October 20, 2009

General Rick Hillier criticizes Stephen Harper

CANADA - Canada's former top general who retired in 2008 after serving Canada in Afghanistan has written an autobiography and its shining a light on corruption and mismanagement within Stephen Harper's office.

Hillier has had a distinguished military career. He first tried to enlist at the tender age of 8. He had to wait until he graduated high school at the age of 17. Early on he commanded a NATO tank unit in Germany. In Afghanistan he commanded 6,000 troops in 2004 and was promoted to chief of defence staff in 2005.

Hillier is a man's man, he spoke plainly and bluntly and he is not the type to hide the truth. Hence why his autobiography is so important.

According to Hillier he encountered a lot of bureaucratic nonsense when dealing with the Stephen Harper's office, largely due to a combination of office politics (different bureaucrats who are too busy stabbing each other in the back) and an air of utter incompetence.

He also discovered Stephen Harper liked to meddle in military affairs...

1. Like trying to prevent the flag-draped coffins of soldiers from being seen when they are brought back to Canadian soil and the military ceremonies associated with that. Harper wanted those images censored. This was apparently Hillier's "line in the sand" because it meant Harper had no respect for fallen soldiers.

"Look, don't bring the Airbus in, or if you bring the plane in, turn it away from the cameras so that people can't see the bodies coming off, or do it after dark, or do it down behind the hangars, or just bar everybody from it," Hillier quotes the PMO staffers as saying. "They clearly didn't want that picture of the flag-draped coffin on the news."

It is Canadian military policy that every Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan will be honoured as a war hero. Harper's disrespect for soldiers was the last straw for Hillier and prompted his early retirement at the age of 53.

2. Bureaucratic interference risking the lives of soldiers in an effort to make Stephen Harper look good.

3. That Stephen Harper knew about torture allegations but chose to simply ignore them because he was too worried about bad press and his image.

4. It was Stephen Harper's decision to move Canadian troops from Kabul and reposition them in southern Kandahar province, where they are now at much more danger of being killed by roadside bombs. "It had already been largely decided that the Canadian presence in Afghanistan was shifting to the southern half of the country," Hillier writes.

5. Hillier also has tough criticism for NATO, saying the military alliance is rife with political posturing and corruption, including Canadians from the Prime Minister's staff who are more worried about making a name for themselves and schmoozing than actually fighting/winning the war.

6. Hillier also said it was "embarrassing" that Canada has to beg for equipment from other countries because Harper's approach to the war is all for show and he isn't willing to spend anything on equipment that will save the lives of Canadian soldiers.

The book "A Soldier First: Bullets, Bureaucrats and the Politics of War" is scheduled to be released next week.

1 comment:

  1. What astounds me is the Harper neoCONservatives then turn around and have the temerity to claim that the Liberals are the ones showing no respect for Canada's brave men and women of the Armed Forces.

    This PM, this government and the new ultra-right wing Conservative party is disgusting, and decidedly un-Canadian.

    Irony: comment word verification, my word is "Palin".


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