Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thuggee in the Canadian Military

Perspective from Mark Twain in India

Here is the tally-sheet for a gang of sixty Thugs for a whole season - gang under two noted chiefs, "Chotee and Sheik Nungoo from Gwalior":

"Left Poora, in Jhansee, and on arrival at Sarora murdered a traveler.
"On nearly reaching Bhopal, met 3 Brahmins, and murdered them.
"Cross the Nerbudda; at a village called Hutteea, murdered a Hindoo.
"Went through Aurungabad to Walagow; there met a Havildar of the barber caste, and 5 sepoys (native soldiers); in the evening came to Jokur, and in the morning killed them near the place where the treasure-bearers were killed the year before.
"Between Jokur and Dholeea met a sepoy of the shepherd case; killed him in the jungle.
"Passed through Dholla and lodged in a village; two miles beyond, on the road to Indore, met a Byragee (beggar - holy mendicant); murdered him at the Thapa.
"In the morning, beyond the Thapa, fell in with 3 Marwarie travlers and killed them.
"Between Choupra dn Dhoreea met a Marvarie; murdered him.
"At Dhoreea met 3 Marwaries; took them two miles and murdered them.
"Two miles further on, overtaken by three treasure-bearers; took them two miles and murdered them in the jungle.
"Came on to Khurgore Bateesa in Infore, divided spoil, and dispersed.
"A total of 27 murdered on one expedition".

Mark Twain
Following the Equator
Dover, New York, 1897, pg. 432

I admit to being stunned by the reaction of some segments of our society to that idea, which seemed pretty obvious to me. They said that killing isn't our job, but I asked myself, why do they think we spend millions, even billions of dollars a year on equipping, training and building air, land and sea combat units? Why were we attracting, enrolling and training to a fever pitch so many fine young Canadian men and women, equipping them with the best weapons systems that we can find, putting them together as teams and leading them?

Why did they think we have artillery, automatic cannon and precision-guided bombs and missiles on our ships, aircraft and vehicles, if not for when our country orders us to go and kill bad people? I guess that came as a shock for some, certainly to those politicians, academics and others who were leading us down this path of so-called soft power, or of keeping Canadian soldiers in an exclusively peacekeeping role and hence, in my view, keeping Canada's impact soft and small. We can't have much of an impact in the world using soft power when the rest of the world is hard!

From A Soldier First. Copyright 2009 by Rick Hillier. All rights reserved. Reprinted by permission of Harpercollins Publishers Ltd.

"He was really dedicated to the idea of serving overseas," Semenko said. "He felt the best way to serve was to do it overseas. His idea was not to give candy to children, but to kill insurgents."