Wednesday, 7 July 2010

A Soldier's Point of View

It may be that we would have been better off with soldiers on our streets, at least according to Eric, a commenter at torontoist. Here it is in full.
As a serving member of the Canadian Forces and a combat veteran, I can say with absolute clarity and conviction that i am disgusted by the actions of the supposed "other half" of our nations security, the civilian shield to the army's sword. I managed to fight and win battles while vastly outnumbered, against a heavily armed, mobile, guerilla force with as few as 10 fellow Canadians. 10 Canadian taxpayer funded and trained, government employees fighting and dying to prevent the lawlessness and injustice the so-called Black Bloc seems only too willing to promote. 10 Canadian ambassadors (because that is what you are when your wear and salute your nations flag) that knew their jobs and acted as consummate, trained professionals in all things, which incidentley is why i am alive to type this. The enemy we fought was entrenched within a civilian population and knew only too well the problems that could be created by putting innocent Afghans in the center of the conflict. So as is our duty and our job we let them bait us and let them crow and then when we had a shot we took it WITH NO CIVILIAN CASUALTIES. How could I know? Because we were the medical center for the region and we visited the villages regularly.

Knowing when to apply force and how to apply it can be a very simple thing when you assign value to the thing you are leveraging that force against. Am I prepared to kill the human being who is placing the IED or recoiless rifle that will kill three of my brothers? 3 of my fellow Canadians who have answered the call to defend what we so often take for granted half a world away? Without pause yes, and I will for the rest of my life, I took an oath that does not end with a contract.

When you put that uniform on you are no longer John Smith of Toronto. You are a member of the Canadian Forces, just as you are a Royal Canadian Mounted Police Officer, or an Ontario Provincial Police Officer. A government employee who's mandate and training is to PROTECT the public. Not to protect themselves from threats within the public. It is their job as the civilian arm of our nations security to be the blue line between those that would see our way of life burnt to it's end and the Canadians who see more than a simple flag.

Instead they formed a black wall and responded to WORDS with unrelenting, armed and often random VIOLENCE.

I don't care if Osama Bin Laden himself is hiding on Queen Street like Waldo... you don't just drop an airstrike on the village.

You PARTICULARLY don't do it after the entire village sang Oh Canada in fear.

I understand the effect of an unsuspecting ambush tactics to confuse and demoralize... but when the first three ranks of 'protestors' are waving peace signs standing outside the gap wearing American Apparel and drinking starbucks... I might tailor my tactics accordingly.

People have said that they 'understand' why Police might have been on edge due to the events of the day before...


I understand that i watched friends die and then the next day went out and did my job with the professionalism expected of someone who claims to serve his country and as in holland i gave chocolate to children while the engineers rebuilt.

When you back people into a corner... they will fight and sell their lives dearly to escape.

The 'kettle' is a useful tactic to isolate 'riot ringleaders' but with even minor coordination it can simply be turned into a turnstyle type processing operation as opposed to a way to jack up arrest counts to justify budgets and manpower.

Too little too late from the Police especially after the complete lack of presence as the city they are paid to protect, burned the day before.

A number of extremely reputable journalists and civilian truth mongers have been given unprecedented ability to expose the absolute incompetence of both the police leadership and of the individual line trooper.

This is as sure a black stain on their official colors as it was a death knell to the Canadian Airborne after one of their members killed a Somali boy. I would hang my head in shame if i affected any part of Sunday's riot operation, willing or not.

I have a relative who was caught up in the crowd. Just a student who is young and wants to take inspired photos, and does it damn well. He was detained (not arrested) But I have seen his footage and i am disgusted.

I did not put my life on the line and watch my best friends take their last breath to come home and watch the largest gathering of law enforcement this country has ever seen... cowed to the point inaction as the city and its citizens endure the wanton destruction to their homes and business, only to have it answered by a heavy handed and indiscriminant hammer blow against quite possibly the very same people they so utterly failed to help previously.

I understand that to put a riot line in front of the black block may have caused injuries and violence.

Well... they asked for it. Says so right on their sign.

Guess what else. That's why you took the oath of service to your country. If you don't want to get injured on the job... be a yoga instructor.

Excuses are quite common apparently everyone has one. I would advise anyone reading this to write their local MP and ask what your government is doing to police it's members and policies that have utterly failed in their duty to this country.

I was in the city all weekend and if i had a dollar for every group of 6 police officers i saw sitting on corners shooting the shit... I would probably have enough to hire a ten man infantry section for the weekend to lead the police through some drills, of how to serve the nation they are sworn to defend.

This should not be taken as a sweeping assault on the police as i even have a few relatives and many friends among their ranks. But just as I would not stand for injustice within my own house... I will not stand for it in theirs.

I have met countless officers who uphold our laws with dignity and professionalism. I would gladly give my life for anyone of them.

What will not stand is when under the guise of 'security' police are given sweeping powers with no chance of reciprocity, the need to explain themselves or chance to defend against bullying tactics employed on a peaceful gathering of my country's citizens.

I don't give a flying squirrel if they were threatening, or there were reports of weapons. You have full body armour and shields. Suck it up. Besides, you should be happy. Bricks move a lot slower than bullets.

I support our law enforcement as i support our troops. But my support is not a blank cheque to be held cheaply against the values and rights you trample as surely as you stepped on our flag. You will find me a tenacious opponent and one now who wants to know just how that cheque i did write you was used... and i think after saturdays impotence and sundays ignorance someone has to pay the piper...

and this time, it won't be me.

We're still left wondering, aren't we? Was it mere if stunning incompetence? Or a planned, politically driven assault on our civil rights?


Anonymous said...

Kudos to you.
I am american who was harassed and threatened by Ont police. My son is US Vet and he saw some of the videos from the summit. He agrees with you 100 percent. He was an MP and trained local cops in riot patrol for the Olympic Games in my city. I m proud to salute. Well done.

Niles said...

The old adage is never to chalk up to cunning what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

And yet. And yet.

I look at it this way. *Someone* spent time, thought and money building that extremely large detention centre and deliberately designing it along very dominating lines -- physical and mental.

*Someone* made sure there was a network of transport vehicles to carry those many bodies (formerly known as people) to that detention centre and had policies in place to gain their captives, control their captives, transfer their captives and avoid public exposure arriving at the studio with their captives.

*Someone* with supervisory oversight enabled police custodians of captives to act with impunity in words and deeds instead of directing their behaviour down other paths.

The actual execution of processing captives might reveal a breakdown in administrative duties needed to be effective, but when so many were merely being held in custody without charge -- under increasing duress, paperwork becomes window dressing, a Kafkaesque reassurance that something is happening, when the desired effect is that nothing happens.

Lacksadaisical cataloguing of captives'property and even their identities is a high sign of knowledge it-doesn't-matter and is actually preferred as the end goal. I fully expect the video of the detention centre cells and individual photos and files to be as poorly retained...

...except for that transferred out of TO hands to other Responsible Parties, so they can truthfully say they don't possess any such evidence or authority to search for it.

In the litigative world, a lack of hard evidence that should exist (aka the OopsSorryItFellInTheShredder Effect) benefits those that act outside the laws of the land, unless they are legislated to produce due diligence under pain of maximum penalties for its absence.

Sooo, my skeptical commie pinko mind sees the event was a scripted production, not an improv. The spearcarriers in blue were eager summer theater players auditioning for the big show. They were going to blow it by questioning the directors?

Audience reviews will hopefully pre-empt any future runs.

As might be inferred, I find it more than a tad ironic that a film studio was used for this Reifenstahlic opus.

deBeauxOs said...

Reifenstahlic indeed, Niles.

But as you pointed out, it's more than likely that the film/dvd footage has disappeared into the same unnamed and mysterious archival parallel universe where most of the Afghanistan documents are located.

Anonymous said...

Kudos for a very well written and intelligent article. Wish I could meet this marvelous person and shake his hand.
I will be posting and reposting it to all on facebook.
Jerry LeBoeuf

fern hill said...

Jerry, this old post has been getting tons of hits today from Facebook. Do you know where it's linked?

Tim said...

Very well written post, kudos to you Eric!

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