Soldiers hello

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Realigned
Soldiers hello

Hello

 

Thought I would introduce myself.

Proud Canadian soldier here (in the Infantry) who is currently deployed to Afghanistan.

I've had a couple of tours to the Balklands as a peacekeeper and a couple to Afghanistan as a war fighter.

I supose I am on here to learn a bit more about the political side of the goings on in Canada. Interested in reading what people have to say from the different platorms and parties.

Also interested to here peoples opinions on whats going on over here both accurate and inaccurate. If anyone has any questions about  here or the Balklands I'll try to answer to the best of my ability sans anything politically orientated or out of my area of expertise.

 

Unionist

I have a question.

Are the Balklands near the Falkans?

Realigned

You bet! Same planet and everything.

George Victor

Hi Realigned.

What do you think of the Globe and Mail's reportage from Afghanistan - and particularly Graeme Smith's (successful) attempts to explain things from the Afghan's position - including the Taliban's? His work has won him three journalism awards, including Amnesty Intarnational's for whistle blowing on prisoners being turned over to Afghan security .

Have you read (and do you agree with) Rory Stewart's The Places in Between, about his walk - alone - across Afghanistan in the winter following the U.S. "takeover" of the country?  What is your take on his work (he has remained in Kabul to restore an ancient area of the city and to restore the traditional  woodworking crafts there). 

These are this  Canadian's means of accessing events there, free of propagandistic taint.

Be delighted to hear yours.

Realigned

Hi George thanks for the interesting reply.

You caught me, I don't have an answer for you right now.

I didn't catch the article but I will track it down and familiarize myself with it (A link would really be appreciated, net time here is limited).

I've been asking locals their opinions onthe Taliban and have been really surprised at some of their answers. Some really made me stop and think, wondering about our involvement here. Others have made me want to redouble our efforts here to help them.

I know the handing of prisoners over to local security is a touchy subject.  We can't hold their hand forever. At one point we need to let them take the lead. Let them soldier and  let them police. Us giving prisoners or detainee's over to them makes sense. That said what they do with the prisoners is an issue right? We are trying to teach  culture built on revenge (eye fo ran eye) no to harm prisoners whomay have really hurt a lot of people. It's still legal here to kill your wife if you suspect she had an affair..

Again I'll track down Rory Stewart's writings and read it. (Again a link would be awesome)

Once I read the articles I'll give you my honest opinion on them. Thanks for the homework.

Unionist

[url=http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20081210.wafghandet12...
Torture of Afghan detainees continues, say human rights groups
[/url]

Loretta

Looks like you've got your work cut out for you, Realigned.

I'm a former member of the CF myself. I grew up in military communities and many of the children joined the forces themselves, so I wasn't alone. I had no other framework through which to view the world and felt that joining the military, in a traditionally male trade, would gain me equality with men.

I thought it was true, for awhile, but a series of events, which today would be called sexual harassment, planted the seed of change within me and has continued growing. I have done a 180 in terms of the way I look at the world and in the politics that I embrace. Despite the misery of the experience that brought me there, I can say that I am very glad to have left that worldview and the military environment.

I guess I would have to say that my personal ethos is all around the Golden Rule: that I treat others the way I would wish to be treated. It doesn't have to take shape within a religious context but that sums up why I espouse the philosophies and large "P" politics that I do. I fervently desire peace, equality, human rights, freedom in its many aspects (and not the narrow definition used by those with power), a decent roof over my head, food to eat, access to health care when I need it, a clean environment, educational opportunities, etc...and I want the same for my children, my neighbours, members of my community, my province, my country and my world.

How to bring that about is the subject of much debate but my firmly held belief is that warfare is the antithesis of this position. You may write my comments off as naive (I hope not, given my snapshot into my background and experiences) but I believe that violence begets violence and thus, by involving ourselves in a combat mission in Afghanistan, we squander resources that could be used for people's well-being in all kinds of ways. Combat as a response not only kills people but it takes limited resources and uses them for destruction.

We cannot bring about peace through war, we cannot force our version of democracy (which isn't really democracy, it's capitalism) onto people who don't want it, we cannot force equality for women onto a society, we have no business putting you and other members of our military at risk and we have no business occupying another country for our own ends. That's my view of Afghanistan but not in its entirety, for sure.

It's interesting to me that you are here -- I hope it's truly to be open to other points of view. Perhaps you, too, are ready to see the world differently.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Have the Canadian Forces quietly removed women from combat roles in Afghanistan?

Only one out of 100 soldier deaths has been a woman, yet I understand women constitute about 10% of the Canadian contingent in Afghanistan.

Has there been a conscious decision to avoid female casualties for fear of creating even greater anti-war sentiment among the Canadian population?

What you are reading now is an annoying tag line. Why not Email Michelle to demand that signature/tag lines be abolished forthwith?

Webgear

No, women are still in combat roles.

 

 

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Do you have any explanation to offer as to why women are disproportionately under-represented in the casualties? 

What you are reading now is an annoying and obtrusive tag line. Why not Email Michelle to demand that signature/tag lines be abolished forthwith? I'm sure she would appreciate your support for this initiative.

Realigned

Hey M. Spector.

I don't really have an explination.  Even back in Canada their are not many women in the Infantry. How many of our combat deaths have been from the infantry branch?  On my last tour there were 2 female soldiers in the infantry company deployed to Afghanistn. On this tour we also have 2 females.  Inside other combat branches there are quite a few female soldiers it seems. Predominately though it is males making up the combat arms.

Why is it more men graviate towards combat roles than women? I can't give you a straight answer. I can tell you that as far asit seems to me and from my experience, women are not quietly removed from combat roles. I think it's just a numbers game. If you have 148 men and 2 women and the organization recieves 3 casualties, whats the percent that it will be one of the two women?

Being at the lower end of the spectrum in terms of decision making, I can't tell you if there is some plan to avoid omen casualties but I can tell you women aren't given special treatment or slid out of dangerous jobs. Their driving the tanks, driving the trucks, flying the helicopters and walking footpatrols along with the rest of us.

 

Loretta, Nice to see a former CF member here.

I'm sorry to hear you were sexually harassed. It sucks that it still happens in this day and age and there is no excuse for it, period.

I won't write off anyones comments or opinions here. It's bound to happen I don't agree with what someone is sayingbut everyoneis entitled to their views right?

WRT your comments about violence. We all know what was happening in Africa. The UN or other NGOs would bring in food and relief aid but instead of going to the locals it would be hijacked by local warlords. They would feed their own armies and on a good day, sell the UN food to the locals at an insanely high price.

If you don't mind me replying you with a question- Let's say we pull out of Afghanistan and the Taliban take over again.  What steps can we Canadians take to make sure that our food, building supplies and aid materials are making it to the locals and not jst being controled by the Taliban and resold to farmers and such? Should we even care what the Taliban do to the locals and consintrate more on anadian issues?

 

Quote:
It's interesting to me that you are here -- I hope it's truly to be
open to other points of view. Perhaps you, too, are ready to see the
world differently.

Thank you. I am quite honestly interested in hearing other peoples point of view. I realize where I am and people won't be flocking to add me to theirbuddy list-I'm okay with that. if you don;t mind me askingwhat branch/trade were you Loretta? (I'll understand if you prefer it kept to yourself).

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

Realigned wrote:

It's still legal here to kill your wife if you suspect she had an affair..

The war boosters here keep telling us that we should be grateful to you for defending our right to free speech, etc.

Do the soldiers in Afghanistan really believe that they are there to protect the civil liberties of the folks back home?

Or do they have any qualms about putting their lives on the line to defend a regime that legalizes wife-killing?

What you are reading now is an annoying and obtrusive tag line. Why not Email Michelle to demand that signature/tag lines be abolished forthwith? I'm sure she would appreciate your support for this initiative.

M. Spector M. Spector's picture

The [url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/cdnmilitary/women-cdnmilitary.html]CBC backgrounder on Women in the CF[/url], last updated in May, 2006, says that there were "approximately 230" female CF personnel in Afghanistan at that time. It also says two percent of combat troops are women.

Has that changed radically? 

What you are reading now is an annoying and obtrusive tag line. Why not Email Michelle to demand that signature/tag lines be abolished forthwith? I'm sure she would appreciate your support for this initiative.

Realigned

M. Spector wrote:

The war boosters here keep telling us that we should be grateful to you for defending our right to free speech, etc.

I hear ya. That would really get on my tits hearing that over and over. I don't like the "you owe a soldier" stuff very much.  I mean, a lot of Canadians support the soldiers here even if they don't agree with the war or what's going on. I think that probably (could) stem from the way US soldiers were treated during and after vietnam?

We've had to actually ask Canadians to stop sending care packages to "any Canadian soldier"nnot because aren't greatful but because we're just getting too much. I think people feel ood about having a military they can be proud of. Like rooting for Canada during the olympics or something.

Quote:

Do the soldiers in Afghanistan really believe that they are there to protect the civil liberties of the folks back home?

I can't speak on behalf of all the Canadian soldiers. I think it's important that Canada has soldiers who are traid equipped and willing to deploy where the Government tells them too. 

If this stuff wasn't going on in Afghanstan would it directly or indirectly effect things in Canada? Not sure.

Quote:

Or do they have any qualms about putting their lives on the line to defend a regime that legalizes wife-killing?

Well said. The government in Afghanistan ALSO wanted to kill a man because he turned his back on Islam and wanted to become Christian. 

That from the ected government. Do we step in and try to stop that because we don't agreewith it or allow it to go ahead because trying to stop it would be hypocritical?

It reminds me of when the Hammas (correct me if I'm wrong) was eleced in Palastine and the US went "oops, now what do we do".

What happens when an elected democracy doesn't do what youwant them to do?

 

PS-I'll email Michelle for you. Your tag line IS quite annoying ;)

Clever way to get something changed though.

Michelle

Hey Realigned, welcome to babble.  :)

Refuge Refuge's picture

Welcome Realigned. Your posts so far sound open and intersting. I look forward to your comments.

Tommy_Paine

Indeed. 

Welcome, Realigned.

There's several subjects here already that will make good threads on their own, and I hope you contribute to them and start a few.

remind remind's picture

Welcome realigned!

Excellent post Loretta!

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Malcolm Malcolm's picture

The main reason that women are under-represented among the casulaties is that women are only about 2% of the infantry.  Other branches of the Combat Arms have higher proportions, but the bulk of the casualties have been infantry.

Realigned

Thanks for the warm welcome guys and girl.

Malcolm simplified what I was  trying to say.

Less female deaths because there are not many in the Infantry where most deaths have happened.

Jake

Hi Spector

What is this rant about "tag lines" about. Please explain what a tagline is and why it is apparently so awful

 

Jake 

Loretta

Hi again, Realigned:

You asked about my thoughts on the present mission in Afghanistan, given that we are already there (we should never have gone there, especially on the mission in which we're currently engaged, in the first place, in my humble opinion).

Specifically, I'm not as knowledgable on this issue as are others on this board. In general terms, though, what I would hope we could move into is first, away from the combat mission, second, not even into peace-keeping, but into non-violence and peace-making. The Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR) has a good article in general terms, about what it begins with and I know that there are people and groups with specific thoughts around Aghanistan.

I know your internet time is limited but if you have time, and are interested, you might want to read this piece from the FOR to get a sense of where I'm going. These are not "pie in the sky" concepts -- they are extremely challenging to all of us. But, I believe that we can change our direction so that our world becomes a better place than it is for most.

http://www.forusa.org/about/thegoodfight.html

 

Realigned

Thanks do the reply Loretta, I'll check out the link!

It's interesting to hear you say not even peacekeeping but non-violence and peacemaking. I think you and I have different concepts of the word peacemking.

To me 'peaceMAKING' is armed police officers responding to a domestic violence call and going inside the residence using upto and including armed force to seperate the two parties.

Dictionary.com says

Quote:

a person, group, or nation that tries to make peace, esp. by reconciling parties who disagree, quarrel, or fight.

 

 Soldiers (violence, force etc..)  are just one of the tools a nation or organization tasked with peacemaking can call upon to force or 'make' their desired results.

If you have a big dog attacking a smaller one, sometimes yelling at it wil stop it, maybe you could bribe it with food or distract it. Sometimes to save the little dogs life you need to wack the bigger dog with a stick. Is that a bad example?  Before someone jumps on me for that I volunteer at the local animal hospital so put your claws away :)

 

I also volunteer at the hospital here in Afghanistan. Just today I was helping with the patients. Many of them were children. I met a brave little 10 year old girl who had no eductation-she helped run her families shop. A Taliban mortar took off her leg, her biggest concern was "who was going to run the shop". Her father said that she will never get married ecause no one will want to marry a girl with one leg. A nurse said one of the doctors wants to pay for a prostetic leg out of his own pocket, $30'000. 

Another boy was missing a leg, he was about 6 and another boy had open head trauma and his face looked like he told a bad joke to a polar bear. Car accident. (Non isaf reated but we took him anyways, thankfully.) Frigger was still better at colourig then me.

  More than once I had to leave the care ward because I was crying and needed to compose myself. I don't think your concepts are "pie in the sky" ones at all so please stop worrying about tha my friend.

We may not agree  on the details Loretta, or how to go about doing it but we both want to make the world a better replace and I respect you and your opinion for that regardless. 

 

Unionist

"A Taliban mortar took off her leg."

Piece of advice - get the f*** out of there before a "Taliban mortar" takes off your head. Get the f*** out.

 

==========================
Join M. Spector's tagline [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyagraha]Satyagraha[/url]!

Loretta

I can agree that we look at this differently and respect your views, too. I'm also glad to hear of your tears when confronted with a little girl's agony and loss -- it tells me that your humanity is still vibrant, in spite of being exposed to terrible things. Dehumanization is one of the factors that allow wars to continue. I also don't have any problem at all believing that individual acts of kindness happen many times and in many ways in your part of the world but I don't believe that "our" presence in Afghanistan is helping bring peace at all. At this point, the reports are that foreign occupation isn't even resulting in a reduction in conflict.

I see the presence of armed guards (soldiers, or police officers as in your example of domestic violence) not, in spite of the dictionary definition you cited, as peace-making at all. It may be that those scenarios at times, prevent escalation of conflict, but they don't really lead to peace-making in the end. Yes, the immediate result is (in the best case scenario, that is) a reduction in violent behaviour, but without tools, skills and motivation, the ability to maintain true peace is precarious, if achieved at all.

Cyprus is a good example. How many years was the presence of armed guards required to "maintain the peace" there? It was in the decades -- none of the parties in conflict had the tools, skills or probably motivation to figure out how to live on that island harmoniously and, hence, there was seen to be a need for armed soldiers to keep a barrier between the opposing sides so that there wasn't an escalation of conflict.

When police officers come to a home where conflict is underway, they too can provide protection, but only to a point. How long can we reasonably expect to keep police officers in the picture to prevent another outbreak of conflict? The ideal objective, in my view, is to give the parties the ability to work toward reconciliation, at least to the point where violence is not the response.

Of course, none of this addresses such issues as power dynamics (such as are often present between men and women in domestic violence and which are present in Afghanistan), colonialism (such as is underway by the US) or the effect of money.

Also, fear is used and manipulated by those who have other interests -- an example would be (on the smaller scale) the sales pitch of security companies. They use fear to motivate people to buy their product, which lines their pockets but undermines trust in society, which undermines the ability of people to resolve issues properly. Fear has also been used to propagandize the population in western countries so that "we" are fearful of being attacked in our beds by...(you name the current enemy du jour).

Anyway, I digress. So, the way I see it, we have peace-keeping, which is to reduce the presence of conflict but does not address the underlying problems (and exposes a third party, the peace-keepers, to trauma and potential desensitization to pain and suffering) and, peace-making, which has the goal of reducing conflict but also gives people the tools to approach conflict to address the underlying issues in peaceful ways.

George Victor

Graeme Smith has devoted more time to southern Afghanistan than any other Western journalist since the arrival of NATO forces in that region. ...
www.nps.edu/programs/CCS/GraemeSmith.html - 13k -

------------------------------------------------------------------------------

This is the Graeme Smith I referred to early on, Realigned.

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Rory Stewart was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Malaysia. He served briefly as an officer in the British Army (the Black Watch), studied history and ...
www.rorystewartbooks.com/rory_stewart.htm - 11k -

(and here's Rory Stewart, a complex fella.  You'll notice his Black Watch  period. He saw action for one year in Iraq...and then began looking for answers in the cultures of the region...see his walk across AFghanistan, alone, in The Places in Between. 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Realigned

Quote:

"A Taliban mortar took off her leg."

Piece of advice - get the f*** out of there before a "Taliban mortar" takes off your head. Get the f*** out.

Not really an option for me but I sincerely appreciate your suggestion. It's that same'concern for human beings' which prompts many of us to come over here.

Quote:

I see the presence of armed guards (soldiers, or police officers as in
your example of domestic violence) not, in spite of the dictionary
definition you cited, as peace-making at all. It may be that those
scenarios at times, prevent escalation of conflict, but they don't
really lead to peace-making in the end. Yes, the immediate result is
(in the best case scenario, that is) a reduction in violent behaviour,
but without tools, skills and motivation, the ability to maintain true
peace is precarious, if achieved at all.

Cyprus is a good example. How many years was the presence of armed
guards required to "maintain the peace" there? It was in the decades --
none of the parties in conflict had the tools, skills or probably
motivation to figure out how to live on that island harmoniously and,
hence, there was seen to be a need for armed soldiers to keep a barrier
between the opposing sides so that there wasn't an escalation of
conflict.

When police officers come to a home where conflict is underway, they
too can provide protection, but only to a point. How long can we
reasonably expect to keep police officers in the picture to prevent
another outbreak of conflict? The ideal objective, in my view, is to
give the parties the ability to work toward reconciliation, at least to
the point where violence is not the response.

Loretta, awesome! I agree 200% (Can one even do that?)

Ultimately you don't fix the problem with police officers alone. The police officers are there to halt the immediate theat to life which opens to door to counceling and fixing the problem. (Say the guy has a drinking problem and having the bat knocked out of his hamd, realized he needs help and is in AA).

How long to keep police officers or soldiers in the picture is indeed the question.

Would you send a social worker into a violent domestic disturbance call? No, he or she doesn't possess the tools or training to deal with disarming the agressor. Police do. Once thats done then other elements take over.

We have soldiers in Afghanistan attemping to use force to physically stop the Taliban from imposing their complete will on the locals. The goal is to bring everyone to a position where they negeotiate, right?

Creating a stable and professional Afghan military, police force and government is key to ensuring the road to recovery is traveled. 

Currently, locals who work with ISAF live in fear-and rightly so. They get kidnapped and murdered.  Some of them don't even live with their families to protect them (all the while making money to support them) pretty noble if you ask me.

One of my big fears is that  if say we pull out our forces, what's going to happen to all the friends I've made who have worked with me? Who have worked on the bases, their biggest sin being working with infidels to suppor their family?

Are they going to get punished? Murdered?  Remember what the US did to the Kurds in the 1st Gulf war? Help us and we'll help you. Which because Thanks for the help good luck. Which became nintendo's duck hunt?  I don't want to see that happen to the people here who risked their lives to feed their famlies.

All in all I think I totally agree with you. We need more than "war fighters" to fix a problem. You need to rebuild the country. If I can sound melodramatic for a moment.. (is that the right word?)

Currently there are  people outside the city gates waiting to come in and destroy whatever reconstruction has begun- until they are ready stop destroying we need people "manning th walls". You were a soldier, you must remember having good guys with guns (security) between the bad guys infront of you and the trench you were digging or the bridge you were building.  You need protection. But just having soldiers with guns without any long term views or goals of rebuilding is a waste of time, totally.

 

George thats perfect thank you ver much I'm checking out the links now.

Unionist

You are not the "good guys".

You are not there to "rebuild the country". You are destroying the country.

You are not there to bring people to "negotiations". You are invaders and murderers, imposing your will on a people which never asked you to visit. And day after day, you are losing, just like the British and Soviet invaders did before you.

I look forward with great anticipation to the day when you are finally driven from that land - hopefully with no more casualties - but when I read your pompous self-serving script composed by the Harper regime and your commanding officers (that's even assuming you are who you say you are, which is a stretch, but what the heck), I'm afraid that many more will die on all sides before your ultimate humiliating retreat.

Realigned wrote:
But just having soldiers with guns without any long term views or goals of rebuilding is a waste of time, totally.

The Soviets too came there with "long term views" and "goals of rebuilding". Then, they had to retreat in disgrace, 15,000 Soviet corpses and more than 1 million dead Afghans later.

Your disgrace, fortunately, will not be as deadly, but it is just as inevitable.

==========================
Join M. Spector's tagline [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satyagraha]Satyagraha[/url]!

Fidel

unionist wrote:
The Soviets too came there with "long term views" and "goals of rebuilding". Then, they had to retreat in disgrace, 15,000 Soviet corpses and more than 1 million dead Afghans later.

And there is quite a bit of hidden history with the Soviet "invasion" of Aghanistan and all, Realigned.

Afghanistan, Another Untold Story by Michael Parenti

Some real history

Realigned

Fidel I really enjoyed reading that link thank you.

Quote:
The Taraki government moved to eradicate the
cultivation of opium poppy. Until then Afghanistan had been producing
more than 70 percent of the opium needed for the world’s heroin supply.
The government also abolished all debts owed by farmers, and began
developing a major land reform program. Ryan believes that it was a
“genuinely popular government and people looked forward to the future
with great hope.”

These guys sound pretty good! Why did the US oppose them??

Quote:
If anything positive can be said about the
Taliban, it is that they did put a stop to much of the looting, raping,
and random killings that the mujahideen had practiced on a regular basis

Under the Taliban, sexually assaulting boys was also severly punished.

I'm surprised to read about the aliban eradicating the poppies. As far as I knew they were still big on cultivating them for opium, I wonder how accurate that fact is.

Considering how many IEDs get placed on major roads, I can't see a US pipeline ever lasting.

Slumberjack

Realigned wrote:
  Currently, locals who work with ISAF live in fear-and rightly so. They get kidnapped and murdered....One of my big fears is that  if say we pull out our forces, what's going to happen to all the friends I've made who have worked with me...Who have worked on the bases....Are they going to get punished? Murdered?

Yes, it is inevitable.  Aside from taking them all with you when you leave, their future, and their immediate families future, are grim.  Ultimately all you will end up leaving behind is crumbling and destroyed infrastructure and the destroyed lives of your 'friends.'  On the balance of things, despite what you are being told, you will leave that place doing far more harm than good.  But don't let any of that get you down as it did with me after my tour, because after all, the Americans are now coming into the area to help you out with your endeavors.

Realigned

When were you here Slumberjack?

remind remind's picture

realigned wrote:
Many of them were children.
Oh yes, if all else fails pull out the tired trope: "think of the children"! Give us freakin break on your propaganda spewing, eh!  I will reiterate again what unionist said, "you're not the good guys", you are there destroying a country, and it's peoples, and most likely you're destroying the lives of your families. There is nothing good, nor noble in your actions. If indeed you are who you ay you are though it is  growing ever more obvious you are not. 

And did ya ever think if your and you cohorts were not there, those children would not be injured?!And thousands would not be dead. If you gave a damn about those Afghan children you would leave immediately!

So spare us your tears, here okay?!  It doesn't make you a sensitive kinda guy, as your actions in even being there belie that! It makes you someone who is trying to BS us.

___________________________________________________________
"watching the tide roll away"

Realigned

Geez Remind I guess I wasted my $2 on that yellow ribben I sent you for Christmas.

Realigned

Slumberjack, cool.  It's good for me to get perspectives from soldiers like you and Loretta. When you were here what role were you performing?

Slumberjack

You also wasted 30 seconds or so of your life responding to the Ad hominen.

Slumberjack

Realigned wrote:
Slumberjack, cool.  It's good for me to get perspectives from soldiers like you and Loretta. When you were here what role were you performing?

I'm not really at liberty to discuss my role, until I'm 85 years old, at which time, I intend to release a full account.  Why 85 you ask?  I don't know, no one has been able to convincingly tell me why either, except that it was on the de-indoc forms that we signed.

Realigned

You lost me with that one dude :)

I'm guessing you were in Kabul before the move. I've never been up that way, I'be been to Khandahar for both deployments.  I guess the area up there is a lot nicer. I wonder how much difference there is betweem the two areas in terms of their feelings towards the Taliban and ISAF.

I think most Afghans just want to beleft alone and both groups of people out.

It's funny when you meet someone and they say OH I love ISAF! And then you say be honest, what would you say if I was Taliban? And they reply OH I love Taliban!  Can't fault their honesty at all.

Unionist

Why don't you take your war stories to [url=">http://army.ca/]Army.ca[/url][/b][/u], where you'll find a more sympathetic crowd?

Realigned

Ahokay thats fair enough. If you ever change your mind and decide to talk about it I wouldn't mind hearing about your experiences. I know somepeople come back and don't like what they see at ALL here. I dont think it "hurts the mission"  I think we owe it to ousoldiers to hear what they say even if it's not toting the party line.

Slumberjack

Well, if we keep getting ex or current army folks signing up with Babble, there is the off chance that we'll develop enough of a quorum to support the creation of our own mini-support group.  I'm joking of course....or am I.

Realigned

I prefer these fellows Unionist  http://www.socnet.com/index.php

Not really looking for Sympathy though, I fully realize  what most of your stances are on the military and Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. I'm not looking to change your minds. I am a little biased of course and that bleeds into my posts but I'm trying to keep an open mind. (I realize the kind of receptions you would get at army sites, it's natural)

Still beyond the you're a murderer you're bad posts I'm learning more about the war and what's going on from you guys that I can't get from my side of the fence. There is some educational stuff here, Like Fidel and George's links and Loretta's points that she brought up.  I like hearing this stuff it's interesting and sometimes eye opening.

Don't take this the wrong way but ngitive posts are a huge waste of time and effort. I'm not going to bite back because when I do it;s going to be a feeding frenzie :)

If you really wanna do some 'damage' give up on the name calling mantras & buzzword phrases and start dropping facts, examples, testimonies and litrature I can read. Yes you hate soldiers in Afghanistan and think we should be out. Show me why.

Slumberjack

Realigned wrote:
Don't take this the wrong way but ngitive posts are a huge waste of time and effort. I'm not going to bite back because when I do it;s going to be a feeding frenzie :)

If you do respond to the personal attacks in a similar manner, there is the possibility that you might not be able to continue posting to the site, because the mods might step in on their behalf to quell the disturbance.  It may in fact be the motivation behind the attacks.  Clever aren't they?

Unionist

Realigned wrote:
If you really wanna do some 'damage' give up on the name calling
mantras & buzzword phrases and start dropping facts, examples,
testimonies and litrature I can read. Yes you hate soldiers in
Afghanistan and think we should be out. Show me why.

Not a chance, soldier boy. There have been thousands of posts here on the subject, going back to the invasion. Educate yourself.

Thousands of brave U.S. citizens evaded the draft or outright deserted and came to Canada rather than be used as cannon fodder against other peoples' lives and liberty. If you are what you claim to be (which is highly doubtful), you should ask yourself why so many others figured this out but you need to ask for reading material.

In any event, there is not the slightest chance that I will participate in turning this board into a "win over the soldier to pacifism" exercise, any more than we will solicit wife-abusers to join in the hope that we can wean them off their habit. A majority of Canadians want our troops out.  You enjoy your minority status - you think you're "helping" the Afghan people - fill your boots. While you can.

Realigned

People trying to push my buttons so I react rashly? Hello pre-deployment training:)

Do you feel comfortale atleast telling me what area of Canada you are in?

Realigned

Unionist, fair enough, I won't ask you anything or try and converse with you.

Just save Babble's bandwidth and give up the you're a naughty soldier  mantra. I'm about as interested in it as you are interested in what I have to say.

Unionist

Incidentally, Realigned, I certainly don't "hate soldiers in Afghanistan". I have consistently reported their deaths over the years and expressed my sympathies for their families.

But a soldier in Afghanistan who goes around justifying Canada's presence there is as repugnant as any other warmongering propagandist, perhaps more so.

It is Stephen Harper and your commanding officers who "hate soldiers in Afghanistan". They place them in harm's way in an evil cause. And every time another young person is maimed or killed, they shed crocodile tears and pledge to redouble their evil efforts. 

Slumberjack

I find the folksy manner in which BGen Thompson delivers the death notices in the media an interesting twist.  The previous commanders had grief written on their faces in front of the cameras whenever they had to make those announcements, some of them barely able to keep it together emotionally.  This guy does it with a smile, inserting a little barrack room description of each casualty, complete with nicknames like Dip, Jonesy, and Hammy.

But anyways, there's no need to continue on with an Afghanistan related thread within Introductions, so we might as well voluntarily move on to where it's more appropriate, before we're 'voluntold.'

Slumberjack

In 2002.  I really didn't have any high aspirations or idealism as to the nature of our involvement,  it was one of those be there or be square choices, as is often the case with the 100% liability clause that comes with the terms of service.  With our eight year about to begin, any positives are superficial and manufactured with public opinion in mind.  There have been no tangible gains made and the only real results have been more deaths on both sides.  This is all that will ever come of it.

Loretta

Realigned wrote:

Currently there are  people outside the city gates waiting to come in and destroy whatever reconstruction has begun- until they are ready stop destroying we need people "manning th walls". You were a soldier, you must remember having good guys with guns (security) between the bad guys infront of you and the trench you were digging or the bridge you were building.  You need protection. But just having soldiers with guns without any long term views or goals of rebuilding is a waste of time, totally.

 

 

The "good guys" and the "bad guys" are simplistic ways of framing this conflict and who defines them? From some points of view, those groups of people might be reversed. We need to ask ourselves, "in whose interests is it?", in this case, "for me to think about group X as good and group Z as bad".  

Whose agenda and what agenda is paramount? How does war serve where negotiating peaceful ways through conflict could be truly effective? It is very difficult for someone in a certain milieu not to adopt the cultural mind-set of those around them (such as the framing of the issues and people that's going on there) but it's not impossible.

 I started asking questions and heavily moving toward becoming a pacifist when I became aware of the propaganda surrounding the build-up to the "first" Persian Gulf War. Every house in my neighbourhood had yellow ribbons prominantly featured and the media was full of pro-war justification. My (military family) neighbour thought I was nuts when I didn't accept "because Saddam is a monster" as an adequate answer. Do you see things that don't match with the "feel-good" mantra that's being promulgated? I think it's appropriate to do some deep thinking, beyond the knee-jerk patriotism that we are being fed (which I what I hope you are seeking here).

With respect, the domestic violence image kind of falls down here because I see the situation in Afghanistan as analogous to someone in another neighbourhood calling the police (rather than the participants themselves) and having them take sides with the armed and physically bigger man who has been violent with his partner for the benefit of the neighbour rather than the woman.

I agree with another comment that there is lots here and elsewhere that can assist you, if you are genuinely searching. There are also ways to get out of there, if that is what you need to do in order to live with yourself, but that a tough journey, for sure.

Webgear

Slumberjack

 

I like BGen Thompson the most of the previous commanders. I think he is true concerned about his soldiers compared to other generals. He just has a different manner of showing his emotions.

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