Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Confused Public

Another report about a survey of Canadians about their defence forces.*  Canadians feel under-informed, so the title of the article says.  Well, are they?  They claim that the Afghanistan mission was "Deadly" "expensive" "underfunded" and "endless."  Sounds about right to me.  It was all of these things, so not so confused so far.
*  Yes, I confuse myself about defense vs. defence but when it is Canadian, go with the "c".
 Canadians reported that they did not know why the CF was still there in March 2011.  Well, that is a bit of under-informing.  Of course, the obvious answer would be: the last mandate was to end on July so Canada was meeting its commitment to itself.  I think a large part of the confusion about why Canada was still there has to do with the mixed/lack of messages from the government.  Message control does not necessarily mean clear messaging, so the effort to keep most agents and agencies silent may not have done the mission any favors.**
** I still do resist adding "u" everywhere.
What Canadians are really confused about?  They would like more peacekeeping and less combat.  Well, that is not just up to the Canadian government but to the various actors on the ground.  One of the lessons of Somalia and Rwanda was: shoot a few members of the international community and they might leave.  The potential places that Canada may be asked to go are full of folks who might want to shoot at them.  Traditional peacekeeping is not as peaceful as often believed, and is also less in demand.  Darfur, Southern Sudan, Congo all would be places where there might be public support for a mission--until the Canadians started shooting and being fired upon.

So, the real confusion is not so much about Canada but the world in which we live.  If only there were people writing about such stuff.....

PS  One last note on this piece: one of the opinions uttered by one person was:
"If that means putting more military (in the North), to show Denmark that we really do own that island and they can't go there, then that's what we should do"
Which reminds me--everyone is entitled to their opinion, but they are not obligated to have a sensible one, nor do we need to pay heed to every opinion that is registered.

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