Olympic-sized distraction? - Macleans.ca

Olympic-sized distraction?

Reporter says troops were glued to Olympic hockey game while insurgents bombed a bridge


Michael Yon, a militantly pro-war reporter embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, is accusing Canadian troops of failing to protect a bridge just outside Kandahar that was bombed during the men’s hockey finals on Sunday night. “While some troops were wasting time fixated on the Olympics,” Yon wrote on his Facebook page, “10 minutes away a major target was left vulnerable. If we can persuade the Taliban to play hockey, or if we can learn to play their sport—Guerrilla Warfare—maybe we can score some points.” According to Yon, the “easily defensible” bridge was targeted by a suicide car bomber and had a bomb strapped to it in an attack that killed a U.S. soldier and injured “several others.” “Now, the bridge is damaged and large military vehicles and fuel trucks cannot use it,” Yon writes. Yon blames the Canadian commander in Kandahar, Brigadier-General Daniel Ménard, for the accident and is awaiting answers from Ménard’s office. “Meanwhile, missions continue to be cancelled due to failure to secure that bridge.”


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Olympic-sized distraction?

  1. What's a little more blame heaped upon Canada. At the pace they're going, by years end Americans will be saying it was Canada that attacked Pearl Harbor. After 200 years of the world cleaning up American greed, stupidity and …. ups, it was fitting our boys should be watching Canada kick American ass.

    • I don't claim to be a hockey fan, typically watch a few Olympic hockey games every 4 years, but Canada hardly kicked American ass. Let's see- the teams played each other twice. Americans won the first won, Canada the second (but needed overtime in order to accomplish that.) Unfortunately, the order of the wins/losses was not reversed.
      U.S.A. ! U.S.A. !

      BTW- We Americans do appreciate the Canadian contribution to the war effort.

    • Michael Yon just sounds like a sore loser to me

  2. "Michael Yon, a militantly pro-war supporter"

    Great spin. Yon is blaming general Menard, not his troops. Go to his facebook page. There are dozens of concerned Canadians posting on this story, including concerned mothers of Canadian troops thanking Yon for his integrity. Shame on you MacCleans.


  3. I don't know what to think of this but I'm leaning towards the thought of us getting out of there as soon as possible. Why don't the Afghans secure the bridge instead?

  4. Bring our troops home

  5. In all seriousness, it should be jounalists and back-bench Liberals that direct this war. They are the very epitomy of wisdom.

    • When Peter Macka is done water-boarding Afghan farmers, let him know there was a situation involving a bridge 10 minutes away from base.

  6. This whole war is just plain stupid, I don't see anything good that could possibly come out of it. As many soliders that could've showed up to protect the bridge no one can really expect what might possibly happen.

    • Get real. The execution of many military/insurgent attacks throughout history were based on the target's distraction. This Taliban attack was planned around the US/Canada hockey game, I promise you. Why do you think the great Tet Offensive in Vietnam started on Christmas Day? If Canada screwed up here, let's own it. It's not like similar situations haven't plagued the US and British military 1000 times since 9/11.

      • Security for the bridge wasn't the responsibility of the Canadians, according to the armed forces.

        Perhaps the Brits and the Afghans were busy watching the Canada/USA game too.

        Or perhaps sh!t gets blown up in Afghanistan everyday, regardless of what is on TV.

        • Really, with one man killed and several wounded, emotions run high in the heat of the moment. All this may be cleared up when General Menard releases his official statement. Let's hope so. It struck me this morning that it's not the US military making these accusations; rather it's a stringer, a freelance reporter making these charges.

      • Ummm….I’m not sure when you think Christmas Day is but the Tet Offensive kicked off on JANUARY 31, 1968. The holiday it disrupted was Chinese New Year

  7. I've been following the posts on Yon's facebook page. It seems to me that he's one of those bloggers with a fan club to impress. He's also got an axe to grind with Canadians pulling out of Afghanistan so he's availing himself of the opportunity to malign Menard (who's not even responsible for that bridge).
    Here's the Canadian military's response to Yon's innuendo. http://news.globaltv.com/world/Military+rebuffs+c

    • He was probably an American hockey fan too

  8. If a journalist has something important to say, would he say it on Facebook? Facebook is a place for random, meaningless musings. If Yon has such a low opinion of his own journalism that he posts it first to Facebook, then he's likely not worth listening to.

    • But the sad part is, so many people have listened to this person, the damage has been done. What does a person think that they accomplish by writing stuff like this???? Pretty sad indeed……

  9. From the article posted by Jordana Mars:

    "All the land surrounding the airport has long been the responsibility of the Royal Air Force Regiment, a British infantry unit that specializes in protecting airports from attack. Most road checks in the area are carried out by Afghan National Police, while sweeps for improvised explosive devices on the major highways in Kandahar are done by a U.S. army Stryker brigade or by U.S. combat engineers attached to them.

    "We are tasked to provide reinforcements in the area, if that is necessary as it was during recent floods," Fortin said. "We support the RAF when required."

    While confirming that the general watched the hockey game with some Canadian and American troops, the game "was over hours before the incident at the bridge," Fortin said."

    Clearly Yon is trying to embarrass the Canadian soldiers. Wonder why.

  10. The soldiers who have access to televisions to watch a game are not the same soldiers who do the patrols and the fighting. This is just a ridiculous story – another manufactured attemp to make the troops look bad.

  11. Yon’s question is actually quite simple when you clear away all the emotion on both sides of the argument: who is the general officer responsible for the security of that bridge? That ISAF is dragging the chain in answering the question only adds fuel to the fire. During the final Battle for Fallujah, the US gave itself one hour to respond to any negative media reports (read Australian MAJGEN Jim Molan’s Running the War in Iraq for details) – this issue has been dragging on in Kandahar for days…

  12. So, it turns out that except for a couple of minor points (the bridge isn't in a security area that Canadian troops are responsible for, and it was blown up several hours after the hockey game was all ready over) Yon got this story exactly correct LINK. Turns out, there is in fact a war going on in Afghanistan, and the bridge did actually get blown up.

    This ends our latest installment of "Why I don't get my news from Facebook posts by bloggers".