Rae to Hillier: STFU killbot, we know what we’re doing

A lot of folks are incapable of hearing the truth, particularly if they are politicians or those whose livelihood depends on politicians.

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada’s top soldier, in a move sure to be appreciated by the minority Conservative government, dismissed on Friday proposals made by the main opposition party that the military mission in Afghanistan refrain from combat operations next year.

…The opposition Liberals — who are keeping the government alive in Parliament — say they will only back an extension if the troops focus solely on training Afghan troops. So far 78 Canadian soldiers have died in Afghanistan.

General Rick Hillier, the blunt-spoken chief of the defense staff, told reporters there was no chance of the soldiers being able to avoid clashes with Taliban militants.

“If you’re in Kandahar, you’re going to be in combat operations … the Afghan army is not yet capable enough to be able to handle security by itself,” he said when asked about the Liberals’ position.

If you’re there, you’re going to be in the middle of a firefight … This is the home of the Taliban.”

His remarks are likely to put more pressure on Liberal leader Stephane Dion to change his position.

— David Ljunggren, “Canada army nixes idea of peaceful Afghan mission“.  Reuters Canada, February 1st, 2008.

[emphasis mine]

How dreadful for M. Dion and company.  And how does Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition respond?

“With great respect to General Hillier, the overall direction of the mission is going to be determined by the government of Canada, and I presume the Parliament of Canada,” said Bob Rae, the Liberals’ foreign affairs spokesman.

No kidding, Bob.  General Hillier is not dictating policy to the Parliament of Canada.  I missed the part where he staged a coup, executed Stephen Harper, and set up a military junta on Parliament Hill.

What the general is saying is that if ISAF’s Canadian contigent remains in Kandahar province, the Taliban are going to seek them out and fight—regardless of the wishes of Parliament.  Ergo if Parliament wants our men and women to avoid combat, they will have to pack up and go elsewhere; we will have to switch assignments with another ISAF nation.

Coincidentally, the general has some thoughts on that too.

Hillier also had little time for suggestions that Canada might rotate its troops to a quieter part of Afghanistan.

“You have to find a job for them. There is no job outside of the south, where you actually need extra troops right now,” he said.

Sorry General, you’re mistaken.  Bob is able to bend space and time to His Will, so we’ll put our people in unnecessary non-combat roles whether you like it or not, and whether or not ISAF has non-combat jobs for them.  Supremacy of parliament and all that.

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