Thursday, February 17, 2011

Politicizing The Military

Another alarming story today- that will resonate with no one, outside of junkies- but still important in terms of the "evolving" Ottawa under Harper. The Canadian military doesn't engage in partisan undertakings, or at least that was taken as a common sense given prior to this government. Think about this new reality for a second:

Defence Department sources have told the Ottawa Citizen some officers have been uncomfortable with the situation but the military is being pressured by the Privy Council Office and the Prime Minister's Office to spearhead the sales effort.

This isn't the first time we've heard some in the military are uncomfortable "selling" the F-35. Surprising to no one, because the military aren't normally part of the political debate, it is not their role and it's actually DANGEROUS to take sides. When your military sides with a particularly political party and/or partisan position, it has the potential to undermine their perceived authority, independence. What is happening here is actually unbelievable, such a departure for accepted practice, and yet with no recourse apparent, the government can do these things with virtual impunity.

This government systematically employs any means possible to promote its agenda, it operates with no shame. The Conservatives know it is wrong to put the military in this position, but their hyper partisan instincts trump all moral underpinning. No, in Harper's Ottawa, military personnel are pawns, to be used, to not employ them a waste of potential political advantage. We've seen it before, the first priority is always messenging, the public service isn't at arms length, it is another lever at people's disposal.

The use of the military to pump Conservative talking points is offensive, unheard of, stunning really, but reality. That said, these Conservatives have cracked the Canadian political code- one day stories, no legs, little resonance equate to freedom to do as you wish, no matter the implication or legacy. Bloody depressing really...

30 comments:

Tof KW said...

This latest instance of the Harper government's hyper-partisan reshaping of our nation will ^ NOT infuriate our citizens.

Canadians are ^ NOT intellegent enough to see through this.

We do ^ NOT deserve better than Stephen Harper.

Steve V said...

I think we get what we deserve at this point.

Jesse said...

I disagree... people everywhere have always been disengaged. If you want to blame someone for "the peoples" failure to recognize this stuff blame:

1) Harper Cons for being slimey
2) The media for being neutral, not objective
3) The Liberals for failing to effectively communicate
4) The Liberals for failing to effectively party and institution build
5) People like us for failing to find a way to get this message across (not that you're not trying)

Steve V said...

Not sure that's true Jesse and I'll use voter turnout as proof.

Steve V said...

I'd agree that your list has some merit, but I'm tired of letting voters off the hook- you get what you pay for.

Shiner said...

I'd agree that your list has some merit, but I'm tired of letting voters off the hook- you get what you pay for.

Not only that, but every one of Jesse's items is a direct result of a fickle and ignorant electorate. The media reports what it reports because it's what sells papers. The Liberals can't call an election every week, or get any deeper than cliches because voters only hear "taxes" and "healthcare". Partisans can't have any influence on the average voter because nobody seeks out political information.

Niles said...

That's because it's not 'bad enough' for a majority of the population to vote.

Most people aren't politically engaged. They find it hard enough just getting through the day and they've been trained for most of their lives that being politically active is for geeks. And yes, I say trained. There's no such ubiquitous thing as 'sussexdriveame street' for politics all lit up in brightly coloured endearing positivibility and music. but there are plenty of scenarios that present politics as the Volga Boatman's song while being smeared in mud.

That educational lack aside, one of the TED Talks focuses on how increasing remuneration bonuses stop affecting employee performance increases after other 'security' elements have been comfortably covered. In Canada *enough* of those securities still exist that *enough* people's survival isn't threatened.

Add in the next bit...

(this little bit from Wiki) "In The Upside of Irrationality Dr. Dan Ariely describes an experiment that tests how people respond when the meaning of their work is diminished. The test condition is referred to as the Sisyphusian condition. The two main conclusions of the experiment are that
1.people work harder when their work seems more meaningful
2.people underestimate the relationship between meaning and motivation.

If someone like SteveV starts feeling the scorch of Sisyphusian burnout, (and it's been noted for thousands of years democratic notions are a Sisyphean act) how to criticize the people who don't want to *start* for fear of burnout and meaninglessness? Meaninglessness seems the prime snivel of voters aka "they're all the same, I can't do anything."

I know who it enables and hence encourages it. As in Egypt, people will stand up and fight for survival. If we're very fortunate, few will die for it(those that say no one has died *in* Canada for seeking survival security are asinine).

I just dread the wait, which is Cassandra syndrome. Pound of cure happens way more often than ounce of prevention.

ridenrain said...

Who ever would think that the military shouldn’t have a voice in the gear they get stuck with. Pity they didn’t make more noise during Chretien’s helicopter cancellation or when he put them into Chretien’s war without a exit strategy.

Steve V said...

Oh ridofbrain, you are such a lightweight.

Gene Rayburn said...

more a featherweight.

Tof KW said...

ridofbrain is supportive of government ministers lying in parliament. Indeed even proud of it.

That puts ridofbrain below lightweight or featherweight.

In my books that puts you down as a human version of that fake vomit one can purchase at a novelty store.

Omar said...

In my books it makes he/she more then a little fascist actually.

Dame said...

raidanrain must be an ace pilot....

ridenrain said...

Instead of the scorn, I`d recomend reading a good book on the subject: Tarnished Brass: Crime and Corruption in the Canadian Military By Scott Taylor and Brian Nolan

Fred from BC said...

Wow.

Steve, Gene, T, Omar and Dame all respond to Ridenrain, but not one of you can be bothered to come up with a counter-argument? Not even gonna try? Pretty sad, guys...

Shiner said...

Steve, Gene, T, Omar and Dame all respond to Ridenrain, but not one of you can be bothered to come up with a counter-argument? Not even gonna try? Pretty sad, guys...


Because it's not worth commenting on moron. The Armed Forces serve Canadians, not the other way around. Unsurprisingly for lobotimized conbots, neither of you understand the point of the post.

Tof KW said...

OK Fred, though it's against my better judgment to debate crazy people, here is the answer.

Think hard on this one. What kinds of countries have a politicized military? Loyal to a particular party - versus loyalty to every citizen and the nation as a whole.

Once you figure that out, maybe you will realize why we all consider you a moron.

rain said...

Fred understand now that's funny. Though I believe this is the first time ridofbrain has actually produced a source.

Steve V said...

I bet that book has lots of pictures ;)

ridenrain said...

Read it and find out. It covers how the DND was subverted by politicians and bureaucrats.

No one is suggesting that the military get a blank check but they definitely deserve a right to voice their opinion.

Steve V said...

And they don't deserve to be used for political ends. You seem to be ignoring the "unease" portion of this story and others like it. People aren't comfortable being part of the sales job. That's the point. Anyway Dear Stephen, he does no wrong, so what's the point discussing jack squat with you :) Slurp, slurp. ZZZZ.

Shiner said...

The Department of National Defence was subverted by bureaucrats!? Oh my.

Tof KW said...

Worse than that Shiner, there were - ready for it - budget cutbacks for the military in the 90's. Of course the Liberals were responsible (actually the PCs too - they started the process).

Hmmm, I'm trying to remember why there would be budget cutbacks in the 90's. Were there any reasons why those dastardly Liberals would just up and cut budgets like that? Anyone?

ridenrain said...

Cutting a budget is one thing but that should have gone hand in hand with reducing the workload, especially Chretien's poorly planned gesture in Afghanistan. We're all still paying for that today yet the media is desperate to smear others with it.

Liberals love the Unionized bureaucrats so why not the military?

Tof KW said...

Libs made a choice, cut the military or cut healthcare/transfers to provinces. I think they made the right choice, and the PCs would have done the same if they stayed in power; (Reform? God knows - though we might see if Harper ever gets a majority) especially so given the cold war was over, and we had no enemies to guard against.

Steve V said...

You know, people forget where we were during those years. I don't agree with everything the Liberals did, but my oh my we sure have short memories, because I remember a dire, dire fiscal situation, like 22 cents on every dollar just in interest, an absolute, utter mess that threatened to bring the country to its knees.

ridenrain said...

All agree but stop sending the troops on useless UN missions just to fly the flag. None of the peasekeeping missions did anything worthwhile. We did nothing but watch in Rwanda. We got shot at in Bosnia and when we shot back, the media refused to report it. Haiti?? Who knows but it clearly had no significant effect.

I don't think that the Conservatives are politicizing the military. I think the Conservatives are letting the forces speak out for once.

Fred from BC said...

Shiner said...

Because it's not worth commenting on moron. The Armed Forces serve Canadians, not the other way around.


And they do that best with the most efficient equipment and armaments. And who knows the most about that? Why, THEY DO, of course. You know...the people who will actually be doing the fighting with all that stuff the government buys?


Unsurprisingly for lobotimized conbots, neither of you understand the point of the post.


Being called names by the likes of you makes me laugh...:)

Fred from BC said...

Tof KW said...

OK Fred, though it's against my better judgment to debate crazy people, here is the answer.

Think hard on this one. What kinds of countries have a politicized military? Loyal to a particular party - versus loyalty to every citizen and the nation as a whole.

Once you figure that out, maybe you will realize why we all consider you a moron.



(...says the guy who just claimed that Canada is in danger of becoming a police state...and was actually *serious* about it...;)

Tof KW said...

Fred, when did I ever write Canada was in danger of becoming a police state? Stop making up shit. I know it's the Reformatard way, but still...

I have stated that the US is a proto-fascist state, just one more 911-style attack away from going into martial law (regardless of Obama or whoever is leader). But that's them thanks to their terrorist paranoia. Canada is nowhere near this level.

BTW - correct answer to the above is an autocracy. Egypt being a good example up until a few days ago.

I knew you'd fail my little test. Thanks for not disappointing.