This is the first in a series…. i thought the week before Rememberance Day would be a good time to start.
I have recently had a friend join the Canadian Armed Forces. Before he left for Boot Camp (In Quebec), he asked me about my blog. We got to talking and thought it would be an interesting exercise to post our conversations on my blog. So that all can see what it’s like in the CAF. It’s easier for him, he doesn’t get much time online. It’s easier for me, as i don’t have to write a post… I’ll just be posting our conversations verbatim (or as closely a I can, op-sec and anonymity requirements respected).
So, here we go:
I will post the conversation as it appears in iChat as an image… it’s easier to read however, below the fold is the same in text form.. so that Google can index it.
I eagerly await our next conversation. The general tone was one of anticipation mixed with a little bit apprehension. Healthy, no doubt, but also telling. Our Troops know what they’re in for… much more so than we as Citizens might realize.
Strangely, once citizens become troops in Canada, and perhaps this is not unique to us, we seem to lose them out of of our collective consciousness. It seems that only around this time of year, Remembrance Day, when we remember those who have lived and lost their lifes for our Country in past conflicts, do we stop to think about how those who are fighting right now are affected.
Canadians have never been shy to join the military, I believe this soldier will be exemplary of that fact. HOwever, the reasons which have governed our participation over the past 50 years have now changed, it seems, for the forseeable future.
So we need to ask ourselves… are we in a War, or are we peacekeeping?
Canadian soldiers will do as they are ordered, as they should and no doubt they will do the best job they can, the best job of all others… that is why it is up to Us as Citizens to ensure that what and where and who they are fighting is just and true to Canadian values.
The conflict in Afghanistan has changed from what I believe most Canadians understand it to be. We need a long, serious debate in this country about our goals and strategy in Afghanistan, and how, exactly we plan on “Winning the Peace” because, as it stands right now.. we are winning the battles, but the war is far from won.
following is the raw text of the conversation:
me: oops, sorry
soldier: hows it goin?
me: good, you?
soldier: tired, got back from field base about 2 hours ago
me: i bet your tired
me: how’s it going? good so far?
soldier: kinda, but i got about 6 hours of sleep a night, next week ill hit 3
hours a night haha
soldier: pretty good, lots of rumours flying about iraq/afghan and whatnot,
lots of deaths
me: getting you primed
me: ya, you’re going into a warzone my friend, no doubt about that
soldier: there is not a single solder in canada who calls all this a
“peacekeeping” mission anymore, we all call it full out war
soldier: hehe, yeap, and fast
soldier: gimme a sec and ill point you to an incoherent tired rant I posted
last weekend, you can find out a bit of what its like to be an english military recruit in quebec
me: a Senate committee report just came out, you may have heard mention of it… but i read a
bunch of it, and one of the things it says is that since Bosnia, Canadas military contribution have been much
closer to peacemaking than peacekeeping, no matter what Canadians might want to think
me: and since Sept 11… it’s war.
me: and every future conflictr we’re likely to go into will be a war, not peacekeeping
soldier: the world is de-stabilized, everything if FUBAR
me: so either we’re ok with that… and equip you guys appropriately… or we tell our government
Full Stop right now
me: and back out
soldier: http://www.rblsquad.com/yabbse/index.php/topic,1178.0.html try to
go there, I was really tired when I rote it, so its hard to follow, heh
soldier: we do get a lot of support, just not in certain areas….say…..quebec
me: ya. the support is very different there… quebeccers were always the strongest supporters of
me: and they still make up a large part of the CF (or do they?)
me: but when it comes to war, they’re not cool with that… nor am I
soldier: uhm….they make up a huge part of the training staff in quebec, lol,
they have 2-3 major bases, but that is all
soldier: I am not happy with war, but with what I have heard of, and the
pictures I have seen I will do what I can
me: if Afghanistan is just going to turn into another Iraq, then I’m starting to think we’re better off
leaving now while the country is still in decent shape
soldier: one problem, if we leave, the taliban and al-queada(i cant spell)
can run around unchecked and start spreading
me: it’s true.. so obviously we need another solution to deal with AQ and the Taliban.
me: the military solution worked to get them out… but to keep them out, something else is going
to have to happen
soldier: well as it is, JTF makes raids into pakistan every few months, they
hit and demolish AQ and taliban training bases the size of the base I am on…..2000+ recruits plus training staff
me: and that’s the biggest problem…
me: they’re the real reason the Taliban still exists.
me: why the Taliban pushed out the Soviets
me: and why they’ll likely push us out too
me: but you don’t listen to any of this… just do what you’re told and leave the bitching up to us
soldier: i get my orders and I follow, I bitch in my head
me: and your comrades I’m sure… as it always has been
soldier: so get this
soldier: as a Private(technically Trooper) in the Armoured Core, I most
likely won’t get in a vehicle for about 2-4 years
soldier: they train us for vehicles, then they use us as more or less a foot
recon unit…..the cap badge we get as recruits is the “Armoured Fist” and that is what we are, they call us assault
troopers, we get driven in, hit the ground, fight and recon the area then call for extraction
soldier: thats just rumour from a master corporal from the infantry though,
he work with armour a lot
soldier: its a new practice they are putting in, they dont have enough
vehicles for us
me: so you’re like advance shock troops almost
soldier: though because we are meant as armoured, they drive us in, we
do the recon on foot so they cant detect vehicles and they pick us up for the most part
soldier: prolly use us to flank enemy as well
me: well.. what will be really interesting will be what side of the Pakistan/Afghan border you will
be on once you get over there
me: and whether you’ll be allowed to tell me about it at all….
soldier: its all rumour so far, there are very few armoured soldiers here as
instructors, they are needed elsewhere, they get deployed a lot
soldier: well feel free to mention this rumour, but make sure you call it
rumour and from an “anonomys source”
soldier: for fucks sakes i cant spell
soldier: i also swear a lot more now
me: i noticed
soldier: stupid militayr…..making me smoke and drink and swear
me: it’s all good
soldier: oh man, ive had more to drink in these last two months on
weekends then in my LIFE…..
me: gotta cope with the ordeal somehow
me: it helps to toughen you up
soldier: yeap, haha
me: if you can go through the training while hung over, then you’re definitely ready
me: so the Quebecois don’t treat you well eh?
soldier: first free weekend we all got trashed, monday morning,
me: that’s surprising
soldier: not the locals, heh
soldier: hate english, and we tend to get rowdy while in town
me: that might have a little to do with it
me: but ya, interesting…
me: well i gotta run, but good talking to you
soldier: wait up
soldier: whats the link for your blog, i lsot it, heh
me: thank YOU… go have a shot of tequila for me this weekend… i could use one right now, but
my wife is pregnant again, so I’m banned from alcohol with her for the next 9 months!
soldier: oh good god!! not cool
me: ya gotta do what ya gotta do
soldier: dont know if ill hit tequila, but I will have a beer in your honour
me: hehe ok, make it two then, just to get the alcohol equivalent
soldier: lol, kk