Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Globeite Doug Saunders doesn't know US Army battalions, or brigade combat teams, from...

...his derrière. Tell it to the Marines. A letter sent to the Globe and Mail and not published:
Doug Saunders writes (A little less muscle, a little more substance, Jan. 23) about the Canadian military situation at Kandahar province that "Help will arrive in the form of 30,000 extra U.S. Marines this year, shifting Canada's area of operations to a district north of Kandahar City, with a battalion each of Afghan and U.S. soldiers helping. We've become skilled, but nonessential, helpers."

That is a stunning paragraph: everything in it about U.S, forces is dead wrong. Thirty thousand U.S. Marines are not coming. Ten thousand have been in Afghanistan for some time and 10,000 more are coming--for a total of some 20,000. But they are not in or coming to Kandahar; most of them will be helping the British in Helmand province, neighbouring Kandahar to the west.

One battalion of U.S. Army soldiers is not deploying to Kandahar. A U.S. Army infantry battalion has been part of the CF's battle group at Kandahar (which has one Canadian infantry battalion) since the summer of 2008. The battle group has recently had two more U.S. Army battalions put under its command for a total of three. In addition three battalions of the U.S. Army's 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team have been operating at Kandahar since last summer under American command. So the total right now is six American battalions in the province. And a further brigade combat team, also under U.S. command, is to be dispatched to Kandahar this spring. That will make a total of around nine U.S. Army battalions (while the Canadian Army will continue on with its single battalion), not one as Mr. Saunders states. Rather an order of magnitude difference.

Moreover, a US Army combat aviation brigade, with over 100 helicopters, has been at Kandahar since spring 2009 (our Air Force has 14 helicopters there). There is no mention of that brigade--which has been giving considerable support to the Canadians--by Mr. Saunders.

It is discouraging, at a minimum, when the European bureau chief of "Canada's National Newspaper" shows himself, in an opinion piece, completely unfamiliar with important, basic facts regarding a matter as significant as this country's Afghan mission. A sorry state of journalistic affairs indeed. Little wonder informed debate in Canada on the mission is so difficult.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/world/asia/19military.html (see towards end of story)
http://comfec-cefcom.forces.gc.ca/pa-ap/ops/fs-fr/jtfa-foia-eng.asp#e (down to see "U.S. Army units")
One can only suppose that "Canada's National Newspaper" thinks military facts about Kandahar of only limited importance, perhaps something readers can't really handle. Though the Globe did publish a letter of mine along similar lines three weeks ago, see end of Uppestdate at this post.

On the other hand one might conclude that dear and delicate Doug's tender reputation is rather more important to the paper than accurate journalism. Fie!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

When have facts ever been important to the Lame Street Media, especially when it comes to reporting on our military?

They think they do a good job when they label every vehicle with tracks as a "tank" and promote the acquisition of aircraft that have never flown versus ones that have outstanding operational track records.

It will be a wonderful day in Canada when the old media goes bankrupt and these fools hit the unemployment lines.

12:44 p.m., January 26, 2010  

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