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Saturday, October 27, 2007 

The Conservatives Are Having A Hard Time Getting General Hillier In Tow

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is having some troubles trying to get the political leash back onto General Rick Hillier. The problem is self made. Back in early 2006, when they formed a minority government, the Conservatives were determined to ensure that they had the political benefits that a good ‘war’ could give them. Flag waving, troop 'supporting', junkets to the battlefield - all made for the optics that the Tories wanted as a backdrop to their whole ‘Canada’s new government' schtick.

As a result, they let General Rick Hillier have a huge amount of leeway in terms of the things that he said to the media. In my lifetime, I have never seen a Canadian military figure more quoted or interviewed in the press.

Rick Hillier felt emboldened enough to criticize the former government who, to his thinking, did not adequately finance the Canadian military. At no time did Hillier ever consider that the taxpayers of Canada were entitled to a ‘peace dividend’ as a result of the Cold War’s end.

Hillier is clearly doing what he thinks is right to ensure ‘job security’ for the military and hence his pronouncement that we ‘must remain in Afghanistan for at least a decade’.

Hillier is blind to the reality of public opinion. Even though reputable polling indicates that Canadians are not excited about being in Afghanistan or remaining there, Hillier simply dismisses the poll's reality with his own theory.

General Hillier is a servant of the Canadian government and thereby the Canadian people. He has had free rein to flap his lips far too much for my liking. He is NOT elected and hence it is difficult for citizens who oppose him to hold him to account.

Now he is even challenging his political masters. It’s time to give him a token Order of Canada, retire him and strongly advise his replacement to just shut the hell up!

-Hillier Should Have Been Sacked Long Ago

I guess it can happen that a person of office forgets he's a servant of the people.

He's just imitating Harper in that regard; carrying on like a satrap.

Now's the time to toss the both of them out.

Agreed. I think the Conservatives realize that they have created a problem with Hillier. You can see how, in countries with an unstable democracy, the military generals decide they know BEST and before you know it - military juanta and military government.

Our British system, has to date, been able to keep the military on a leash where they belong - as servants of the people and protectors of the democracy.

Hillier talks too much.

This comment has been removed by the author.

The battle of the hill-ers.

The spate between Harper and Hillier over attention from the Hill's press core is an example of extreme hubris.

Harper thinks he can successfully end the civil war in Afghanistan in 4 years. Hillier thinks it will take 10 years. They are both wrong.

The Soviet Union tried for 10 years and failed. They tried genocide and slaughtered a million afganies, but no change. They used chemical, biological, and carpet bombing using hundreds of thousand of troops - to to avail. You cannot change a culture that easily.

Now, the Hill'iers think that a couple of thousand of combat troops under their command can make a difference in 5 or 10 years. That is just hubris talking.

Harper's war is about show not effect. The talk is blustering hubris.

"Harper's war is about show not effect." ... EXACTLY!!

One of the problems was the change from peacekeeping to combat and near-combat. There has been an amazing amount spent on combat related materiel rather than peacekeeping development and support.

We're inexorably heading to a US style military. Fortunately, we don't have Blackwater to deal with or a leader as pitiful as Bush.

Harper is not without his difficulties and baggage that he brings to the table.

When the next election comes, let's get our MPs to work to return to peacekeeping and shed the combat and near-combat roles.
This would mean changing the command at the top level and getting a person worthy of the title Prime Minister in number 24.

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