25 March 2006

Wanna understand Canadians in Afghanistan?

Read Christie Blatchford in Saturday's Grope and Flail.
I have a friend who, in regarding the modern urban male, frequently wonders: "How is it they got to be the hunters and gatherers?"

In the lads of the 1-3, in all the Patricias, I found the answer, or an answer anyway: Men weren't always quite the way they are now.

Left to their own devices, largely untouched by the most effete of modern cultural conventions and contemptuous of those few that veer near, and trained to a razor's edge, this lot are by turns ruthlessly and broadly so competent (from making a decent meal out of the good-for-five-years "individual meal packs," or IMPs, to keeping their primitive quarters at Gombad as pristine as a mud hut can be, to clambering over hill and dale and ultimately to soldiering), shockingly cheerful and patient, generous to one another, funny, outrageously tender and, given the times, so patriotic as to appear almost quaint.
This is the sort of stuff you get when reporters live with their subjects. It is straight-up - it describes the people I know from my short time in the military and long time around the Canadian Forces.

or get this:

That was my first brush with the regard, widespread among the dozens of Canadians I talked to, for both Afghan soldiers and civilians. Only once did I hear a soldier make a disparaging remark (young and stupid, he referred to the undernourished locals as "the skinnies").
Honest stories, honestly told.

Makes the rhetoric of the "peace" movement sound as hollow when used on Afghanistan and the Canadian men and women working there today as it was tinny 20 years ago when Soviet soldiers were napalming those Afghan villages where today people want nothing more grandiose than cooking oil.

And the "peace" movement never batted an eyelid.