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Army not stretched to limit, Layton interprests documents

JasonH

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Army not stretched to limit, documents indicate
Notes cast doubt on Tory position
NDP wants troops sent to Lebanon
Aug. 26, 2006. 01:00 AM
BRUCE CAMPION-SMITH
OTTAWA BUREAU


OTTAWA—Canada has 1,200 troops available to respond to global missions, a military briefing note says, contradicting claims by Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor that the army is stretched too thin to consider other big deployments.

The document would appear to back Liberal assertions that, as a government, they committed Canada to the Afghan mission only after top military leaders assured them the Canadian Forces had the capacity to help elsewhere in the world, notably in Darfur.

Since then, the new Conservative government has cited Canada's deployment of 2,300 troops to Afghanistan as the big reason it cannot deploy troops elsewhere.

Calling for immediate deployment of troops as peacekeepers in Lebanon, NDP Leader Jack Layton said Prime Minister Stephen Harper and O'Connor haven't been "fully truthful" about the state of the military.

"Given that we quite clearly ... have the capacity to assist ... what's the real reason we're not responding?" Layton asked in an interview.

"The fact that Canadians have been denied the knowledge that we have the ability to assist is certainly shocking to me."

The capacity of the Forces was spelled out in a briefing book handed to O'Connor right after the Tories took power in February and he was sworn in as defence minister. The 231-page document was obtained by the federal New Democrats under the Access to Information Act.

The briefing states the Forces can remain in Afghanistan and have a contingent of soldiers ready "for other possible missions the government may wish to consider.

"The Canadian Forces currently have the capacity to maintain two land task forces for potential deployment to two different theatres of operation," the document says.

One task force is in Afghanistan and "the second task force includes approximately 1,200 personnel and forms the basis for contingency planning."

In April, O'Connor used the excuse of an overstretched military to deflect calls to send troops to help with the humanitarian crisis in Darfur, Sudan.


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`Many Israelis and many Lebanese here ... would very much welcome this'

Jack Layton, NDP leader

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"We can maintain the commitment in Afghanistan into the future ... but we will be greatly challenged to take any substantial commitment anywhere else offshore," O'Connor said during a visit to CFB Petawawa.

At the same time, Harper dampened expectations that the military would be able to juggle two big missions, saying: "We certainly don't have the resources to sustain more than one mission the size of our commitment in Kandahar province."

Now the issue is Lebanon, as the United Nations struggles to muster an international force of soldiers to serve along the border with Israel.

"There's a clock ticking here. We have a temporary ceasefire here that is barely being held together," Layton said. "I know there are many Israelis and many Lebanese here in Canada who would very much welcome this."

O'Connor spokesperson Étienne Allard said the minister stands by his statements.

"The briefing book was prepared before the government committed to a two-year extension of the mission in Afghanistan and before the government committed to increasing the regular force by 13,000 and the reserve force by 10,000," Allard said in an email.

He noted O'Connor's testimony to the Senate defence committee in May, when he said: "We anticipate that as long as we are expanding the ... Forces, we will not be able to maintain two heavy lines of (international) commitment from the army."

The briefing document did take into account the fact the Forces would be expanding to meet a Liberal promise to add 8,000 full- and part-time troops.

Spokesperson Maj. Daryl Morrell acknowledged the army does have some spare capacity but said it is now far less than the 1,200 troops highlighted in the briefing document.

The contribution to the Kandahar mission, and need to train troops headed to Afghanistan in 2007, means the army only has 500 troops able to make up a second task force, he said.

MP Dawn Black (NDP-New Westminster-Coquitlam) said the government has no excuse not to dispatch troops to the Middle East.

"We have limited resources but we do have resources," the NDP defence critic said. "It's incorrect for the minister, the Prime Minister and others in government to indicate we don't have resources.

"The situation in the Middle East is crying out for participation from the international community," said Black.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1156542610767&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467
 

GAP

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That's simply amazing....how can they do it? I thought it was only fantasy, but the liberals and especially the NDP (Not Destined for Power) parties are actually able to spew it out both ends at the same time. That's right up there with the creation of the 6 million dollar man!!
 

vonGarvin

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That briefing note was done some 7 months ago.  If I remember, the government took the decision regarding our second line of capabilities (or whatever it's called) some 5 months ago.
 

Fishbone Jones

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Just more point posturing by our resident yappy little dog Layton. "Hey Spike! Hey Spike! Over here Spike!!" The only press they've been getting is for their unpopular position to recognize Hezbollah. Now they need to stay in the news but deflect and move away from that point while still remaining the outspoken underdog for the world's perceived downtrodden masses, while trying to garner votes from the outspoken minority of that area. Pffft, inconsequential posturing by a pontificating putz.
 

Cloud Cover

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Even on this forum, I think quite a number of people have expressed skepticism that another mission would be an impossibility or for that matter even a backbreaker. I think the larger point (being missed or conveniently ignored)  is that after factoring in the Afghanistan expedition, there is enough energy left in the army for only 1 more combat force, which IMO ought to be kept in reserve to respond domestically or deployed in operations which take on direct threats to Canada, and not be used as some sort of shit deflector for the UN. 

I personally would be very happy if a Canadian battle group or TF never again wore a blue beret.

   
 

karl28

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Man its articles like this that make me wanna shake my head in disgust the NDP really haven't got a clue when it comes to anything military
 

McG

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"Given that we quite clearly ... have the capacity to assist ... what's the real reason we're not responding?" Layton asked in an interview.

"The fact that Canadians have been denied the knowledge that we have the ability to assist is certainly shocking to me."
I think it has been expressed for a while that we no longer have this capacity to assist & it has also been long made known why.

I would hope that leaders, of national political parties, would take note of this type of information when it is announced.  Next week he will probably blame it on some evil military conspiracy to deceive the government (no wait, the news media beat him to it).
 

tomahawk6

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NDP is a typical liberal political party which feel that an army should only be used for peacekeeping and humanitarian missions, not actual combat.

http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060828/lebanon_troops_060828/20060828?hub=Canada
 

a_majoor

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Jack is obviously pulling numbers from some part of his anatomy, but even supposing it is OK to stop training new recruits, not have a contingency force in Canada to deal with domestic operations and force troops rotating from Afghanistan to rotate directly into Lebanon, how will a half battle group (the 1,200 man figure he suggests) be able to move in and disarm the Hezbollah, or engage in heavy combat with a dug in enemy armed and supplied by Iran?

Anyone feel like sending him an email on this subject?
 

Lost_Warrior

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Considering the fact that our military would be cut back even more so than the Liberals have if he was running the show, I find it quite ironic he would advocate sending troops over seas...  ::)
 

foerestedwarrior

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Lost_Warrior said:
Considering the fact that our military would be cut back even more so than the Liberals have if he was running the show, I find it quite ironic he would advocate sending troops over seas...  ::)

well..

"It's an important objective for Canadians," he said. "They want Canada to be concerned with peacekeeping."

so where are these polls that say that cutting our defense capabilities to go on a "peacekeeping" mission? Also, if we went, first Canadian death will make him scream that we need to pull out.
 

Teddy Ruxpin

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It's all part and parcel of the NDP's addiction to anything "UN".  As it is - from what I can see - we should stay as far away from this as we possibly can.  France was initially roundly chastised for not committing soldiers in large numbers, citing concerns with unclear UN ROE and objectives.  Over the past few days, they appear to have caved to heavy political pressure to contribute more, although AFAIK the underlying issues with the UN's management of the mission haven't been resolved.

It smells very bad from an operational standpoint.  Let's see:  a scraped together force, reluctant contributors, a past history of failure, a likelihood of renewed violence, unclear objectives, political ambiguity and the typical UN ROE issues... Where do we sign up?  ::)
 

Armymedic

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Teddy Ruxpin said:
It smells very bad from an operational standpoint.  Let's see:  a scraped together force, reluctant contributors, a past history of failure, a likelihood of renewed violence, unclear objectives, political ambiguity and the typical UN ROE issues... Where do we sign up?   ::)

And this would be different from any other UN mission they (the NDP) would send us on?
 

GAP

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We should take it on!!!

on the condition that for every soldier that goes over, they are accompanied by someone from the NDP/liberal/bloc that want us there. They must perform all duties and requirements of the soldier.  >:D
 

teltech

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Maybe as the bumber sticker says: "If you don't want to stand behind a soldier, feel free to stand in front of one." >:D
 

rz350

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I would support a deployment there in theory. But only if Canada actaully had troops to spare. (i.e. not on another major operation) and only if it diddnt have wishy washy ROE. Stopping terror benefits the whole western (and large parts of the eastern) world. But only if it can be effectivly stopped, not just having Canadian's watch Hezbollah kill Israeli's, then watch Israeli F-15E's pound the bejesus out of a school. (Let them kill hezbollah, and if Israel tries to cross the buffer zone, well, the CF-18's get some use)

But I dont support it under Mr.Layton's retarded Idea and planning.
 

civmick

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Well, if there was a natural disaster in Canada, no doubt CF would be able to rock up with 1200 guys as DND seem to indicate, but that doesn't mean they can support an expeditionary force 7000km away with the Herc force running out of hours and no C-17s for three years.  Jack hasn't figured out that the CF "walking on water" doesn't refer to an actual military capability  ;D
 

HDE

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Didn' the NDP also want us to deploy to Darfur?  For a Party with a real hate for the military "Jack Layton's NDP" are certainly keen to use it; Jack looks a Canadian chicken hawk.  Can he really believe he'll be taken seriously ::)
 

rifleman

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Why not rotate from Afghanistan to another location? Perhaps longer tours in the places we are. There is a lot of Reservists we could call up. After all, if we are at war, you got to do what you got to do.
 
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