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Editor’s Corner

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A hearty welcome to our readers as we get back down to business after the latest federal election here in the Great White North..

Leading with our cover image, we are honoured to get things rolling in this edition with Canadian artist David Craig’s Strong and Free, a historical montage of Canadian Army action in northwest Europe during the Second World War. More of David’s wonderful artwork can be viewed on his web site at www.davidcraigart.com.

Our point article this time out comes from the pen of Major-General Daniel Gosselin, Commander of the Canadian Defence Academy in Kingston. General Gosselin, in the first segment of a two-part article to be concluded in the next issue, examines the fundamental issues and ideas that led then-Minister of National Defence Paul Hellyer to unify the Canadian Forces (CF), as well as those issues that underscored the unification efforts of the 1960s. He then assesses the legacy of the resultant core concepts as they apply in the CF today.

Next, Patrick White evaluates the nature of sovereignty, the UN document The Responsibility to Protect (R2P), and the new constructs and methodologies that govern international relations in today’s world. He then concludes that R2P fundamentally ‘does not work,’ and offers some rather compelling reasons as to why he believes this to be the case.

Michael Lawless, a lawyer and naval reserve officer, discusses the current status of terrorism as an international crime. In the process, Mr. Lawless reviews existing treaties and convents that deal with discrete elements of terrorism, and then identifies the definitional problem of just exactly what constitutes an act of terrorism. He concludes with a review of the current state of international law with respect to this subject, and opines that, while the lack of an internationally agreed upon definition for terrorism does not detract from the criminality of terrorist acts, it does provide an ‘out’ for nations not to meet their obligations in this arena.

Next up, Dwayne Lovegrove presents a model that utilizes three categories of ‘total war’ characteristics – namely, scope of violence, mobilization of society, and objectives of the war – to argue that, with respect to the present global war against terrorism, “...while the scope of violence has yet to approach that of traditional total war, it is considerable and widespread enough to produce psychological and societal effects of a ‘nearly worldwide’ scope.”

Then, Bernard Brister, a highly seasoned tactical helicopter pilot and a current PhD candidate in War Studies and Assistant Professor of Politics and Economics at our Royal Military College, attempts to remedy what he believes to be doctrinal shortcomings with respect to Canadian special operations. Specifically, he discusses the ‘force multiplier’ effects that the recent series of announced capital acquisitions for the CF, as part of the Canada First Defence Procurement Program, might have upon special operations. Major Brister then focuses upon the tactical, operational, and strategic mobility implications of these actual and planned acquisitions, “...and the resulting change in the ability of the Canadian special operations community to project power in pursuit of Canadian interests at home and abroad.”

In this issue’s historical section, Kenneth Grad presents an interesting case study of North-West Mounted Police participation in the South African War from 1899 to 1902. This experience and the lessons it generated are germane to today’s operations, since this was counter-insurgency, guerrilla warfare of a very modern nature, even though it occurred a century ago. And, in Grad’s words: “Competent leadership was an integral factor enabling the NWMP to efficaciously fulfill its assigned task of counter-insurgency.” He is followed by Calgary historian Norman Leach’s tribute to the Canadian combat experience at Passchendaele in Flanders during the First World War. This article is being released at a particularly appropriate time, as it coincides with the release of Paul Gross’s feature length film, Passchendaele, for which Norman served as the historical advisor. Rounding out our historical section, Emilie Plows, a ‘navy brat’ herself, chronicles the contribution to victory of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service, commonly referred to as the ‘Wrens,’ during the Second World War. Emilie focuses upon the organization’s purpose, structure, development, roles and challenges, and, perhaps most importantly, upon the impact that this wartime experience had upon the women who served therein.

We have another Special Report this time out, and this one has a maritime focus. Proud skipper Captain (N) Darren Hawco, Commanding Officer of HMCS Ottawa from May 2006 to June 2007, provides a first-hand recollection of Ottawa’s highly successful deployment to the waters of Southwest Asia in support of the Campaign against the Threat of Terrorism (CATT) from September 2006 to March 2007.

We close the issue with a full and varied complement of book reviews, book review essays, and opinion pieces to whet your appetites. And in this edition, Martin Shadwick takes an updated look at the Canada First defence strategy.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow
Canadian Military Journal

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