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War on Terrorism: Getting past the semantics


SRV

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We all would have been a lot farther ahead if he'd just stayed home and collected a paycheck.

Instead we're in harm's way and he probably suffers PTSD.

I'm pointing out AG's credentials vs two reporters and a poster who hasn't been to war in Afghanistan.

Who is the expert? What's an expert?

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...

And again, I think your intentions and those of the Canadian military you served under were noble and laudable, and you acted with courage.

...‚Äč

I agree with you but that does not alter the fact that these excursions were a waste of blood and treasure. I have no doubt that those who followed orders and went where they told and did what they were told would have difficulty accepting that it was all for nothing.

It is the civilian population and the politicians who make the decision to go to war - it is the role of the military to carry out those decisions to the best of its ability. The Canadian government made their decision and the military carried out the results of these decisions.

Our Canadian government made bad decisions on Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq and now in our dealings against ISIS. The military will continue to try to facilitate those bad decisions and we will continue to get deeper and deeper into that quagmire.

It is no dishonor to admit that the mission was a mistake especially when you did not make the decision to undertake it.

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SRV...

I want to thank you, for your posts, and apologize for my tone, and perhaps some of my comments, as I do not know you, or know of the experiences you have had. I have spent most of my time here on this forum defending the actions of our nations military, and my comrads actions and have grown a little short tempered with the topic for that I am sorry. This X-mas I spent some time with my best friends family as I do every year as part of a promise I made to him before he passed. this year was tough, a lot of old war memories were brought back up, ones I thought were buried deep, I had to explain to his son how his father died, and why I made it out alive to come home to my family.... His son is now 18 years old and wanted to know the answers to some very tough questions, ones I thought I would not have to answer for a long time....it's not an excuse but rather an explanation of sorts to my responses.

I don't think you will find a bigger pacifist than a soldier who has been to combat, there is nothing glorifying about war, it is filled with hatred, and brings out the worse of people on both sides, so much that it changes everything it touches, I mean everything, men, women, children....landscapes, it changes morals, and values, changing everything we value as core beliefs...nothing goes untouched, one of the first things my wife noticed upon my return from my first tour, I was not the man I once was....I despise war and everything it brings to the table... but I also know that sometimes war is inevitable, and sometimes we need to use force to stop evil things from happening.... to protect not only our nation but everything we value as our core beliefs....

I get the fact that most of the conflicts in the middle east are over resources, resources that most of the world depends on it is a sort of life force that drives our way of life..And a lot of people have issues with that, even I have struggled with that dilemma...these resources drive our economy and our way of life....on the other hand we are not ready to give all that up, and live in a third world stage that would follow....

Afghanistan was different because there was no resources to fight over....I also get the fact that originally it was about destroying an evil dictatorship, and several groups of terrorists, holding them responsible for their actions on 9/11...it quickly turned into a nation building exercise that the free world had not done since world war II....it was during this portion that as a soldier I thought I would finally get to ply my craft for good....to be able to use my skills to bring change , not for resources or anything like that but to better the lives of a people who had been beaten to a pulp after 30 years of Constance conflict....it was about enforcing peace, ensuring the Afghan people had a taste of freedom, to enjoy some of those human rights we all talk about and take advantage of here in the west....I know the coalition took advantage of that, making the war about sending little girls to school, etc etc...and yes we did that to a certain extent....education is a key element to renewal....so is building huge infra structure projects , such as paved hyways, linking the trade routes, massive dam projects for hydro power, and watching their economy grow....that is what I believed in, that is one of the reasons I put my hand up and volunteered 3 times....We as a nation , have so much to offer, we are one of the few countries that have excesses in everything....and while the nation did not buy into the PM Harpers intentions, accusing him of being a US puppet....I thought here is a chance to show case what our nation could really do....not just militarily but everything else....and at really little cost, the entire conflict might of cost each tax payer 100 dollars a year....the other cost was to our soldiers....who were asked to put their lives in danger, for me, and many others it was a no brainer.....for most Canadians the price was to high...and yet their portion was only a 100 dollars a year, our soldiers were willing to pay the rest....it was to much for most Canadians....a sad day in our history....

Most will say that the plan is not working....and yet they have no solution to offer...most want to pull out do nothing , let them who can't fight back solve the problem....but this is not a solution I can live with, I did to much of that on UN peace keeping missions, watch, report , and do nothing....but what do I know, I am just a soldier, a governmental puppet.... and then we have the nerve to talk about human rights and everyone should have them....it is our basic rights....and yet we don't want to do anything to ensure that they are enforced...all talk...no action....

In the course of some of our duties we would regularly partrol the townships in our AO, talking with village elders, sharing a meal, planning out community projects we could assist in, such as building wells, a fire engine, or ambulance etc....so like you I got to spend some time with the locals, talk to them about their lifes and what it was like to live under 30 plus years of conflict....it was during on of these patrols that for me everything would become a little less dark.....I had the honor of sharing my lunch with a little girl of 8 years of age....You see when we stopped kids would gather in hopes of getting some sweets....she was a hungry thing and I used that to get her to talk to me, through a interrupter who was sitting next to, ( one of many who had decided to help the coalition as the terrorists had killed his family) I noticed she had no hands, but she did not let this handicap slow her from eating....I learned that the Taliban had cut her hands off for going to school, and if that was not enough they had killed her father in front of her for allowing her to go to school....if that was not enough they had raped her mother as well.....see in Afghan not having a male parent to earn a wage things get real tough....I had asked if she still goes to school, and she looked at me in surprise "of course to honor my father" was her reply.....now this little girl was only 8 years old, and she had already mapped out a huge portion of her life.....she was going to school regardless of the cost , as she had already paid that bill in full....when she left all I could think off was why am I here in afghan ? and I would dedicate my service in her country to ensuring she would have that chance.....as I was in a position that would allow changing of the patrol routes we would always when possible patrol the school district on a regular basis.... I only seen her a couple of times after that day, just a wave here, or to give her some candies with the other kids....but that little girl would become one of the reasons I would stick my hands up to volunteer to come back for each tour....

I know I sounds hard to believe, because of the media hype about our nation fighting so little girls could go to school....but for me it was true....I'm not sure what ever happened to her, or how things would change once we withdrew from Afghanistan.....but for me that experience was worth all my time and effort in that country....regardless of what everyone else thinks about the mission....So I did not keep coming back to seek glory or to die for my nation.....I kept coming back because they needed someone like me and the countless other Canadian soldiers who would give so much to those that needed it...for me it was well worth the 100 dollars in tax I paid , plus all the blood, sweat and tears that most Canadians thought was a waste of our time....

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Army Guy was there for two years and has served in the military for over 30 years.

On an anonymous public access opinion board, everyone is anonymous and has no background.

What you post and how you post creates any credibility (or lack of such) for the avatar and is dependent on who believes what.

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On an anonymous public access opinion board, everyone is anonymous and has no background.

What you post and how you post creates any credibility (or lack of such) for the avatar and is dependent on who believes what.

Perhaps not as anonymous as you think. We've all known each other a while, here. You're the new guy.

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Big guy:

Your right I dont care what your expert have to say, I also pointed out to you there are plenty of experts on both side of the fence that have long and winded stories to tell, and did not want to get into a he said she said debate....

Big guy I have always valued your opinion, but you were resorting to nothing more than name calling and judging me for my opinions....and your right I am not interested in that .....

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eyeball....

yes Eyeball your in harms way...because every terrorist wants to travel to BC take a ride on a fishing boat, they been looking for you since you started posting here........all because we as a nation wanted to help some people, you still don't get it....your from a western country, does not matter what our actions are or were....we are all the same to them....one big target.....so you better hide...

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Big guy:

Your right I dont care what your expert have to say, I also pointed out to you there are plenty of experts on both side of the fence that have long and winded stories to tell, and did not want to get into a he said she said debate....

Big guy I have always valued your opinion, but you were resorting to nothing more than name calling and judging me for my opinions....and your right I am not interested in that .....

Thank you, but I did not refer to your opinions as "horse shit". I do not dismiss the fact that you believe what you share. As to conflicts, since it is the politicians who make the decisions I tend to read and believe the "experts" who look at our involvements from that perspective - not from the inside of a foxhole.

I believe what I read from Eric Margolis through his blogs and all the books he has written about the Middle East. His background can be found at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_Margolis

And Janice Stein and all the books she has written on the Middle East. Her background can be found at:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Janice_Stein

Even General Rick Hilliers attempt to establish his own legacy through, "A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War" and "Leadership: 50 Points of Wisdom for Today's Leaders".

I believe that while anecdotal evidence can be informative and interesting, it contributes little to impartial discussion of major issues. I do not believe that anyone physically and/or directly involved in a conflict has any more valid appreciation of the causes and consequences of the conflict than an informed impartial observer.

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I think Big guy you have this perception that you and I as the general public has a direct say in whether our nation goes to war....your as much as a pawn in that process as you say I am, or was just along for the ride.....while the general public may influence the direction of the war, it certainly does not have a say the actual decision....

You also have this opinion that once war is decided it is a military run matter, not true, the government has final say on every aspect of the conduct of said war.....the military may come up with the plan, and may have some influence in how it is conducted, but it is the government that says yes or no....so saying that the military is facilitating these wars is false....

One more thing while we are playing the finger pointing game, the general public has to own it's share for these failures as well, as it influences the direction , of any conflict.....just try that on for size see if it fits....

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I think Big guy you have this perception that you and I as the general public has a direct say in whether our nation goes to war....your as much as a pawn in that process as you say I am, or was just along for the ride.....while the general public may influence the direction of the war, it certainly does not have a say the actual decision....

You also have this opinion that once war is decided it is a military run matter, not true, the government has final say on every aspect of the conduct of said war.....the military may come up with the plan, and may have some influence in how it is conducted, but it is the government that says yes or no....so saying that the military is facilitating these wars is false....

One more thing while we are playing the finger pointing game, the general public has to own it's share for these failures as well, as it influences the direction , of any conflict.....just try that on for size see if it fits....

Actually, as a civilian, I have more of a say than anyone in the military. I can and have written letters to the editor to major publications regarding the war in Afghanistan before it became a debacle. I have as well written to military leaders like General Hillier when he was first appointed to run the war. A soldier in uniform could never do that.

I continue to publish (in my real name) opposing any Canadian involvement in that Sunni, Shia civil war in the Middle East until they settle then go in if requested. I doubt any soldier in uniform could do that and stay in the forces.

Finger pointing works only to point out what mistakes we are making now. What happened in the past will be evaluated by historians.

Anyone who has a vote in Canadian politics (this includes military personnel) shares in the success or failure of Canadian foreign policy. Some of us try to prevent mistakes before they are made.

Edited by Big Guy
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I think Big guy you have this perception that you and I as the general public has a direct say in whether our nation goes to war....your as much as a pawn in that process as you say I am, or was just along for the ride.....while the general public may influence the direction of the war, it certainly does not have a say the actual decision....

Would you have it any other way? No, you've scorned and resisted any suggestion whatsoever that Canadians should vote on whether Canada sends our armed forces beyond our borders into foreign wars.
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As to the success or failure of our efforts in Afghanistan I suggest reading the following:

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/12/analysis-taliban-resurgence-afghanistan-isil-151227065817409.html

The Taliban in Afghanistan have expanded their presence and acquired more reach in the country than at any point since the toppling of their regime as a result of the United States-led intervention in 2001.

Afghanistan has never been as insecure in the past 14 years as it is now. More Afghans have been killed in 2015 than any year since 2001.

It appears that they also want to capture big chunks of the country to get the upper hand in the stalled peace process, which is likely to start in 2016.

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SRV...

I want to thank you, for your posts, and apologize for my tone, and perhaps some of my comments, as I do not know you, or know of the experiences you have had. I have spent most of my time here on this forum defending the actions of our nations military, and my comrads actions and have grown a little short tempered with the topic for that I am sorry. This X-mas I spent some time with my best friends family as I do every year as part of a promise I made to him before he passed. this year was tough, a lot of old war memories were brought back up, ones I thought were buried deep, I had to explain to his son how his father died, and why I made it out alive to come home to my family.... His son is now 18 years old and wanted to know the answers to some very tough questions, ones I thought I would not have to answer for a long time....it's not an excuse but rather an explanation of sorts to my responses.

I don't think you will find a bigger pacifist than a soldier who has been to combat, there is nothing glorifying about war, it is filled with hatred, and brings out the worse of people on both sides, so much that it changes everything it touches, I mean everything, men, women, children....landscapes, it changes morals, and values, changing everything we value as core beliefs...nothing goes untouched, one of the first things my wife noticed upon my return from my first tour, I was not the man I once was....I despise war and everything it brings to the table... but I also know that sometimes war is inevitable, and sometimes we need to use force to stop evil things from happening.... to protect not only our nation but everything we value as our core beliefs....

I get the fact that most of the conflicts in the middle east are over resources, resources that most of the world depends on it is a sort of life force that drives our way of life..And a lot of people have issues with that, even I have struggled with that dilemma...these resources drive our economy and our way of life....on the other hand we are not ready to give all that up, and live in a third world stage that would follow....

Afghanistan was different because there was no resources to fight over....I also get the fact that originally it was about destroying an evil dictatorship, and several groups of terrorists, holding them responsible for their actions on 9/11...it quickly turned into a nation building exercise that the free world had not done since world war II....it was during this portion that as a soldier I thought I would finally get to ply my craft for good....to be able to use my skills to bring change , not for resources or anything like that but to better the lives of a people who had been beaten to a pulp after 30 years of Constance conflict....it was about enforcing peace, ensuring the Afghan people had a taste of freedom, to enjoy some of those human rights we all talk about and take advantage of here in the west....I know the coalition took advantage of that, making the war about sending little girls to school, etc etc...and yes we did that to a certain extent....education is a key element to renewal....so is building huge infra structure projects , such as paved hyways, linking the trade routes, massive dam projects for hydro power, and watching their economy grow....that is what I believed in, that is one of the reasons I put my hand up and volunteered 3 times....We as a nation , have so much to offer, we are one of the few countries that have excesses in everything....and while the nation did not buy into the PM Harpers intentions, accusing him of being a US puppet....I thought here is a chance to show case what our nation could really do....not just militarily but everything else....and at really little cost, the entire conflict might of cost each tax payer 100 dollars a year....the other cost was to our soldiers....who were asked to put their lives in danger, for me, and many others it was a no brainer.....for most Canadians the price was to high...and yet their portion was only a 100 dollars a year, our soldiers were willing to pay the rest....it was to much for most Canadians....a sad day in our history....

Most will say that the plan is not working....and yet they have no solution to offer...most want to pull out do nothing , let them who can't fight back solve the problem....but this is not a solution I can live with, I did to much of that on UN peace keeping missions, watch, report , and do nothing....but what do I know, I am just a soldier, a governmental puppet.... and then we have the nerve to talk about human rights and everyone should have them....it is our basic rights....and yet we don't want to do anything to ensure that they are enforced...all talk...no action....

In the course of some of our duties we would regularly partrol the townships in our AO, talking with village elders, sharing a meal, planning out community projects we could assist in, such as building wells, a fire engine, or ambulance etc....so like you I got to spend some time with the locals, talk to them about their lifes and what it was like to live under 30 plus years of conflict....it was during on of these patrols that for me everything would become a little less dark.....I had the honor of sharing my lunch with a little girl of 8 years of age....You see when we stopped kids would gather in hopes of getting some sweets....she was a hungry thing and I used that to get her to talk to me, through a interrupter who was sitting next to, ( one of many who had decided to help the coalition as the terrorists had killed his family) I noticed she had no hands, but she did not let this handicap slow her from eating....I learned that the Taliban had cut her hands off for going to school, and if that was not enough they had killed her father in front of her for allowing her to go to school....if that was not enough they had raped her mother as well.....see in Afghan not having a male parent to earn a wage things get real tough....I had asked if she still goes to school, and she looked at me in surprise "of course to honor my father" was her reply.....now this little girl was only 8 years old, and she had already mapped out a huge portion of her life.....she was going to school regardless of the cost , as she had already paid that bill in full....when she left all I could think off was why am I here in afghan ? and I would dedicate my service in her country to ensuring she would have that chance.....as I was in a position that would allow changing of the patrol routes we would always when possible patrol the school district on a regular basis.... I only seen her a couple of times after that day, just a wave here, or to give her some candies with the other kids....but that little girl would become one of the reasons I would stick my hands up to volunteer to come back for each tour....

I know I sounds hard to believe, because of the media hype about our nation fighting so little girls could go to school....but for me it was true....I'm not sure what ever happened to her, or how things would change once we withdrew from Afghanistan.....but for me that experience was worth all my time and effort in that country....regardless of what everyone else thinks about the mission....So I did not keep coming back to seek glory or to die for my nation.....I kept coming back because they needed someone like me and the countless other Canadian soldiers who would give so much to those that needed it...for me it was well worth the 100 dollars in tax I paid , plus all the blood, sweat and tears that most Canadians thought was a waste of our time....

Thank you for your post. And thank you for sharing some of your experiences and your motivation for repeatedly volunteering to return to Afghanistan. I can totally relate to your story of the Afghani little girl. It brought to mind a little shoe-shine guy I met in Iraq, and kids that I met in El Salvador, Colombia and other places. Apology accepted!

In the fall of 2003 I once shared a podium with a military reservist while doing a presentation on Iraq. He talked about what motivates a soldier, and one of his comments really struck a chord with me. It sounded absolutely true and was pretty consistent with what I had heard and observed in all my interactions with soldiers. He said a soldier is primarily motivated by loyalty. Not to his country; not to a cause; not to a mission. Not even to the military he serves under. But to his fellow soldiers who serve in the same unit. While there is some evidence of that in your post, I see that you also had the opportunity to develop close relations with the victims of violence that profoundly motivated you. I have no doubt that not a day passes without you thinking of that little girl and what will become of her now. She symbolizes what really matters. And then you come 'home' --if there really is such a place anymore-- and all your friends and neighbours can talk about is the hockey game or whatever. They just don't get it and continue with their game of trivial pursuit that is their lives and wonder why you no longer want to participate. And then there are the armchair pundits... I understand and sympathize with your frustration and lack of patience because I remember my own. Part of the reason I continue to work as a human rights defender abroad is because I just can't do Canada anymore. I don't think its PTSD. Or is it?

Sometimes I feel like there's a padlock on my soul.

If you opened up my heart you'd find a big black hole

But when the feeling comes through, it comes through strong --

If you think there's no difference between right and wrong

Just go down where the death squad lives

--Canadian singer songwriter Bruce Cockburn

I also agree that we are all pretty much pawns in the game when it comes to decisions about if, when, why and where Canada will to go to war. Or if, when and why Canada decides to withdraw from a war for that matter. We can write our letters to the editor, call our MPs, march in the streets or whatever, but public opinion is generally only a consideration when it can no longer be managed by propaganda and corporate media.

You are also right that Afghanistan has no resources to fight over. I have looked for reasons control over the country might further geopolitical interests, and found none, unless it has to to with oil pipeline routes from Uzbekistan or something. Whatever the real reason for the mission was, it has now been deemed accomplished by the powers that be. Any thoughts?

I continue to believe Canada and the coalition's interventions in Afghanistan and elsewhere have increased rather than diminished acts of terrorism, especially in the middle east. While I applaud and endorse the nation-building you and your brothers and sisters in arms were doing over there, I think the context in which it was done did more harm than good in terms of lasting improvements to the safety and quality of life of those who live there. It may have been better not to go there at all, but as you have learned, there are very real people with very real problems that really need help and support. I don't know if you have come across a book called "Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace - One School at a Time", but that is one initiative that promotes the kind of work you found most gratifying in Afghanistan. It is doubtlessly underfunded work, and at best make only a marginal difference, and doing that work is lightly to incur the wrath of the Taliban and subject you and Afghanis to the same risks you were exposed to as a soldier, but without armoured vehicles and air support to protect you. Nor, as was the case with your nation-building as part of the military, is there any guarantee that the Taliban or someone won't come behind you and destroy everything you've built. But it may do more to undermine terrorists ability to recruit civilians and do more to win over the hearts and minds of the primary victims of terrorism, which you correctly point out are people from Muslim countries. And you have already indicated that you are not particularly concerned about remuneration...And you would meet and fall in love with more little Afghani children. And you would continue to be honouring what your friends who sacrificed his life really stood for.

Your work and time in Afghanistan may not have resulted in profound and lasting changes in the lives of Afghanis, but I see that it has made profound and lasting changes in you! Changes for the better I might add!

Edited by SRV
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Eyeball....

I have resisted all attempts, Canadians do not have the interest to keep up to date any all the topics needed to make informed decisions of this magnitude.

So yes I would rather it be done by the government....

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Big guy:

What did you think was going to happen after we decided to drop all our promised commitments....and pulled out.....another example of just how much regular Canadian citizens can influence our governments decisions on the global stage...This is what you wanted was it not, and yet the only people getting hurt with that decision is the Afghan people....

Your source contradicts your main talking points about getting involved and making things worse....but the article says very clearly without NATO and the coalition assisting in security operations and nation building projects things are declining rapidly.....

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...Your source contradicts your main talking points about getting involved and making things worse....but the article says very clearly without NATO and the coalition assisting in security operations and nation building projects things are declining rapidly.....

Agreed....the links demonstrate just how important the missions were/are. Most Canadians supported NATO mission(s) until the usual fickle ones change their minds like political clockwork. Marvelous....

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SRV:

I think your reservist hit out of the park, the bond between soldiers who fight together becomes as strong or stronger than siblings, I mean the you share everything, food, water, news form home,even bed spaces....everyone depends on each other to survive, that includes physical health as well as mental health,so everyone is looking out for each other... there is no one else to share your highs or lows with except your section members....you know them as well or better than there spouses.....plus you share all those experiences you go through the good , bad and ugly.......like I said there is no bond that is stronger....even after retirement I still keep in close contact with those brother in arms....

there are a lot of things that happened over there that some of those also had a profound impact on my motivation on my service in country, things like seeing the terrorist crimes up close and personal, such as finding an old man skinned alive staked him out in the hot sun to cook for talking to us.......or having to take part in shooting a 4 year old boy on a bike that had a suicide vest strapped to his little body, and catching the man who forced him to peddle his bike towards.our Veh check point....that and the death of my closest friend, had driven into some dark times....bluring the lines between what I thought were strong moral values ...I did not do anything illegal, just did not have any compassion for our enemies....Things that i'm sure I will have to atone for in front of our maker...and it took a while for me to come back from....it was my section mates that put me on the road back to some normalcy like I said there is no stronger bond than brothers in arms....

The pipe line myth, my entire time in Afghanistan I did not see any pipe lines, I had mentioned it to my chain of command, all they said was it would to hard to protect, and would be a prime target for every group in the area....and would never get off the ground...infact there was talk about routing it through another route for these very reasons, the resources it would have generated for Afghanistan would not pay for the resources required to protect it....

I have never thought the mission was completed, it required more time, not just militarily but also on the other governmental depts... but remember the west was under tremendous pressure to close it all out...it's citizens are not a patient lot, regardless of what was truly at stake...

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eyeball since we have not had a draft since the later stages of WWII, and then only 12500, troops were sent over seas, with very little of those seeing combat.....the Canadian military was filled with volunteers.... I guess we are all safe from being drafted......

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eyeball since we have not had a draft since the later stages of WWII, and then only 12500, troops were sent over seas, with very little of those seeing combat.....the Canadian military was filled with volunteers.... I guess we are all safe from being drafted......

That is as long as it's citizenry can keep the government in check by not getting into horrible situations that put us at risk from our government's foreign policy. There are enemies within our government that are more pertinent to pursue.

With only a few emergency laws , martial law and a draft could be possible. If that happens, does it change your current worldview?

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You guys make it sound like the military are a bunch of robots acting only upon the governmental orders. there are a series of checks and balances in place to ensure that the military stays in check, but also the government stays in check....Our history has a couple of examples Cuban missile crises comes to mind...Canadian government refused to take part in the blockade....Canadian military refused those orders as it was a nation ending moment in our history....and sent the navy in despite the government s orders.....

You all forget that our military is full of Canadian citizens , who do not swear allegiance to our government but rather to the Queen of England....the commander and chief of the military is the governor general....who does not have direct ties to our PM, or should not have... while it maybe a moot point these days, and perhaps just a ceremonial position it is set that way to be one of those checks and balances...meaning the PM could not unleash the military on it's citizens without the queens approval....

That and the fact we are ourselves Canadian citizens and most troops would have a major problem with using force on our own citizens...to the point unit integrity would be compromised....My opinion only....there are exceptions to the rules....FLQ crises, Mohawk up rising in Quebec....but these incidences were in the best interest of the country, again my opinion only...

I put my trust in the government for a lot of reasons, they are better informed about all major and minor things that effect our nation, they have more resources, access to info that the public does not, depts. and people within those depts. who are experts in almost every topic....so who would you pick to make the best decision, the regular joe smoe of the street, or some expert in that field....remember it is your life that could hang in the balance....also remember the public does not have a very good record when coming to making good decisions....Afghanistan counts as two...one the majority thought it was a good idea to get involved....then second to leave....there are plenty more history is full of them....

Of course there is the citizens themselves...who have in all our years as a nation have kept things on a even keel.....

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And yet you trust joe shmoe to pick your government? How does your trust for government square with your disdain for politicians?

Maybe only you soldiers are fit to be citizens and only citizens should be politicians or vote for them. Screw joe, you can't expect him to know how to defend a nation.

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