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Way to go, Canada
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Peter Worthington of the Toronto Sun does a little well deserved chest thumping concerning a recent engagement between Canadian combat troops in Afganistan and the Taliban.

Canada 70, Taliban 0.
From accounts of the battle, the incoming RCR commanding officer, Lt.-Col. Omer Lavoie, worked out a plan with the outgoing CO of the Pats, Lt.-Col. Ian Hope, on what the enemy was likely to do in what turned out to be a nine-hour battle.

The Taliban did exactly as anticipated, and air and ground support was devastating. More significant is that the RCR suffered no casualties — another indication of professionalism that has always been a characteristic of the Canadian military — for those who want to see it.

Some suggest the Taliban in that region have suffered 10% casualties of their active fighters. If so, that would be the dictionary definition of “decimated” — one in 10. A substantial loss.
That's called knowing your enemy, anticipating his actions/reaction to your moves, getting inside his decision cycle and then, well, "decimating" him.

Classic military planning and obviously well executed. That's a drubbing if ever there was one in this particular war.
Allied troops — Yanks and Brits — somewhat to their surprise, have found the Canadians worthy allies and steady under fire.
No surprise to any Yanks, such as myself, who've ever worked with Canadian troops. They're as professional and competent as they come. Small though the Canadian military may be, they're as good on the ground as you'd want. Their problem hasn't been that. Their problem has been what they've been asked to do over the previous decades.

That's right, "peacekeeping". As Worthington aptly describes the job and its effect on the Canadian military:
This may surprise people who had drifted into something resembling melancholy after decades of increasing peacekeeping, where firing a weapon was practially cause for an inquiry, and rules of engagement were such that it took courage to even contemplate shooting back.
Instead, Canada's military is back doing the job it was designed to do:
An effective military wins respect — a far more valuable quality than being loved. And our troops, sadly equipped as they have been over the decades, are proving extremely professional, versatile and resourceful (they have to be to keep equipment that is older than they are running).
Yes an effective military wins respect. But only when it does those things militaries do. When they're a square peg being pushed into a round hole, it doesn't work as well. And the square peg of the Canadian military has been stuck in the round hole of peacekeeping for too long.

Which brings me to a subject for a different post, but worth touching on here. This whole "peacekeeping" thing needs to be rethought. While military units may be the easiest sort of organization to quickly call up and deploy in such situations, are they the best?

Thomas P M Barnett in his book "The Pentagon's New Map" argues that if we are going to embark on a strategic quest to introduce the benefits of globalization to the disconnected portions of our globe (and that may include preemptive war in some cases) we need another portion of our military he calls "systems administrators" (what was sadly lacking in Iraq) - an entity to deal with what is left after the war. Now it is a very good book and my overview very reductionist and simplistic as it goes, but his point is that those who fight the war are not the best organization to administer that which comes afterward. Again, I think Iraq makes the point pretty well.

All of that to bring up the question, doesn't it make sense that perhaps a third type organization is also needed which concentrates on the function of "peacekeeping?"

I've certainly not been that impressed with the efforts at peacekeeping to date in may areas of the globe where military units are introduced and then told "observe, but don't shoot". Perhaps peacekeeping as a role itself needs a through review since I've never considered observation and reporting to be synonymous with peacekeeping.

To me the term implies a law enforcement function, not a military function. I'm not suggesting there is no function for military units, but I am suggesting their role should be a minor one, not the major one. The gun to back up the law, if you will.

Anyway, I'm in this deeper than I want to be at the moment and will hopefully find time to expand on it in a post of its own. But I wanted to end this by saying "Way to go, Canada" to the Soldiers of the Royal Canadian Regiment who proved quite handily to the Taliban that they're not a unit with which to be trifled.
 
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McQ:

I like your discussion on "peacekeeping." I agree that a military fighting force ought to be reserved for just that purpose. I’m not sure how well-received this next point will be but I think "peacekeeping" forces are best run by the U.N. (or some other multi-lateral organization like NATO). If, as seems likely, peacekeeping missions will be increasingly necessary throughout the world, it probably makes a lot of sense to have a dedicated force — separate from the fighting force — trained and ready for that purpose.

 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
I’m not sure how well-received this next point will be but I think "peacekeeping" forces are best run by the U.N. (or some other multi-lateral organization like NATO).
Well since peacekeeping is all about neutrality, it makes some sense.

But here’s the point. The peacekeeping units don’t have to belong to the UN or NATO.

What I’d like to see, though, is some thought given to the mission (to include ROE) and then the makeup of the force necessary to accomplish the mission.

What we have now, in both areas, is not adequate by any stretch.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
There is an aphorism in Conservative Circles, "Any organization that is not EXPLICITLY Conservative in foundation will drift into Liberalism." A corrolary is that any multi-lateral peacekeeping organization that is not EXPLICITLY committed to keeping the peace, by any means necessary will inevitibly drift into the futility of UNIFIL or the like.

When A and B are at odds, no make that WAR, and one intends to insert "Peacekeepers" then the Peacekeeprs MUST be prepared to shoot, each side equally, in order that there be peace maintained. If one is NOT prepared to do this, then NO organization, UN, NATO, is going to succeed. Peacekeeping in this situation is NOT "law enforcement," but a variant of Low Intensity Conflict.

Peacekeeping, of the UNIFIL, variety works, when it works, WHEN BOTH SIDES ARE AGREEABLE TO A CEASEFIRE, BUT NEITHER SIDE TRUSTS THE OTHER TO ADHERE TO THE TERMS OF ANY BROKERED AGREEMENT, in short there is a peace to be kept or at least created. Lebanon, is not in that state, and most places where the UN has "peacekeepers" are not in that state. Hence the failure of peacekeeping...UNIFIL or the force in the Congo must be in the Peace-MAKING business, i.e., combat, albeit at a low level, potentially.

Most nations are not really ready to or equipped to lease their armies out to make a peace. But most "peacekeeping" situations require that, so the end result is an erosion of the ability and utility of peacekeeping forces, be they UN, NATO, of Oxfam sponsored.

Lebanon needs the Green Howards, the 504th PIR, the 2eme REP, and the Italian Alpini, backed up by a CVBG off shore. Failing that it’s pointless to discuss alternatives.

For Cyprus, Boy Scouts will do.... and militaries are NOT required. But for most "peacekeeping" militaries ARE required, because they really AREN’T peacekeeping, one or multiple sides would prefer to keep fighting.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The peacekeeping units don’t have to belong to the UN or NATO.

What I’d like to see, though, is some thought given to the mission (to include ROE) and then the makeup of the force necessary to accomplish the mission.

What we have now, in both areas, is not adequate by any stretch.
Isn’t this what the U.N is trying to do right now in Lebanon? I guess that if the various countries had the peacekeeping forces you describe on standby that would expedite such efforts tremendously. So why isn’t it being done?

Well, I had written the above when Joe’s comment appeared. And I see his point (though I have no idea what these are: "Green Howards, the 504th PIR, the 2eme REP, and the Italian Alpini, backed up by a CVBG"). You guys know a lot more about this stuff so I’ll just listen.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
I would add that where some see ABSOLUTE failure of nations to contribute forces to Lebanon, I see a qualified success. Srebnica taught Europeans something... don’t commit troops UNLESS you’re willing to have them kill and be killed. A portion of the "peacekeeping" illusion has fallen away. The hold up on UNIFIL II is that contributor nations want ROE’s that will allow them to engage Hizb’Allah, i.e., they realize that a Blue Helmet and "World Opinion" aren’t close to enough to produce the necessary effect in So. Lebanon, so they are hesitant to commit their troops. And that’s good, nations are beginning to see that "peacekeeping’ isn’t just Good PR and attempting to "Do Something", but can have real costs.

Now if they would only learn to keep their noses out of other people’s fights, UNLESS they are willing to commit troops....i.e., the whole "We must have a Ceasefire in Lebanon" thingee... really, why is a ceasefire better than war? Peace is NOT inherently better than conflict.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
They’re all elite combat units from different countries, David ... well plus a carrier battle group thrown in for diversity. ;)

But to what you started to write:
Isn’t this what the U.N is trying to do right now in Lebanon? I guess that if the various countries had the peacekeeping forces you describe on standby that would expedite such efforts tremendously. So why isn’t it being done?
Because no one really knows what the role of peacekeeper means. Shoot? Don’t you dare shoot? Police? Observe? Both? Neither?

What is a peacekeeper in real, on the ground terms?

Until that is known, how do you tailor and train the units?
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Right now, it is unrealistic to expect Peacekeepers to actually shoot at people who are breaking the peace, especially if you want to get away from the entire idea of using militaries directly, thus involving minimally armed or non-armed people.

So, why not borrow another, older idea? Proposed definition:

A Peacekeeper is a person stationed in an area of military contention that is still considered to be on the soveriegn territory of the peacekeeping organization, in much the same sense an embassy is the soveriegn ground of the country using it. An attack against the peacekeeper must be considered a direct attack against the peacekeeping organization and must be understood to carry the penalties of an attack.

Peacekeepers should be dispersed amoung the population in a way where the protected population can not be attacked without drawing in the peacekeepers.

(I say "organization" to leave open the possibility of both national peacekeepers belonging to a single country, and UN or NATO peacekeepers.)

Advantages: This is basically what kept Western Europe free during the Cold War, "American" peacekeepers, who happened to be military, but were not necessarily functioning as a military, but as nuclear peacekeepers per the above.

Disadvantages: Honestly, unless the world at large is willing to commit to something this is all a waste of time anyhow. But I will say this: Stationing "peacekeepers" by this definition and failing to follow up after they are attacked should be considered an actual, factual war crime; in one swoop you abandon both your own people and the people they are guarding. If you station peacekeepers without the willingness to follow up on an attack with meaningful force, you do not have "peacekeepers", you have "human shields".

I’m not saying this is perfect, but it’s at least worth talking about I think. Consider it something to examine and build upon, not a definition I hold up as perfect to be shredded.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
I throw the CVBGG in for Israel...It’s going to take significant and diversified firepower to halt Hizb’Allah’s rearmament and it will take significant firepower to dissuade Israel from bombing Lebanon.

Lebanon is a very serious situation... two sides are VERY well-armed. This isn’t a bunch of peasants with machetes and the odd AK-47, but a state-of-the-art First World military and a very well-armed, trained and dedicated light infantry force in Lebanon.

Honestly I’m not sure that ANY group is really the crew for Lebanon, today...Understandably no one is really going to be too keen on standing between these adversaries.

I don’t think "monitoring" idea is a good one, you’ll monitor Hizb’Allah’s build-up, and then you’ll monitor Israel’s air-land offensive... and in the midst of all that "monitoring" a man could end up REAL dead, REAL quick. On the other hand, who really wants to deny Tzahal a "go" at Hizb’Allah or vice versa, considering how well-armed both sides are.... that too, looks like a recipe for getting real dead.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Followup: Given the current behavior of "peacekeeper"s, until we get an actual definition from the UN that actually seems to correspond to reality, I’m now considering "peacekeeper" an empty, undefined word. Which means I will read the sentence "The solution to the problem is to deploy peacekeepers." as roughly equivalent to the sentence "The solution to the problem is to clap our hands, declare we believe in fairies, and deploy the fairies."
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
Jeremy that is an interesting position. So you’re asking that individual nations seed their nationals IN BOTH ISRAEL AND LEBANON, and then should those indivduals come under attack, certain condign, but pre-established punishments will be meted out to the perpetrators?

Well it COULD work... IF one were willing to lose a number of your own personnel to Katyushas or Cluster Bombs. Whilst it’s "interesting" I doubt it’s efficacy, but I’m a cynic.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Basically, for any definition of "peacekeeper" that involves deploying anybody into a warzone, you have to have people who are willing to risk being killed by the contentious parties. So while I did think of that issue, it’s not really a problem with my idea so much as a problem intrinsic to the idea of peacekeeper itself.

Because I doubt that there are people or countries truly willing to do this, I tend to come down on the side of cynicism and agree that nobody is really ever going to be willing to be a "peacekeeper". It’s really a "bell the cat" job; somebody really ought to do it. Quoi, moi? Non! Mais, quelqu’un.
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
Given the current behavior of "peacekeeper"s, until we get an actual definition from the UN that actually seems to correspond to reality, I’m now considering "peacekeeper" an empty, undefined word.
That’s the crux of the problem in my estimation. We really don’t know what it means and thus we can’t put together a unit which is tailored to a role which is undefined.

When I get some time, I’m going to research this a bit more, but right now the only thing I know peacekeeper to mean, at least in some areas, is one who is in a position to demand sex for food.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Well, McQ, your definition does have significant advantages over mine, in that with your definition you can actually find peacekeepers, whereas with mine I doubt you’ll be able to.

OK, I’m not sure if that’s an "advantage", but you have to peacekeep with the world you have, not the one you wish you had, right?
 
Written By: Jeremy Bowers
URL: http://www.jerf.org/iri
OK, I’m not sure if that’s an "advantage", but you have to peacekeep with the world you have, not the one you wish you had, right?
LOL!

Well you have a point there Jeremy. And that seems to be what they’re attempting to do. However now is as good a time as any to do a better job of defining it if you ask me (if you can get past the bureaucratic inertia and actually do it in a relatively short time).
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
for more on Thomas P.M. Barnett, check out his weblog.
 
Written By: Sean
URL: http://seanmeade.blogspot.com
Thanks for that Sean.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
I think of peacekeepers as neutral hostages shared between the two sides. They are armies without a fall back position that are not able to initiate any action, this makes them ineffective and vulnerable to both sides of the conflict irrespective of rules of engagement. Their ultimate value is how they are symbolic of the entity they represent and how attacking them risks antagonising this entity.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
I explore the idea of a separate peace-keeping force here.

Peacekeepers have to be able to project force in order to keep things peaceful, much like police forces must project force at times. But the day-to-day operations of peacekeeping forces are not the same as those of a war-fighting military, and specialization would work to our advantage.
 
Written By: Adam Sharp
URL: http://www.vayd.org
right now the only thing I know peacekeeper to mean, at least in some areas, is one who is in a position to demand sex for food.
Oh, I can see the recruitment campaign already.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
This would be a good Democratic ’08 campaign proposal.

By which I mean, it’s a good idea.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
Turn the question on its ear and look at it again.

What does it mean to pacify someone?

A woman who is grieving over the limp body of her child - what does it mean to pacify her? You give her sympathy, you give her comfort, you offer her the benefits of clergy.

A crying child, who may be hungry, too hot or too cold, unsanitary, or so forth? To pacify this person means playing the parent, satisfying the needs.

A man who has lost everything and sees no way forward. How do you pacify his anger? You give him a job to do - some way to regain his identity.

A nutcase with a gun who is, or who is threatening to kill people? How do you pacify him? With a bullet, usually. Sometimes by negotiating, or with other nonlethal means (under ideal conditions), but usually - it’s the bullet.

A peacekeeping force must be all of these things. Clergyman, Daycare, Welfare, and Cop. I have to agree with McQ on this one - the average soldier isn’t equipped to handle the job. I wish I knew who was - maybe an armed branch of the Red Cross would work. Whoever it is, or whatever it is, I have to disagree with McQ on the initial point - I think Canadians are a fine choice for peacekeepers.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
Sorry for the double post, but I just realized - the people most capable of being all those things in Lebanon right now are the Hezbollah. Whatever force we put in place had better be able to outperform them, or there’s no point.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
I think Canadians are a fine choice for peacekeepers.
I have no problem with Candians as peacekeepers.

Just not their military ... as you noted, "the average soldier isn’t equipped to handle the job."

That’s because the average soldier isn’t trained to do it.
...the people most capable of being all those things in Lebanon right now are the Hezbollah.
Yeah, they’re kind of like any government. Create the problem and then claim to be the only one capable of fixing it.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Just not their military ... as you noted, "the average soldier isn’t equipped to handle the job.

Thanks for clarifying.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
I think the definition is flawed. The very concept is flawed. We should not be interested at all in Peacekeeping Forces. I and I think most Americans could care less if Muslims kill Muslims.

What we should be pursuing, if possible, is Transforming Forces...not a force keeping infidel-loathing barbarians safe from other infidel-hating Jihadist wannabe barbarians. Though history shows, unfortunately, that elsewhere - the reality is of Muslims methodically desecrating and eradicating traces of 100 years of Western colonial culture - even the cemeteries the French had in Algeria, Italians in Somalia.

You know, well done and all that to the Canadians for warfighting tactics...but this is being done in a nation that only is not radical Islamist by force of foreign arms. 4 1/2 years after the Taliban fell, little has transformed. The #1 industry is back to opiate and hashish drug production, a change from Taliban times...but other than that the women are still happily in Burquas, the kids are still in Saudi-funded Madrassahs that teach them to hate and fear the infdidel, and families of 6-8 children surviving to maturity thanks to huge Western aid and medicine. That just means the Canadians, if they are still there 10 years from now, will fight 3 times the number of raging Jihadis as they face today.......

Unless we get serious and either come up with a Transforming, not Peacekeeping course of action. Or if we determine that Islam will not ever let itself be "transformed" to take a counter-strategy of no Muslims permitted out of the Ummah, no Western Aid, contained like lepers until the fire of Radical Islam burns itself out in war and the demographic collapse their collapsing civilization should have caused but for the propping up of food, medical help, shelter, jobs, trade, and technology the West has given them.

As we discuss the hero soldiers of the West in deeply Islamic Afghanistan, the warlords are still working on an Italian cemetery in Mogodishu. Workmen hammer the tombstones noting the remains of Christian-blessed Western Filth to dust. Coffins are methodically dug up, and valuable metal on or in the corpses plus the coffin are salvaged, then the remains carted to a garbage dump. Mullahs visit and bless the workers for "purifying" the land. In Algeria, law is probed for vestiges of "French influence" and purged. Even French food transplanted into Algerian culture is now being discouraged as "unIslamic" fare the Prophet never said was halal, therefore almost haram in itself. In Baghdad, selling falafel now means death in some Districts because it is thought to be the Oppressor Zionists favorite snack food.

Peacekeeping does little other than bog the West down in high cost efforts to maintain or try to slow a deteriorating status quo. I am pessimistic on "transforming" a people that seem to be convinced that all aspects of other cultures save weaponry and consumer toys are unclean, and any deep change betrays their religion and guarantees them a place in hell.
 
Written By: C. Ford
URL: http://
Peacekeeping does little other than bog the West down in high cost efforts to maintain or try to slow a deteriorating status quo. I am pessimistic on "transforming" a people that seem to be convinced that all aspects of other cultures save weaponry and consumer toys are unclean, and any deep change betrays their religion and guarantees them a place in hell.

Have you forgotten the weaponry and consumer toys western culture has taken from the Arab? Zero, algebra, astronomy - just off the top of my head. Have you forgotten that there was a time in Christianity when any deep change was a betrayal of both king, country, and faith? Punishable by death AND hell?

The Christians outgrew it. Give it time, maybe the Muslims will too. In the meantime, let’s not confuse the totalitarians with the culture. Unless you’d like the KKK to represent Christianity?

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
what the f***k i just wanted to know if we meaning women can wear makeup in the army god is that a hard question to answer so some one please answering the effing question i dont really care about any of this effing crap just someone answer the effing question so i can sign up and do my thing
 
Written By: sara
URL: http://
Beats me. You can search around www.army.mil until you find the dress code. Otherwise, I would assume that like any job, dress matches function - if you’re at a diplomatic affair with class A dress uniform, I would guess that females are required to use appropriate cosmetics; if you’re dragging can through mud and blood, it’s probably not such a huge issue; and if you’re working in a biocontaminated area of any sort, of course, health and safety precludes the application of, but not necessarily the wearing of, cosmetics.

Ask your recruiter. They’ll lie, but at least you’ll have an answer.

-Gil
 
Written By: Gil
URL: http://
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Written By: OOOYY
URL: http://

 
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