I hardly think it is fair to cast the state of affairs of the Canadian Armed Forces on my shoulders. They are broad woman, but they aren’t that broad.
Hey Vroom, I was kind of hoping for more of a reaction than that.
Paul Martin a twit? What an excellent way to describe him. That guy is downright entertaining. Each consecutive shenanigan just gets funnier and funnier. We know that Canadians don’t mind a crooked and impenitent leader, but I don’t know if they are going to be too keen on re-electing such a blatantly asinine one.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand. Here are a couple of articles written by Jay Hill, Member of Parliament. Jay served as defense Critic for the Official Opposition for numerous years before being promoted to House Whip. He is a friend of mine and I could not think of a bigger crusader for the plight of our military.
All of the following articles plus many more can be found at http://www.jayhillmp.com/news
“Honour our Fallen Soldiers by Learning from their Deaths”
October 8, 2003
Last week, our country began mourning the loss of two Canadian soldiers killed while on patrol in the foothills of Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. Robert Allan Short and Cpl. Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger died when their Iltis jeep hit a landmine. Three of their fellow soldiers were injured in the blast.
Though it was widely acknowledged before their deployment to Afghanistan that our soldiers were facing an extremely dangerous mission with a high probability of casualties, it in no way diminishes the sense of shock and loss felt by the entire nation. Nor does it make these deaths any less tragic for the families of Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger.
The men and women of our armed forces bravely accept the risks and the real possibility of death that comes with serving their country. In turn, the federal government is duty-bound to do everything it can to prevent injuries and death, whenever and wherever possible, by providing our soldiers with the best training and the best available equipment.
This week, Defence Minister John McCallum said those critics questioning the government’s decision to use the Iltis vehicle in Afghanistan should show a little more “respect” for the soldiers who died. Liberal MP David Pratt stated he finds it “objectionable” that I would somehow attempt to blame the government for this tragedy.
What I find objectionable ? indeed, what I find offensive ? is a government that won’t take responsibility for sending soldiers into a war zone, into self-described bad-guy country, in unarmoured, rusted-out dune buggies, rather than light-armoured vehicles.
Let me make it very clear that it was not last week’s tragedy that suddenly created concerns about the Iltis vehicle. Soldiers have long been criticizing the Iltis as unsafe and as inappropriate for use on their missions. One soldier called them “junk” that “don?t fit our job.”
The Iltis ? the German word for weasel ? is built upon the chassis of a Volkswagen Rabbit. In 1993, they were already being viewed as an impending safety problem. The vehicles were considered too unprotected and too dangerous for use in Bosnia and our soldiers have been known to sit on flak jackets and pile sandbags on the floorboards to provide at least some protection.
Some military experts have expressed belief that our soldiers could have survived last week’s explosion had they been traveling in an armoured vehicle. A program to replace the Iltis is already underway, but it has been bogged down in the same kind of Liberal delays that have forced our air force to continue flying the 40-year-old Sea Kings. The Iltis is to the army, what the Sea King is to the navy ? antiquated, undependable and long overdue for replacement.
Could better equipment have saved two lives last week? Right now, we don’t know. We may never know for certain. However, we have an obligation and a duty to investigate. We owe it to the memory of Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger to find out how we can better protect the soldiers left to carry on their work in service of our country.