Here (above) we see Canadian General Jonathan Vance on a happier day in Deh-e-Bagh, Afghanistan, where, back in July villagers were all smiles Canadian troops "pledging to do such things as rejuvenate nine mosques and create a wheat co-operative," as The Windsor Star reported.
Nine mosques? Any ammonium nitrate with that wheat co-operative?
Last week, however, Vance had had enough. After an IED attack on his armored convoy outside the same village that left one soldier with multiple leg wounds, Vance zoomed back to the village and hastily convened a council of "village elders" and said:
"If we keep blowing up on the roads I'm going to stop doing development."
That's laying it on the line -- or is it? Sure, there's a certain logic to his words -- and an understandable emotion -- but they could only be uttered in a situation of complete madness. If we keep blowing up on the roads no more toys for you. Isn't there something wrong with this picture?
More news from the Canadian sector of the mad front:
Canadian soldiers have been explicitly ordered to stop or report incidents of Afghan soldiers or interpreters raping boys, Defence Minister Peter MacKay says.
That's good, I guess, but ... why ... ? Never mind.
Back to the BG Vance story. It seems tha Defense Minister Mackay is "backing" his general (as if he wouldn't ...? Never mind again). From dose.ca:
MacKay said he understands Vance's frustration and the minister concurred that the co-operation of villagers is essential to the ability of Canadians to deliver development and programs, such as immunizing children and building schools. ...
"There is a connection between our ability to deliver and the security and co-operation we require from local Afghans."
MacKay dismissed the prospect that Vance was issuing an ultimatum, saying that his message was more "help us to help you."
Oh, brother. Of course, if you really want nuts:
NDP defence critic Jack Harris, however, said that Vance's outburst was "a very surprising reaction from a general who is supposedly trying to win the hearts and minds of the people he is trying to protect in Afghanistan."
Sounds like a McChrystalite!
Harris said that identifying Taliban insurgents and giving Canadians advance warning of bomb attacks would not be easy in the complicated politics of Afghanistan.
"To try to simplify the matter by saying, 'You tell us who the Taliban are or we're walking out of here,' is basically throwing up his hands and saying we don't know how to solve this problem, we don't know how to fight this war," Harris said.