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Responses to The Iceberg of Ignorance editorial

We have probably put it in a hundred different ways, but this sums it up nicely  :salute:
Nice one - total agree with the evaluation of the Polaris Institute, completely lacking in expertise on military affairs.
kathleen.harris@tor.sunpub.com <kathleen.harris@tor.sunpub.com>

thats the writers email addy at the paper if anyone would like to send her a reply. I think maybe an "offical response" from Mike, or someone from the DS, from army.ca would be a good thing.
Very well written and informative.  Sums up my view and the view of most of the people I know.  The people that I know are getting fed up with this type of journalism.  Doing half the job and then expecting to be put on a pedestal for it.  It simply won't wash any more.  Excellent editorial.
Great editorial! It could easily apply to the "journalistic" situation int he US. It's a shame what the media will post, write, publish, broadcast to make a buck. It doesn't matter to them, whether they show the face of a dying Soldier on the nightly news, as happened a couple of years ago while he bled out on a street in Iraq. It's not the reporter's son, right? A certain part of our media in the US has been trying for years to point out the (incorrect) idea that minorities and lower socioeconomic groups are carrying an unfair burden in the military service. Even though the Defense Department has been releasing enlistment and promotion statistics for decades, it has no impact on these stories. And of course, since enlistment and retention is voluntary, people do so of their own free will. And of course, that fact is ignored in most stories on this topic.
..and for another black eye to reporters everywhere see,
I challenge Mr. Staples, as well as this other analyst (Bill Something) to present their credentials - I've had a hard time finding details regarding their educational background, any potential party affiliations, etc. Everytime I wrote a study at the post-grad level or at work I have to name my biases and expose my background so colleagues could try to identify any biases I may have.

So Mr. Staples, speak up.
Re: Mr. Staples Presentation to the Standing Committee on National Defence, June 8, 2006

The hope had been that after the thorough trouncing “Boots on the Ground: Canadian Military Operations in Afghanistan and UN Peacekeeping Missions” was given by both experienced veterans and not so experienced observers alike on Army.ca (see http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/43950.0.html and http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/43927.0.html), as well as by other notable organizations, Steve Staples and the Polaris Institute would shy away from blatantly spouting the numbers found in the report. As was discussed and pointed out repeatidly, the numbers presented are misrepresentative of the situation and are bordering on blatantly fallacious. Nonetheless, in his June 8th address, Mr.Staples apparently chose to cite this specific report in an attempt argue against the $1.8 billion put forth by the Hon. Mr. Mackay as the cost of the Afghanistan missions.

Mr. Staples then moved onto the topic of defence spending. Though his statements in this regard are not completely false, they are, as usual, misleading. Mr. Staples tries to make the point that defence spending in Canada is a run away train, already taking up far too many resources than it should. He goes so far as to state that in regards to total defence spending “we are the seventh highest within the 26-member NATO alliance”. This fact, while true, does not truly portray the burden placed on other countries as compared to our own, which is undoubtedly the purpose of Mr. Staples bringing up this little statistic.

The fact is, according to information from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, when compared with our GDP, our defence spending ranks twenty-third out of twenty-four member states with available data. We only spend more, as a percent of our GDP, than Luxembourg (Iceland of course, does not have an army, airforce, or navy). The vast majority of our allies are forced to shoulder a much higher cost, relative to the size of their economy, than we are. If Mr. Staples was trying to say that we are spending too much when compared to other nations, he is sorely wanting on facts to back such a viewpoint.

The address goes on to spout what is, quite simply, opinion, and nothing more. Mr. Staples has an agenda, and he has chosen to try and portray this agenda as “fact” or “research”. He then makes arguments, apparently to back up these opinions, that in actuality have nothing to do with the position he was taking. Mr. Staples does not provide sufficient arguments for why we should be undertaking UN missions rather than helping the millions of Afghan's in desperate need of our assistance. Most astoundingly to this author, he doesn't even state where he thinks the UN could use our manpower. Mr. Staples then beguiles our “US war-fighting” tactics in Afghanistan, but offers no solution to dealing with the armed insurgents that are burning schools and killing civilians.

Now, the moral of all of this is simple. This is a plea. This is a plea to any and all persons in the media, and as well as to any person with decision making power. Do not rely upon the Polaris Institute for analysis or comment. They have a clear and ever present agenda. They will twist and manipulate fact, statement, and research to fit this agenda. They should not, under any circumstance, be considered expert or even informed on the topic of defence. Their statements over the years have proven them not to be such.

Take one recent episode, in which when responding to questions about the recent defence spending, Mr. Staples asked “How many tank divisions does Al Qaeda have?”.  This question continues to confuse this author, as he is unable to identify what support ships, helicopters, transport aircraft, or trucks have to do with fighting a tank division rather than a blood thirsty insurgency? Surely he isn't so blind as to the utility of these purchases in furthering even his aims?

Once again, the point; if you are wanting for comment or analysis, there are a vast number of academic defence research institutes and organizations to call upon. The Polaris Institute should not be seen as a reliable source for defence related comment or analysis.

The address in question: http://www.ceasefire.ca/atf/cf/%7B0A14BA6C-BE4F-445B-8C13-51BED95A5CF3%7D/DNND_8_June_06.pdf
I do get the distinct impression that Mr Staples and his fellow travellers view anyone in uniform as a knuckle-dragging, intellectual inferior.

It's just one more thing in a long list of things he has wrong...
Don't expect the media to abandon Mr Staples.  He was on CTV's Question Period July 16, with Lew Mackenzie and David Bercuson, discussing Afstan.  Craig Oliver did everything he could to call the mission into question.

There was also an interview with Chris Alexander, UN official in Afstan and former Canadian diplomat, in which Mr Alexander did a very good job of explaining and supporting international action there.

After watching that CTV interview, and Stephen Staples twisting of facts, I came to the conclusion, after hearing his comments at the end that "the Solution in Afghanistan is not a military one." that we should all contribute to the "Send Stephen Staples to Afghanistan Fund" and purchase him a one-way ticket so that he can go over there and solve all their problems.   ;D

Come On Everybody!  Dig deep.  It is for a good cause.
George Wallace said:
that we should all contribute to the "Send Stephen Staples to Afghanistan Fund" and purchase him a one-way ticket so that he can go over there and solve all their problems.   
Come On Everybody!  Dig deep.  It is for a good cause.

We need to give him a mandate... he could be our representative to negotiate with the Taliban directly, just so that there would be no misunderstandings.  :)
Blogospheric response by "Small Dead Animals". Comments section is interesting.

:salute: well done

time for another challenge.. Project ICEBERG-  a media ethics challenge..
George Wallace said:
After watching that CTV interview, and Stephen Staples twisting of facts, I came to the conclusion, after hearing his comments at the end that "the Solution in Afghanistan is not a military one." that we should all contribute to the "Send Stephen Staples to Afghanistan Fund" and purchase him a one-way ticket so that he can go over there and solve all their problems.   ;D

Come On Everybody!  Dig deep.  It is for a good cause.

I`m with you on invite all the lame brains over - and post the names of those who do go vs. those who don`t. This would allow the govt to say with some certainty that since you`ve not been their your opinion lacks certain facts - in person visits usually change ideas.

Want to critique the overseas missions from the wine and cheese deck of the SS Lollipop tied up at the CN Pier in Toronto? By all means - but get your boarding pass from SF2006 Special Flight to the Dusty Airfield to prove you`ve at least sucked in some of the dusty airfield.

The image below is more fuel for the fire - the latest Globe and Mail pseudo poll on these missions. Maybe a crazy question but its real people clicking the numbers.
'I know the risk'
Barb Pacholik, The Leader-Post  Published: Monday, July 24, 2006

Amid Afghanistan's death and stifling dust, reservist says he's doing his generation's duty

Despite the loss of two more Canadian soldiers on the weekend and his own close brush with a bomb, a Regina area reservist says he has no second thoughts about volunteering to serve in Afghanistan.

"I know the risk," Jim Sinclair said in a telephone interview Sunday from Kandahar, Afghanistan. One day earlier, two Canadian soldiers were killed by a car bomb just west of that city as a convoy of soldiers returned to their base. Sinclair was part of the convoy, but was amongst a group that arrived before the blast.

"If this means the world's going to get better and my life is taken to better my niece's and nephews' lives down the road, then so be it," Sinclair said firmly. "When it's your time, it's your time."

The 36-year-old Regina Beach bachelor said he'd rather die "honourably . . . trying to accomplish something."

"At the end of the day, no soldier wants to go to do this kind of work. But it's got to be done. Every generation has a part to play in global stability. This is my generation," he said.
More on link
Jimmie's a good shit -- ex PPCLI, 2CDO (dying days)
I did a PSD course with him -- good man.