The Canadian government, looking northward, is expressing less concern about Putin and more about "development for people of the North," "responsible resource development," "safe Arctic shipping," and "sustainable circumpolar communities." So saith Iain Hunter in the Times-Colonist.
BTW, can you imagine an American newspaper having a name like that? Not likely. ‘Mericans don't like "colonists." We like our newspapers as tribunes, standards, heralds, dispatchers, reporters, and the like. What's more, the colonialist Canadian newspaper was founded by a guy whose parents were Tory refugees from the United States. He changed his name to Amor de Cosmos. It would have been great if he could have hired World B. Free to be his sports editor, but the timing didn't work. Cosmos also was at one point the premier of British Columbia. He was later declared insane.
More Canadian news here.
Over the weekend, my wife and I spent some time in Canada. It was nice to be in a place with a working government. Parks were open.
The people also were extraordinarily friendly. When we walked our dogs in a small town in New Brunswick, every person we passed said hello, or commented on the beautiful weather. One woman even consoled us on our lack of government.
Conrad Black, the Canadian publisher convicted of fraud and obstruction of justice, denounces President Obama. Luckily for Obama, most felons, as well as most foreigners, can't vote in American elections, so he's probably not worrying about the non-American convict demographic.
(Hat tip to Jen. Hi, Max!)
The headline on the local news story proclaims, "Celebrating 100 years on guard in Sault Ste. Marie."
I wonder what the 49th Field Artillery Regiment was guarding against? I know it adjoins Michigan, but what if Minnesotans were trying to sneak into Canada to find work in the wheatfields? I can see how the combination of Prince, Jesse Ventura, and Michelle Bachman could be scary. But that towed artillery piece would look good in a Prince show.
And who can forget the Algonquin Rifles from which the regiment is descended? One of the great names, along with the British army's old Royal American Regiment.
Well, there had been some warning signs: Just over a decade ago he was charged with showing his homemade porn to cadets, but got off for lack of evidence, even though his voice could be heard on the tape saying "get her while she's drunk." The camera was hidden inside a "stuffed bear," according to the Edmonton Sun.
Meanwhile, in the last refuge of scoundrels department, an Ohio woman named Cari Johnson, who raised charity money via the "First Annual Patriotic Freedom Ride" last year, was found to have used some of the donated money at liquor stores. She'll pay a $20,000 fine.
(HT to MY)
J.L. Granatstein of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute writes in the Ottawa Citizen that the purpose of the wall is, "Not to keep our 'terrorists' out of the Republic, but instead to keep the Americans and their dysfunctional governmental ideas, their wild-eyed politicians, their preachers, and their rabid Fox commentators out of Canada."
These things always sound better in French, don't you think? It is from the "libre de penser" pages of the newspaper Le Devoir of Canada. Francophones are big on pensing -- have you ever noticed how in France, even the corporate executives look like philosophy professors? Bonus is the byline: "Serge Truffaut," which sounds like it was made up by a writer for Saturday Night Live.
Anyway, I say: La méfiance est mère de sûreté.
I think this is a valuable contribution to the discussion. Still, I wonder if lax standards really helps produce first-class practitioners.
By Marc W.D. Tyrrell
Best Defense Canadian view columnist
The "debate," actually statement of positions, over the scholarly validity and pragmatic value of the Air War College (AWC) is, perhaps, most intriguing for two reasons: a) what each side assumes and b) what is not said.
Dr. Hughes' position is, at least on the surface, quite clear: the AWC is not a "real" academic institution. Much of his chapter goes towards anecdotally indicating specific examples of where and why the AWC fails as a "real" university. While I suspect that some of his anecdotal examples have been chosen for rhetorical reasons (shock effect), none of his vignettes surprise me and I have heard similar ones from other faculty, both civilian and "colonel-doctors." Indeed, one of his accusations, Paternalism, is beautifully illustrated in GEN Kane's response:
In that same spirit, as the current Commandant, I am obviously saddened to find that although Dr. Hughes had the rare and unique privilege of shaping the leadership and critical thinking skills of literally thousands of our future Air Force, sister service, interagency and international officers, he was so personally and professionally dissatisfied with a major part of his life's work. I am also disappointed to find that despite Dan's long years of service, he apparently never truly understood or appreciated the unique blend and balance of training, education and experience required to develop national security leaders for the future of our nation, as well as that of our coalition and allied partner nations.
I remember how I used to listen to various NATO officials complain about how member nations were not sending enough helicopters to Afghanistan. Now it appears that the chickens have come home to roost: The Canadian media is reporting that the Canadian Ministry of Defence has quietly leased a bunch of Russian helicopters to use in southern Afghanistan.
My first thought was this was to fool the locals. But I don't think it would fool the Taliban, who know their Russian helicopters. Canadian Navy Lt. Kelly Rozenberg-Payne said that Canadian forces in Afghanistan simply needed some additional vertical lift: "The (operational) tempo within the air wing became very great and it was just assessed by commanders on the ground that they needed additional platforms to help move troops around," she said.
My guess is that because both the Afghan and Pakistani militaries use the Mi-17, this makes it more convenient to fly NATO forces across the border and into the FATA as necessary, with lots of plausible deniability, especially if they are flown at night and no one gets around to painting a lot of markings on the aircraft. That would explain why, as the Canadian report puts it, "details were kept off the MERX web-site, which formally lists government procurement competitions, and no news release was issued about the new choppers, which have been in use since the spring."
ROMEO GACAD/AFP/Getty Images
Doing the mess around isn't just for Canadian land forces anymore. Lt.-Cmdr. Tina Hanratty, XO of Her Majesty's funny-looking Canadian Ship Moncton, was relieved for fraternization. Shouldn't it be "sororitization"?
The chief of Canadian land forces says that his three favorite songs are "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones, "Dancing in the Dark" by Bruce Springsteen, and "I Got a Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas. Funny, I thought those were the theme songs of HMCS Moncton.
Meanwhile, back in the US of A, Cmdr. Fred Wilhelm, the skipper of the USS Gunston Hall, walked the plank on allegations of sexual harassment, maltreatment of a subordinate, simple assault, conduct unbecoming an officer, drunk and disorderly conduct and use of indecent language, all of which are not cool. The command master chief got popped on similar charges. The XO got spanked for not doing anything about this.
And the skipper of the USS Peleliu, Capt. David Schnell, got bounced for supposedly having improper and unduly familiar relationships with subordinates. I suspect this wasn't just playing Go Fish with sailors. Ditto for Cmdr. Mary Ann L. Giese, commander of Naval Computer and Telecommunications Station Bahrain, who got popped for multiple inappropriate relationships of varying degrees.
The other services are lagging badly behind the Navy in weird cases. The Air Force could only cough up Col. Carey Steagall, who is heading off to the pokey for five months for adultery, viewing porn on his computer and sending dirty e-mails, among other things.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service -Midwest Region/flickr
Le plus haut responsable militaire canadien en Haïti -- that is, the top Canadian military officer down there -- was yanked, apparently not for his romantic relationship with a United Nations staffer, but instead because he was stinking bad for morale. The Canadian press scratches its collective head: Are Canadian officers acting worse or simply being held more accountable by superiors?
Unfortunately for Capt. Michael Gough of the Canadian military, what happened overseas between him and one of his female privates didn't stay overseas.
I'm actually surprised this sort of thing doesn't happen more often in the U.S. military-or perhaps that it does but we don't hear about it. File under "deployment sex."
Markusram / Flickr.com
With the polar icecap shrinking, the Canadians are gearing up for a confrontation eventually over whether other nations' ships will need their permission to transit the Northwest Passage. They say it's an internal waterway; we maintain it's an international strait.
Here's an article exploring how the Northwest Passage is central to Canadian identity. I think we'll be seeing a lot more of these in the future.
This is one way the BP oil disaster is going to have second and third order consequences: Anytime the United States asserts a right to passage, people can just hold up a photo of the oil mess in the Gulf of Mexico, and say, "Hey, you guys can't take care of your own waters, so stay the hell out of ours."
A Canadian forces chaplain with the rank of brigadier general has been charged with committing buggery and sexual assault 38 years ago. This follows a truly weird case the other day in which the commander of a Canadian base was charged with all kinds of creepy acts. What kind of outfit you running up there?
David McNew/Getty Images
I've been reading an unusually candid report on the Afghan war a Canadian military intelligence officer delivered earlier this month in Ottawa. Capt. G.B. Rolston, who served in Kandahar from September 2008 to April of this year, offers several striking observations about the state of the war that go a long way toward explaining why the current approach has been so unproductive. They also speak to the crucial question of why Gen. McChrystal's proposals are about much more than just adding more troops and in fact amount to a call for radical change in the conduct of the war.
His conclusion: "The key, the absolute key aspect in McChrystal's words is co-location."
SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images
I about fell off my chair when I read this lead on a story in the National Post of Canada:
The Ottawa university professor accused of killing four people in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue will not be returning to work.
Hassan Diab's lawyer told a court on Monday that his client had expected to resume teaching a sociology class this week at Carleton University.
But in a terse statement released yesterday afternoon, the university said that a full-time faculty member "will immediately replace the current instructor, Hassan Diab."
. . . between the United States and Canada? What up with that? Is there some new hockey-fied version of the FATA up there? I thought most of the American Taliban were down south. Or in Mill Valley, California. At any rate, I remain confident we have nothing to fear from our little Canadian amigos.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.