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Letter to the Editor Re: Canada's Role in the Fight Against ISIS

Gronk

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The following is a letter to the editor printed in my local newspaper here in Whitehorse.

Re: Debate about the Canadian Armed Forces' role in the fight against ISIS

  As a Canadian Veteran, I would like to dispel a few myths, and elevate the debate in regards to Canada's role in this fight against ISIS. I am angered that all the political parties in this country seem to be trying to "score points" in regards to this issue on the backs of the brave men and women whose task it is to carry out this mission.

  Myth #1 - "This is/is not a 'Combat Mission'" : There is no such thing as a "Combat" mission, there are only missions. Sometimes your mission is dangerous, sometimes it isn't. Sometimes you are armed, sometimes you are not. Sometimes it is an overseas mission, sometimes domestic. Sometimes you wear a blue beret, sometimes a green helmet. The made up title of "Combat Mission" has no bearing on your task, it's difficulty, or it's danger. It does not exist. I have served on operations in Canada where I was armed, but not in danger, and I know unarmed military observers who were in extreme danger on their operations.

  Myth #2 - "We need to have an 'Exit Strategy'" : Another beast that does not exist. No nation, alliance, empire, city state, clan or tribe has ever, in the history of armed conflict, going back to the stone age, gone into a fight with an "Exit strategy" or, if you prefer, a plan to leave immediately if, "Things don't work out the way we plan". There are two sayings that military commanders use when making a battle plan, "No plan survives contact with the enemy" and, "The enemy always gets to have their say in your plan". The "Fog of war" permeates every armed conflict. If someone tells you, with any kind of certainty, "This is what will happen on this mission" , he is lying to you. There are simply too many possible outcomes in armed conflict. The variables are endless. Having an "Exit strategy" going into war is like planning your wedding for noon, and having a date lined up for nine o'clock in case it doesn't work out. It is what it is, war will be what it will be.

  Myth #3 - "This is/is not a 'Real War'" : War is always evolving. We do not line up in three ranks, in an open field, at a prescribed time, to trade salvos of musket fire anymore. Cavalry units don't ride horses in combat anymore. Nations, very rarely, if ever, formally declare war upon each other anymore. Even so called "Peacekeeping" missions have changed. Peacekeeping, as it was envisioned, is an armed force deployed between two warring nation state's professional military. The two nations have agreed to stop fighting, and the neutral peacekeeping force is there to enforce the negotiated and agreed upon settlement. This does not happen anymore (if it ever even did). Which bring me to the last myth...

  Myth #4 - "Canadians are the World's 'Peacekeepers'" : This one really irks me. Canada IS NOT, and never has been, a neutral country. We have interests abroad, and alliances to maintain. We desire peace and stability in the world, but the world is a dangerous place. We must be prepared to defend our country and our way of life. These alliances, which have kept us safe for many years, come with obligations. The defense of Canada is our armed forces' primary mission and reason for existing. Period. Full stop. Peace support operations are only a sideline. The reason that Canadian service members have a reputation as good peacekeepers is that they are well trained and professional soldiers (and sailors, and airmen, and airwomen) first. The vast majority of their training is for full out war. That is the only way. I can tell you, having worn the blue beret under the UN in Croatia, a green beret under NATO in Bosnia, and a green kevlar helmet under an alliance in Afghanistan, I have witnessed, and been extremely grateful for, Canadian soldiers' war fighting abilities.

  It is not my intention to offer my personal opinion, nor influence the reader's, about weather we should or should not deploy Canada's military, or what their mission should or should not be, but I feel very strongly that we, as Canadian citizens, should be having this conversation. Too many of us have forgotten that we owe, and should be thankful for, the freedom and luxury of being able to give our opinion in the public sphere, to those who have sacrificed on our behalf. The stakes are too high, and too much Canadian blood has been spilled, to stick our heads in the sand now.

  Lest We Forget

  Darcy Grossinger C.D.
  Whitehorse Yukon
 

cryco

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I'm tempted to print it out and distribute it at work. Too many people believe these myths.
 
J

jollyjacktar

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Excellent letter,  maybe the best ever.  I would love to see this distributed across the country.  BZ
 

NavyHopeful

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Wow.  Just... wow.

How do you respond to a letter like that?  You can't.  I wish someone would get up in the House of Commons (particularly this person's MP) and read it aloud for the entire Parliament to hear.  This is the voice of one of our own.  Someone who has voluntarily given their civil liberties to and put their life on the line (in 3 key events in our nation's History) and paved the way for our leaders to have the international relationships they have today.  I think it's about time the leaders on the hill, every single one of them, take a gut-check, pull their heads out of the sand, and start listening to the people they were elected to represent.

:salute: to Darcy Grossinger for this beautifully worded reality check.  BZ.

Rev
:yellow:
 

TCM621

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If anyone knows this guy, let him know he basically captured what most of us have been thinking for years.
 

Brad Sallows

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Good letter.  But "exit strategy" has two meanings - "war aims", and "bail out plan", and too many people are getting wrapped around the wrong one.  We do need to have "war aims", and we need to achieve them, and then we need to "go home".
 

s2184

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Today I saw two different news items related to ISIS & Canada.

1- Canada's first air strike against ISIS target
2- Iraq commander said Our Fighter Jets are vulnerable for enemy attacks

My question is what are the options available for our pilots in case of the jet being attacked by missile? Just jump out of the plane?

I read couple of books talking about POWs in WWII. I cannot imagine what if ISIS captures our pilots? Are the Canadian public really mentally prepared to see the outcomes if they go bad?

I hope everyone of our brave men & women return home safely.
 

OldSolduer

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I think pilots that are captured will be beheaded. My opinion only.
 

mariomike

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s2184 said:
I read couple of books talking about POWs in WWII.

"The Last Raid" by Dan Ford goes into some detail on the treatment of B-29 crews shot down over Japan.

 

Monsoon

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Jim Seggie said:
I think pilots that are captured will be beheaded. My opinion only.
Professional assessment:

1 - Tortured;
2 - Exploited for propaganda purposes; and then
3 - Beheaded, if they don't give their captors a reason to keep them alive.
 

Loachman

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s2184 said:
My question is what are the options available for our pilots in case of the jet being attacked by missile? Just jump out of the plane?

Do you mean before the missile detonates? That would tend to sully the jumper's reputation somewhat, no?

There are defensive measures.

Pilots have pistols.

I am not worried about this unlikely scenario at all.
 

daftandbarmy

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That's what the Brylcreem is for: they grab your flowing locks so they can take off your head then, voom.... slick as a whistle off you go to freedom  ;D
 

pbi

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Gronk: BZ. Well said. I second all the comments made in your favour here. In one neat stroke you have shut down most of the noise that passes for serious discourse about Canada's military role in the world, whether this noise comes from the media, the masses, or the sitting Govt.
 

dimsum

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Has anyone actually shared it with the wider (national) media, or is it still only in the local WH paper and army.ca? 

Although, I'm sure some journos are reading this as I type.
 
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