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Welcome to yet another frosty winter edition of the Canadian Military Journal. Since these words are being penned during our annual period of national remembrance, I believe our cover image merits special attention.

During the spring of 1945, at the end of April, a large pocket of resistance in western Holland, deliberately bypassed and sealed off by the advancing Allied land forces, was still under the control of the Germans. Many of the estimated three million Dutch citizens contained therein were close to starvation. In due course, a truce was arranged with the local German occupation forces, who designated ten acceptable drop zones, and also acknowledged the need for additional truck convoys carrying supplies after the air drops were accomplished. The first of the drops occurred on 29 April at the village of Waardenburg on the Waal River, and although the river bank bristled with flak emplacements, restraint on both sides prevailed, and there was no enemy action on this inaugural day of Operation Manna. From 29 April to 7 May, Bomber Command Lancasters made 2835 relief sorties to the beleaguered area, delivering 6672 tons of food by air before the Germans surrendered. The truce held throughout, and subsequent drops were carried out on The Hague and Rotterdam.

The cover image is Operation Manna by the British Columbia artist John Rutherford. This painting, generously gracing our cover courtesy of both the artist and the Canadian Bomber Command Museum in Nanton, Alberta, was commissioned for the museum’s Operation Manna Commemoration in July 1995. The aircraft depicted in the foreground over the Waal River is a 625 (RAF) Squadron Lancasterflown by Flying Officer Joe English. Currently a resident of Nanton, Mr. English and his wartime crew were aboard one of the lead aircraft on the opening day of the operation to Waardenburg. They were unanimous in their agreement that, to them, this raid truly was “… the best raid of the war.” This also was, by any yardstick, bombing with a gentler purpose.

On to our rather eclectic current issue… ‘Taking the point’ this time out, Dr. Louis Philippe Rouillard, the Defence Ethics Programme’s Conflict of Interest and Programme Administration Manager, continues the debate on ethics, human rights, and their relationship to the Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC). Herein, he offers a proposal to reframe legal-ethical thinking, and proposes a method “… by which to achieve implementation through the existing international legal system, including the collective security system, the LOAC, and international human rights.”

He is followed by Captain Tyler Wentzell, an infantry officer and aspiring lawyer, who proposes “… that the interplay between human capital and local ownership dictate the organizational model [that is] best suited to the development of security forces.” Wentzell believes that these two key factors, “… offer a useful tool in the selection of models available in the development of host nation security forces in humanitarian operations, peacekeeping, counterinsurgency, and high intensity operations alike.”

In the first of two submissions from our American friends in this issue, US Navy Lieutenant Dan Green draws upon personal experience in theatre to offer several pragmatic solutions “… for addressing the corruption challenge of Afghanistan, informed by [American] experiences there, and enriched by the best practices of previous counterinsurgency efforts.” Needless to say, past and future applications to Canadian experiences make for compelling reading.

With respect to military planning, retired US Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Daniel McCauley, currently a National Defense University assistant professor teaching at the Joint and Combined Warfighting School in Norfolk, Virginia, opines that today’s complex operational environment “… requires planners to take a much broader approach to planning, to include a whole-of-government approach to these types of operations.” He acknowledges that the US (and allies) have shifted focus to a ‘shaping’ strategy that attempts to influence today’s events in an attempt to make future combat operations unnecessary. McCauley further suggests: “Design will never overcome uncertainty or chaos, but it will help the planner understand the interactive and changing nature of types of environments within which US forces will operate in the future.”  

Our historical section is honoured to present a submission from Jack Granatstein, one of Canada’s most respected historians, and a frequent contributor to the Canadian Military Journal. This time, Jack takes an in-depth look at Canada’s participation in the Cold War in the wake of the Second World War. He maintains: “…Three streams of opinion shaped Canada’s Cold War: internationalism, continentalism, and nationalism,” but concludes that it was continentalism that ultimately held sway over the other competing ideologies.

In our Views and Opinions section, Ryan Clow, an RMC graduate with a Masters in War Studies and currently a civilian employee with Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, strongly advocates that: “Non-compromised victory should be the only resolution we in the West seek in the war against terrorism.” Next, Dana Batho, a recent RMC graduate, budding Intelligence Officer, and presently, a post-graduate student in International Affairs at Carleton University, discusses the challenges of working in a foreign nation or culture, and makes a strong advocacy case for how much cultural awareness can be acquired through foreign language acquisition. Chantal Beauvais, the rector of Saint Paul University, Ottawa, in a reprint of a Convocation address she delivered at the Collège militaire royale de Saint-Jean last May, then presents her views on military life and service. In the words of Major-General (ret’d) Daniel Gosselin, the former commander of the Canadian Defence Academy: “It is short but superb in its simple messaging.” With the issues of ethics and values resurfacing by virtue of a few recent incidents and the aforementioned dialogue and debate, her message is a very important one to young officer aspirants.

Martin Shadwick has chosen to examine Lieutenant-General (ret’d) Andrew Leslie’s recently-released Report on Transformation 2011, complete with many recommendations to “… reduce overhead and improve efficiency and effectiveness,” but also “… some disturbing findings and thought-provoking recommendations…” Finally, we close with the usual potpourri of book reviews for consideration by our readers.

Until the next time.

David L. Bashow

Canadian Military Journal