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Liberals to unveil plans for UN peacekeeping force

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The Kumbaya thing will not work, especially in Africa,’ ex-soldier warns Canadians

Post by Guest on Thu 29 Sep 2016, 15:34

The Kumbaya thing will not work, especially in Africa,’ ex-soldier warns Canadians.

September 29, 2016

A soldier who served with Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire during the Rwandan genocide is deeply worried the Trudeau government is about to embark on another UN peacekeeping quagmire in Africa that could have grave consequences for the mental health of troops sent there.

“We have historically made the same mistakes again and again,” says Stéphane Grenier, who founded Mental Health Innovations Consulting after retiring from the Canadian Forces four years ago as a lieutenant-colonel. His retirement followed deployments to Rwanda, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kuwait, Lebanon and Haiti.

“History will repeat itself because people will not be properly prepared to go overseas,” Grenier predicted.

Compounding the problem in past doomed missions was that the UN did not provide strong support for troops in the field, he added.

“Is there any indication the UN is better equipped today to govern military forces trying to implement what are impossible mandates?” he asked. “I don’t think so. Until that is fixed, history will repeat itself.”

Grenier became a passionate advocate for mental health after witnessing shocking barbarism when more than one million Rwandans were slaughtered in the genocide in that country in 1994.

What Canada was most lacking, he said, was training for soldiers, diplomats and other government workers to deal with what he called the moral conflicts that arise on such missions.

“Because our soldiers are Canadian, and mostly raised in Canada, they live their lives according to a moral compass that is calibrated to Canadian values, to a sense of what Canadians think is right or wrong. When you put them in another country which has a very different perception of what is right or wrong, there is an issue.

“There is no way right now to adjust our moral compass to that other reality. The principles that we establish for our missions don’t apply there. It becomes a real challenge to maintain your moral compass.”

Grenier spoke of standing beside a boy as the youngster was shot by the Interahamwe (a Hutu paramilitary organization) in Rwanda, and the mental anguish that some Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan suffered after hearing the cries of young boys who were being abused by Afghan troops on a joint base.

“All the resiliency training and briefings in the world do not to this date help us to recalibrate our compass for things like that,” he said.

“Something gets lost in translation between the air base at Trenton (Ontario) and wherever it is that Canadians land. That is the starting point for understanding the challenge to successfully prosecute a mission in a place like Africa and to get everyone back home safe and sane, not only from the battlefield but the mental battlefield.”

The African mission now being drawn up in offices in Ottawa would create unrealistic demands because the discussion is taking place in a vacuum with a poor understanding of the true situation on the far side of the world, the former armoured corps and public affairs officer said.

“I don’t want to play with words such as peacekeeping, peacemaking or peace-enforcing but I think that it is very naive to think that the peacekeeping concept can be implemented in 2016 and going forward,” he said. “The Kumbaya thing will not work, especially in Africa.

“Given the volatility of these countries, why do we think that our human kindness will work over there? Maybe niceness will work if it is backed up with some real teeth and a line in the sand.”

Grenier recalled what a fellow blue beret from Senegal told him early in his UN tour in Rwanda.

“‘When an African shows you his fist, you show him your knife’,” the officer said. “‘When an African shows you his knife, you show him your gun. You never show weakness’.”

Grenier said: “What we do is create complex mandates with the best intentions in the world, but in a context that is completely different than where the mandate has to be executed. It is as if politicians and bureaucrats have skipped a series of chapters that have been written since the end of the Cold War.”

Nor do governments calculate the true cost of these missions, he added. “We do the simple math of fuel, beans, boots and bullets and are satisfied with that answer. The cost in the mental health of the troops only becomes obvious 20 years later. We have never grasped that.”

Grenier’s new battle space is mental health in the workplace. He works with police and paramedics to combat the on-the-job stresses they face every day.

And although he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder himself, Grenier said the number of Canadian troops who have been diagnosed as having PTSD after serving in such places as Rwanda and Afghanistan has been greatly exaggerated.

“There is a national obsession with PTSD that I despise,” he said. “The fact that you are injured in the mind does not always mean that you have PTSD.”

Although Grenier has great respect for Dallaire, he feels the general’s fame sometimes diverts attention from the problems of other troops who witnessed murder and mayhem.

“With the general, Canadians are a bit star-struck,” Grenier said. “It is a phenomena that is not good or bad. Countries need heroes and he became one. But all the attention that he has had, had the perverse effect of taking attention from the issue.

“The mistake that is made is that people listen to General Dallaire, when people like him have no trouble getting a psychiatrist to support and treat them. That is not the case for soldiers at the bottom of the chain.”

Grenier added: “The American Psychiatry Association and Veterans Affairs want to hear the general’s views, and he certainly deserves to be heard. But his experiences are not representative of what the masses experienced. That is not his fault. He has tried to include others and has invited them to speak in Ottawa, but people there would rather hear from a celebrity.”


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Dallaire on peacekeeping mission

Post by Guest on Sun 18 Sep 2016, 19:02

Liberals not ruling out peacekeeping debate.

Sept 18, 2016

Question Period

Click on the link below to watch the video with Romeo Dallaire

Click on the link below to watch the video with Conservative House Leader Candice Bergen on Canada's peacekeeping mission.

Click on the link below to watch the video with Government House Leader Bardish on Canada's peacekeeping mission.


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Re: Liberals to unveil plans for UN peacekeeping force

Post by 1sea0shell33 on Tue 13 Sep 2016, 15:25

No peacekeeping! Put Canada first! Enough saving the world!

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Sticking to the peacekeeping basics

Post by Guest on Tue 13 Sep 2016, 15:22

Sticking to the peacekeeping basics.

September 13, 2016

Canada must not buy a UN administrative appointment with the blood of Canadian soldiers.

By Col. J. Darrach Murray: I refer to Paul Wells’ article, Guardian, Sept. 2, (New era of peacekeeping will bring new risks,) and Peter McKenna’s opinion piece (Canada: The helper fixer) Sept. Cool.

While I agree with both writers that the days of traditional peacekeeping with the former combatants separated by blue-bereted peacekeepers have largely passed into history, but I cannot say that they are not coming back. Unlikely, yes; but history has a tendency to repeat itself.

As Mr. Wells emphasizes how peacekeeping has changed, I wish to counter by pointing out where it has not changed. The task of the front line peacekeeper has changed but he/she has not. The individual still must be fed, clothed and equipped. The peacekeepers’ unit (e.g. an infantry battalion) should have an internal capacity to perform its own reconnaissance, communications, transport, supply, maintenance, medical, food service and disciplinary functions even if detached far from the force headquarters. (Too often, units provided by under-developed countries fall short in one or more of these areas.)

The key word above is internal, also called first line support. Who provides the external, second line support, that feeds these first line elements? Since 1956, it has been called Base Maintenance Area, Base Administrative Camp, etc. Two examples of second line support will suffice. Should a first line vehicle break down and require an engine change, in most cases, this would be beyond that unit’s capabilities and the vehicle would be backloaded to a base workshop. If not in stock, the base supply unit would need to order the new engine. Line units must have equipment capable of communicating with all of their sub-units/outposts. In many earlier forces, Canada has not only provided a bilingual communications service from the Force HQ to units but also back to North America. These, and other administrative and logistic needs, have not changed.

As these second line functions have been a requirement since 1956, let us examine Canada’s history in this regard. In the first UNEF, UNEF II and UNDOF, Canada was a major contributor of second line support units. Although ideal for command and control, all of these units do not have to be provided by the same nation. In the first UNEF, Canada shared these functions with India and, in UNEF II, with Poland. The announced ceiling of 600 soldiers could result in similar sharing.

Three force elements require special mention. The Force Hospital could be provided by any nation with the necessary medical expertise. In the first UNEF, the RCAF air unit performed an operational air reconnaissancetask plus the logistic air transportation function. Finally, the Force Headquarters requires special attention. It is logical that any nation contributing a major functional entity must head it in the headquarters.

If the RCAF were to provide the air unit, the Chief Air Staff Officer must be a Canadian. If transport, repair and supply units come from Canada, the Chief Logistics Officer must also be Canadian and so on. Finally, some general staff positions, open to any officer classification, should be reserved for Canadian staff-trained officers. Often, the strongest are needed to deal with unforeseen issues and with UNHQ officials in New York who sometimes fail to appreciate the situation on the ground.

Mr. McKenna’s cites the 2020 Security Council seat as an added motivation for Canada’s return to UN peacekeeping. I believe that Louis MacKenzie has already stated something to the effect that Canada must not buy an administrative appointment with the blood of Canadian soldiers. I, and many peacekeeping veterans, agree.

Well-meaning Canadians could state that, limiting Canada’s peacekeeping contribution to administration and logistic support is a cop-out or keep Canadian troops safe in a Base Maintenance Area while the lives of front line troops from Third World countries are endangered in action. I would remind my fellow citizens that the greatest one-day loss of Canadian peacekeepers occurred during a logistic task – not an operational one. On Aug. 9, 1974, Canada lost nine peacekeepers when a Buffalo 461 was shot down over Syria.

In summary, I suggest that Canada should concentrate on those peacekeeping functions that are basically unchanged and in which the nation is experienced. Only in this way can we avoid the new risks so well stated by Mr. Wells and justify the mission to Canadians as questioned by Mr. McKenna.

Colonel J. Darrach Murray is a retired Canadian/United Nations peacekeeper living in Sea View.


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750 Canadian peacekeepers to be deployed

Post by Guest on Fri 09 Sep 2016, 17:24

750 Canadian peacekeepers to be deployed but details of plan still unclear.

September 8, 2016

The official Opposition is criticizing the Liberal government for not providing a “clear understanding” of the role Canadian troops will play in any peacekeeping missions.
During an address at the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial Thursday in London, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reiterated Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping, telling attendees that Canada will be a “responsible partner in the world.” Sajjan said that Canada will contribute 600 troops and 150 police officers, but he didn’t say when or where that could happen.
Speaking to reporters outside the conference, Sajjan said that the government is doing its due diligence and that Canadians will be the first to know when a decision is made on which mission the peacekeepers will join.

“If you look at the previous announcements we’ve made as a government, whether it’s been in Iraq or in NATO, it’s about understanding conflict first,” Sajjan said, later adding: “We want to make a meaningful contribution that when we provide something, it’s actually going to have an added impact.”
In late August, the Liberals announced they would be contributing personnel and equipment to peacekeeping operations. In addition, the government pledged $450 million over three years for peace and security projects around the world.
Manitoba MP James Bezan, official Opposition critic for National Defence said the UN conference presented Sajjan with the “perfect opportunity” to answer questions that the Conservatives and “many Canadians” have been asking regarding their peacekeeping plan.
“Before sending any Canadian Armed Forces personnel to war zones, Canadians expect to know when, where and why our troops are being deployed,” Bezan said at a news conference in Ottawa.
The government should also provide the public with mission details such as location, length of time for deployment, and rules of engagement, Bezan said, adding deployment could “place Canadian troops in some of the most dangerous regions in the world, without responding to any pressing needs in Canada’s national interests.”
'Extremely complex'
During the UN conference, Sajjan called “peace support operations” one of Canada’s “most important” endeavours.

“I also want to stress the fact that this will be a whole government effort, not just strictly a military one,” Sajjan said, adding he will be working closely with ministerial colleagues Dion, as well as International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
He said the conflicts he is seeing in regions of Africa are “extremely complex.”
“It is not the conflicts of before,” Sajjan said. “We have radical organizations also in the intermix, in the political strife that’s going on in particular regions.”
Sajjan said the government must be “far more innovative in our approach.
“We need to look at the lessons that our African Union partners have already learned,” he said. “We need to look at our own lessons that we have learned from the different conflicts.”
Sajjan, a seasoned veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces, said he “may be new” to politics, but “I’m not a novice to conflict and we need to elevate that conversation.”


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Re: Liberals to unveil plans for UN peacekeeping force

Post by Guest on Fri 26 Aug 2016, 12:11

All Canadian Soldiers should be fully brief on the disability benefits and the application process, disability approval rates before they get sent abroad. They should explain what use to be in place (PA) and what it was replaced with. (NVC)


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Liberals to unveil plans for UN peacekeeping force

Post by Bruce72 on Fri 26 Aug 2016, 10:21

Half a billion dollars to fund new Peacekeeping operations, but little to no new equipment.

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Re: Liberals to unveil plans for UN peacekeeping force

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