ever. So the sluice gates at the Department of National Defence have been pip-squeaked and Julian, having overseen many a tight police budget, is just the man for the buffet - sojers aren't invited.

One of the more poignant aspects is revisiting the families of the dead. For this 'war' had a real cost in broken lives. Sadly, one can almost hear the 'pols' and 'vets' moving-in to corner the 'honour' market. Not right now of course, they'd get 'shut up' in short order, but the families can't be trusted to 'honour the fallen' as their healthy comrades need it to be done. The benefits of all those little Afghan girls in school - whatever those may be (for we only know it's 'good');  the new-found freedom their women are 'working on'';  the stability of the gang of thieves and warlords we call their government;  the 'standing shoulder to shoulder to fight terror';  the best of intentions; etc, etc are all still trotted-out to justify 11 years of the second best bang-bang money could buy (our American cousins always do it better). Those 'loved ones' will eventually have to shut their cake-holes, or be ignored.

'Dying in vain' is such a lousy recruiting slogan.

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