Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What's the big deal?

Is Parliament supposed to approve every foreign activity by CF members? Or is the Ottawa Citizen just trying to stir up trouble with the dreaded "I" word?
Canadian pilots flew missions in Iraq
Flights were part of C-17 training

Canadian Forces personnel learned to operate Canada's newest military plane, the giant Boeing C-17, by training on American jets, including flying those planes into Iraq in support of the U.S. war, according to a memo written by Canada's top general and obtained by Canwest News Service.

Gen. Rick Hillier, the chief of Canada's defence staff, wrote to Gordon O'Connor, then minister of national defence, in May 2007 that in the summer and fall of that year, Canadian military aircrew would fly into Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. That decision was taken without informing Parliament.

"Canadians have been very clear from the beginning that they wanted no part of George Bush's war on Iraq," said NDP defence critic Dawn Black, "and they certainly don't want to see Canadians getting involved through a back door."

The flights into Iraq were part of the second phase of training for Canadian crews, a phase referred to by the military as "seasoning."..

It's the latest revelation that Canadian military personnel served with U.S. forces in Iraq without parliamentary approval. In 2004 [that's a "revelation"?], for example, Lt.-Gen. Walt Natynczyk -- the vice-chief of defence staff and one of the leading contenders to replace Gen. Hillier when he retires this summer -- was deployed to Iraq for one year with U.S. troops and served as the deputy commander of the Multinational Corps there [the Citizen appears to have forgotten their front-page revelation from this January--and here's another revelation].

"My concern is that this really undermines the democratic process," said Steve Staples, an analyst with the Rideau Institute, a think-tank which often has been critical of Canadian defence policy.

"Our military is so integrated with the U.S. that those democratic decisions are undermined, if not rendered meaningless, and I think that's really alarming for most Canadians."..
Think-tank my foot. The Institute is simply an advocacy group that is not just "often" critical of defence policy, it's relentlessly critical; that's its whole raison d'être. And it is precipitously left-leaning, something that might have been noted. As I wrote in another context:
...our media...are still regurgitating from the mouth of Steve, never mentioning his ties to the relentlessly anti-American and polemical Ceasefire.ca (once again, look at this Ceasfire.ca page to see who supports it)...
This, from another Citizen story, is a bit better:
Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute, a left-leaning public-policy group...
By the way, are Ms Black and Mr Staples not aware that the US operation in Iraq is authorized by the UN Security Council? Surely that covers participation by CF members on exchanges without any need to go to Parliament in each and every case.
The Security Council,


Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

“1. Notes that the presence of the multinational force in Iraq is at the request of the Government of Iraq and reaffirms the authorization for the multinational force as set forth in resolution 1546 (2004) and decides to extend the mandate as set forth in that resolution until 31 December 2008...
Just wondering.

Babbler's Update: I've corresponded in the past with David Akin, and have found him interested in finding out that which he doesn't know so that he can do better journalism. That is a laudable quality in a reporter.

Sadly, this is one of his poorer efforts. Why? Because this is hardly "breaking news."

In February of 2007, Globesmasher on the Army.ca site recounted the following:

I've operated the aircraft from 2001 - 2004 on dirt strips (FOB Rhino) and also shattered slab concrete runways (Kandanhar, Bagram, Masar-i-Sharif) in Afghanistan, and all of the northern FOBs in Iraq. I also flew in the Bashur airdrop of the 173rd in OIF (#9 in a formation of 15). 1000 men dropped from 10 aircraft in formation, blacked out on NVGs and 5 aircraft in the lead dropping HE in formation. 1000 men in a single pass over the DZ - 100 per aircraft, 50 per side double door over a 60 sec "lime on" DZ marked only with an IR chem stick and a small radar beacon. It is a very capable "tactical" aircraft. [Babbler's highlight]

For those who don't expect Akin to check a site like Army.ca, I should inform you he's a member at Army.ca, and in fact logged in today at 11:03:11 according to his profile.

But let's assume he didn't see that particular thread - something I have a hard time believing, given that he surely would have done his research before going to Trenton to fly in a C-17 himself.

He still could have used the arcane magic of Google to come up with this story, written for the Air Force News on an official DND website a year ago on April 23rd, 2007:

For both Majors Maisonneuve and Reynolds, their certification was a bit of déjà vu. In fact, both were on exchange with the US Air Force (USAF) in the early 2000s and flew the C-17 in Iraq and Afghanistan. [Babbler's bold]

Or he could just have followed a link from The Torch. I know he reads here.

This is a shoddy, sensationalist effort by a journalist from whom I have grown to expect a much higher standard.

- Babbling Brooks

Update: A much shorter and rather less contentious version of the story ran in the National Post; Mr Akin has the Citizen version at his blog, should you wish to comment.


Blogger Chris Taylor said...

Yes, it is a poor effort, to put it mildly.

Canadian aircrews conducting type-training with USAF will eventually get assigned to a US C-17 squadron, and go where that squadron goes. Surprise surprise, OEF/OIF feature the highest concentration of airlift on the planet. 130-odd flights daily. Almost every USAF transport squadron ends up rotating through there at some point. It is ideal for building hours and wartime experience in a short amount of time.

Canadian pilots will also get trained on air refueling procedures for the beasts. They will need it for their "seasoning" time in a US squadron, which heavily utilises AR, even though they will not use that proficiency at all back home in Canada. We have no boom-equipped aircraft capable of refueling a C-17.

They are trained to comprehend the entire performance envelope of the aircraft, whether or not their home country can exploit every capability.

12:15 p.m., April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait till they find out we have serving Combat Arms officers in Iraq and have had since the beginning. On the ground, shooting and get shot at.

They may have to go back and read stories published in their own papers to get the scoop.

like this one.

"For Canadian, serving in Iraq is a source of pride
Posted outside Baghdad as part of exchange with U.S., soldier says he's optimistic about future of war-torn country


From Friday's Globe and Mail

March 21, 2008 at 4:52 AM EDT

When Lieutenant-Colonel Darryl Mills walks through the halls of Saddam Hussein's former palace on the outskirts of Baghdad, people tend to stare at his left shoulder. The red-and-white Canadian flag he wears is a rare sight for Iraqis and U.S. soldiers alike."

RTR @ http://tinyurl.com/39p9p8

1:12 p.m., April 22, 2008  
Blogger Chris Taylor said...

There were also 16 Canadians serving in-theater and five specifically in Iraq just shortly after the invasion, as part of exchange programs. Plus a succession of Canadian officers serving as deputies to US commanders throughout Iraq. Not to mention that Canada is the third-largest export market for Iraqi oil and goods.

So much secretive involvement! So little time! Come on David, there is still ample time to stick pins in General Hillier and the Tories if you try hard enough.

1:14 p.m., April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh ya . . . and don't tell Bob Rae we have troops in Iraq.

He knows better. His ridiculous opinion might be supportive of his nickname "Boob Rae"


1:16 p.m., April 22, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:19 p.m., April 22, 2008  
Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Fred, unless you know for certain what happened with Akin's employment situation, you should be careful making assertions about it.

Akin no longer works for the CTV - Globe conglomerate, and wrote this piece in his new Canwest conglomerate role.

1:33 p.m., April 22, 2008  
Blogger Unknown said...

Of course we will never know Mr. Akin's real situation with this story, nor why he moved from CTV to CANWEST, although reporters often shift from one outlet to another, Paul Workman for example.

Here is what we do know to be fact:

The article is misleading, whether Mr. Akin would agree or not, whether it was his intent to mislead or not, the article is misleading once all facts are on the table as The Torch point out.

Mr. Akin recently joined the CANWEST team.

The article appeared on the front page of today's Citizen.

Now some suspect journalists might try to draw weal links between thiese facts, but Mark and Damian prefer to condemn such behaviour rather than engage in it.

I did respect Mr. Akin at one time, but then he mounted his pathetic and partisan defence of his then colleague Bob Fife after Fife took the bait and leaked that two CF soldiers had been killed in Afstan BEFORE NOK HAD BEEN NOTIFIED. After that gross error in judgement committed on Army.ca, I could care less who Mr. Akin scribbles for, and even less for his contribution to Canadian reportage.

4:39 p.m., April 22, 2008  

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