Monday, June 06, 2005

Globe and Mail Minces Words on the Military Reorganization

Globe and Mail:
Ottawa — Canada's military command structure is about to be turned upside down so the Armed Forces can deal more quickly with natural disasters and potential terrorist attacks.
OK, I get the natural disaster part. This is how you momentarily augment regional police forces, provide additional equipment and logistics, etc.

But potential terrorist threats? How do you organize around potential terrorist threats? Are the terrorists predictable, or unpredictable? Do they strike en masse, or selectively, with stealth? The very nature of terrorist acts is to avoid confrontation with a superior force - i.e. the military. Terrorism is a tactic chosen when you have an inferior force trying to avoid conflict with a superior force and instead attempt to leverage civilian fear into political action.

Handling potential terrorism threats is not a military task. The military is a brutal, blunt and destructive force. Dealing with terrorism calls for development of intelligence assets, surveillance, etc. Prevention is the objective when dealing with terrorism. Dealing with potential terrorist threats is a matter of policing, both regionally and federally. It's one of the current functions the RCMP, and CSIS.

Or, is the Globe trying to say actual terrorism - that is, dealing with the mess after the fact?

Globe and Mail, don't play fast and loose with the words. Is it potential or actual acts of terrorism? As for a military role, the former case makes no sense. I certainly do not want to live in a society that has given the military the authority to do police work on a status quo basis. And certainly, with the democratic underpinnings of our political system being egregiously abraded by a horde of power-obsessed, corrupt and dishonest politicians, the last thing I want to see happen is an intrusion of the military into daily domestic affairs. And this from a great fan of our military.

Let's be grown up about this. If the reorganization of the military is to better allow us to deal with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, then say so.