Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Why are Canadian forces being trained by Blackwater?

The fact that segments of our military are being trained by this lawless, mercenary bunch who have come in for significant criticism and FBI/State Department investigation for their conduct in Iraq is a national embarrassment. And there is no accountability from the Harper government on it, as they are, well...where are they, anyway? Getting primed for an election, apparently. But not doing the people's business. Priorities, priorities.

Why Blackwater is being used to train Canada's military personnel is a matter that needs to be accounted for. I'd like to hear Junior MacKay on this. We deserve answers:
The Canadian Forces are using a controversial private security firm to train some of its troops sent to Afghanistan.

Select Canadian soldiers have been sent to Blackwater U.S.A. in North Carolina for specialized training in bodyguard and shooting skills. Other soldiers have taken counterterrorism evasive-driving courses with the private military company now at the centre of an investigation into the killings of Iraqi civilians and mounting concerns about the aggressive tactics of its workers in the field.

Critics of Blackwater label the firm as a mercenary organization and question why a professional military such as the Canadian Forces can't do its own training in specialized areas.
...
But Blackwater has found itself under intense scrutiny since a Sept. 16 incident in Baghdad in which 11 people, including a couple and their infant, were killed during a firefight. Iraqi officials put the blame for the killings on the private soldiers, but the company has denied its men fired on innocent civilians, saying instead that its convoy had been attacked by insurgents.
Stockwell Day did go on the record in this report, a rarity for a Minister these days, as they're typically unavailable to answer questions. So what did he say? Eye-glazing troop rah-rah bluster that completely avoided the question:
Minister of Public Safety Stockwell Day, when asked whether the training in Blackwater is appropriate, defended the Forces.

"Our forces are dedicated individuals. Their training covers a lot of different areas and the Minister of Defence certainly is advised and apprised of the situations that they have to deal with and the situations they face," said Day.

"We're very proud of the work they do."
Unfortunately, we can't say the same of our Conservative "government" whose choices, when faced with a vacuum of uncertainty, will typically be guided by an American solution...