May 23, 2002



The National Post, on the Afghan withdrawal. Feh. We have a new national disgrace each week it seems.

And btw, Glenn, I'm not angry. Just tired. Tired of defence taking more of the brunt of government cutbacks than any other federal department. Tired of the fundamental disconnect between our national aspirations to change the world and our willingness to create the tools to do so. And utterly tired of a mainstream media that just can't be bothered to get it.

Case in point, the Toronto Star. In its editorial, it writes:

Canadians spend some $12 billion a year on the military... with 60,000 personnel we should be able to keep infantry in the field, indefinitely

Crap. Do the math. One third of that 60,000 is regular army... 20,000. Of that, one quarter is in workup, one quarter is overseas, one quarter is just recovering from being overseas, and the rest are training the next generation of soldiers... 5,000. Of that one half are logistics troops... 2,500. Of that, one half are other combat arms (artillery, etc.): 1,200. About 1,200 infantry, 2 understrength battalions, available at a time. For the last six months, we've had over 1,500 infantry overseas. That's the math... that's the problem. There is no fat left on this bone.

The Star also calls an end to planning for "tank wars," (Canada lost its ability to conduct offensive ops against an MBT-equipped enemy over a decade ago); more reliance on "reserves" for peacekeeping, even though the Star also favours closing down their Toronto training facilities to help the homeless; and a division between the sustainable "battle group" of rapidly deployable assets (nothing Canada has at the moment is rapidly deployable, so that'd have to be built from scratch) for Afghanistan-type missions, and the "lightly armed" soldiers for NATO and UN duty.

Has the Star even looked at who's in Afghanistan? It's infantry, foot sloggers, armed with man-portable weapons. How do you get lighter than that? A constabulary, perhaps? Maybe... as Lew Mackenzie pointed out this week, the Toronto police force has more men with guns now than the Canadian infantry corps.

Posted by BruceR at 10:17 AM