February 1, 2002
I sort of feel responsible for the
predicament our troops find themselves in on their way to
It was reported last week that our troops
have a couple of problems participating in the peacekeeping in
Afghanistan. Unlike the Americans, Canadians could find Afghanistan
on a map before the war. The problem is, we have no way to get
there. It sounds like the government might have originally bought
them all Canada 3000 tickets, but it just turns out that we're a
little short on transport.
The Americans have allowed us to hitch a
ride, so it looks like we're going to get to Afghanistan after all
before the peace is over and their next tribal war begins.
Then we discovered our next problem. It
turns out the Canadian Armed Forces sold all of their desert
camouflage uniforms from the Gulf War to army surplus stores. Now,
no one likes a clothes horse, but I doubt anyone would object to our
soldiers having a spare set of fatigues in the closet. Maybe the
Canadian military has the same trouble I do - not enough closet
To give them credit, our troops do have
smart new camouflage. It's green and brown and has jazzy little
squares all over it. It's called "Canadian Disruptive
Pattern", which sounds more like they're describing the
Alliance caucus than clothing.
The uniforms are green because someone
decided that our soldiers would likely be fighting their next action
in those well-known international hot spots - the forests of Canada
and northern Europe. I mean, after the Gulf War, what were the odds
that we'd be needed again in some sandy, third world dump? Everyone
knows they don't cause any trouble. Who we should really be keeping
our eye on are those rambunctious northern European countries like
Belgium and the Netherlands in case we're called in to do some
Which brings me back to why I feel somewhat
responsible for our brave troops' predicament. When the Canadian
Armed Forces dumped their desert uniforms a few years back I'm
pretty sure I bought a pair of the pants at my local army surplus
store. They're great for wearing while cutting the lawn or doing
yard work, or sneaking up on the neighbourhood kids playing in the
In fact I have several pairs of camouflage
pants in my closet - four to be precise, which is three more than
our soldiers. Don't get me wrong - I'm not a paintballer and don't
belong to a group of weekend warriors who crawl around in the mud
and have a year's worth of canned goods in the basement. They're
just well-made pants with lots of pockets and a hint of
Schwartzenegger for the flabby 40-somethings.
But I'd hate to think that someone has to
walk around Afghanistan dressed up the same colour as a Christmas
tree because of me.
I'd gladly give them back too, but our
military has come up with another solution. Our troops have been
told that they can wrap themselves in their brown blankets to blend
in to the desert environment. All they need is to be carrying a cup
of coffee and the rest of the world is going to think Canada is
sending its homeless to Afghanistan.
Besides, what's the point of going there if
we're just going to be invisible?