Friday, 8 January 2010

That other collateral damage.

Last Monday there was a discussion on Radio-Canada regarding Michelle Lang's presence on a mission which turned deadly. The journalist Michèle Ouimet - who has reported three times from Afghanistan - opined that Lang's assignment did not obligate her to travel on recce.

Perhaps Lang hoped her commitment to getting the story would encourage members of the Armed Forces to entrust her with information which might allow her to do justice to the extreme conditions that besiege them in Kandahar province. And to write scrupulously researched articles about circumstances observed in close proximity with an integrity that others such as Stephanie Nolen have demonstrated.

Critically injured in the explosion that killed Lang and four Canadian Armed Forces personnel was Bushra Amjad Saeed, a DFAIT political officer working for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team. Was she directed by her superiors to monitor information shared between Lang and the troops?

The fatal December 30th recce mission was a routine sortie in a LAV III. Ouimet has traveled with Canadian troops inside one of these armoured vehicles; she said that from her vantage position all she could observe were soldiers doing their jobs.

Lang's specialty was health issues; in volunteering for this dangerous assignment she may have hoped to deepen our knowledge of the range of sacrifices required of soldiers.

Saeed's role on that mission only makes sense when one takes into consideration how Stevie Spiteful and his ReformaTory bullies urgently needed to control every shred of information about Afghanistan.

Unlike Lang, Saeed did not have a choice about her presence in that LAV III. Following what has become for the
Conservative minority government a shameful exposure of their loathsome tactics, Lawrence Cannon may have told his staff to keep a lid on reports from Afghanistan. No matter what the collateral damage.

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