Thursday, July 3, 2008

On General Hillier's retirement...

I was reading through the CBC website this morning, when I came across the article: 'It has been my privilege to have served you': Hillier on retirement.

For those who may not know, Gen. Rick Hillier stepped down yesterday as our Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). He is replaced by Gen. Walter Natynczyk. Gen. Hillier has indeed been referred to as a 'soldier's soldier' and rightfully so. He was also instrumental (single-handedly) in the resurgence of Canada's military, taking on his political masters in order to provide for his military charges of all 3 elements.

More telling than the article itself however, are the comments which follow, posted by those who have read the write-up. One in particular stands out amongst the others, based on it's total lack of education.

It is from one Linda Stoddard, of origins unknown. She states:

"Mr. Hillier is retiring - how nice. He gets to lay on sunny beaches while our children fight an illegal war that he not only supported but promoted.I hope he ,and anyone who supported this war monger ,never forgets the 80+ Canadians and the thousands of Afghans indirectly killed because of his arrogance. Good riddance Hillier........"

From this vapid diatribe of howling ignorance, we can safely deduce a few facts.

a) "...while our children fight an illegal war...": This clearly states that Ms. Stoddard has no children serving in Canada's military, nor does her family have any history of military service. It also points to her mindset that any war should be deemed "illegal", regardless of the cause or mitigating factors. She is the type of person who would roll over and allow anyone to subjugate her, our way of life or our country, rather than offer up any kind of resistance.

b) " illegal war he not only supported but promoted...": This speaks to Ms. Stoddard's 'reasoning' that General Rick Hillier is the only reason that Canadian troops are in Afghanistan. Had he not promoted this war, then all three prime ministers since 9/11 would have kept Canada out of this multinational assault against extremism. It also gives us a very clear indication that Ms. Stoddard does not have the slightest inkling about what role the CDS plays as far as Canada's military goes.

c) "...this war monger...": The very last thing one might 'accuse' General Rick Hillier of being, would be a warmonger (that's right, Miss Low-brow... it's actually one word). A warmonger by definition would be a person who encourages warlike ideas or advocates war. Leaders of countries, not Generals, are the ones who make such decisions. Generals are there to plan and oversee the actions and efficiency of the military.

d) "...I hope he ,and anyone who supported this war monger ,never forgets the 80+ Canadians and the thousands of Afghans indirectly killed because of his arrogance...": This again speaks to the abyss of ignorance from which Ms. Stoddard rails. I'll wager she could not even spell "burden of command", let alone tell you what it means to someone in Gen. Hillier's position. For any individual to actually blame the deaths of our troops or thousands of Afghans on General Hillier, or any of our other serving soldiers who make up Task Force Kandahar, well... what can I say? The braying stupidity of this statement speaks for itself.

As far as arrogance goes, Gen. Hillier proved himself to be astute, adept, confident and a compassionate leader of men... but 'arrogant'? I don't believe Ms. Stoddard understands the meaning or usage of the word.

You will find other off-colour and equally uneducated comments alongside hers, mostly posted by the young and "dying to fit in with anyone" crowd. Those who want to be seen as 'protestors', without understanding the first thing about that which they have elected to protest.

In the main however, the comments have been posted by intelligent people, who have some sense of understanding of what Gen. Hillier has accomplished for Afghanistan, our military and our nation.

As for myself, I would like to thank Gen. Hillier for all he has done for our men and women in uniform. For not only supporting us as far as much needed equipment and updating/modernization programs, but for re-validating us as a viable, functioning military force.

I wish him fair winds and following seas, as he takes up his new post within Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). He has certainly earned his return ticket to civvie street. My only hope is that some of the respect and esteem he has gained from his military family, will follow him back home to The Rock.

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