Saturday, December 30, 2006

G&M He Said, They Said Afghanistan

Yesterday I read the Christie Blatchford article "Did He Abandon His Troops?". Normally I like her writing, but I was disappointed with the story because I believe it was a private incident and very one-sided. The story was about a now ex-military NCO who on the September 3rd operation in Afghanistan allegedly abandoned his troops.

Today's G&M has the other guy's story, but it wasn't written by Blatchford .

I don't really believe the other guy's story either because he says, "He alleges that, when he ordered his section to retreat to their vehicle, this particular soldier didn't listen and blasted the marijuana fields with cover fire." If you did something wrong, normally there would be charges put against you.

If this is true, wouldn't the soldier have been charged with disobeying a lawful order. But none of them were charged with anything! Sounds like to me that this specific event/weekend was one of the most difficult operation the troops have faced in Afghanistan. We lost four soldiers and later also sadly faced another death in a friendly-fire mishap. But this story in question, has nothing to do with the loss of any troops.

I don't think we'll never get the full story, and I wonder, should we? IMHO I don't think this should have been picked up by the media in the first place. Perhaps it was a slow-news day and they wanted to sensationalize an AWOL story. But perhaps it's G&M with mud on their face because neither story seems completely credible.

There were quite a few mentions of equipment problems (radio not working, 25mm cannon wasn't working). Does the American military have the same problems that Canadian troops face in the field? My dad has been in the military for 32 years and has told me many stories on what downsizing, and budget cuts have done to the troops, esprit de corps, morale, good people getting out.

Notice that in Christie Blatchford's article it seems that everyone hates this guy. While when the ex-soldier tells his story, he doesn't bad mouth anyone. A lot went wrong that weekend, and it is pretty easy to find a scapegoat.

I'm disappointed with the Globe and Mail (not the first time), but specifically with Blatchford for writing the article in the first place! Problem is, her story got front page news, while the other side of the story gets buried because of course Saddam's hanging is more worthy of front page front page.


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