Thursday, May 04, 2017

Operation Medusa

Harjit Sajjan has been in hot water of late for claiming that he was the "architect" of Operation Medusa. It's never wise to blow your trumpet too loudly. Immodesty always comes back to bite you. However, Sajan was not the only one who recognized the work he did in Afghanistan. Tom Walkom writes:

According to a letter later sent to Vancouver’s chief constable by Brig. Gen. David Fraser, the top Canadian commander in Afghanistan at the time (and later obtained by the online publication National Observer), Sajjan was a marvel.

Calling him “one of the most remarkable people I have worked with” Fraser said that Sajjan “single-handedly changed the face of intelligence gathering and analysis in Afghanistan …

“His analysis was so compelling that it drove a number of large-scale theatre-resourced efforts, including Operation Medusa,” the general wrote, adding that Sajjan’s experience as an undercover cop and his ability to understand criminal networks made him particularly useful in navigating the shoals of Afghan affairs.

“He was the best single Canadian intelligence asset in theatre,” Fraser wrote. “He personally fused broad sources of information into an extremely coherent picture upon which most of the formation’s major operations were based.”

The problem is that Operation Medusa had no lasting effect on the situation in Afghanistan:

Like so much in the Afghan War, however, victory was fleeting. The Afghan National Police were unable, or unwilling, to hold the ground that had been taken. In Sept. 2007, the Canadians launched Operation Keeping Goodwill to recapture some of the areas in Zhari district that had been lost.

By this time, according to the Washington Post, the number of Taliban fighters in Panjwai were back up to pre-Medusa levels.

In 2010, Canadian forces were fighting again for the Panjwai, this time as part of Operation Hamkari.
By the end of 2011, the Canadian battle group was effectively out of Kandahar province. By 2014, it was out of Afghanistan altogether.

The debate shouldn't be about Sajjan. It should be about Canadian policy in Afghanistan. 

Image: Huffington Post


Owen Gray said...

If you inititial your comment, Anon, I'll publish it.

Anonymous said...

Neither the Libs nor the Cons want to revisit Canada's policy in Afghanistan. That was made clear when the parties colluded to deep six the enquiry into the Canadian government's alleged involvement in the torture of Afghan prisoners. The Sajjan brouhaha is just fake outrage. It's a cheap political stunt that will soon be forgotten.


Owen Gray said...

Diversion. That's what politics is about these days, Cap.

Anonymous said...

Diversion it is, Owen. And it worked. It sure put an end to all those stories about Kevin O'Leary cutting and running from the miserable slate of Con leadership candidates.


Owen Gray said...

Exactly, Cap. The old magician's trick.

The Mound of Sound said...

And all but forgotten is the fact that the lt.-gen. commanding America's 10th Mountain Division in the hardfought border mountains had Sajjan seconded to his command specifically for his demonstrated intelligence gathering and analysis skills.

Owen Gray said...

An important piece of information, Mound -- which I admit I did not know.

Steve said...

He is the poster child of a modern Canada. He put his life on the line for this country. He did not eliminate the rescue capability of half of Newfoundland to go fishing. He did not say that jet engines never fail. He was not Jason Kenney who I cant even document how wrong it was he was d minister. Yes he is a pol and yes pols tend to fabousulate. Minor crime, slap on the wrist and move forward.

Owen Gray said...

Unfortunately, Steve, his critics are out to make hay.

Anonymous said...

There is still this issue - which the Liberals made hay with for years but now have conveniently swept under the rug:


Owen Gray said...

I agree, kh. It's interesting that the Liberals have made no attempt to re-open the inquiry.