In a recent Ruxted Group commentary, we pointed out that the Canadian Peace Alliance "has a right to express its views; it has no right to manufacture ‘facts’ to support them."
Now we see the NDP, the Canadian Peace Alliance, and fellow travelers touting their newest poster boy, Francisco Juarez - - Canada’s first "Afghan war resister" at various public events. Mr Juarez speaks passionately about his opposition to Canada’s present role in Afghanistan, as is the right of anyone in this country. Our problem is with casual disregard with which "facts" are being skewed to meet political agendas and the actions of an uncritical press corps in repeating these factual errors.
Following service as a seaman in the Canadian Navy, Mr Juarez transferred to the Army Reserves and applied to be commissioned as an infantry officer. Merely a week into the Common Army Phase of his training, where one learns the very basics of soldiering, he expressed doubts about his military future. Refusing a command to complete a fitness obstacle course with his mates, his request for release from the Canadian Forces was granted. But now that he has become an orator for the various anti-Afghanistan factions, it appears that facts and fact checking by journalists are not about to stand in the way of a good story.
Mr Juarez states that he left the Canadian Forces because he did not wish to serve in Afghanistan, indicating that he was to be sent there in 2007. Mr Juarez knows full well that the CF is not deploying untrained Reservist Officer Cadets to Afghanistan. Canada has NOT declared a military mobilization, and is NOT ordering part-time Reservists overseas.
He would first have to complete his army and infantry-specific training. Following service at his unit to gain practical experience, he would then have to personally volunteer to deploy, and be selected for, this mission. If he was still in the running at this point, Mr Juarez would have had to compete with his peers to be selected. He would then undergo a minimum of six months pre-deployment training with the chance of opting out throughout the process if either he or the military deemed he was not suitable for deployment.
This is not remotely the scenario being staged by Mr Juarez on behalf of the NDP and the CPA.
Journalists should have known this; they would have known this if they had done even the most rudimentary fact checking. Journalists failed; they misled the Canadian public by repeating and rebroadcasting factual errors. Journalists, editors and publishers have thrown away all pretense of reporting the news – they have decided to propagandize for a point of view.
The Ruxted Group thanks Mr. Juarez for his previous service to the country. We also sympathize with his decision to leave the military; not everyone is cut out for the profession of arms. The time has come for Mr. Juarez to come clean. As a former service member, however briefly, we are sure he is still familiar with the concepts of personal responsibility and honour. As such, he knows that we cannot quietly accept his blatant disregard for the truth.
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Caveman on :
Francisco Juarez on :
You see conspiracy in the media against your political perspective. Indeed you also blame me for those errors, as if I am responsible for the unfamiliarity that journalists have with the Armed Forces and the profession of arms. The Left also has its perspective on the media, being that it is corporatist and right of centre for the most part. So who is correct? Perhaps both.
Certainly, however, I have not for a moment misrepresented myself or the CF while speaking to the media. I have made it a point to discuss the difference between reservist and regular forces and the methods of deployment. Your groups stated purpose of bringing attention to the mistakes in the media in how it reports issues related to the profession of arms and the defense arena is a commendable one. I myself have witnessed and been frustrated by the lack of understanding displayed by many journalists, and have made many attempts to ensure correct reporting on this issue. Your job of increasing this awareness and working for understanding should continue in force.
The Ruxted Group should, however, not fall into the trap of taking that poor reporting and perpetuating it in order to discredit an individual such as myself. You have made a tactical error by blaming me for misrepresenting the truth while failing to do so yourself. Your statement that there should have been rudimentary fact checking also extends to you, and your errors could have been avoided by simply contacting me.
Your Group claims to be apolitical, fair, and just. Free to criticize ideas and actions…not people. Yet you have clearly sought to discredit me for political purposes. Your work in increasing the public knowledge of defense related issues and the profession of arms is vital to the national debate, however, you do your purpose a disservice by failing to meet your own professional goals.
Labeling me as irresponsible and without honour is a cheap shot not conducive to a sober and well-informed dialogue, and it lowers the standards of your Group. Not one moment of the service I dedicated to my country can be taken away by anyone. I was honoured to work with many during my time in the Navy and Army…men and women who continue to serve their country even while the Conservatives use them in a poorly planned mission out of step with our country’s place in the world community.
There are indeed some larger issues that all segments of the political spectrum need to debate in relation to the external use of our Armed Forces. How does Canada as a nation want to respond in areas of conflict in Afghanistan and beyond? We must acknowledge the roots of that conflict and not fall into strategic responses with limited analysis of the theatre of operations. By ignoring the history and will of the indigenous population of the conflict area and subjugating to the Western strategic considerations, we are doomed to failure in the region. The use of military force only turns the population against our involvement and augments the power of the warlords involved in the opium trade as they attempt to finance their end of the conflict. The world community is holding its breath collectively for the change in leadership in the United States. NATO partners are indeed unwilling to continue the military campaign because the global consensus is that the Bush administration has failed in its overall strategy in the War on Terror. Recognition is widespread amongst our NATO partners that we need a new plan that does not augment the power of the Taliban or warlords. As proud as we are to send our troops to assist our strategic partners we must remember the most important part of the equation…the Afghan people.
John Bishop on :
Brad Sallows on :
For someone who set out to be an officer, you have a curious sense of what is irresponsible and dishonourable, and what is not. I've personally known plenty of people who quit the CF (mostly reservists) on good or bad terms, a few of whom may have had legitimate grievances. I can't recall offhand any that permitted themselves to be poster boys - whether as willing associates or as indifferent or unwilling pawns - for political parties and media. I suppose you could look across the entire set of people released from the CF over decades and find a handful. Of how many people do you know who made a Return To Unit (RTU) from course or a release - voluntary or otherwise - a public affair?
This isn't about Canadian foreign and defence policy. This is about you, and whether you deliberately or ignorantly misrepresented conditions of service or circumstances of your release, or whether you permitted media to do so, and when or whether you objected to any misrepresentations that were not your own.
Fortunately, you have the power to lay all such questions to rest. Since Big Media don't control Ruxted, you can lay out all the facts as you know them right here and settle all the questions of what you said and what you meant, what you did and what was done, and what the media interpreted wrongly.
Francisco Juarez on :
As for misrepresentation, I have said already that I was completely truthful in my statements to media concerning conditions of service and the path of my release as you can read in my previous posting here. In terms of permitting the media to do so, all I can say to you is that I do not have editorial control over reporters. They take the story wherever they want, factually or otherwise. As well, I have made critical statements of the way this story was handled. Even in my reply above, which you are welcome to read.
Finally, this is about foreign policy. I would never have gone down this road had I not felt very strongly about how the Conservatives were failing Canadians, and that their poorly crafted policy was going to make it worse for Canadian and Afghan security. I knew it was time to step away and be part of the public debate that I felt was lacking.
It is time to put these issues of irresponsible and dishonourable actions to rest. Personal attacks aside, it is past due for us to examine the larger issues of why we are in Afghanistan and what the failings are of the current tropes in use by our government.
A.Soldier on :
You question what it is that we are doing but never had the conviction to find out the answers first hand. Fair enough this isn`t for everyone.
Certainly this mission can be debated has been debated and should be reviewed against goals social, cultural and political. But be honest about your very very limited understanding of the mission on the ground, take the catch phases and most common arguments and ear catching statistics and regurgitate them for whatever audiance wished to listen but don`t think for a minute you have any basis to contextualize this with your `military experience`
Brad Sallows on :
Scott Dewson on :
Teacher on :