Tue 23 May, 2006 06:11 pm
the royal military college of canada (located here in kingston) had planned to bestow a honarary degree upon retired u.s. general zinni at last weekends commencement exercises .
canadian (conservative) defence minister o'connor ordered the the college principal , john cowan , 'to uninvite' general zinni !
this is an incredibly stupid and shameful action for canada to take ... but i guess it shows the long reach of ... (you fill in the name).
...GENERAL ZINNI NOT WELCOME AT ROYAL MILITARY COLLEGE OF CANADA...
Dawn Black, the NDP defence critic, said the decision was an attempt by the Conservatives to curry favour with the Bush administration. "I'm surprised that the Minister would interfere in such a relatively minor decision," she said.
"It's incredibly petty."
She said Gen. Zinni had a distinguished record, including commanding Canadian troops as the head of Central Command, and deserved better treatment regardless of his dispute with the Bush administration. "And I'm not sure why that would be a good enough reason not to confer an honorary degree," Ms. Black said.
"I doubt the degree would've been an issue in the U.S..... It probably would've gone unnoticed. But the government has certainly made it an issue now."
things are kinda ugly in the old hometown these days
just imagine how the RMC principal must have felt ... ..."hello , general zinni , you've just been 'uninvited ! have a nice day !"...
hard to believe .
reminds me of the 'red rose tea' advertisemant :
"only in canada you say ? pity" .
All this silliness is from both sides of the border. Recently, at a sports contest between Canada and the US, the Americans booed when the Canadian national anthem was played.
We thought our children didn't have any manners... it's downright embarrassing.
c.i. : but these are not children ... they are our LEADERS !
(where are they going to lead us , i wonder ?). hbg
Most of us, even many republicans/conservatives, now understand very well about "our leaders" doing things to destory our country.
I just heard an intersting news report about the state of Arizona giving away lottery tickets to voters to increase participation for a chance at one million dollars.
No vote, no tickee.
Look at Iraq; they had 80 percent voter participation, and they're just screwed! Their police/military are killing other Iraqis. This, while Bush begins to talk about a withdrawal of our troops as the Iraqis take over security.
What's wrong with this picture?
c.i. : you may want to have a look at the picture "war hero" i posted here :...WAR HERO - WW I...
(just go down to the end of the page) .
some of my old german books portraying germany after WW I seem to fit right into today's age .
It is a wise tradition in both Canada and the United States (and other countries as well) that the military and military institutions don't stray into politics. The recent very public criticisms of the U.S. administration by Zinni and several recently retired general officers who associated their positions with his, has significantly altered the situation for the Canadian RMC. What initially was a honorific gesture on the part of the RMC to a prominent retired military figure ( and a lure for a prominent speaker) , has now become an unintended political statement due to subsequent actions by that same retired officer. If the Canadian government doexn't wish to see its military institutions, in effect, used to make such public statements, then its actions were indeed appropriate.
canada's royal military college has in the past not been squeamish about inviting contraversial speakers .
the idea has always been to expose the graduating class to speakers from a great variety of backgrounds , not simply military "yes man" (there are plenty of those around , no need for special invitation).
the curriculum actually stresses that officers of the canadian forces must make decisions based upon personal judgement , and that a "i was following orders " is not acceptable .
imo general zinni would have been able to provide some answers to the question that the military faces today : how to balance the requirement for following and giving orders against the necessity of personal judgement and responsibility . i think a great opportunity was missed in not letting graduates hear general zinni - they could have made up their own mind about the credibility of his actions .
politics won out , unfortunately .
i spoke with a retired professor of the RMC (former british codebreaker during WW II) this morning . he grimaced and said : "just disgraceful ! this has never happened during my long teaching term at the college " .
several other people - we are all swimming buddies - who stood around echoed his remarks . there didn't seem to be anyone in the group who approved of the action of the canandian government . hbg
I don't doubt that Zinni would have been a stimulating and interesting speaker. I agree that the cancellation represnts a loss for the RMC. but under the circumstances, I doubt seriously if either the school or Zinni was surprised by it. The various U.S. military colleges similarly work hard to get stimulating input from often disparate sources, but some interactions (such as commencement addresses) have greater symbolic import than others, and on one should be either surprised or (in my view) indignant over this matter. No doubt some shortsighted local luminaries are offended, but I believe Canada has more to gain by ending a 10 year pattern of gratuitous offenses to U.S. governments than by continuing them.