Thursday, May 21, 2009

Indian country??

Sometimes you just have to shake your head.

First, there is the Canadian Forces' new brilliant idea:

Canadian Forces want more aboriginals to sign up for the military

KANDAHAR, May 16 (CP) - Canada's armed forces are looking for young aboriginals who want to build on the long history of their ancestors in helping to defend Canada.

And as the Canadian Forces prepare to mark the military's self-proclaimed Aboriginal Day on Thursday, native soldiers in Afghanistan are echoing the call to a segment of the Canadian population - aboriginal, Inuit and Metis - that's represented by only four per cent of Canada's military personnel... (link)
(You can see the very impressive website for the Aboriginal Awareness Week here.)

Now, observe the blog writings of one BruceR, an officer with the Canadian Forces who recently returned from Afghanistan where he was a member of an Operational Mentor and Liaison Team (OMLT), who embed with and train the Afghan army:
... For the last few years, most of the fighting in [the Arghandab Valley] has been in the green spaces of Zhari and Panjwaii districts... The Afghan army and its Canadian allies, whose main bases are centred around the old international airport to the southeast of the city (KAF) are largely, at this point in the game, ensconced in three large forward operating bases, or FOBs, posing a barrier across the valley itself. To the west of this line within Zhari or Panjwaii is, basically, Indian country right now... (link)
I imagine that a Canadian Forces spokesperson might call this a "disconnect".

(Also see: In 2004, reporter Chris Wattie noted that Canadian soldiers use the term "Indian country" to describe areas of Afghanistan not controlled by ISAF forces; In 2007, an American soldier in Afghanistan told the Washington Times about returning to his base from "Indian country".)

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