A report on CBC Newsworld featured David Common aboard HMCS Chicoutimi patrolling in the Pacific in proximity, apparently, to the Korean Peninsula. It seems that their rôle is not directly connected to the imminent Olympics, but rather to enforcing UN sanctions on the North Koreans. The report showed pictures, vaguely familiar from other, earlier reports, that the Koreans were breaking the blockade by transferring coal and oil from one ship to another on the high seas, then off-loading from DPRK-flagged craft in North Korean ports.
Part of their gig seems to be coming to the surface from time to time to take pictures, assuming that this will produce damning evidence of collusion on the part of, say, the Chinese or the Russians, but at the cost of blowing the sub’s cover, assuming that anyone interested hadn’t already discerned what the captain of our sub had for breakfast. The photos of the collusion that appeared in earlier reports were all taken from above, which, barring the unlikely event of Chicoutimi levitating (did she not spend a lot of time in dry dock, so being out of the water wouldn’t be entirely unfamiliar), would mean that the provenance of the photos would be either aerial reconnaissance or, most likely, satellite tracking. This scenario would obviate the need for Chicoutimi to be there at all, other than as a seemingly significant mission, to get the men some sea time and some training credits. Given the general state of our armed forced, it would also be the occasion for the issuance of a battle ribbon to adorn the chests of the brave souls intrepid enough to sail in what was purchased as a used sub and which went through two decades of the terrible twos.
Don Cherry, our Cuckaloo-in-Chief, will have fun with this, touting the prowess of “our Boys”, which brings this wandering mind to another thought following an awkward exchange with a wounded veteran at a town hall, where our PM is said to have exclaimed in frustration that vets were asking more than we can afford. Sadly, my take is that our ability to afford services and pensions for veterans is more a matter of priorities: as we keep low-balling price points on natural resources as they exit the country and the commons, as we remain deaf to the sound of fortunes exiting the country for tax havens, as we prepare to indulge all our favourite bankers and infrastructure project managers in a feast at the public trough, we might want to reconsider the plight of those who have served their country to the best of their ability. We might also want to scrutinize the mission creep that sends people off on wild goose chases where the pay off for the risk incurred is insufficient to merit going in the first place. The best way to avoid the burden of broken vets is to keep them out of any bellicose silliness unless we are directly threatened. I like Francis Bacon’s quip about marching off to war:
The best armor is to keep out of gunshot.