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Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

General Macdonald is a fine example of a military officer that it is hard to find these days.

At Majuba, he fought with his bare hands after his general was killed, and most of his men, wounded, killed, or captured. The Boers who overpowered him were so impressed, that, instead of shooting him to make him stop, they spared his life and returned him his sword.

"Fighting Mac" became a general and is widely credited with saving General Kitchener's army from defeat at the celebrated Battle of Omdurman in 1898.

Unlike many modern, loud, and foul-mouthed generals, Mac was an officer and a gentleman, to the end.

When, in 1903, the Army High Command recalled him to answer rumours of his involvement with boys in Ceylon, rather than have an investigation tarnish himself or his brother officers, with unproven charges, Mac shot himself in a Paris hotel room.

Now why didn't the Canadian Armed Forces teach their Colonels about honour, and "honourable exits," when the charges against them are real, murderous, and dreadful beyond belief? But then everyone is fixated on protecting the Colonel's pension...

Let's see now, 25 years, less ten for good behaviour... with the "Not-so-Faint Hope Clause." Hell the Colonel will be collecting a Canadian Forces pension in happy retirement starting when he is only 61...

And his rape and murder victims? Ah... sorry no Canadian Forces compensation or pensions for them...

The military considers them only "collateral damage," you know, like all the women and children they've killed in Afghanistan.


Cup & Saucer, Wiping the Slate Clean, Wiltshaw & Robinson - Feb. 27, 1900

Orig. ceramic - Size - cup 6.5 cm h - saucer 13.5 cm w
Found - Leicester, UK


Go to Victorian Officers & Gentlemen

Go to Canadian Officer & No Gentleman


Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous pitcher that celebrated a great Canadian Boer War achievement, "wiping the slate clean of the stain of Majuba," with the Battle of Paardeberg.

The idea for concluding the battle on that day was British General Hector Macdonald's, who had been there at Majuba Hill in 1881, when the Boers had killed General Colley, and annihilated his army. As a result of which Britain granted the Boers peace. The Boers set up their Republics.

Now after the outbreak of the 2nd Boer War, to remove the festering stain of that shameful British defeat, Macdonald urged Lord Roberts to overrun the Boers at Paardeberg, on Feb. 27, the anniversary of Majuba Day, and "wipe the slate clean." The Canadians who were in the front line trenches, when the Boers surrendered, were dubbed the Heroes of Majuba. But there's more to the story...


Carlton Pitcher, Wiping the Slate Clean - Feb. 27, 1900

Orig. ceramic jug - Size - 18 cm
Found - Newton Abbot, UK
Signed Carlton War Rd No 267782

The picture features Lord Roberts, the British Forces commander in South Africa, erasing Majuba on a blackboard held by his eventual successor there, Lord Kitchener. Both commanded at Paardeberg.

Reconsidering The Heroes of Paardeberg Day - Feb. 27, 1900

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Bacon Print, Dashing Advance of the Canadians at Paardeberg, Feb. 27, 1900
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 56 x 76 cm
Found - Montreal, QC

The March of Civilization - As Canadian troops are once more overseas, fighting in a far distant country, conducting military operations which have killed many - admittedly foreign - men, women, and children, it may be instructive to re-evaluate the Battle of Paardeberg, whose 110th anniversary will be celebrated, in 2010, by the same regiment - the Royal Canadian Regiment - that fought in both wars.

Festive regimental dinners will be held to remember Canada's most storied victory of the Boer War, the Battle of Paardeberg on Feb. 27, 1900. After a horrific 10 day artillery bombardment of the Boer encampment, by the main British Army of Lord Roberts, the final assault was being spear-headed by the Canadians when the Boers decided to surrender rather than see their families pounded into the mud of the Modder River.

But what are the RCRs celebrating? And should they be?

Just what was the Battle of Paardeberg all about? And what was it not?

First, like the Afghans in 2008, the Boers in 1900 were never a threat to Canada in any way, shape, or form. Period. But the independence of both, was a threat to special interest business and industry lobbyists.

French-Canadians knew this and opposed the war against the Boers- en masse - as they do today the Canadian war in Afghanistan, for exactly the same reasons. They believe Canadians have no business shooting up foreign countries just because Canadian politicians and their cronies want to please British or American business and political leaders.

Far from defending Canada in 1900, Canadians were in the Boer homeland, half way around the world, shooting the place up, arresting women and children to put into death dealing concentration camps, burning down Boer homes, farms, and businesses, and deliberately killing thousands of Boer sheep, cattle, horses, donkeys, and goats. They were literally helping to starve the Boers into submission.

Even at Paardeberg Canadians were not fighting a defensive action in the battle, so their military action had nothing to do with self defence. They were the aggressors.

In fact the Canadians were chasing down Boer families in their own country. The Boers, far from being aggressive towards the Canadians, were fleeing. Fleeing for their lives... in their own homeland.

And far from being a hostile military force, the Boers - some 4,000 - were a community of families on the run; they were men, women, and children.

Hundreds of women and children, fleeing for their lives from an approaching British Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing, that the British Government had cadged together from different parts of the British Empire seeking to exert control over the Boers for the benefit of its business elites. (Exactly the way that Bush/Cheney have engineered the war against the Muslims for the benefit of their oil industry lobbyists.)

The Canadians were not there to defend Canada, or Canadian values, against Boer terrorists or insurgents, but were actually acting as mercenaries, placing themselves at the disposition of the British military machine; they were doing what they were doing for Queen Victoria and the British business and industrial elites she was covering for.

At Paardeberg, the Canadians were not attacking a Boer army. They were actually involved in helping to surround and trap a Boer communal camp of men, women, and children. It would be wrong to pretend otherwise. Hundreds of Boer families were fleeing the Dogs of War as they carried everything they owned in the world in their wagons: their children, their belongings.

Then the Canadians, knowing full well that there were hundreds of women and children in the laager, opened fire on the camp, with rifles, machine guns, and artillery.

For a time Lord Roberts was reticent to shoot at women and children but his officers insisted and he relented. The standard military argument of his day, and ours - you can almost hear General Hillier talking - prevailed: if we kill enough people now, we can end the war, so we won't have to kill more later. And besides they were not British women and children anyway. And after all they were the enemy...

And that is probably what was the deciding factor for the Canadian commander Col. William Dillon Otter as well.

At Paardeberg Boer men folk were literally fighting to defend their womenfolk and children from extermination by a deadly foe who was sparing no ammunition, time and effort to try to pulverize their families into the ground.

So for ten days the Royal Canadian Regiment rained a deadly fire on the Boer laager, as women and children dug frantically to dig out caves in the dirt to avoid the deadly bombardment and rifle fire from thousands of British soldiers.

Canadians deliberately targeted and helped kill 100 Boer men, women, and children, cowering in the dirt... of their homeland...

Canadians took part in killing thousands of horses and oxen and destroying hundreds of wagons of Boer belongings which were blown up and burned.

In triumph they took as booty what was not destroyed to show off back home.

4,000 Boer survivors were made destitute, marched off to concentration camps with only the shirts on their backs as their sole possession in the world. Many would die in those camps.

The RCRs, with great merriment, have celebrated Paardeberg annually ever since...

Admittedly the RCRs of 1900 are not the RCRs of today.

The RCRs of 1900 were all civilian volunteers signing up for a one year term as a patriotic duty for the Queen. Within months of the battle all were back home, working at civilian jobs once more. Making war and killing was not a life choice for any of them... They had done their duty for their Queen.

The RCRs of 2008 are all full-time career militarists who feel their highest calling in life is to pursue the profession of arms.

Paardeberg and the war against the Boers was considered a good accomplishment for a Canadian soldier at the time, and for decades since.

But is it something for civilized men to celebrate 100 years later...?

To see how far we have come in 100 years check out your local armoury next February and see if they celebrate Paardeberg Day with laughter, a dance, dinner, and drinks?

And then ask them, just what are you celebrating? And why?

Go to Majuba Day
Go to Paardeberg Memories

Paardeberg Ball 2010 - Isn't it time to end the association with the questionable military past of the Paardeberg Ball, symbolizing, as it does, the indiscriminate attacks, in their own country on fleeing men, women and children, and morph it into a celebration of the Best of Man and turn it into an annual Ball for the Homeless during the coldest time of the year, or for children on welfare in the community? Or a fundraiser for the families of Canadian servicemen who have lost loved ones - and often primary breadwinners - while in the employ of the Canadian Forces?

Why should the families of grunts, who die, pay the awful price for bad decisions taken by their political and military superiors, decisions taken even though they knew they were totally contrary to the wishes of the vast majority of Canadians?

Or why not host an annual Healing Ball for the children of the Cut Knife Indian Band see below as a way of making an apology for the misdeeds of the Royal Canadian Regiment's first commander, Col. William Dillon Otter...?

Because it was fragile the busy was always carried in a metal box, which was manufactured exclusively to accommodate the hat's peculiar shape. It was placed inside, on its top.

The box for this busby is very special because it carries the ancient, degraded, painted initials W.D.O. for William Dillon Otter, on the lid.

Sometime, early in his career as a QOR militia officer, this busby was owned by Col. Otter. It was manufactured within a year of his joining the Queen's Own Rifles in Toronto.

Col. Otter was already deployed, as a QOR lieutenant, to Niagara in 1864, to stave off a possible invasion by American Irish Fenians, so this may very well have been his first busby headdress.

It is an extremely rare and old, manufactured by Firmin & Sons, of London, UK located at 153 & 154 Strand. Firmin & Sons were at this address between 1861-1863. (Firmin had been established in 1677 by Thomas Firming (sic) and had made uniforms for the military ever since.)

The chain above has metal links held fast in a bed of red wax sewn onto a ribbon.

This ancient busby shows extremely heavy wear by someone, who was no sometime soldier but was obviously active in his uniform, over many years.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

What a fabulous discovery is a one of a kind Great Canadian Treasure from the Victorian era - the personal busby box - marked WDO - of Lt. Col. William Dillon Otter, of the Queen's Own Rifles, of Toronto.

Otter led the disastrous attack on Cree Chief Poundmaker's camp, the so-called Battle of Cut Knife Hill, during the Riel Rebellion in 1885.

Militia officers used tin hat boxes like this to protect their fragile headgear when they weren't wearing it, or when going out to train in the field - like at Camp Niagara in the summer - or on campaign - like going out west to help put down the Métis resistance.

The wedge caps they used for everyday wear were made to fold flat, so were easy to pack among their regular clothing. But fragile busbies and pith helmets had to hold their round shape and were easily crushed in the hurly burly of transportation. These invariably black tin boxes were the answer.

The owner usually had his name or initials prominently displayed on top or the sides. Some had tin labels attached.

There was a latch with a place to fit a lock.


Canadian Militia Busby Box - Col. William Dillon Otter - 1885
Orig. tin - Size - 18 x 30 cm
Found - Brighton, ON

The box, and its busby, came from a former militaria collector who got them, decades ago, from a Col. Otter estate dispersal.

This tin box shows an awful lot more wear than most of the ones one finds; obviously it belonged to a very busy and well traveled officer, which Col Otter certainly was. He probably carried this to Camp Niagara many times and very likely also took it with him when he led volunteers from the QOR west in 1885 to join the Northwest Field Force to capture Louis Riel and his men.

Below hat tins for pith helmets from the later Boer War era with painted names as well as brass name plaques, and an 1860s bicorn hat tin.

QOR Busby: Col William Dillon Otter, QOR - 1843-1929

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A fabulous memorabilia item that once graced the brow of the man considered to be Canada's first ever true professional soldier, Col. William Dillon Otter.

After French Canada was taken over by the British, during the Seven Year's War (1756 to 1763), Canada was protected by British professional soldiers and sailors of the Army and Navy.

Canadians helped to protect the colony from the warlike Americans by forming part-time militia groups that practiced military crafts on weekends and during the summer months at training camps.

During the War of 1812 these Canadian militiamen helped the British regulars to throw back various American invasions of Canada, by "rebels" in 1837, and Fenian troublemakers in 1866, and 1870.

William Otter was born near Goderich, Ontario, and while a clerk in the early 1860s, joined the Queen's Own Rifles militia, which became his passion. He fought the Fenians, in a QOR uniform, at the Battle of Ridgeway, Ontario, in 1866.

By 1883 his keenness had secured him a permanent place in Canada's tiny professional army and a teaching post at the infantry school in Toronto.


Queen's Own Rifles Busby, Col. William Dillon Otter c 1870
Orig. busby - Size - 19 x 26 cm oa
Found - Brighton, ON

Left Colonel Otter early in his career, at the time he purchased this busby.

When the Riel troubles flared up out west, in 1885, Col. Otter was picked to lead an Ontario Contingent from the Queen's Own Rifles, as part of the Northwest Field Force under British General Middleton, west to tackle the Indians and Métis.

The Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto was a leading volunteer militia unit dating back to 1860. William Otter was an early QOR member who became its most famous alumnus.

The QOR attire was similar to British army uniforms of the time.

For full dress uniform members wore a black fur rifleman's busby above which gave way for a while to the white pith helmet. By 1900 they would be back to wearing a busby for their full dress uniform.

Right, Lt. Matheson QOR, c 1890, wearing a similar busby, showing the plume.

(The Otter busby here is missing its plume.)

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure
J'accuse! Pride, Pain, & Pastel Power - One of Canada's most famous Indian chiefs, celebrated in one of Canada's finest Indian portraits, done by a leading Canadian painter renowned for his powerful portraits of important Indian leaders a century ago.

What other Canadian portrait better expresses, the pride of a noble leader, the pain of a people betrayed - as well as reflect a tragic episode in Canadian history - than does this pastel tour de force by one of Canada' s finest artists?

A Face for the Ages: Letting more than a little of his slip show, Edmund Morris breaks every studio posing convention with this stunning portrait. Echoing a police mug shot - a sly allusion to the contemporary white view of this imprisoned native leader - Morris fires back with one of the most powerful faces in Canadian art history - clearly intending it to be a portrait for the ages. He brashly faces Poundmaker, fully frontal, in a clearly accusatory confrontation of an aboriginal leader with his white audience.

And obviously Edmund is standing right behind him. No smiling tourist pose here; no Hollywood Indian savage; no studio posed museum redskin. No fussy feathers, or fancy headdress; no pretty bead work. No cradled tomahawk - a veiled threat of force - or a ceremonial peace pipe - acknowledging a just and happily concluded negotiation. Stripped of the props and poses, beloved by studio portrait painters of Indians, Edmund gives us only a man in a cheap shirt - but what a face! It exudes the power of immense self-assurance, of personal pride, of moral purpose, but also of trust betrayed in those pained eyes. We are given a superlative portrait of a human being in great pain. Only later do you realize Morris has also painted an Indian - a masterwork of a tortured face which reflects a great tragedy in Canadian aboriginal history.

This stunning and extraordinarily rare portrait is one of only four originals known to exist: one hangs in the Legislature of Saskatchewan, another in the Legislature of Alberta, and another - donated by Edmund Morris himself - is in the vaults of the London, Ontario city archives.

Go to Edmund Morris

Petocahhanawawin - Poundmaker, Edmund Morris 1910
Orig. pastel - Size - 38 x 54 cm
Found - Toronto, ON
Pastel on paper, and signed by Edmund Morris

Two more very rare items which feature William Otter during the Boer War: a Union Jack tin which also has cameos of other British generals, and a parade display banner.

Colonel Otter memorabilia was produced and treasured in families because he was an expression of the "national will" of the time. Canadians - with the notable exception of most French-Canadians - were solidly behind the war he was fighting for Queen and Country.

Tellingly that is not the case with General Hillier and his Afghan War, which Canadians almost universally denounce. (Only the extended military family of service personnel, and employees of defence contractors who make billions from it, are in favour; virtually every other Canadian is strongly opposed.)

It is therefore totally understandable that, with but one exception - see below - we could not locate any memorabilia items featuring General Hillier that people would treasure down through the decades and display in their homes.

Go to Sheet Music

History Repeats - On Me

A century later we have a somewhat parallel situation, with another Canadian commander being a slavish devotee to his military betters - this time the United States Army of widely reviled US President George Bush.

Top Canadian General Rick Hillier trained and worked with the US military, stateside, and grew to have an abnormal - for a Canadian - affection for its way of doing business around the world.

The same citizen group that rebelled against Colonel Otter - Canadian civilian volunteers of 1900, and in 2008, the Canadian taxpayers who foot General Hillier's bills and put him in the job to represent their viewpoint over the military - are rebelling, en masse, against the war he constantly hypes, on behalf of his American colleagues, a war they do not want him to be promoting at all. Some 75% plus want Hillier's Canadian shooting soldiers out of Afghanistan.

Of course, General Hillier is much admired by his professional corps of life-term careerist soldier hirees of which the Canadian army is composed today - not the part time civilian volunteers of the Boer War.

Civilians, then and now, loathed war; to professional soldiers it is their lifeblood, why they, and General Hillier, joined the army, instead of Greenpeace, a religious order, or became ballet dancers...

They are Canada's warriors in Afghanistan. The root word of warrior, is war, because that is what they are inclined to pursue or promote, unless they are restrained, as one normally does in democratic societies. (Unlike in Pakistan under Musharraf, Chile under Pinochet, the US under Bush. And now in...)

True to form, General Hillier has given his warriors, not only a war - and a hapless enemy - but a vast array of high-tech military weaponry to use, with virtual impunity, against targets in pajamas who have virtually no weapons to fight back with, other than a determination to see the homogeneously exclusively non-white, Christian foreign war machine evicted from their Muslim homeland.

Leading the Charge for Old Glory

Incredible as it may seem, Canada, which once had an unrivaled reputation, world-wide, for its love of peace, and peace-keeping, among non-white societies which dominate the planet, has, since 2007, embarrassingly for the vast majority of Canadians, taken the lead position at NATO to extend the killing and shooting war in Afghanistan.

Alone of all Europe's NATO partners - except, of course, the US - Canada alone wants more shooting soldiers, more killing machinery to be deployed against Afghans in Afghanistan.

All the other 25 NATO partners openly and repeatedly balk at Canada's aggressive posture. They patently refuse to respond to Canada's warlike demands to contribute more killing men and machinery to the Canadian sector in Afghanistan.

Canada is taking this loud and hawkish role in spite of the fact that 75% plus of Canadians do not want a shooting, killing Canadian Forces contingent to continue in Afghanistan.

It is clear that the Canadian Government is not taking its cue from its own people, or the other NATO nations, let alone the UN Security Council, or General Assembly..

(The US and Britain attacked Afghanistan unilaterally without UN approval on any level; neither the Security Council nor the General Assembly approved the invasion, and the war against the Afghans. The US invaded first, then, two years later, got NATO co-conspirators to give their approval, after the fact, for NATO's first ever military action outside Europe... damning proof that NATO has always been a US "running dog" as Chairman Mao would say, and since it was founded after World War II, always run by a US general. Only after the fact, did the US push the UN to accept the American fait accompli of its illegal invasion of a sovereign state.)

Slipshod Journalism - Which is why it's such a hoot - we're being kind - to see how Canadian journalists like Richard Gwynn, and the girls, Rosie duhManno, and Christit's Blatchford, routinely morph the UN "after the fact, approval" into a "mandate," pretending the UN in some way approved the invasion of Afghanistan, which it has never done, approved the war against the Afghans which it has never voted on. Or invited the Canadians to Afghanistan which the UN has also never done either. Which is why no UN combat troops are in Afghanistan and Canadians do not fly the UN flag, or wear the blue beret.

Canada is in Afghanistan in spite of the UN members not in response to them.


Canada's presence there has never had anything to do with the UN, obviously, since it was there before the UN Security Council was brought on side.

There is only one boss for the Canadian Government in promoting the war: the Canadian business interests and military lobby seeking to curry favour and win contracts from George Bush and the Americans.

And that was long before the United Nations became involved in being used as a cover for the dirty deed, long after it was faced with a US/British invasion it had no part in authorizing in any way shape or form.

The US and Britain attacked Afghanistan in 2001, in an original assault which, according to an independent British journalist, using a wide assortment of evidence, calculated cost the loss of some 30,000 to 50,000 Afghan lives - men, women, and children.

Long after the butchery started, the UN Security Council voted (in October 2003) to make the best of a bad deal, and assert some sort of control in an area where the Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing had already spent two years killing thousands more Afghan men, women, and children.

And the whole world - if not Canadian journalist hacks - knows it.

And shudders at how fast, and how low, Canadians have sunk in the esteem of the Peoples of the World by slavishly following the same xenophobic pit bull foreign policy that has made Americans pariahs in virtually every other society around the world.

Canada Looses Face - In 2008 Canada wanted to stand for election for a coveted seat on the United Nations Security Council. In the past Canada has been an automatic shoo-in because of her Lester Pearson image as a non-racist peacekeeping nation. In 2008 so many non-white non-Christian peoples around the world are angered at Canada's wholesale abandonment of its traditional independant peacekeeping foreign policy, in favour of total subservience as cloying sidekicks to the racist Bushite's genocidal anti-Muslim military machine, that it may very well not get the necessary votes to be picked by the world community for the honoured position. The vibes from the vast majoirty of the members of the United Nations are so bad the Canadian press reports that the Government is polling, canvassing, bribing etc. to see if it should even submit its candicacy to world approval, lest it face a rejection on the public stage.

Sadly, it is all Canadians, quite wrongfully, who are tarred with the crime, when in fact it is the special interests who run the Government and hire the journalists to carry on the propaganda war, who are the real culprits.

Even NATO countries are balking, big time, at US traditional "six-gun diplomacy" against Muslim states.

In the 1960s young American tourists commonly put Canadian flags on their backpacks, to fob off anti-American attacks, as they travelled in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. The Canadian symbol was seen world wide, as a parallel to the international Red Cross and protected those who wore it from political retaliation for the US wars in every part of the world.

In the 21st century the Canadian flag will no longer protect the wearers; the symbol has been cheapened and degraded in the eyes of the non-white, non-Christian world, as it flies proudly beside the Stars and Stripes on top of tanks and forts that shoot and kill Afghan men, women, and children.

It will also increasingly make Canadians targets for non-white, non-Christian extremists who are outraged at the destruction and killing carried out by Canadian troops in Afghanistan today, and perhaps Iran tomorrow... and then Pakistan...

What is worse, Canadians at home are now going to become targets for foreign rage, which will bring to Canadian public places, homes and families the same violence the Canadian Forces are exporting overseas against defenceless foreign men, women, and children... It doesn't really matter whether it's by design or accident...

Killing the Habeas Corpus

In 2008 the Canadian Government introduced and passed its Guantanamo torture legislation, allowing it to deny any foreign prisoners it captures certain basic Canadian legal rights - bringing Canada into line with the same draconian legislation that the US uses in Guantanamo to deny basic Human Rights to whomever it captures, just so it can freely abuse, and torture anyone it chooses to incarcerate.

The US has tortured and killed - murdered is the word - some 39 documented Muslims, has pushed many others to suicide. Many have died at the hands over overzealous American inquisitors, by "overdoing it" - "Geez Joe you shouldn't have held his head under that long... Now you've done it."

Ask yourself. Canada has copied, holus bolus, every other US initiative in the so-called War against Terror. Can killing through torture by angry Canadian grunts who have just lost a pal to a bomb, be far behind? It would be odd if it didn't happen...

Another step forward, for Canada, toward status as the leading Banana Republic in the Western Hemisphere...

Better make that Second Banana...

NOT!

General Hillier, Canada's top general, says his first job is to be the representative, the best advocate possible, of his corps of professional warriors... His critics say, Tommy rot, of course - pardon the pun - by a man who clearly does not know for whom he works...

They say he is supposed to be the Canadian people's representative, advocate, and watchdog over the Canadian Forces, and promote, if anything, the popular will over the direction of the Canadian military.

Canadians expect him, as the country's top general, to rise to the level of statesman for the nation of 33 million, not fall to the lowly levels of sectarian hustler for the few thousand people that make up Canada's military.

There are many who say he has been an unmitigated disaster in fulfilling this trust with the Canadian people.

Worse! Many complain about him constantly undermining his previous civilian boss - the elected Minister of Defence - with out of line and undermining statements that caused so much public and media consternation that it resulted in the Minister being sacked by the government - the equivalent of a military coup in other countries...

(To rub salt into the wounds, during the new cabinet appointments ceremony, the General was allowed to appear - what on earth for, since none of it had anything to do with him and no other sitting cabinet ministers were there? - and sit in the front row, no less, with elected civilian ministers arrayed in rows behind him, just so he could gloat as his civilian victim, looking gloomy and bitter after his demotion, waited on the other side of the room for a lesser cabinet posting.)

Journalists report that Hillier had also promised previous Prime Minister Martin he would have a peacekeeping force available for Darfur anytime he wished, going out of his way to assure the PM that the Afghan mission would not prevent that further deployment.

They note he failed the Prime Minister, and Canadians, by going back on his word, later, saying the Forces were too "stretched'' to comply.

(Many point out he simply - in line, again, with his penchant for following American precedent - did not relish his civilian chief's non-shooting assignment, in a region where Americans themselves were bailing out, in his preference to an Afghanistan shoot em up deployment alongside his US colleagues.)

Knowledgeable critics say he is not, and was never intended to be - as he boasts wrongheadedly - some kind of highly overpaid shop steward whose job it is to make sure his troops have enough tanks and guns to kill people overseas. There are thousands of DND civil servants, not to mention hundreds of captains, majors, colonels, and other generals, who get paid to do exactly that. Look out for the employees, that is... for their needs and wants...

From General to Shop Steward

Critics say the Chief of the Canadian Defence Staff is supposed to be there for Canadian taxpayers, and only for the citizenry - a statesman general.

They point out he is supposed to make the Canadian Forces subservient to the popular will of Canadian civilians; he is not supposed to make constant public pronouncements to undermine his civilian Minister, and repeatedly try to bend the Canadian taxpayers who hired him, to support the wars he wants to pursue, and which they emphatically do not. The Canadian public has spoken; it does not support the war he has been boosting for years. More Canadians - by far - oppose this wrong-headed war than have ever voted for any Canadian Prime Minister, ever.

Critics say Hillier is also not supposed to be Canada's General Musharraf, or Pinochet, the top man at the apex of a military pyramid who will browbeat the civilian population of the country, telling them what is good for them, and they better like it, or else... And that he's not going to stop preaching that gospel.

Many say his public pronouncements show how totally at odds is his interpretation of the traditional role of a Canadian Chief of Staff, and how completely out of line with acceptable behaviour for a military chief in a democratic country. He is obviously determined to implement the American model into Canada - imitating the US credo of mobilizing white Judaeo-Christian partner countries to make war on non-Christian, non-white peoples.

His detractors contend Hillier's continued pronouncements, behaviour, indeed at this stage, his very presence, is nothing if not an assault on past Canadian democratic principles and practice.

And undermines Canada's proud military heritage created by past generals - since Otter - who served their own country, and its peoples, not themselves, or foreign interests, with quiet professional dignity.

In the meantime, they contend, he should resign from a job he has repeatedly failed to fulfil and ask for reassignment to the Personnel Department dealing with Pensions and Benefits of military families for which he is eminently more inclined and suited than anything else.

The Three Mouthketeers - And yes, since Canadians cannot seem to move, on any front, without following US examples, there are American precedents here for sacking loud and overly bloodthirsty warrior generals who get out of line.

The popular US General Pistol-Packing Patton was sacked, and ultimately removed, by President Roosevelt, for repeatedly overstepping the civilian boundaries of a democratic society with a mouth that was frequently way out of line for a man that was supposed to be serving his country instead of overruling and undermining his civilian bosses with rogue politically motivated commentaries..

Later, President Truman sacked General Douglas MacArthur, for the same thing and "for making unauthorized policy statements," and wasn't in the slightest deterred that MacArthur was America's most popular general. To the President loud verbal outbursts of an overbearing, pompous general that undermined his civilian masters, had no place in a democratic America. He fired the General, not the Secretary of Defense.

American warriors; American precedents... The present Canadian government, or its successor, now has every possible reason to not renew the General Hillier's contract when it expires... (Even though he has repeatedly signaled strongly he wants to stay on to see the Canadian war effort brought to a successful conclusion and the Taliban wiped out..)

It's been done before, in Canada no less, with the top Canadian general being sacked, during a time of war, by a Prime Minister who had enough of a bull-headed, way-out-of-line general thinking himself, and acting, as if he was superior to democratically elected politicians. (See Prime Minister Borden sacks General Sam Hughes below.)

Many Canadians demand that the time has come for General Hillier to be replaced with a Statesman General who will look out for the Nation's interest, instead of that of a small group of professional warrior soldiers who live for the next time they can ride into battle, with Maple Leaf flying, and with all guns blazing... at any target the Americans ask them to shoot at next... resulting in countless casualties, which are exclusively non-white, Muslim, men in pajamas, women, and children...

Cantanamo & The Last Banana Republic

Latin American countries have had a long and well-deserved reputation for having their democracies subverted by American business interests propping up murderous generals who carried out liquidations of undesirables.

Civilian governments have gradually replaced these military dictators in most countries.

In contrast, to curry favour with Bushite Americans, Canada is veering sharply Right, as army generals are given a free hand to say or do whatever they want.

Stunningly, in 2008, the Government announced it did not care what happened to Afghan prisoners captured by Canadian Forces - that the military could do with them what it wanted...

We've heard this before... Canada need not take a back seat to anyone in the torture file.

In 1993 Canadian soldiers tortured and killed a Somali teenager they captured who they complained was stealing from them while they were part of a UN peace-keeping mission. Several Canadian soldiers were charged and found guilty; the army culture that gave rise to the murder of this non-white, non-Christian man was deemed so corrosive, up the line of command, that Canada's top general Jean Boyle was sacked, and an entire elite Canadian regiment was subsequently disbanded to destroy the cancer, with its men and officers being deployed to other units...

Considering the ominous precedents, giving the military a free hand is nothing if not shocking to the vast majority of Canadians. (If not the Liberals who harbour those who have publicly professed, in the past, to having a decided penchant for a little torture,
judiciously applied to deserving Muslim miscreants.)

Which is, of course, a clear signal that left the door wide open for torturing prisoners, or killing them, or turning them over to others (Afghans or Americans) both of whom are documented as having tortured and killed many prisoners in the past.

"How convenient!" says the Church Lady... Then if any of this ever surfaced, as it ultimately will, thanks to sleuthing by some journalists, the Government can wash its hands of it, at some future press conference,.saying:

"Trust me; we were out of the loop on this; this is a total surprise to us and we cannot be held responsible for what unauthorized junior military men do... All male and female corporals and sergeants responsible will be severely punished... And all photos showing gleeful Canadian service men and women posing with the Maple Leaf flag on top of a pile of naked Muslim prisoners, will be destroyed just as soon as we can find who posted them on U-Tube."

Neat eh? You can call that the Lt. Calley defence, or the Abu Ghraib or Haditha defence. Lots of US precedents to pick from. Where do you think they got the idea? Coming to a TV set near you...

Update - On Feb. 15, 2008 because - like we predicted here - he obviously foresaw exactly this scenario of Canadians proudly taking photos to show off their handiwork - like happened in Somalia and Abu Ghraib - Canadian Brig. General Peter Atkinson sternly admonished Canadian troops to severely restrict what they post on the internet.

He said it would give intelligence to the Taliban; he meant publishing "hurrah for our side" torture or abuse pictures would disgrace the officer corps and whatever is left of Canada that can be embarrassed. Grunts love their trophy pictures of their success in vanquishing what General Hillier calls the "detestable scumbags and murderers" which he has sent them specifically to Afghanistan to root out ("our (Canadian Forces) job is to be able to kill people.")


Canadian Forces grunts are every bit as proud as all the US privates, corporals, and sergeants who grinningly posed with stacks of humiliated Muslim prisoners. They all want to show the Commander-in-Chief, "See we're treating these scumbags and murderers exactly the way you want us to!"

The Commission that investigated the Somali torture and death of the teenager found that a contributory factor to the murder of the non-white Muslim, was the lack of clear direction from the military superiors that such incidents were not condoned!!! Only in the military could this be considered a contributing factor. In other words the Commission and the military assumed that torture and murder were the norm for personnel and they should clearly be cautioned when torture and murder were not appropriate. The poor grunts in Somalia were misled by their superiors...

That is why General Hillier took great care to make sure, by sounding off at a press conference, with his inflammatory rhetoric, that no grunt or Canadian civilian anywhere, could possibly claim to being confused about exactly what his vision for the Canadian soldier in Afghanistan was to be, when confronting the "detestable scumbags and murderers,"
and the job description for his men and gals, "our job is to be able to kill people.") The mandate was pretty total and all encompassing, with no gray areas when confronted with an angry pajama-clad local. We can hear the chortling general "Let God decide his guilt or innocence when he shows up at the pearly gates."

Clearly many fans consider General Hillier is the right man to head a Canadian Army of Destruction.

Others say it is ludicrous, beyond belief, to pretend that Dr. Jekyll will now become Mr. Hyde and be the most suitable general to head the make-over of the Canadian Forces into an Army of Reconstruction.

"Proud to see my boys rebuilding the town we flattened last year - killed about ten Afghan civilians, yep, sadly even some women and children. Accident of course. Sorry about that. Hey we even had the boys send some flowers to the funerals. But the people will get over it by the time we've been here for ten years or more. We'll outlast their memories of what we did to their folks. Hell, I'm even making plans to put up a Rick Hillier School on the spot..."


PR spinners have now gagged the general and told him to privatize his deep hatred for the freedom fighters in Afghanistan. But grunts won't bend to that, in Canada any more than it did in the US. The grunts know the general is only gagging himself for PR purposes; in private his well publicized war aims continue to be the governing credo of the Canadian Forces.

That is why, in spite of threats from above, some trophy photos will inevitably make it from the barrack wall to the internet. "Hey," the corporals will snipe back, "we're laying our lives on the line over here in Afghanistan while those guys live in nice offices above the Rideau and go home to fancy bars and party gals at night. All we have are each other, the murdering Taliban at our door, and our photo trophies of the guys who tried to kill me. Damn, if they're going to take those from me..."

Cantanamo - Which explains why the secrecy that pervades Canada's doings in Afghanistan. To make it all easier the Canadian Forces are already building - secretly - their own Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib prison complex in Afghanistan.

So no one will be able to see what goes on behind closed doors... Or hear the screams of pain and dying... far from snoopy reporter cameras or tape recorders, but not, of course, from those of grunts...

And knowing that all Canada's major newspaper editorialists will turn a blind eye and deaf ear... Call it our Prince Harry at the Front moment...

Because they all agree on one thing: the victims are only Muslims, and non-white... So hey, what's the big deal...?

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

To the victor belong the spoils and the battlefield.

For eternity, the grave of the Cree Chief Poundmaker, will dominate the centre of Colonel Otter's lines during the battle - his wagon compound, and the Red Cross station where the Canadian dead and wounded were laid out. (Grave is where the flag is on the litho above)

Colonel Otter held this ground for only six hours before having to withdraw his men, because of his growing fear that if he stayed he would suffer a reverse similar to US General Custer, who was massacred with several hundred men when he carried out a similar attack on a Sioux Indian camp, scarcely nine years before.

As the men withdrew, under fire, they limped down the hill here, protected by the Gatling Gun.

In fact it was not machine gun fire, at all, but the proud heart of a great humanitarian, Chief Poundmaker, who saved the Canadians, by holding back his eager braves from finishing off the fleeing Canadian militiamen, who had attacked and shot up their homes, their wives, their children.

Otter and his men owed their lives, not to Gat Howard, but to Chief Poundmaker, a truly Great Canadian.


Grave of Chief Poundmaker, Battlefield, Cut Knife (1885) - Saskatchewan
Orig. Great Canadian Historic Site
Found - Cut Knife Reserve, Saskatchewan


Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

The house (a Cut Knife Band shop and museum) is the approximate location, at the top end of the battlefield at Cut Knife, where Colonel Otter stood his horse as he directed his soldiers who were coming under fire from the wooded gully on the left.

Otter's men were lying along the fence line here firing down into the ravine. They were vulnerable to being shot as they raised themselves to take aim.

Otter's gatling gun and artillery pieces were on the hillish area by the house, firing into the nearby bush, seen from here, where the women and children had fled as the soldiers advanced up this hill.

The foreground (the reverse angle) is the approximate location of the guns, and Colonel Otter on his horse, during the battle, with his men lying down along the lip of the gully outlined by the road today, which is the western perimeter of the centre part of the battlefield. At this location Otter's group would be fairly safe from gunfire coming from down in the gully.


Battlefield, Cut Knife (1885) - Saskatchewan
Orig. Great Canadian Historic Site
Found - Cut Knife Reserve, Saskatchewan
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Celebrities of the Army - Col. William D Otter, 1900

Orig. book plate - Image Size - 23 cm
Found - Toronto, ON

In 1900 a large folio of coloured photos of some 70 British Boer War commanders was published, called "Celebrities of the Army." Col. Otter, in his colonel's regalia, which wonderfully matches the busby, was one of two Canadians included among the British generals. Our artist has fitted the busby on the colonel so that one can see how it would have looked - minus the plume and the proper badge - when it was worn by its original owner some 140 years ago.

Col. Otter's inglorious retreat from the Battle of Cut Knife Hill did not impede his advance in the military. He was picked, 15 years later, to lead the First Canadian Contingent to South Africa in 1899.

He was far from popular with his men - lots of detail in Carman Miller's book, Painting the Map Red - and hardly a stellar performer - though his men were.

The conflict between Otter and his men was essentially the mirror image of the split between the colonial troops, full of independent thinking individuals (Canadians and Australians principally) chaffing under the British system, which was based on an entitled officer corps lording it over lower class privates with whom they had little in common. The Victorian British Army reflected essentially the friction of a class system of British society entrenched in military behavior and expectations. Canadians refused to fit into this mold. Their independent rebelliousness - the Australians had it far worse - was unwelcome to Otter who wanted Canadians to act like perfect subservient lower class British Tommies. Which, of course, the Canadian civilian volunteers were not. Many had good educations or were professionals in private life. Most refused to kow tow to British snoots.

Colonel Otter had spent his whole military career trying to do exactly the opposite, trying to curry favour with the power brokers in a Canadian militia and military system totally run by and for British officers and men who had the main responsibility for defending Canada when the QOR was founded in 1860. Otter was more imperial than the British, which ruffled his men, who were determined to remain independent Canadians first, and obsequious followers of British commanders - even if they were Canadian born, like Otter - a distant second. In fact they much preferred his second in command the much more Canadianized Major Buchan.

At the end of their one year service contract in South Africa, Lord Roberts asked Otter to have the Canadians extend their tour. Otter was keen; his men were not. Most refused his entreaties to stay. Colonle Otter repatriated the RCRs in disarray, not as the unified and glorious group that left Canada a year before.

Still - rather probably exactly because he was so slavishly subservient to his betters - Otter advanced to become the first Canadian-born Chief of the Canadian General Staff in 1908. He was knighted in 1913, and came out of retirement to take charge of internment camps for belligerent country nationals in Canada during World War I. He was made General in 1923.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Fabulous Find: Col. William Otter

A very rare pin tray , that showed up at a rural Ontario auction, featuring Canada's own Commander of the First Contingent to the Boer War in 1899.

It is extremely rare to find memorabilia plates, jugs, cups, tins, or busts that feature Canadian officers (though British figures are common).

This fabulous pin tray of Col. Otter, and a beaver, stems from a glorious time when women did lots of sewing. If you had a hole in a sock it would be mended instantly - with the aid of Col. Otter, no doubt, holding the pins - unlike nowadays, when, if you show up with a hole, the Mrs. just shrugs, throws out the sock, and you have to wait, wearing a mismatch - days or weeks - till she goes shopping, for a new one for you...

Some claim the tray was designed to hold pins for women doing sewing; others say it was used to hold tips in finer drinking establishments.

Because pins or coins would be placed in them, their fine metal portraits are often disfigured from usage, like Otter's. It is rare to find them in exquisite shape.

(Please note the resemblance to Canadian history professor Desmond Morton, whose grandfather he is!)


Pin Tray, Col. William Otter, 1900
Orig. metal - Size - 7 x 10 cm
Found - Pottageville, ON
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Otter took two seven pounder field rifles with him, and a Gatling Gun brought by Captain Gat Howard from the US.

The Gatling Gun, an early 1860s machine gun, where a crank was used to rotate barrels past a firing mechanism fed by a stick magazine (on top of box left) is today at Fort Battleford, from where Colonel Otter left on his expedition.

It could fire some 1200 rounds a minute and no doubt terrified more than hit its vital targets. Volume of fire, not accuracy, was its claim to fame.

After the battle it was credited, by some, probably with the help of Gatling salesman Gat, with keeping the Crees from overtaking the retreating Canadian troopers as they left the battlefield.

That claim is more the stuff of white man's legend, and the sales hype of an armaments manufacturer looking to sell its machine gun to the government.


Gatling Gun, Fort Battleford, SK - c 1885
Orig. gun - Size - life size
Found - Fort Battleford, SK
Just like modern day armaments dealer and lobbyist, Karlheinz Schreiber, has admitted to flogging his military hardware to the Canadian Government, and paying off its lobbying bagmen, with sacks of thousand dollar bills in hotel rooms, in the 1980s and 90s, so US arms dealer and hustler Gat Howard, was at Cut Knife to demonstrate the deadly power of his Gatling machine gun, hoping for Canadian contracts for his American manufacturer. A difficult job when the battle was actually a retreat from a lost position...

One of the casualties of the battle was Bugler Patrick Burke, who succumbed to his injuries, or the rough journey back to Fort Battleford, where he died. The bugle he blew that day, is preserved there.

c Goldi Productions Ltd. 1996 & 1999

A very rare and fabulous portrait of one who was previously Canada's most notorious general, complete with an original dedicated autograph. It hung for decades in a Canadian armoury until it was put to auction.

Sam Hughes is of course, the Canadian precedent, for dismissing top Generals who are out of step with the times and are seen as a liability for the government seeking to escape the negative branding with which the war-loving general is identified.

Canadian General Rick Hillier is known around the world as the symbol of the turn-about in Canada's role from peace-keeper to leader of a Band of Killers with his adamant press pronouncement that "our (the Canadian Forces) job is to be able to kill people" specifically "the scum bags and murderers" in Afghanistan. At home he is known as the general whose gung-ho, war-mongering has killed scores of ordinary Canadian young men and a woman, all for no gains whatsoever to show for it, on the ground, other than corpses of Afghan men, women, and children...

Sam Hughes, Canada's top general during much of World War I, fought in the Boer War, when, as a Colonel, he was the intelligence officer for British General Warren of Spion Kop infamy.

Right Canadian historian John Goldi stands on the steps at Faber's Put down which Sam Hughes, guns a-blazing, ran when woken up inside, at dawn, by gunshots of the Boers firing at him from behind the stone kraal below.

After the Battle of Faber's Put, Sam Hughes complained to the press about General Warren's poor preparations and defences of the camp that led to Canadian and British casualties.

For his indiscrete comments to the press, which undermined his superior, Sam was sacked and sent home to Canada by the British High Command.

General Hillier, a century later, made similar outspoken pronouncements - his reputation is that he talks a better war than he fights - that made his superior, the Minister of Defence, look and sound like a buffoon. He did it so often, the media howled until the Government was finally forced to act, and dismissed - you guessed it - the civilian Minister, not the Army General. The Government wanted to promote the war to please the American Republican war lobby so sacking the civilian Minister, instead of the insubordinate General, was the judicious way to go. PS: Bush and Cheney were extremely pleased.

Sam Hughes rose again from the ashes, a hero at home for bucking, like so many Canadians did, during the Boer War, the supercilious British officer corps that looked down on the Canadians. He had become an MP in 1892, and in the Robert Borden Government of 1911, Minister of Militia and Defence.

He championed Canadian civilian soldiers over professionals, but like powerful men everywhere, got embroiled in scandals he promoted fiascos like the Ross rifle and other schemes by cronies.

Lest We Forget (Feb 2008)

In spite of what you may have heard elsewhere, Canada is not at war... Seriously.

Though she has soldiers fighting in Afghanistan.

Canada's Parliament has never approved the war in Afghanistan.

The Canadian Government has not asked Parliament to declare war on anyone.

No vote has ever been held approving war against anyone, or any country, neither by Members of the House of Commons, nor the Senate, nor by plebiscite of the voters of Canada.

Certainly no one has declared war on Afghanistan.

The Canadian Forces are off on a pro-American jaunt, not a war approved by Canadians, either formally or informally.

They have been off on a government ordered adventure at the expense of the tax payers who have neither formally or informally approved the foreign war deployment.

Canadians have never voted in a plebiscite to approve the war in Afghanistan.

No Canadian voter has approved the Canadian Forces being used to shoot up and bomb, men, women, and children, in Afghanistan, however deserving they may be, in some eyes, of that treatment. (It is an inescapable truism, that many of these have died at the hands of Canadians.)

Far from it, the vast majority of Canadians actually strongly oppose the illegal shooting war in Afghanistan. In fact the three opposition parties have been steadfastly in favour of bringing the troops home without delay... (In March 2008 the Canadian Parliament finally voted to extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan, but only with a training, not a killing, shooting mandate)

In both World War I and II the Governments of the day declared war on the enemy, in the House of Commons, which then voted to declare war and sent troops to fight overseas.

This was deliberately not done in the case of Afghanistan.

Canadians were not asked to go to Afghanistan by the UN, and do not presently serve in UN units, nor under the UN flag, nor under UN commanders.

Unlike during Canada's last major war effort, during the Korean War, when Canada served because the UN asked it to, and gave it the UN flag and uniform to consecrate the mission, Canada unilaterally decided to make war in Afghanistan under its own flag to show it's total independence from the world body exactly because it knew full well that the UN totally opposed the war, the invasion, and the killing in Afghanistan from the beginning.

In fact Canada took part in the war, purposefully, as a deliberate slight to the world body which the military and leading politicians openly disparage in numerous public statements.


The UN has nothing to do with Canada's deployment to Afghanistan; neither are the Canadians serving in UN units, or in units commanded by UN commanders, or under UN flags or mandates of any kind.

Far from it, like their hack journalists, Increasingly Canadian military officers - following the lead of Americans - are strongly denigrating about the UN to accept its flag or direction. Hell, let's face it, just too damn many, black, brown, and yellow peoples there, voting against the white Christian elites who know best, and will fight the enemy, shouting their own creeds and flying their own flags as they set out to battle the unbelievers.

So if neither Canada's Parliament, nor Canadian voters in a plebiscite, nor the United Nations, asked the Canadian Army to fight in Afghanistan, why is it there?

Canadians are fighting the war solely because the US wanted them to do it.

The sole reason Canadians are shooting and dying in Afghanistan is because the Bush/Blair/Cheney "military-industrial special interest complex," after its unilateral invasion of Afghanistan, asked the Canadian Government to join the all-Christian, all white, Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing to help legitimize the US illegal attack and invasion of a sovereign state. (The US lobby was stridently effective in Prime Minister Paul Martin's inner circle, and continues its destabilizing work among the Harper Conservative elite.)

And rather than daring to put the US request to a vote, in Parliament or in the country at large - it very well knew the outcome - the Conservative Government, all on its own, just sent Canadian troops off to fight and die. But very likely not before double-checking to make sure no Government member had a son or daughter that might end up in harm's way.

(There is an honoured American precedent for that as well. A war hawk who was a cowardly military shirker was George Bush, who took care to keep himself out of Vietnam, and later kept his daughters safe from military service in both Iraq and Afghanistan as well... Bush was, of course, merely copying Bill Clinton, another Vietnam shirker and draft evader, whose daughter also avoided war service. Both US Presidents, were merely copying ultra-conservative, war hawk and US folk hero John Wayne who also shirked military service, in a time of great national crisis in World War II, and left the military service and the dying to the dumb poo folks... while he fought the "Japs" in the studios of southern California.)

Not till seven years after the Blair/Bush attack on Afghanistan (February 2008), did the Conservative Government of Canada go to Parliament and ask for broad approval for the "mission" in Afghanistan.

In February 2008, the minority government Conservatives were forced to do so because the negative feeling in the country, and among the Opposition parties, was so strong against a war the people had never authorized, and which the Canadian Forces were fighting, and clearly losing, in Afghanistan.

This Conservative rearguard action, against the hostile sentiment of the vast majority of the Canadian voters, came as a desperate and pathetic tactic by a Government which saw its war mongering position being fatally undermined by an electorate whose support was being alienated in a campaign which saw countless Afghan men, women, and children being killed by the Holocaust the Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing (CWILLKILL) had unleashed.

Clearly as every independent observer, and many partisans admitted, by early 2008, after seven years of non-stop war by CWILLKILL, everything was going to hell in a hand basket exactly because of, the activities of the shooting and killing soldiers in Afghanistan.

Elementary math, of course, to any but a military mind - the more you shoot and kill people, the more likely they are going to resent it... Get more guns, bigger bombs, kill more, destroy more... The rage will only grow. Calling people names "despicable murderers and scum bags" is not the way to win hearts and minds anywhere in the world, except, perhaps, in a military barracks where you are top dog, but it does display the level of intellectualism you bring to the problem. Hence the problem can only get worse when this kind of mind set directs the course of events.

That is of course lost on the military mind. Which is exactly why you are supposed to have civilian oversight of the military in a democracy, not give it carte blanche as the Conservatives have been doing with the Canadian Forces generals.

Which is exactly why Canada is losing its war in Afghanistan as well as at home.

Losing the battle, literally and figuratively, in desperation the Government looked for support that was not to be found in the country, to where they knew it could be found, among red meat Liberals in Parliament, and bring them on side to carry on the killing in Afghanistan.

But being hypocritical big time, the Conservatives rejected the motion for Parliament put forward by Canada's biggest booster of the war against the Afghans, General Rick Hillier.

Proposed: That the People of Canada firmly support me, General Rick Hillier, in my Job #1 Tasking Description, for the Canadian Forces "Our job is to be able to kill people" especially "the detestable murderers and scum bags" in Afghanistan.

Government tacticians cleverly saw, that General Hillier's motion was not the best and brightest, and counted for support, instead, on the disintegration of the Liberal Party of Canada whose top leader, Mr. Dion, reflecting the will of the popular majority, once had strongly called for a Canadian withdrawal from Afghanistan by 2009. Mr. Dion, Leader of the Liberal Opposition, now caved in completely, undermined and pressured to reverse himself by leading not-so-closet Conservative Liberals - representing the powerful American special interest pro-war lobby - who were eager to continue the Conservative war against the Afghans.

Mr. Dion and the Liberals, who had demanded for over a year that the Canadians come home in 2009, now gave the Coalition of the Willing to do the Killing three more years to do its work in Afghanistan, lamely citing astonishingly ludicrous conditions in exchange for his support.
In so many words saying, this silly watered down policy was the work of Liberal amendments making it, follow me on this, a Liberal policy for Afghanistan... Mr. Dion now extended by three years a war a deployment he had previously wanted to end in 2009.

The military-industrial complex has its agents cackling deep in the backrooms of the Conservative and Liberal Parties of Canada.

President Eisenhower warned us of the evils of the military industrial complex, more than fifty years ago.

It is exactly why Ralph Nader joined the US election fray again in February 2008. He saw the evil cancer spreading; the change of Obama and Clinton were more of the same old lobby dolled up in new clothes.

The voters, and Democracy, are suckered again, by greedy bagmen with money, power, and influence to bend politicians to do their bidding, and billing the taxpayers for the expenses...

This is also the end for the last Liberal standing, Stephane Dion. He doffed his Liberal duds in favour of warrior garb. Now seen as a de facto war monger, like the Conservatives, he has alienated the real Liberals in the country who once saw such promise in him as a principled leader. They now see him as a weak follower, not only of the conservative war-mongers in his party, but the minority government of Stephen Harper.

A significant number of Canadians will say, if now the war is OK with him, well let's go with Harper instead. You're admitting he was right on the file all along, and you were wrong. He's the real and more credible leader on Afghanistan and you're a dithering dolt.

And the Liberal Party will lose the next election, and Dion his head, to the war hawks in the party who have sabotaged him from within all along, cut him off from his Liberal roots, to make sure he loses the next election, so they can take over the party for the same right wing business interests propping up the Conservatives.

The Progressive Conservative Party once the home of honest men like John Diefenbaker, and honest and decent men like Joe Clark, died out to be replaced by the Ruthless Red Neck Party. (Even their womenfolk abandoned the men of the Grand old Party. Current Defence Minister Peter MacKay, had been quickly dumped by his girlfriend Belinda Stronach, who had acquired quite a reputation for her grasp of the big issues, and from her unique vantage point, after privately seeing Peter's shortcomings, left him stammering, along with his party, to find fame and fortune in the Liberal cabinet.)

The Liberal Party of Canada of honest and decent men like Pierre Trudeau, who never took a single kickback for political favours done for the military industrial complex (read lucrative "yes men" directorships in their companies) also died out in the opening years of the 21st century, to be replaced by the Reactionary Right Wing Party.

Canadians have slim pickins, these days, at the bird politic: Red Neck or Right Wing.

During World War I, when Borden created a new Ministry that would split off overseas forces fighting in Europe from Hughes' control as the Minister of Militia and Defence, Sam rebelled, howled, and insulted the Prime Minster himself.

Borden sacked him in November 1916, and Sam, toppled from glory, spent his remaining years as a brooding back-bencher.

Critics say no such ignominious fate will befall General Hillier, once a new Government will redirect Government policy in line with the wishes of the vast majority of the Canadian people, and see a General, who infamously started his term in office by branding his men as a Band of Killers, as a political liability, and out of step, completely with a Canadian Forces directed towards reconstruction instead of destruction, and shoveling instead of shooting.

But General Hillier will not slink away bowed and beaten.

Many predict he will go on to a record -breaking harvest of high income directorships from defence contracting firms which he helped make very rich with his demands for billions in war materiel to fight his war in Afghanistan.

He will retire with riches galore, something the scores of grunts who followed him to Afghanistan, and died there, at his call, can only envy... as they look down - or is it up? - from wherever God puts men who use bogus excuses and trumped up reasons to march into other people's homelands with guns and tanks blazing... and killing their, men folk, women, and children...

Go to Sam Hughes

NEWS FLASH

In March 2008, General Hillier took virtually everybody by complete surprise by suddenly announcing that he was retiring as head of the Canadian Forces!!!

Eh!

Before the job was done; before the war was won; before Canada's war aims were realized; before Canada got the 1000 men from NATO it had demanded; before the dying of Canadian servicemen was over and the future safety of his men and women in arms secured, and before his demand for a ten year Canadian occupation commitment was in place.

We could go on...

The press speculated on why the general - Canada's war hawk supreme - would abandon his army in mid battle to seek safer climes for himself elsewhere... It made absolutely no sense to anyone.

But not for long.

Clearly someone in government read our blog pointing out the American and Canadian precedents for dismissing generals who are publicly insubordinate to their elected superiors.

Clearly Prime Minister Harper, like Prime Minister Borden before him (and Roosevelt and Truman in the US as well), in order to try to shed its image of a Banana Republic, had decided to get rid of a maverick general who made his government look like a puppet dancing to the tune of an unruly and uncontrollable general.

But very unlike the previous precedents where the generals were publicly dismissed the very Conservative Government allowed him a graceful exit complete with their expressions of mock surprise - but strangely no entreaty for the architect of the war in Afghanistan to please stay the course, as he had demanded he wanted to, only months before. (But, with an election looming, a bloodthirsty general was not seen as a plus when appealing to an electorate overwhelmingly against the shooting and killing war in Afghanistan that Hillier had constantly promoted.)

Now, suddenly, the general claimed he was leaving because his job was done, his goals all accomplished...

Eh!

In 2007, during his first - and last - full year engaged in the war in Afghanistan his so called achievements seem dubious to most:

- more Afghans, men, women and children died from war-related activities than ever before throughout the country as a whole, and a huge proportion in the very area his forces are supposed to be in control

- General Hillier has killed more Afghan men, women, and children, than any Canadian in history - or any Canadian ever will in future

- more Canadian soldiers died on his watch than before

- Canadians continue to die from hostile fire

- Canadians continue to hide behind the wire and in their occupation forts throughout Kandahar

- Canadians continue to fear to mix openly with Afghans - who supposedly want our shooting soldiers there - without a phalanx of guns, tanks, and armour around them for protection

- terrorist attacks are at an all time high and escalating

- Rosie duhManno reports Afghan politicians at all levels, are siphoning off, at an escalating rate, millions - make that billions - of foreign aid into private pockets

- Hillier fast-tracked untold billions of dollars of hard-earned Canadian tax dollars for armaments, to shoot, and bomb untold thousands of non-white, Muslim Afghan men, women and children into Judaeo-Christian compliance. Or failing that, back into the stone age... The billions could have been used for socially progressive programs to help Canada's poverty-stricken Aboriginal Peoples, environmental clean-up, or UNESCO style foreign aid. But the general who said "Our job is to be able to kill people" had his priorities, and, like in Banana Republics everywhere, got to get the spending to go his way.

- the CBC reports the suicide rate in the Canadian Forces is dramatically up and rising from a rate of 16 per 100,000 (14 in 2003) to 41 per 100,000 in 2007, when 36 soldiers killed themselves. The suicide rate doubled in a year and is triple that of the civilian population.

We could go on...

So much for General Hillier's accomplishments...

But there will be one accomplishment that must be the most bitter for him as he looks into the mirror and sees his chest full of medals.

He's really a failure as a general.

As everyone with any iota of intelligence knew long ago: Afghanistan always wins; foreign invaders - no matter how tarted up they are as Liberators and Defenders of Christianity and Democracy, always lose.

A smart general would have known that.

Bobs certainly did.

Clearly Hillier had never read Lord Roberts' autobiography. In the 1880s Bobs won undying military and popular fame - in fact Bobs was wildly beloved, not only by his soldiers but unreservedly by the civilian population as well - for his successful fight against the same Talibs (Taliban) that the Canadian general decided to tackle but with far different results.

Bobs decisively beat them, out in the open, in exactly the same neighbourhood where Hillier's forces continue to hide out in fear, year after year, in forts and behind the wire, as the angry tribesmen guerillas continue to grow in power and influence all around them.

But then Bobs, being a brilliant general, knew you leave Afghanistan to Afghans, instead of trying to occupy the country or reform their society, both of which he refused to consider. To him it was elementary dumb politics.

Bobs was too smart to think that a white European Christian armed force could impose its will on the non-white Muslim peoples of Afghanistan. History taught him that - and that was some 130 years ago...

Go to Lord Roberts

 

 

Others are slow learners. Russian generals don't read English, or much, it appears.

In the 1980s, Russia tried, for ten years, with all its military might - as one of the only two world super powers - to turn its genocidal fury to subdue Afghanistan and failed spectacularly but successfully managed to kill over 1 million Afghan men, women, and children before withdrawing in disgrace.

The Newfie Bullet decided he could do better "Our job (Canadian Forces) is to be able to kill people" namely "the detestable murderers and scumbags in Afghanistan," and succeed with 2,500 where Russia with over 100,000 had failed... Not really astonishing as it sounds.

After all Canadian generals don't read any more than their Soviet counterparts; but they talk...

(In an astonishing insight into the Canadian military, in May 2008, an article in the Toronto Star quoted a former senior Canadian General - he refused to have his name used, and no wonder - who said "Absolutely, Canadian generals in Afghanistan are smarter and more knowledgeable than Canadian politicians." He put Hillier at the top of the list.

In this hard hitting article, that slammed the elected civilian leaders of the country with what clearly was the opinion of the Canadian military high command, one general was mysteriously missing in the article: the "CBC General" who is, by far, Canada's most opinionated and quoted general - Maj. Gen. Lewis MacKenzie (ret) - who doesn't believe, for a minute, that all that many Muslims were killed at Srebrenica as the UN and the world media contend. Most odd; extremely odd. Makes one wonder - just who was that anonymous opinionated general who spoke so harshly of Canada's civilian government leaders? It couldn't possibly be the general who couldn't get elected dog catcher in his home town and so was bitter? (The high profile media celebrity Mackenzie failed to win an election as a Conservative MP for his rural home area).

Canadian politicians found out too late that just because a general talks smart doesn't mean he can fight smart in smart places.

Make that think smart...

No amount of clever talk by a general, no matter how gifted by the gab, can obscure Hillier's most notable accomplishment in Canadian History.

He is the first Canadian general in History to lose a war.

 

It's not that he didn't try; the Conservative Government gave him the biggest military budget any Canadian general ever got since the Korean War - billions and billions of dollars of killing hardware for the man who proudly and aggressively barked "Our job (Canadian Forces) is to be able to kill people."

And true to his word the bloodthirsty general has killed more Afghan men, women, and children than any other Canadian in History.

But sadly General Hillier had never read his military history either, or he would have known...

Great generals - successful generals - see themselves as something more than merely leaders of neighbourhood gunmen... like Joe Pesci wannabes.

Hopefully his successor will have a greater vision for himself, the Canadian Forces, and his countrymen, and talk and act like the Soldier Statesman which the job description ought to be, the representative of all the Canadian people as overseer of the Canadian Forces. Refrain from politically undermining his elected civilian bosses, and leave the partisan shop steward role, so prized by Hillier, to the lowly lieutenants and captains and civil servants.

Leave the partisan camos of the union hack behind...

And aspire, instead, to don the cloak of statesman warrior once worn by Lord Roberts, the Duke of Wellington, and Ike in the US.

Unlike Hillier, these successful generals never lost sight of the primary rule in a democracy - the People Rule, and they and their elected representatives must always take precedence over any military agenda.

Only in a Banana Republic do generals sneer at the public and believe military minds know what's best for the Nation and its citizens.

Perhaps General Hillier should go shopping for his next job... south of the border... where his unique skills are more appreciated.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Photo Portrait, General Sam Hughes, 1915
Orig. photo - Image Size - 50 x 64 cm
Found - Mt. Forest, ON
With Dedication and Original Autograph
Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

Battle of Cut Knife, 1885 - WD Blatchly
Orig. chromolithograph - Image Size - 46 x 63 cm
Found - St. Thomas, ON

Signed WD Blatchly, from sketches, Toronto Lithographing Co.
Pub. by Grip, Toronto, 1885

A fabulous print from 1885 capturing perfectly the action where an eager military commander - hey what else is new? - sought to blood his eager militia soldier boys from Ontario by attacking an Indian village of men, women, and children. In the foreground the dark uniform of the Queen's Own Rifles, from Toronto, rush to teach "those pesky redskin varmints a lesson they won't soon forget." Otter was pleased to give his men a chance for a scalp or two; after all they had travelled thousands of miles through many hardships to get here. He didn't want it to be for nothing...

2008 - But don't judge them too harshly. The weirdness of young people wanting to cover themselves in blood and gorey by killing other people, usually non-Christian and non-white, continues with as much frenzy as ever, in our day, where there seems to be no end to a line-up for young recruits who want to join Canada's shooting war in Afghanistan. (More than one journalist accompanying uneventful Canadian patrols in Kandahar province reported itchy trigger fingered privates, who failed to find Taliban targets, grousing openly "That's not why we came to Afghanistan.")

In the UK this frenzy for blood sport actually witnessed a secret cover-up by all levels of society - including, if you can believe it, the press - to allow Prince Harry to kill a few Afghan men, women, and children, so he could cover himself and the House of Windsor with gorey from the corpses of hapless Afghans he bagged. Photos of him grinning behind his death dealing machine gun completed the white man's triumph. When his hobby hit the news, and it appeared his victims might start shooting back in revenge, he was whisked back to safety so he could go back to bagging another easy target, silly girls in UK nightclubs, as before.

The heart of the action showing Col. Otter, top left, astride his horse, directing artillery and Gatling Gun fire towards the forested gully where the women and children were sheltered in hiding. The photo below shows a close-up of the same location.

Great Canadian Heritage Treasure

A very rare, previously unpublished photo, of part of the remains of the vast Boer laager complex as it looked after the Battle of Paardeberg. It shows the effects of war on families of 4,000 Boer men, women, and children.

The bell tents belong to the looters, including Canadians. One wonders how they could have stood sleeping so near the acrid smell of burned materials and the pungent odours of rotting corpses of animals that littered the field.

But they wanted to be close to the looting location.

Now that the Boer men, women, and children have been taken to concentration camps leaving all their possession behind.

Not much is left anyway, after a 10 day artillery barrage. Wrecked wagons, suitcases, storage boxes, bedding, blankets, pillows, clothes and all manner of personal effects lie charred and torn all over the site.

War and warriors can do that to families.


Photo, Cronje's Laager, Feb. 28, 1900
Orig. photo - Image Size - 9 x 13 cm
Found - Sydney, AUS

Very few images of the carnage at Paardeberg were ever published. It is hard work to promote a heroic war effort when photos of the effects on families are shown the home front.

In 2008, for the same reason, journalists publish only photos of heroic Canadians making war in Afghanistan and virtually none of the mangled corpses of women and children, destroyed homes, and blown up farms and towns they leave behind.

Just days before this place was hell on earth with Boer women and children running in terror among the wagons seeking to escape the merciless terror of high explosive shells that rained down upon them and turned their wagons into burned out hulks and blew up their family possessions, livestock, and pets.

About the only previously published image of the aftermath of Paardeberg is that left, showing Canadians looting: rifling through papers, collecting kitchenware, scrounging through a bag of personal effects. It is hard to make looting look heroic. (One must remember that, in similar circumstances, after a natural disaster befalls a household - like after hurricane Katrina - people are shot for doing it.)