5 Canadians killed in Afghanistan; 4 Soldiers and Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald

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5 Canadians killed in Afghanistan; 4 Soldiers and Michelle Lang of the Calgary Herald
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"Five Canadians were killed in Afghanistan on Wednesday — four soldiers and a Calgary reporter.

Brig.-Gen. Daniel Ménard said one Canadian civilian was also wounded in the attack.

The journalist was identified as Michelle Lang, who worked for the Calgary Herald.

Lang, who was 34, grew up in Vancouver and was a well-respected health reporter for the Herald, winning a National Newspaper Award in 2008 for best beat reporting. She had also worked in Regina and Moose Jaw."

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

SparkyOne

N.Beltov wrote:

How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

Probably when people stop asking the same exact question (How many more, when will it end?!) and actually do something about it.

 

What to do is the question.

N.Beltov what can people like you and me do to end the occupation?

Unionist

Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

SparkyOne, there is no need for you or N.Beltov to do anything. The Afghan people are in the process of ending the occupation, as their ancestors have done before them. They don't need our help (although I'm sure it would be appreciated). Just wait and see.

Wilf Day

Unionist wrote:
Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

I have to disagree strongly. Michelle Lang was a working journalist, not an advocate. She went where the story was happening.

Michelle Lang, with a whole life to live, gave her life so that the story could be told.

“I'm not here to rewrite what the public affairs people tell me,” she said. “It seems like the real stories are out in the field.” The most honourable death.

Graeme Smith:

Quote:
Why bother? Sometimes you ask yourself that question with a note of bitterness. All the best information in the world has not stopped Kandahar from slipping further into chaos. You cannot pretend that journalists have solved any of the problems in southern Afghanistan. Still, you are optimistic by nature. You hope that better understanding of the war will somehow help the situation.

Unionist

I appreciate your viewpoint, Wilf, but mine is different. If a Russian journalist embedded with invading Soviet troops were killed by Hungarian resistance fighters in 1956, or Czechs in 1968, or a Japanese journalist accompanying his troops into China in the 1930s, I would have felt exactly the same. I have no way of judging their individual views or motivations, nor do I particularly care. They enter a war zone under the protection of the invaders and with a mission to glorify the invasion, which they individually fulfill more or less well. If they take on a role (say) of supporting the insurgents, they will be gone in two seconds flat. To think otherwise is to suffer from acute näiveté.

This death is no more honourable than that of a Tim Horton's employee in Kandahar who is killed through collateral damage. The difference, if any, is the level of service and disinformation rendered to the "mission" by a captive journalist than by a humble worker just doing their job.

Now, had she been killed while visiting the insurgents, at their invitation, to get their side of the story, I would have wept at the irony and injustice of the situation.

ETA: For those who would like to judge for themselves whether Ms. Lang told "the real stories ... out in the field" rather than "rewrite what the public affairs people tell me", as she is quoted by Wilf as saying, please have a look at her blog:

[url=http://communities.canada.com/calgaryherald/blogs/afghanistandispatches/... Dispatches[/url]

... and judge for yourselves.

Debater

N.Beltov wrote:

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

I wonder that too.  We shouldn't be in Afghanistan.  I wish the mission had come to an end in 2009 like it was supposed to and was not extended to 2011.  So many Canadians have now died unnecessarily as a result of the mission being extended.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Unionist wrote:
SparkyOne, there is no need for you or N.Beltov to do anything. The Afghan people are in the process of ending the occupation, as their ancestors have done before them. They don't need our help (although I'm sure it would be appreciated). Just wait and see.

There's plenty Canadians can do. They can participate in any and all anti-war activities designed to pressure the Canadian regime (oops - I mean "our" government) to pull their troops out of Afghanistan immediately. They can help build the strength of anti-war organizations in general. They can humiliate any and every Canadian MP who supports the continuing NATO occupation (ISAF cover, notwithstanding) any way they can, especially by working to defeat them at the polls, whenever that comes, and so on. The role of American opponents to the atrocities in Viet Nam was a significant contribution to the eventual withdrawal from that country. Why should Canada be any different?

Debater

Why should Canada be any different?  Well, unfortunately as someone said on the prorogation thread, Canadians are passive and docile by nature and are not normally willing to stand up and take an aggressive position on an issue.

Hopefully though the mounting number of casualties will continue to raise public opposition to the war.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Unionist wrote:

Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

Wow, that is really callous and uncalled for Unionist. 

I see someone killed while on the job, at far too young an age, and you practically lecture her and imply she had it coming.

If my country goes to war, especially if I don't support that action, I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

I think every death in Afganastan is tragic.  Sure, a journalists death will get more attention than that of an Afgan civillian, and sure that's not fair.  But it doesn't mean we should dance on the grave of any of the casualties.

Jingles

Quote:
I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

Of course she was embedded. She died in an LAV, for chrissakes. You don't get much more embedded than that.

As the idiot reporter for the CBC said (paraphrased) "she was covering the Canadian troops as they went on a routine patrol, protecting villages and making the area safe". Uh huh. That's what they're doing.

Her job was the same as that idiot CBC reporter (although "idiot" and "CBC reporter" are synonyms): to glorify the occupation, to sugarcoat the brutality, and to "catapult the propaganda" as a great man once said.

She served at the pleasure of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces and Stephen Harper. Too bad she gave her life for him.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Lou Arab wrote:
If my country goes to war, especially if I don't support that action, I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

 

Well, here's some evidence maybe ...

 

Is that Michelle Lang saying "Cheese" for the camera?

 

Five dead in Kandahar, eight CIA operatives killed in Khost, ... and so it goes.

 

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

Jingles wrote:

Too bad she gave her life for him.

Do you really think that?  I don't get the sense you are genuine, but perhaps I'm wrong. 

I just can't imagine you would cop that attitude if you met Michelle Lang's family.  This is someone who was doing a job.  She was a worker, and she was killed working.  I find the callousness of this thread very hard to take.

And as for the photo posted by N. Beltov - are you suggesting that if someone wears protective gear in a war zone, they get what's coming to them?

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Lou - I was showing that this journalist was embedded in every sense of the word. Protected by the occupying military, etc.

Anyway, let me just add that I beg to differ as well; these are not tragic but senseless deaths. They could have been prevented if these people, who should not have been there, were not there. Period. ON the contrary side, tragedy has aspects of the unavoidable. Like our owns deaths - all of which are inevitable (eventually). This award winning reporter - expert on health issues if you please - may have had a passport to further journalistic kudos and awards by putting herself in harm's way, but why go to an occupied country in the first place? And who convinced her that this was a good idea?

Jingles

Quote:
Retired [url=Gen">http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2009/12/30/.... Rick Hillier[/url], former Chief of Defence Staff, hails the bravery of Michelle Lang as “golden and rare.”

“The sometimes ‘normal mistrust’ between soldiers and reporters was usually quickly overcome when soldiers saw that accompanying reporters were taking the same risks as themselves to do their job,” Rick Hillier told me on Wednesday. “Those who reported on war and did it from the front lines, without which they could not get the story right, deserve a special place in our history.”

Note the part about the "right" story. That is, the story DND and Harper want to tell. She was a willing accomplice.

Again, her "job" was propagandist. Her activities were monitored and approved by DND. She was part of the occupation, and as such was a perfectly legitimate target for the resistance.

 

 

Wilf Day

Jingles wrote:
She served at the pleasure of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces and Stephen Harper. Too bad she gave her life for him.

That is so grossly indecent to any journalist, or family member of a journalist, that I will not dignify it with a response. Totalitarian regimes consider journalists legitimate targets. Any babbler who does so deserves to be banned from babble.

N.Beltov wrote:
They could have been prevented if these people, who should not have been there, were not there.

If no Canadian journalists were our eyes and ears in war zones, what would we know about anything happening there? Nothing except CNN stories, and DND public affairs releases which may be well intentioned but don't claim objectivity.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Various Canadian governments have now sent 138 soliders, one diplomat, and one journalist to their deaths in Afghanistan.

Arrest the government already. Stop these senseless deaths.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

N. Beltov - you asked if she said "cheese" to the camera.  Your post (#14) implies she went to Afganastan seeking kudos and awards.

The impression given by your comments is that you think she had it coming.  You claim it's senseless (I agree) but you just had to qualify it, didn't you?  Would you make those comments to her parents or her fiance if you were to meet them this week?

Look, embedded or not, if there are no journalists in Afganastan, Canadians are at the total mercy of the Conservative government to tell us what's happening over there.  Journalists have a tough time figuring out how to report the war in a fair manner.  These are not black and white issues.  I know a number of reporters and they agonize over this stuff.

All I'm suggesting is that Michelle Lang was a decent person and a good reporter and she deserves better than the ill-concieved glee and insufferable smugness expressed here in reaction to her death.  You don't have to support the war, or even like Lang's stories, but show some basic human decency. 

I'm sure your parents raised you better.

Jingles

Quote:
That is so grossly indecent to any journalist, or family member of a journalist, that I will not dignify it with a response. Totalitarian regimes consider journalists legitimate targets. Any babbler who does so deserves to be banned from babble.

Geez, I guess the death of a Most Worthy Victim really affects some people. Settle down, ffs.

Meanwhile....

Quote:
American-led [url=http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/Afghanistan/article6971638.e... were accused yesterday of dragging innocent children from their beds and shooting them during a night raid that left ten people dead.

I guess Ms. Long was busy that day being the eyes and ears of Canadians in war zones, reporting on how much the Troops support our Olympic hockey team, or how Tim Horton's is really, really tasty.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

You're completely wrong Lou. In drawing attention to the stupidity and senselessness of Michelle Lang's death, I'm arguing that no more Canadians should be put in the same position as her ... whether they want to or not. We have more than enough information now, we don't need any more to prove the point that Canada's role in the NATO occupation should end.

I don't like to see dead Canadians and I want it to stop. Do you?

Frmrsldr

N.Beltov wrote:

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

How many more will be killed before the mainstream Canadian media turn against the war.

This war would end pretty quickly if Canadian soldiers and the media publicly turned against it.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

N.Beltov wrote:

You're completely wrong Lou. In drawing attention to the stupidity and senselessness of Michelle Lang's death, I'm arguing that no more Canadians should be put in the same position as her ... whether they want to or not. We have more than enough information now, we don't need any more to prove the point that Canada's role in the NATO occupation should end.

I don't like to see dead Canadians and I want it to stop. Do you?

Damn right I want it to stop. 

And there is nothing wrong with drawing attention to the stupidity and senselessness of her death.

But that's not what you are doing.  You are practically celebrating her death and strongly implying she deserved it.  That is what I find hard to take.

thorin_bane

Bingo jingles...much like the pro war CBC as of late. It's all about pumping up the good news while putting a positive or simple skipping over the bad. When was there a story about how many school we have made or haven't? Or when a soldeir dies they only ever show the families that say "He was proud and so are we of what he was doing" Of course critical thought of murdering and or handing over civilians to be tortured couldn't possibly lead to more fresh recruits in a guerilla(sp) war that we will lose.

As far as the government is concerned, she is grist in the mill to help pump up why we have to stay or how evil they are or somesuch BS. Not to worry I am sure she will get a posthumas medal of courage. Not that it will do her much good. But boy those rose-coloured reports sure looked good at the time didn't they. Accolades for propoganda do you no good when you are dead. Brian Stewart has done some very good reporting orf trouble spots, but I don't believe he was in a military unit reporting. I miss Paul Workman.

Lou Arab Lou Arab's picture

It's late, I'm signing off.  I'll check in tomorrow when I get a chance.

Jingles

Quote:
This war would end pretty quickly if Canadian soldiers and the media publicly turned against it.

That's just it. The media will never turn against it.

I challenge anyone to find just one Canadian mainstream media report that challenges the very legitimacy of the occupation. One measley story that tells what Afghaniis think after the LAVs leave the village. Just one report that doesn't go through DND and the PMO before it makes the paper.

Hell, find one reporter that even calls it an occupation.

 

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Lou, you were a little off on the question of this reporters' embeddedness. I don't have a problem with that. God knows i'm off sometimes. Please don't mistake my mocking you for mocking the dead.

Frmrsldr

Wilf Day wrote:

Unionist wrote:
Too bad someone forgot to explain some history to Michelle Lang before she went there. She might have decided to go report on a country where the people invited her in without guns pointed at their heads.

I have to disagree strongly. Michelle Lang was a working journalist, not an advocate. She went where the story was happening.

Michelle Lang, with a whole life to live, gave her life so that the story could be told.

“I'm not here to rewrite what the public affairs people tell me,” she said. “It seems like the real stories are out in the field.” The most honourable death.

etend that journalists have solved any of the problems in southern Afghanistan. Still, you are optimistic by nature. You hope that better understanding of the war will somehow help the situation.

What bullshit. She used to do local puff pieces. She probably went to Afghanistan out of career opportunism (it would look great on a resume and advance her career.)

She was embedded with the troops (unlike Graeme Smith). It was a case of a war porn infomercial puff piece not turning out the way her military handlers had hoped or expected.

Keep in mind that Tet turned one of the greatest journalists, Walter Kronkite against the Vietnam War.

As a soldier, the more I found out about what was really going on in Afghanistan, the more I turned against the war.

Frmrsldr

Debater wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

That's the first "embedded" Canadian journalist killed in Afghanistan. How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

I wonder that too.  We shouldn't be in Afghanistan.  I wish the mission had come to an end in 2009 like it was supposed to and was not extended to 2011.  So many Canadians have now died unnecessarily as a result of the mission being extended.

You forget that originally Canada was to militarily disengage from Afghanistan in 2007. Harper introduced, not one, but two War Resolutions in the House that were passed by the Conservatives and the collaboration/connivance of the Liberals.

Frmrsldr

Debater wrote:

Why should Canada be any different?  Well, unfortunately as someone said on the prorogation thread, Canadians are passive and docile by nature and are not normally willing to stand up and take an aggressive position on an issue.

Hopefully though the mounting number of casualties will continue to raise public opposition to the war.

That and Torturegate - the realization that Afghanistan is an illegal (see the Geneva Conventions) and "Dirty War".

Fidel

This is what I don't get. Some on the left will tell us that the organized murder is supposed to continue, and Jack Layton is wrong for suggesting that transparent and accountable UN mediated peace talks are necessary. We are supposed to be satisfied with chanting peace slogans but not advocate transparent peace negotiations, because that would amount to added meddling in Afghan affairs, and only the US-led military occupation with troops from more than 50 countries should interfere in Afghan democracy, or something like that. Meanwhile Afghans have suffered through 30 years worth of US meddling in their sovereign affairs, and so are surrounding countries continuing to use Afghanistan for "strategic depth" purposes. Afghanistan has been the scene of an international crime for many years, and peace will require a ceasefire and commitment to non-interference and even a guarantee for Afghan sovereignty by all countries involved.  The Zbigniew-Mackinders of this world will continue orchestrating the destabilization of Afghanistan and the region in that part of the world unless transparent and accountable peace negotiations happen and not the backdoor negotiations that have been ongoing between the CIA and Karzai's corrupt government, Pakistani ISI, and the Taliban with Saudis mediating these closed door meetings with everyone else kept in the dark including ordinary Afghans.

Webgear

All journalism in Canada is plainly horrible at the moment. There is no analysis, no critical thinking on the subject, everything is requires to be either a 30 seconds sound bite or a few short poorly written paragraphs.

I believe Graeme Smith and Brian Stewart have been embedded in military units before or at the very least heavily rely upon the military.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

This whole thing about how we look at the dead, how we describe their activities, how we honour them while not honouring a dishonourable war needs to be looked at backwards and forwards till we get it right. The proponents of this unjust war and occupation massage the truth and try with might and main to baffle the public with their bullshit. Disentangling bullshit is inevitably more complicated, and clumsy, than telling it. But that is what we must do. Try harder people! We want no more dead Canadians.

And we want no more dead Afghanis either. But this second point requires a deeper understanding and something called internationalism or solidarity. Despite its difficulty, it will never go out of political fashion. This is what I believe.

Frmrsldr

Lou Arab wrote:

If my country goes to war, especially if I don't support that action, I want a few reporters to over there to cover things.  Others in this thread suggested she was an 'embedded' journalist, I see no evidence of that.

She died in a LAV (Lightly Armored Vehicle) with four of its personnel in a military convoy. Brig. Gen. Menard explained that the troops (spec. ops. JTF 2 troops) were "gathering information" on the locals to "better understand them". Her job was to produce a pro war infomercial puff piece on what nice guys our troops are and what nice things they are doing in the 'Ghan to win the propaganda "war on the home front". The troops were Canadian Special Forces "spooks" (military intelligence) who are trying to assist Gen. Stanley McChrystal prosecute his counterinsurgency (COIN) war in Afghanistan.

N.Beltov N.Beltov's picture

Jesus. JTF2? This journalist was way out of her depth.

Frmrsldr

Wilf Day wrote:

Jingles wrote:
She served at the pleasure of Her Majesty's Canadian Forces and Stephen Harper. Too bad she gave her life for him.

That is so grossly indecent to any journalist, or family member of a journalist, that I will not dignify it with a response. Totalitarian regimes consider journalists legitimate targets. Any babbler who does so deserves to be banned from babble.

Slightly more sophisticated (nominally democratic) regimes manipulate the media with their own 'spin'.

N.Beltov wrote:
They could have been prevented if these people, who should not have been there, were not there.

If no Canadian journalists were our eyes and ears in war zones, what would we know about anything happening there? Nothing except ...  DND public affairs releases which may be well intentioned but don't claim objectivity.

That's all her report would have amounted to.

Webgear

Frmsldr, you are not serious about post #35?

Frmrsldr

SparkyOne wrote:

N.Beltov wrote:

How many more will be killed before the Ottawa regime (whatever its political "flavour") decides to take their occupation troops out of there?

Probably when people stop asking the same exact question (How many more, when will it end?!) and actually do something about it.

What to do is the question.

N.Beltov what can people like you and me do to end the occupation?

Raise a little hell. Protest! Protest! Protest!

Frmrsldr

.

Frmrsldr

Jingles wrote:

Quote:
This war would end pretty quickly if Canadian soldiers and the media publicly turned against it.

That's just it. The media will never turn against it.

I challenge anyone to find just one Canadian mainstream media report that challenges the very legitimacy of the occupation. One measley story that tells what Afghaniis think after the LAVs leave the village. Just one report that doesn't go through DND and the PMO before it makes the paper.

Hell, find one reporter that even calls it an occupation.

You won't get that from an embedded journalist. Even Graeme Smith didn't ultimately challenge the legitimacy of the occupation, although he was highly critical of it and believes that we cannot possibly win in Afghanistan.

Frmrsldr

Webgear wrote:

Frmsldr, you are not serious about post #35?

That's the story CBC Radio News told during the 1600, 1700 and 1800 news hours.

SparkyOne

I'm just sick and tired of hearing about this in the news and everyone saying when will the killing stop when will we leave and no one doing anything about it.

Outrage over the internet is all well and good but what does repeating the same thing over and over everytime a Canadian or Afghan dies over there do? Nothing.

 I want Canadian soldiersout of Afghanistan, how do I do that?

Webgear

Frmsdlr

In regards post #35, I disagree with your theory on JTF-2, and military intelligence.

Frmrsldr

SparkyOne wrote:

I'm just sick and tired of hearing about this in the news and everyone saying when will the killing stop when will we leave and no one doing anything about it.

Outrage over the internet is all well and good but what does repeating the same thing over and over everytime a Canadian or Afghan dies over there do? Nothing.

 I want Canadian soldiersout of Afghanistan, how do I do that?

Take what you have learned from this site and inform, involve and inspire others.

Write letters to the editor of various newspapers about the war. If you have the opportunity, call in to radio talk shows discussing issues of (the Afghan) war and peace.

Join (a) peace group(s) and raise public attention/awareness - hopefully it gets on television news and covers a larger audience.

The more the public and the government gets deluged with this message, the more likely we can make positive change.Wink

Frmrsldr

Webgear wrote:

Frmsdlr

In regards post #35, I disagree with your theory on JTF-2, and military intelligence.

Well, CBC Radio did mention JTF 2 by name more than once and Brig. Gen. Menard did state that one of the things the troops were doing was gather "information" on the villagers. In the military, "information" means "intelligence". As a soldier, these key words triggered this conclusion from me.

Frmrsldr

Webgear wrote:

All journalism in Canada is plainly horrible at the moment. There is no analysis, no critical thinking on the subject, everything is requires to be either a 30 seconds sound bite or a few short poorly written paragraphs.

I believe Graeme Smith and Brian Stewart have been embedded in military units before or at the very least heavily rely upon the military.

It seems when he started reporting from Afghanistan, Graeme Smith was embedded but later became an unembedded journalist. He ended his last press tour from Afghanistan early because he found out from an insurgent commander he was with that other (insurgent) commanders had put out a "hit" on him and also someone in the Karzai government wanted him dead for his journalistic research into Karzai's brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai's, drug connections  probably was the man (Ahmed Wali) himself who put out the contract.

Smith is now assigned to covering stories from India.

They're not Candian, but two good international journalists who have covered Afghanistan are Ahmed Rashid and Anand Gopal.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/174986

KenS

From what I read it is VERY unlikely they were JTF2 troops. And soldier or not, you are reading in a lot around the mention of information gathering. You could apply that description as one of the purposes of most patrols.

Diogenes Diogenes's picture

Wow - Frmsldr - you are on a roll - keep it up.

My heartfelt sympathies for the Lang family, her death is the unwritten piece on the futility and immorality of war.

Support our troops, bring them home NOW!

Fidel

I've done what FrmrSldr suggests, and that is to blog on the war locally in my home town. They're a bit too smart here though as most are against the war and voting NDP here federally. And I must say that they are not as informed as babblers though. I think babblers would come off as authorities on this phony war on terror if they were to comment locally.

Webgear

 

I am going to agree with KenS's position in post #46 and I am going to continue to disagree with Frmsldr's conclusions in post #35.

With the current information available, I am going to speculate the soldiers were from the KPRT and the injured civilian was likely a member of CIDA or DFIAT.

It is likely the vehicle that hit the IED was a Bison and not a LAV due to the number of injured and killed.

KenS

I didn't say they were Boy Scouts. I was addressing, as has Webgear, some of your inflated claims about what was going on.

Edited to add on reading the last paragraph again: you are ramping up even more. If you want to make those as general statements you are on safe ground... but specifically tieing them to this patrol is another matter. And whats the point? What would it achieve if you were right, while if you make these kind of linkages in public it just gets you dismissed as a crank.

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