Juggling chainsaws


Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, February 16Canada’s army is being pushed to the limit by the strains of keeping a 2,700-strong military mission in Afghanistan and the force will need at least a year to recover once the troops return on schedule in 2011, the top army commander said on Monday … Leslie said men and equipment in Afghanistan were wearing out fast and likened his job to juggling a chain saw. “We are at the limit … we are now sending senior noncommissioned officers and officers back for their fourth tour,” he told Reuters in an interview at Canada’s defense headquarters. “Our equipment is going to have to be reset, just like our soldiers have to be reset at a certain time.” Leslie said that once the troops had returned, it would take between 12 and 16 months to restore the army’s full fighting capability.

Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie, October 13The Canadian force is due to pull out in 2011. However, Gen-Leslie told The Independent that after spending £3bn on new equipment including armour and helicopters, and an upsurge in recruiting, his force would be ready to continue with the mission if ordered to do so by the government in Ottawa … The commander said that following losses inflicted by the Taliban, “we took a long, hard look at what needed to be done and I think we are now the best equipped of all Nato troops in Afghanistan”.


Juggling chainsaws

  1. Can the state of readiness of the military change that much over the course of 9 months?

    It would be great news if the Oct.13th statement were correct.

    However events, and the debate over Canada's role in the Af/Pak region past 2011 turn out, it would be very good news indeed if we were ready if necessary.

  2. Break no longer needed after Afghan mission: general
    Ottawa's $5B pledge for new armoured vehicles a 'game-changer,' Leslie says
    July 24, 2009

    In March, Leslie told a Parliamentary committee the Canadian Forces had been pushed to the limit and would need no less than a year to recover from the mission, but now says that is no longer the case.

    At the time, he said the army's vehicles were old and broken, and its battalions and regiments weren't doing much better.

    Leslie told the committee the army had a backlog of 6,000 untrained troops waiting for qualified soldiers to come home and train them.

    But just three months later, Leslie says his army has been rejuvenated.

    "With this $5 billion, we don't need an operational pause, in my opinion," he said.


  3. OF course they can do it, so long as the resources and the support is there.

    I'm very troubled by what Obama is doing now. So much is uncertain. Are the Americans going to go full force to build a stable, peaceful Afghanistan? Or will they stand back, let things go to pieces, and occasionally drop some bombs on terrorists.

    If Obama were willing to make up his mind, make an arguement for success in Afghanistan, and then sell it to his people and the NATO allies then I could see the political support being there for Canada to stay in.

    Either that or get out. Nothing half way. All in or all out. Time to decide Obama.

  4. Are these the same tired soldiers that will be defending our arctic sovereignty?
    I greatly respect the dedication of our soldiers, but where is the money to fund all this coming from? Mr Harper has promised to wrest this defecit under control without raising taxes. Strategy like that usually spells budget cuts. But more $ for the military?
    Can someone please explain to me how this will work

    • What? Harper lied. Surely, that's obvious? Even without the military billions, I doubt Harper can live long enough to get the deficit under control without raising taxes. Remember we've still got that aging population to contend with as well. But to be fair, if we refuse to allow our politicians to discuss raising our taxes, they'll have to do it by lying about not doing it first.

      • Oh come on! Anyone who plays piano and sings Beatle songs just has to be a good guy.
        But…….. I keep getting these ten percenters telling me that Michael Ignatieff is a liar – I betcha he's the one who is causing all this trouble!

  5. I saw the title of this post, Juggling Chainsaws, on the side bar, and thought it was going to be a cool video of… juggling chainsaws! I guess not. That said, I think the phrase is an apt metaphor for the situation in Afghanistan.

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