Royal Canadian Air Force
I enjoyed the story “Twins over Dieppe” (Volume 16 Issue 8) very much. I’ve known Duke Warren for a very long time. But there was an error though in the story:
The magazine cover states “Brothers join the RAF” and the story headline caps it with “Canadian Brothers in the RAF.”
They were not in the RAF! Like 17,111 of we 27,104 RCAF combat aircrew overseas, [the Warren brothers] served with RAF squadrons. Only 9,993 served in RCAF squadrons. (Of the total 14,554 were killed.)
Lt.-Gen. (ret’d) Bill Carr
Kudos & Jeers
Kudos to the Canadian Forces for recognizing and honouring the 100 years of the Cadet Instructor Cadre [Hits and Misses, Volume 16, Issue 7]. Jeers to the Canadian Forces for not telling former members about this.
I was a member of the Cadet Instructors List (CIL) for over 20 years but I had not heard word one about this [event]. Even though I transferred to the Supplemental Reserve 20 years ago, I am still listed in the SUPP RES and there is no reason I couldn’t have received some notification of the celebrations. I would have been please and honoured to participate in a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, but that is not possible now.
Capt. (ret’d) Steven Mintz, CD
Mr. Nickerson’s commentary in the above referenced issue is hardly satire or at best very bad satire.Is he suggesting that vice is part of the Conservative agenda as far as establishing Canada’s sovereignty in the North or folly when proclaiming said sovereignty? Mr. Nickerson’s continuous rants-satire- against the Conservatives are becoming very tiresome. Perhaps, if he is capable, he should really consider expanding the subject matter of his satirical (?) whining.
And the youngest Canadian VC award goes to…
In Volume 16 Issue 7’s “Military Trivia” you have down as the youngest Canadian VC recipient as 2Lt Alan McLeod, Royal Flying Corp. In fact the honour for youngest Canadian goes to Pte Tommy Holmes of 4CMR who was originally recruited into the 147th Grey Bn in Owen Sound. He was born on October 14, 1898 and received his VC for action just 12 days after turning 19. “On October 26, 1917 near Passchendaele, Belgium, he performed a deed for which he was awarded the Victoria Cross: when the right flank of the Canadian attack was held up by heavy machine-gun fire from a pill-box strong point and heavy casualties were producing a critical situation, Private Holmes, on his own initiative and single-handed, ran forward and threw two bombs, killing and wounding the crews of two machine-guns. He then fetched another bomb and threw this into the entrance of the pill-box, causing the 19 occupants to surrender.”
Thanks for the “Military Trivia” questions, but I believe that the 6 [drill commands beginning with the cautionary “RIGHT”] quizmaster Les Peate has have to be moved down to 5. There is no such cautionary for MARKERS. The parade 2IC will only say “markers” before calling on the remainder of the guard. Now I don’t know if other regiments have their little quirks, but officially it is only markers.
Thanks for the questions though, I did enjoy them.
Sgt. A.J. Lowry
Ops Sgt, 1 PPCLI
Is Afghanistan Obama’s war?
Afghans are no direct threat to the West (and never have been). They have basically expelled Osama Bin Laden & Co. to South Waziristan, and they just want to be left alone. Afghans are not terrorists — certainly not outside of their own borders. They would be content merely killing each other as they have done for millenia, and in fact still are. It is not for the West to change how Afghans choose to manage their own internal affairs, and even more especially not for the West to use see-through untenable excuses in the pursuit of this ridiculous objective.
The reasons for the original invasion after 9/11 are long gone, if given a real chance. The only benefactors are Karzai & Co. (including his group of thugs) who are growing poppy, taking a cut out of everything including positions awarded to corrupt officials, and laughing at the West all the way to their banks.
This while we are paying the heavy price in blood and treasure for this treachery, just by keeping Karzai & Co. in business. It is no small wonder why most Afghans want them gone ASAP together with the West, and that Karzai & Co. want the West to remain in order to protect their illicit trade and profits, which they are laundering out to the West for their later retirement there. This is hardly a new story from that part of the world.
Most presidents of the USA need their own war, and this is Obama’s. Through this, he can and likely shall destroy nuclear Pakistan — for what good purpose? And then what? Maybe by that time, his successor will need to clean it up. One of these times, a clean up will not be available. Then what?
Afghans need to take a bigger role
I’ve been reading your magazine for a while as part of my professional affiliation (I’m a Lead Process Engineer at a company developing special wear and erosion resistant coating for gun barrels) and in addition I have military experience with IDF (retired lieutenant-colonel from the artillery corps). Some of the discussions on mission in Afghanistan are very close to my heart as I did similar missions in the past in Lebanon trying to eradicate terrorist organizations.
The question raised by Bruce McMinn’s letter to the editor regarding losses by Canadian troops in Afghanistan (Volume 16 Issue 7) are legitimate and have to be technically addressed in addition to its political affiliation.
What is actually the major objective in Afghanistan? Is it to stabilize the current regime (I call it regime, since it is not entirely democratic and is tribal at the best)? Is it to diminish Taliban influence? Is it to destroy the drug industry supplies and reduce or completely prevent financing source of extremists? Is it to prevent logistics and training of extremist contingents in global terror?
Perhaps it is all of the above. However, regardless of the specific objectives the mission is extremely hindered by inability of any army to deal with so called insurgents, unless they take a very methodical, unprecedented and uncompromising approach, similar to Sri Lanka’s military with Tamil Tigers. The only armed forces in Afghanistan who could and should fight insurgents should be Afghanis themselves with some support by Western alliance, including training, weapons, financing and securing international cooperation of the friendly neighboring countries.
The Canadian military will continue to suffer losses since they are considered “invaders” by most of Afghan population while Taliban will be supported by the population either due to their political and religious affiliation or fear, so the balance of battle losses is disproportional and will be seen by the home country as a failure.
There are two solutions – either take a scorched-earth approach and demonstrate an iron fist or get out [attitude]. The first showed unpopularity of the free world and media as it was evident by Israeli campaign in Lebanon to eradicate Hezbollah threat and stop missile attacks by Hamas in Gaza. However, it demonstrated that coming in and striking when necessary without being present continuously and exposing the troops is more effective. Once the foreign troops leave Afghanistan it is still possible to inflict damage to poppy fields and heroin facilities by sudden and surgical invasions or/and tactical air strikes using smart weapons, while acting to stop logistics through the boarders.