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NEED SOME HELP UNDERSTANDING

trutherf

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Hi Everyone!
I am fairly new to this site....and I need some help with trying to understand something about what is happening in Afghanistan..

I have a brother who has recently returned from his 6 month tour in Kandahar, and although I have spoken to him about this, I am looking for some alternative responses to my questions.

I believe I understand our role in Afghanistan... that is to assist in rebuilding their country, and protect the people of Afghanistan. Correct me please if I am incorrect.

I guess my concern is that I have heard of so many groups of people who are starting to hold protests to bring the Canadian Soldiers home, to take them out of Afghanistan. I get angry when I hear of these groups, and I realize that they are simply doing what they think is right and they are trying to protect our soldiers. However, I think this is where my confusion arises. I was always under the impression that a Canadian Soldier had the choice to join the Army, have the choice to sign up to go on tour to Afghanistan. (again, correct me if I am wrong please.) So then I think, what gives these groups the right to protest against our Soldiers being over there, if our Soldiers chose to go!?

Please help shed some light on this for me!
Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Supporter of Canadian Troops!
Tara
 

muskrat89

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Hi Tara - Welcome to the site, and thank you for supporting the troops! I'm sure you'll get some thoughtful replies to this thread. In the meantime, if you go to the "search" function at the top of the page, and type in "Afghanistan", you'll probably have enough reading to last you a day or two, at least.

As far as the philisophic theories about our mission in Afghanistan, you may want to peruse some of the fine offerings of the Ruxted Group. They can be found at http://ruxted.ca/

Again, welcome.

Army.ca Staff
 

Roy Harding

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trutherf said:
Hi Everyone!
I am fairly new to this site....and I need some help with trying to understand something about what is happening in Afghanistan..

I have a brother who has recently returned from his 6 month tour in Kandahar, and although I have spoken to him about this, I am looking for some alternative responses to my questions.

I believe I understand our role in Afghanistan... that is to assist in rebuilding their country, and protect the people of Afghanistan. Correct me please if I am incorrect.

I guess my concern is that I have heard of so many groups of people who are starting to hold protests to bring the Canadian Soldiers home, to take them out of Afghanistan. I get angry when I hear of these groups, and I realize that they are simply doing what they think is right and they are trying to protect our soldiers. However, I think this is where my confusion arises. I was always under the impression that a Canadian Soldier had the choice to join the Army, have the choice to sign up to go on tour to Afghanistan. (again, correct me if I am wrong please.) So then I think, what gives these groups the right to protest against our Soldiers being over there, if our Soldiers chose to go!?

Please help shed some light on this for me!
Any opinions would be greatly appreciated.

Supporter of Canadian Troops!
Tara

Please say thanks to your brother for me.  And to yourself and your family, please accept my thanks for YOUR sacrifices during his service.

You've made an erroneous assumption.  You are correct in stating that all our soldiers are volunteers.  HOWEVER, having once volunteered, a Reg Force soldier does not have to AGAIN volunteer to be sent overseas;  Reserve Force soldiers must make this second voluntary commitment.

As far as groups advocating bringing our soldiers home - you are correct - this IS their right, and for the most part I think they are well meaning if (in my opinion) mis(un)informed.  Having said that, I am one of those who believes it is possible to Support The Troops, and at the same time disagree with the mission.  I don't feel that way in this particular case - I support both the Troops and the mission, but I can understand those who don't support this particular mission.

So then I think, what gives these groups the right to protest against our Soldiers being over there, if our Soldiers chose to go!?

They have the RIGHT (your brother and his fellow soldiers, sailors, and airmen back through history have fought to ensure they KEEP that right) - what they are missing is LOGIC in their position, and that is - IMHO - what is confusing you regarding that position.

Regards,

Roy

Edit:  Stupid typo.
 

Staff Weenie

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Tara, the Canadian Forces is all volunteer. None of us are drafted, and the courts no longer send us people as an option instead of jail. Every single one of us voluntarily walked into a Recruiting Centre and indicated that we wanted to join (unless Mom or Dad pushed us through the door.....).

There are two main components to the Canadian Forces, with different Terms of Service. The Regular Force - where members are in essence the 'full time soldiers', and the Reserve Force - where members are 'part time soldiers'. Regular Force people have far less 'say' in where they go and what they do, although the can submit their release if they want (with the possible loss of pension benefits etc).

Deployment overseas for Regular Force members is not really optional. The various Headquarters determine that we need x number of Infantry, y number of Medics, etc, for a mission to succeed. Then, various Regular Force units are told to provide these people, sometimes with a backup person as well. It's not really voluntary for Regular Force people in that regard.

We do however, have some trades within the Canadian Forces that are very small, or under pressure due to various commitments. Sometimes, then, a unit can't fill their assigned positions, so we check to see if there are any other Regular Force personnel available, who would like to volunteer to go instead.

Reservists can go on overseas operations, and many are these days. They do 'volunteer' to go. In fact, under Canada's National Defence Act, we cannot just order Reservists to go outside of Canada without an 'Order in Council' enacted in Parliament (not done since WWII).

That said, Canada's military is a very motivated, professional, and trained force. I was a 'Tasker' (I looked for people to go overseas, or serve across Canada) for a few years, and aside from some trades where people are in short supply, I found no shortage of Regulars able to go. I also found no shortage of Reserve volunteers.

As for protesters, it is their right in a Democracy - and as much as I find them an annoyance, I see their purpose within our society. Most of the time, they have very little knowledge of what we are doing and why. They are often young people who feel a need to rebel (was once one of them at McMaster Univ), and they are spoon-fed anti-American info by liberal professors who hide in an Ivory Tower and think that the world can get along fine if nobody has an army.....

Ignore them, and support your brother. Now that he's home, he will have to reintegrate into our society, and he needs to know that his family is behind him 100%. It's not the easiest of time for many that are coming home, but we can help make it easier.

Good luck and welcome to the site.
 

LeonTheNeon

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I agree with Muskrat that a search should give you plenty to read; however, there was one thing that I wanted to specifically reply to.

So then I think, what gives these groups the right to protest against our Soldiers being over there, if our Soldiers chose to go!?

They have the right to protest for two critically important reasons:

1) Canada is a free country and has freedom of assembly and speech (with limitations of course), paid for with the blood of Canadians
2) The Canadian Forces represent Canada and Canadians, and so Canadians should have a voice in how the CF is used.  For example, if Canada were to conduct a war of naked aggression a la Germany in WWII wouldn't you want people to protest it?

So personally, I have no objection to people protesting.  What bothers me is that they don't present their arguments with truthfulness.  For example, if somebody says "I don't think we should be in A'stan because I don't believe Canada has a responsibility to other nations".  Okay, I disagree, but they are entitled to their opinion.  But if somebody says "Canada should withdraw from A'stan because we are following the Imperialist policies of the USA."  Now, I have a problem, this just isn't true and is a purely emotional argument designed to pull at the all too common anti-American sentiment in your average Canadian.  I would object to other falsehoods (e.g. in it for the oil) on differing grounds of course, but the main point still stands.  Make a reasoned, truthful argument I will defend your right to make it, but please don't make me defend your right to shovel lies to the Canadian public.
 

simysmom99

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First off, welcome to the site.  This is the place for info and we have many excellent members who love to share their wisdom.
I too get quite upset about the protesters.  My husband was grievously injured overseas in January 06, so the protesters seem to anger me more depending on the day.  Lucky them that our soldiers over the years have made it possible that we live in a free country where you can pretty much say what you would like. 
I do think that most are well meaning folks speaking up for what they believe in.  Just as we speak up for what we believe in.  For me, I always say that it doesn't matter whether you support the mission or not.  A lot of the time, I don't know what is right or wrong, but I have never been there so it is hard to make a judgement.  But I do know that I support  the troops.  And I truly think (hope might be a better word...) that most of the protesters support the troops as well.  My favorite quote (who I think is from one of our fine members, but I can't remember) is "If you don't stand behind the troops, feel free to stand in front of them."
Thank you to your brother and your family for your service.
 

trutherf

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thank you all so much for your replies.

I guess saying "what gives them the right to protest" was not the correct wording. Obviously I realize and understand and appreciate that they do have the right to protest. I think it is they way they do it that bothers me. The things that they say with no real understanding and no real proof of the statements they are making.

There is one group of people where I live, for example, who are protesting to bring our soldiers home because they feel that "Canada has no right to invade Afghanistan". But are we "invading" Afghanistan? Are we attacking the people of Afghanistan? I don't think we are. I think we are rebuilding their country and helping them.

So I do agree that they have the right to protest, I guess I just wish that people truly understood the cause before jumping up and down with their signs.

 

LeonTheNeon

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I guess I just wish that people truly understood the cause before jumping up and down with their signs.

I couldn't agree more.  An well-informed electorate is critically important to the success of democracy, unfortunately being well-informed isn't a prerequisite to having an opinion.  Or as Winston Churchill said

The best argument against democracy is a five-minute conversation with the average voter.

P.s. - Of course, I'm a firm supporter of democracy.  Or as Winston Churchill said.

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed, it has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

I guess this is quote Churchill day. :)
 

Roy Harding

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trutherf said:
...

I guess saying "what gives them the right to protest" was not the correct wording. Obviously I realize and understand and appreciate that they do have the right to protest. I think it is they way they do it that bothers me. The things that they say with no real understanding and no real proof of the statements they are making.

...

Get used to it.  People weigh in on matters with which they have absolutely no understanding all the time.  Heck, I do it myself (especially when I've had a few beer).

As far as "invading" Afghanistan - technically, no - we didn't.  Having been on the original Afghanistan mission in '02, though - I can understand why that impression exists, and persists to this day.

It's been my experience that you will not change these folks minds with the facts - their minds are made up, and nothing you can say will change them - on the other hand, you will occasionally meet someone with an open enough mind to listen to what you have to say, and who may see the error of their ways. 

I became less "certain" of some my personal convictions as I grew older, saw more of the world, and became more accepting of other's point of view.  I also became MORE "certain" of some OTHER of my personal convictions as I grew older, saw more of the world, and became LESS accepting of other's point of view.  I think this is a normal stage of human growth - the folks who are ticking you off are at the start point in that growth - don't lose any sleep over it.

Roy
 

reccecrewman

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So then I think, what gives these groups the right to protest against our Soldiers being over there, if our Soldiers chose to go!?

What gives them the right?  Current serving soldiers like your brother, and generations of soldiers who have gone before, many of them giving their lives.

Already, I've stated this before, others have stated it and I'll say it again.......... I joined the Army for just this reason - the chance to go overseas and help those who can't help themselves.  Nobody forced me or drafted me.  This was my choice and I willingly made it.  I've spent years training to do my job and been on tour.  We're talking copious amounts of time that stretches through weeks, months, and cumulatively, years in the field - training.  The purpose behind all this training is to ensure preparedness to go overseas and do the job properly. I compare it to somebody going to College or University spending years learning their craft or skill.  Lets say you come out of University with a Doctorate.  Now, after years of hard work, you are a certified MD........ Are you going to turn around and get a job at Wal-Mart? Probably not - chances are you are going to set up shop as a doctor because that's what you studied for and busted your a** to become. It's the same for us as volunteer soldiers - we train (study) hard here in Canada (College/University) so we can go out and practice our trade (career choice) in areas of the world we are needed to make a difference (Hospital).

This is just my little analogy for comparing a Military Career to a Civilian Career.

Regards
 

Flip

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Tara,

Thank your brother for me too!

I'm a civilian - who joined ARMY.ca because of an argument with my wife's family.
As a civilian, exposed to many liberal(ish) people I find most of the anti-war
sentiment to be just that, Sentiment.

People often confuse Afghanistan with Iraq.  And they are REALLY confused about
the people who join the military.  Many people think the members of the military
are being exploited against their will. 

Very few people regard the military to be what it is. A national institution,
fundamental to nationhood.
No one questions why we have a legal system, police or fire fighters.
Somehow we have come to the conclusion that national defense is optional.

Canadian society has evolved in a funny way since WW2.  War was for our grandfathers time.  Canadians, by and large are unaware that Canada has national interests and
enemies - just like every other nation on the planet.

I support the mission in Afghanistan because our current enemy is the potentially
the most dangerous ever.  ( I won't call it fundamentalism because
it has nothing to do with the fundamentals) seeks to replace the nation state as we know it and replace it with theocratic tyranny. They would like to do this wherever they can.
Not just the entire middle east but Asia and anywhere else they go.

We ( Canada) are indeed fighting chaos. Be proud of this.

ARMY.ca is a great value to me - I have found the information I've wanted,
and I am constantly impressed with the thoughtful and intelligent discourse.
A great bunch of people.

I would also suggest Jack Granatsteins' book, Who's War Is It?
It might help too.  He confronts some of Canadians' goofy attitudes.

Best of luck and good reading!



 

Loachman

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Look in  the Radio Chatter forum and see if there's an upcoming Army.ca Pub Night near you in the future, and feel free to come out and join in.
 

Hawkeye

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alot of groups protest whether it's the canadian army or the american i personally just let them babble on if their not happy with something well too bad but i guess thats where freedom of speech comes in;) :salute: :cdn:
 

Gayson

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I think a lot of people would be surprised to hear (or not surprised at all) that half the students in a class I took thought Canadians were fighting in Iraq.

Honestly, I find the arguments made by many groups, especially the less educated and informed ones, to be rather irrelevant.

 

Flip

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J. Gayson said:
I think a lot of people would be surprised to hear (or not surprised at all) that half the students in a class I took thought Canadians were fighting in Iraq.

Honestly, I find the arguments made by many groups, especially the less educated and informed ones, to be rather irrelevant.

Irrelevant until they answer a poll or vote.
Canadians are NOT informed and it's a huge problem.

Taliban Jack is speaking to some constituency

In the 50s the military was a big part of Canadian culture.
Now the anti-military are a big part of Canadian culture.

In the US, It's hard to get elected a dog catcher if you hadn't served.
In Canada It's to get elected if you have!

Why did ex-defense minister Graham have to leave the liberal party?
Could it be there's a new anti-military sheriff in town? (Dion)
 
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