Conservative defence critic James Bezan said every government faces the challenge of separating what the military wants from what it needs. But he worried the Liberals had already determined they wanted a smaller force, “and I hope (the review) isn’t the catalyst to put us into another era of darkness for our troops.”This quote is just extremely, to be kind, problematic. How so?
|Defence Review Consultation Doc|
Third, this notion that the era of darkness is about the size of the force is a bit deceptive. Yes, the late 90s were a dark time. Was it about the size of the force or was it about the hard tradeoffs made between spending on personnel, spending on capital (ships/planes) and spending on operations and readiness? Ah, that last category is what leads to a conversation about a hollow force. That is, one can have a large force with a lot of equipment, but if there is little time to train, exercise and engage in operations, then one is creating a lot of risk. Risk of accidents, risk of mission failure, risk of declining morale, which then might lead to recruitment problems and attrition of the force. That stuff is the way of darkness.
And, guess when things got mighty dark? Pretty recently:
|From the same defence doc|
So, yes, the opposition critic must criticize and oppose, but couldn't he be smarter about it? And slightly more self-aware?