Monday, July 27, 2009


Astute observers of the political scene in Ottawa knew all along that it was coming. Just when(?)was the only question left to answer.

I speak of last spring's blunder by Canada's Chief of (military) Land Staff, Lieutenant-General, Andrew Leslie, who told a surprised Parliamentary Committee hearing in March that the Canadian Forces were being pushed to the limit by the Afghanistan commitment; and would need no less..."than a year to recover from the mission." Whew!

Everyone remembers how the story was ridiculed in the United-States, particularly by Fox News host, Greg Gutfield, who caused outrage north of the border with the suggestion that the Canadian military..."wants to take a breather to do some yoga, paint landscapes, run on the beach in gorgeous white Capri pants." Gutfield later apologized and mercifully his overnight rants on Fox News have been cancelled. The damage though had been done, leaving some in the inner sanctum of power in Ottawa to wish for General Leslie's head on a platter.

Pissing on the government's parade is never a good idea if you value your military stripes. Regulars will recall that in the immediate aftermath of the Leslie outburst the Prime Minister's Office hired American Presidential mouthpieces, Micheal McCurry (Clinton) and Ari Fletcher (Bush) to shill for Harper on America's news channels, Fox included.

Meantime the good general was marking time at Ottawa HQ waiting for the moment to make amends like any good officer and gentleman looking for a promotion, a job even, a sinecure for the future. Well: Behold! The moment came over the weekend when General Leslie corrected "hisself" describing the government's pledge to spend $5-billion on new armoured vehicles his "game-changer". Yes Sir! Now there is apparently no longer any need for the military to take its year long operational pause after Afghanistan. The alleged miracle cure is in the form of those shiny new trucks, armoured, close combat and patrol vehicles set to be fully operational by 2015...Say what? But,but, Sir the Afghan deployment ends in February 2011.

I hope someone has told the fighting troops on the ground that from the 17th floor of National Defence HQ in Ottawa, as in politics, reality gets clouded-over by perception.

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