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radar   I’m curious as to how our military procurement system is intends to differentiate itself from the awesome-fun game of spitting into the wind.

   “The Harper government is terminating its contract with Thales Canada Ltd., which was to supply new radar units to support Canada’s CF-18 fighter jet squadrons in Cold Lake, Alta., and Bagotville, Que.”

The idea behind the procurement process is to investigate the fine details of a piece of equipment and estimate how much the supplier intends to soak you with bullshit added-costs, delays and ‘upgrades’.

“The deal signed in November 2010 was initially worth $55 million for two tactical-control radar systems, with delivery to begin in 2013. Thales won the tender over one other bidder.

Defence Department documents show costs had risen to more than $78 million by 2013. And by November last year, the Public Works Department was deep in negotiations with Thales to resolve problems.

“In February 2015, Canada and Thales reached agreement in principle to terminate this contract by mutual consent,” said Public Works spokeswoman Annie Trepanier.”

Somewhere along the line our Master Procurers must have had a rectal cranial inversion as a jump from $55 million to $78 million dollars seems a little extreme.  It is not like we enjoy spending money on overpriced non-functional military hardware…

 “The botched deal is yet another military procurement gone sour, alongside the more high-profile F-35 Stealth Fighter project, the Cyclone helicopter purchase to replace the aging Sea Kings, and used British submarines that have been sinkholes for maintenance and repair dollars.”

Errr…whoops. I wonder when our lovely government will realize that we need our military primarily for domestic security – (full props to Canada’s army for mobilizing units to fight forest fires) and peacekeeping roles.  Imperial ambitions and force project have never been our forte and we should stop trying to compete with more imperialistically focused nations.

Canadian foreign policy concerns aside some careful attention should be paid to this:

“Negotiations for a final termination agreement are still underway, and Public Works declined to provide any information about penalties, losses to the taxpayer or even the reason for the termination.

“Public Works is working with DND [Department of National Defence] to identify an appropriate path forward to meet their long-term capability needs on this project,” Trepanier said in a terse email.”

From a government whose platform trumpeted accountability and transparency to the high-heavens and back, this response from Public Works can be reasonably classified as neither accountable, nor transparent to the Canadian public.

eyeosauron    If you have been watching our beloved conservative government the above response is not out of place with the deep centralization of power that our PM has undertaken.  This government has been all about the control and management of information and unsubtle PR for the hoi-paloi.   The Prime Ministers Office has subsided into the shadows, sorta like Sauron in LOTR – sure you can see the flaming eye up there on the tower – but you have no idea what it is doing or what policies it happens to be crafting.   Canadians just have to brace themselves for whatever crap policy that magically appears on the horizon and hope for the best.

[Source:CBC]

 

 

Well, I guess the phrase, “Our troops will be out of Afghanistan by 2011” has more connotations than the ones most people would be aware of.  Apparently it means this:

“Instead, the Harper government now wants to extend Canada’s military presence by another three years to 2014, maintaining a force of up to 1,000 soldiers and support personnel in “non-combat training roles.”

It is nice to see that our autocratic PM is being all that he can be.  Furthermore, Harper is not putting this extension up for debate in the House of Commons.

Harper and Cannon have both said a vote on the extension is not needed. Cannon pointed out Monday that a parliamentary vote was not taken when Canadian troops were sent to Haiti after the devastating earthquake in January.

Speaking on CBC’s Power & Politics with Evan Solomon, Cannon said there was “no precedent” for a parliamentary vote on the extension of the mission in Afghanistan.

“This is really a function of mission creep,” NDP MP Jack Harris said after the announcement. “We started in 2002 and we’ve been there nine years now. Last Saturday was the ninth anniversary of the fall of the Taliban.”

Canada has wilted under the pressure of NATO and the US, to keep a military presence in Afghanistan despite promises to get our troops out of the country.

“NDP Leader Jack Layton accused Harper of breaking a promise.

“Why did he break his promise to bring the troops home?” Layton asked in question period.”

Listen to the Canadians?  Respect democracy?  Meh.

 

We are going to go pave Afghanistan with the blood and bones of Canadian soldiers; will the nebulous goal of “stability” be sufficient to pacify their families as they grieve?   Will the inevitable deaths of innocent Afghanis be justified by bringing stability to the region?  Consider the very nature of the war in Afghanistan where there are  only a few “front lines” and the enemy has the capacity to strike anywhere at almost anytime.  Is this what we bring and justify our presence in Afghanistan for?

“Coalition forces in Afghanistan will go on the offensive this fall, says Lt.-Gen. Marc Lessard, the commander of Canadian troops overseas.

His comments to reporters in Kandahar on Saturday echoed those made by British Maj.-Gen. Nick Carter, commander of coalition troops in southern Afghanistan, who said up to 32,000 Afghan and coalition soldiers will try to clear 500 to 800 insurgents from around Kandahar city before December.

Lessard described the coalition push as “massive activities.” The attacks will be followed by development projects and efforts to strengthen the local governments.”

We have heard this so many times over the tenure of our stay in Afghanistan.  But better to have nebulous strategy to match our nebulous goals, one would suppose.

“He [Lessard] said the Taliban had taken the initiative over the summer and it had been “a tough go” for the coalition. “There was a lot more enemy presence and a lot more activity.”

The coalition consolidated its position, Lessard said. “There was no more expansion. We didn’t have the troops.”

But now the Taliban initiative has been stopped. “That’s good, but that’s not good enough,” he said, so the coalition is taking the offensive.”

And re-win the hearts and minds of the people?  Who do you side with if you are an Afghani citizen?  The corrupt Kharzi regime backed by imperial powers that will be leaving the country soon or with the Taliban who will be there with certainty (being that it is their country after all)?

“With the 150-plus killed, the hundreds of seriously injured, from our Canadian point of view, that’s our legacy.”

Poignant and prescient words from Lieutenant-General Marc Lessard.  I’m usually happy when blog posts write themselves, but in this instance, there is nothing to cheer about.

Moe over at Whatever Works has a great post about Afghanistan and the morass that passes as the status quo.

Bringing white hot death to an official enemy hopefully far away from you.

Our Federal Government is really the bomb-shit.   I mean they stopped the Liberal nationalized daycare program in its tracks when they assisted Paul Martin and the Libs self destruct in 2006.

“The Liberals were in the midst of delivering on a $5-billion national child-care program before they were thrown out of power in the 2006 election. When Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the Conservatives came to office, that program was abandoned, in favour of the $100-a-month cheques to Canadian parents known as the Universal Child Care Benefit.”

The Universal Child Care Benefit is laughably ineffective, as reasonable day care costs are well above $100 dollars per month.  Hats off to conservative thinking and the choice that the 100 dollars per month provides (none).  Way to go, nanny state kept in check.

The fiscal restraint though goes *poof* when we are talking about shiny new fighter jets!  The new F-35 is so new and amazing you do not even see the 9 billion dollar price tag through all of this  incredible awesomeness!

The Canadian government said Friday it plans to spend $9 billion to purchase a new generation of fighter jets, the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter.

The contract, one of the biggest military equipment purchases in Canadian history, is worth $9 billion, but the full cost could rise to as much $18 billion once the government signs a maintenance contract.”

I’m amused that we need the best and the brightest new technology for our Air Force.  What exactly are we going to do with these new jets other than spend a horrendous amount to train to fly and maintain them.  Put quite simply, Canada does not need these jets.  The F-35 is purely an offensive weapon that has no place in a Canada that is once was dedicated to peacekeeping and resolving issues without the slaughter of war.

For the fiscally conservatives who also occasionally read DWR here is another little interesting snippet.

“The new jets would replace an aging fleet of CF-18s that recently underwent a $2.6-billion upgrade”

Huh, we are retrofitting old jets, AND buying new ones.  The money for the military seems to be connected to a high pressure fire hose.  Consider that 2.6 billion is already one half of the necessary money for universal childcare in Canada.   Oh yah, but we need defence!  The terrorists are at our door just waiting for our Jet Technology to become obsolete.

I’m thinking we need to up the *facepalm* ante here just for the inept twerpitude of our military planning/spending.

9 billion for *shiny* jets? Can I get a 'Hell Ya'!

Here is what the Official opposition is saying:

“But the government is fending off criticism that it is making one of the biggest military purchases in Canadian history without a single competing bid.  The Liberals say the massive purchase of 65 jets should have been subjected to competitive bids.

I think Canadians are amazed that the largest procurement deal in the history of the country is a single-sourced — so, it’s not a competitive — deal,” Ignatieff told reporters.”

You know what I am amazed at Iggy?  Your enormous capacity to miss the blatantly obvious point.   We should not be making this purchase in the first place.  You want to show Canadians you have a platform and spine of your own?  Then make a stand against this vacuous prestidigitation, try for once to make a principled stand you might like it.

The planes we are purchasing are used to rain death down on people who do not have planes of their own to shoot back with.  Has the mighty Harper decided that Canada needs its own imperial air-force to lay the smack down on some poor schmo(s) on the ground armed with an AK-47 and faith on the brain?  The ludicrous stupid burns nova hot on this one.  You would think as the principled opposition of Canada you might point out that we do not frakking need

Childrens Welfare vs. Bombing other children? Wow, unpopular position if I ever heard of one.

any more fighter planes for the defense of our country and maybe the money could be used elsewhere to benefit the children and families of Canada.

Do you know why according to Military Analysts that we need these pricey Edsel?

“Military analyst Mercedes Stephenson told CBC News that the purchase is “absolutely necessary.”She added: “We have to have fighter jets. Canada is a massive country, and when you think purely about response times, there is nothing else that can get across the country as fast as a fighter jet.”Also, when you are dealing with the Arctic, there is very little that has the kind of survivability of a fighter jet in the air under those kinds of harsh conditions.  She added that the purchase is also important for Canada to meet obligations to its international allies.”

Shorter:  We need fast planes because Canada is big and cold! Oh, and sometimes our friends need us to bomb people.
Are you kidding?  Are we that stupid?
What really fries my biscut is what the NDP has to say about this:

“But the NDP argues even if Canada needs fighter jets, it’s not clear it needs these particular ones.

“The issue for the Canadian defence department is, is the F-35 what we want?” said NDP MP Malcolm Allen.”

Holy Plastic-Jebus on a pogo-stick!  Is this the best we can do for spirited opposition?   It is okay to say that this is waste of Canadian money, and that this is a particularly bad idea coming from Stephen I wanna be a Neo-Con Harper’s private circle-jerk cabinet.   This deal needs to be scrapped immediately, put the money toward combating child poverty and do some good for once.

What I fear is that no one from any of the opposition benches has the spine to take a stand against this fiscally and morally boneheaded move on behalf of the Canadian Government.

Man, what do I do after denial stops working?

The Canadian occupation of Afghanistan is an international shame.  We are killing innocent people and torturing people.  The Geneva Convention needs to be dusted off and read 100 times by our military leaders and political drones so they get the idea of human rights are not just for “us” but extend to everyone in the world.

The CBC reports:

“A parliamentary committee has heard stunning allegations from a former translator who claims the Canadian military tried to cover up the fatal shooting of an Afghan man in October 2007.

Ahmadshah Malgarai also alleged to MPs in Ottawa that the Canadian military “panicked” and rounded up a half a dozen Afghans between the age of 10 and 90 after the shooting of a man sleeping on the roof of a compound in southern Afghanistan.”

Fantastic, murder someone and then round up possible witnesses for intimidation interrogation.

Apparently though Mr.Malgarai did not actually witness the execution.

“Malgarai testified he was not at the compound during the alleged incident, although he was allowed to see the intelligence report and took part in the interrogation of the detained men. He alleged a member of the military personally described it to him as “murder.”

Of course Conservative MP Laurie Hawn was there sowing confusion.  Best to muddy the waters in defence of  aberrant government policy.

“When Hawn then asked if Malgarai was calling Hillier a liar, Ahmadshad became agitated and accused the Tory MP of trying to put words in his mouth.”

What did happen that night?  Something significant, the ripples are to big just to be a false allegation in my opinion.

Alfred Mccoy was right in his book A Question about Torture:  using torture as official policy has serious corrosive effects on both the victims and the abusers.  The effect is evident already in Afghanistan as the Canadian Armed Forces torture scandal continues to unfold.

The southern offensive against the Taliban in the town of Marjah continues.  The cost so far has been twelve civilians from an errant rocket attack.

“But the offensive, known as Operation Moshtarak, was overshadowed on Sunday by the death of 12 Afghan civilians killed when two rockets missed their target and landed on homes in Nad Ali district, where Marjah is located. Nato acknowledged responsibility for the deaths.”

I guess you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette.  But we are sorry:

“General Stanley McChrystal, the head of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, called the loss of life “regrettable” and said the operation was being conducted with “the protection of Afghan people in mind”.

“We extend our heartfelt sympathies and will ensure we do all we can to avoid future incidents,” he said in a statement on Sunday.”

What I wonder is if those 12 people’s families really understand what is going on?  I mean do they really fathom the strategic importance of what Western forces are doing in their country?  Do they think the Taliban is evil and must be banished by force of arms from their area?   Or are they just devastated that they have lost family members and will blame whomever caused their deaths?

The fighting has been raging across Afghanistan for years, what guarantee is there that this will not happen again?  Why of course let us put our faith in government in a box…and other nifty statements that do not address the endemic problems of Afghanistan.

“Afghan officials say they have a “government-in-a-box” ready to sweep in and set up institutional services and security that will ensure the Taliban do not return to areas captured by US-led forces.”

Somehow I get the feeling this is the same old rhetoric repackaged for this media cycle.

What is not surprising is that Harper’s Government continues to stonewall the inquiry into the allegations that Canadian troops knowingly handed over captured Afghan prisoners.  The playbooks seems to somewhat disorganized as Gen. Walter Natynczyk found out he needed to change his story to harmonize with what the current acceptable truth needs to be.

“The individual who was beaten by the Afghan police was, in fact, in Canadian custody,” Natynczyk told reporters in Ottawa on Wednesday.

Natynczyk had told a parliamentary committee that Canadian troops questioned the man, picked up during operations in Zangabad. But Natynczyk said it was the Afghans who took him into custody.”

Okay..but then….

“On Wednesday, the defence staff chief said he has received new information and learned that Canadians had taken the suspect into custody before handing him over to the Afghans.”

Whoops!  Well, apparently we did actually have him in Canadian custody.  The general was very apologetic.  Also, the prisoner in question was also rescued by Canadian soldiers after they saw the prisoner being beaten by Afghan authorities.

This is just one case though.  The amount of smoke and mirrors being produced in Ottawa as of late lead me to question our policy and presence in Afghanistan.

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