Saturday, December 22, 2007

Prof. Byers' self-psychotherapy

That's how Ezra Levant assesses the puerile professor's book, Intent for a Nation: What Is Canada For? (Note who the blurbs are from.)
Byers is not against all military missions, though. He is positively giddy about a Canadian invasion of Sudan to liberate Darfur. “Neither the Janjaweed [militia] nor the Sudanese military constitute a serious fighting force,” he claims. “One or two thousand highly trained infantry, a few CF-18 fighter aircraft and the Canadian Forces’ fleet of Griffin helicopters” should do the trick, writes Byers, enjoying the frisson of naughtiness that any peacenik would feel when daydreaming about being a military commander. Proposing a unilateral invasion, unsanctioned by the UN, must be twice as exciting.

Byers doesn’t get his hands dirty with any operational questions, of course, for this is fantasy. Sending “one or two thousand” troops (which is it?) would require several times that number of support personnel, from engineers to cooks. In Afghanistan, our troops are there at the invitation of the Afghan government, with NATO cooperation on everything from airlifts to communications to laying landmines for us; the Sudanese government specifically rejected Canadian troops offered by Paul Martin. How would General Byers even get the troops there? He scoffs at the primitive technology used to attack Darfur civilians, but he ignores Sudan’s increasingly modern army, replete with Russian MiG-29 fighter jets, Mi-24 attack helicopters and Chinese maintenance crews.

Darfur is like Afghanistan before September 11: a conflict with no Canadian national interest at stake, where leftists can talk about their fantasy wars. Canada taking on Darfur unilaterally is not only militarily unfeasible; it is also a complete contradiction of Byers’s angry reasons, outlined a few pages earlier, for opposing the Afghan mission. He rails against the Afghanistan war for being expensive, for taking away from other potential missions (he suggests an adventure in Lebanon, as well as Darfur), for straying from peacekeeping into real fighting, for potentially provoking terrorist attacks back in Canada, for violating “rules” of international law and, amazingly, for using rough language (he is upset that General Rick Hillier, Canada’s top soldier, called the Taliban “detestable murderers and scumbags”). Those are weak reasons for opposing any war; the Second World War violated each one, for example. But Byers’s Darfur fantasy fails his own checklist even more miserably than he claims Afghanistan does, because Canada is in Afghanistan at the request of the Afghanistan government.

Intent for a Nation is a litany of leftist myths and conventional wisdom that is factually inaccurate but reassuring to the left...
Ooh-rah for Ezra.

Further fantasies about Canada and Darfur are expressed here. Just for starters the Sudanese government is most unlikely to allow any Canadian helicopters into the country; besides which the UN wants fairly large transport machines plus gunships--our Griffons are neither. The article is Norman Spector's "Today’s idiocy".

Update: More on the current Darfur reality:
Failure looms in Darfur

Peacekeeping effort in Sudan has no strategic plan: critics


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Having spent more than too much time in university - sorry, it is the only way to get the certifications needed to do what I want to do, I know for a fact the air gets very thin way up there in those PhD Ivory Towers. This results in a lack of oxygen. That plus the on-going litany of ass-kissing grad students who do what they do so they get the right papers (Yes, me too)results in the Professorial Ilk (not all but most) having a very high opinion of their own opinions a complete detachment from reality and a total lack of CFS. Common F*&&^$% Sense . . . . as a well respected RSM once told me in a "one way conversation" we had.

Byers is a simple minded one-trick socialist, which probably explains why he is such a senior policy adviser to the NDP.

3:16 p.m., December 22, 2007  
Blogger vmijpp said...

Ooh-rah indeed! That was a most satisfying skewering. Were I a West Nova Scotian, I might say, "Semper Fi!" as well... :-)

vmijpp/LtCol P

6:57 p.m., December 23, 2007  

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