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Thursday, April 26, 2007 

Who's Watching The Generals?

James Travers, columnist with the Toronto Star has a blistering article in todays April 26th edition. It asks hard questions about the operation and political oversight of Canada's war in Afghanistan. Every Canadian who is going to vote in the next federal election should read this article. Here is an excerpt:

"These are multifaceted issues, and the failures now inflaming parliamentary debate have more than one cause. Still, there is an identifiable pattern.

One repeating part is profound military resistance to civilian control. It's understandable – if hardly acceptable in a democracy – that soldiers don't welcome what they dismiss as amateur oversight of technical operations involving life and death.

Harper compounded that problem when he appointed as defence minister a bumbling former Cold War general and arms industry lobbyist. As well as a political embarrassment, O'Connor is proving too weak to exert much control over Hillier, who is enormously popular with the troops and, in a break with Canadian tradition, a willing and powerful political player.

Adding other layers of complexity, Harper is using the Afghanistan mission as a wedge political issue. The unforeseen result is increasingly damaging to the Prime Minister.

O'Connor's performance doesn't instil public confidence, questions linger about what the government knew, or wanted to know, about prisoner abuse and there are even more disturbing doubts about political as well as bureaucratic control over the military. A prime minister positioned far above his cabinet and party must now answer those questions and dispel those doubts if he is to control the damage of this government's first crisis."

Toronto Star

And now the Star moon-lights as a tabloid. I knew there was a reason why I refuse to read that rag.

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