Monday, October 18, 2004
For being, as they say ...
From Blackfive comes a link to how Canadian troops in Afghanistan realized an ammo dump that had supposedly been cleared by European troops --wasn't. Troops from the Princess Patricia Regiment discovered a large pile of explosives ten minutes away from their camp. It contained:
... 82 buried bunkers, each 20-metres long, housed thousands of Soviet FROG missiles (one step down from Scud missiles), and every variety of rocket and mortar shells. ... Some of the FROG missiles were still in their original cases. Some heaped in the open. Some stacked to the roof in the unlocked, open bunkers. Much of the ordnance had warheads removed to collect the explosive for homemade bombs -- or for blasting at a nearby quarry. "Unbelievable!" was Maj. Brian Hynes' reaction when he saw them. "We (troops of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF)) have been here some two years, and no one knew this was at our back door. Unbelievable."
Many of the rockets, missiles and shells had been pried open for the explosives, which are used peacefully to blast mountain rock into gravel, and by those who want to make bombs that disrupt Kabul. ... Littered with burned out Soviet military vehicles, the whole area is a junk pile strewn with every sort of live ammunition, fuses, unexploded shells, rockets, etc., all supposedly under the authority of Belgian troops (at the moment), who ignored it.
The Canadian officer figured the Europeans goofed off and were trying to cover their rears. He would show them.
"These bunkers have been known for two years but no one bothered to check them," said Maj. Hynes. "To me, that's incompetence."
In the midst of examining the bunkers and taking photos, a Swedish UN guy, a French major and a German colonel arrived to make a fuss and order the Canadians to leave. The French major insisted his government had a deal with the Afghan government for the area, and ISAF had no business being there. This cut little ice with Maj. Hynes, who is responsible -- not to the commander of Camp Julien, Col. Jim Ellis -- but to the ANA (Afghan National Army), which has now moved in to secure the site.
The French major was clearly bluffing, hadn't checked the bunkers and got a classic Canadian roasting from Maj. Hynes -- who was supported by a German general who was also appalled at the laxity. "Now we've stirred up the hornet's nest," grinned Maj. Hynes. "Good. Now we may get some action."
Somehow I think someone missed the point. There is probably some perfectly plausible reason why a Swedish UN functionary, a French major and a German Colonel -- one civilian, two officers, three nationalities, none of who would be in the same chain of command -- should show up at precisely the moment a Canadian officer discovers a large number of surface to surface missiles lying around unguarded, but it escapes me.
Now, my suspicion is that the universe is not only queerer than we suppose, but queerer than we can suppose... I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of, in any philosophy.
-- JBS Haldane
# posted by wretchard : 4:30 PM 32 comments
This is why Bush has never been anxious to expand the Coalition, the available choices for "help" that are both compitent and NOT in actual league with the Islamo-Facists are FEW.