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Maybe Canada's General Vance needs anger management

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Some people have issues with anger. For many, their anger makes them unable to carry on healthy relationships or hold a job. A few, however, find a niche in society where their issues are afforded more tolerance, such as professional tennis. Or the military's officer corps.

Recall that Canada's main man in Afghanistan is General Vance. We saw back in June that Vance flew off the handle when a young boy threw a rock at the general as he rode by in a convoy. The boy was of course merely voicing an increasingly common sentiment, repeated since time immemorial in Afghanistan. Indeed, the general is probably in the company of Alexander the Great; no doubt that ancient general's convoys endured more than a few child-thrown ripostes.

But if Alexander was as cool as he was portrayed in that Brad Pitt movie, I suspect that, when similarly attacked, he would not have jumped off his elephant and chased the boy who threw the rock.

Recently General Vance was at it again, this time getting angry at local elders in Dand district. He demanded a meeting with them following an incident where a Canadian soldier was badly wounded by an IED in their district. Vance evidently thinks that the elders are not doing enough to stop such incidents. Not shy about sharing his feelings, Vance told the assembled elders that he sometimes feels that "I am more concerned about Dand district than you."

"There has to be a change starting now and we need to make sure the roads stay clear of IEDs," he said, referring to deadly improvised explosive devices that have repeatedly caused Canadian casualties.

"If we don't start getting some serious cooperation from the people ... then I wonder whether or not it's worth another Canadian life."

Deh-e-Bagh [i.e. the village where the IED attack took place] is the centrepiece of the Canadian counter-insurgency strategy in Kandahar province... (link)

Vance's patronizing words and negotiation-by-threat seem ill-suited to improve what are evidently already strained relations with the elders.

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