Well just when I thought I could post about something other than Afghanistan and the military, something new comes up.
Thanks to Rob at My Blahg for pointing this out:
And the response to this from our government?
Members of a family from Gumbad, the village where the Canadians are based, said Saturday in a telephone interview that the bombing had been organized by villagers who were angry about what they described as inappropriate treatment during searches.
One elder, whose family asked that he not be identified for fear of reprisals, denounced the Canadian troops for bringing dogs into the village mosque and peoples’ homes, and for conducting intimate body searches.
“I am an educated person, and I know a bit about how they do things, but I am getting angry when they are bringing dogs to my mosque and to my house,” the elder said. “I also feel like attacking them with an ax, but I lack the courage.”
Russ Hiebert, parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence, said they “made the ultimate sacrifice for a cause worth fighting for.”
He also dismissed a New York Times report that local villagers may have helped organize the attack, in response to allegedly intimidating behaviour by Canadian troops.
“The information I’ve been getting is that anytime Afghans have had contact with our soldiers, it’s been very positive experience for both sides,” he told Question Period.
“The people of Afghanistan are incredibly pleased with the security and stability that is emerging in their country.”
Now I am skeptical of the veracity of this report. But given earlier reports of our guys throwing water bottles out of LAVs and bouncing off the heads of Afghanis as they pass has me concerned. Are we seeing a shift away from our more traditional and successful methods toward a more "American" methods (which has been oh so successful in Iraq)?
I voice this concern as a supporter of the mission. If the mission is to be a success we must not abandon the "firm, fair and friendly" approach that has always served us well.
Now, it is likely that the Afghan elder quoted above simply mistook the Canadians for the Americans that had previously been stationed in Gumbad and who have been known to use such tactics regualrly in both Afghanistan and Iraq. It is possible he is lying. But given the sensitivity of the mission, I think this needs a serious invesigation by the military and exposure by the press that are in country.
Our military is quite good at learning from its mistakes and ensuring that every tragedy is used to learn how to prevent further tragedies. I hope that if what this elder says is true, that we immediately stop that kind of engagement and return to what we know best. Fighting an insurgency using the American model just doesn't make much sense.
Think of this as a red flag being raised, so that we can correct course to make the mission a sucess.
I am concerned that our government is immediately discounting this because it doesn't jive with their particular cheerleading vision of the mission. To pretend its not happening if it is is a sure way to a quagmire and failure. Russ Hiebert could have at least indicated that the government would look into the allegations to ensure they weren't true, rather than simply dismissing them out of hand because they did not like what they said.
Update (for Candace):
See what happens when the press is allowed the freedom to pursue these things instead of being muzzled?