William H.A. Willbond MSM, CD

(or Loose Lips Sink Ships)

In a not too far off distant time
Steve Staples stand would have been a crime
Whilst our lads fight o’er in the front line
Steve talks against our Warrior kind

By spreading his anti Mission stand
That’s excellent news to the Taliban
They see guys like Steve as our weakest link
Stir democracy’s piss pot and cause a stink

The head shed certainly has every right
To protect our lads who are in the fight
A top secret list might be a good place for Steve
As his anti-troops stance he continues to perceive!

Author’s Note: Inspired by the newspaper article (reproduced below) clipped from July 13, 2007 Times Colonist.


Can West News Service

OTTAWA — Military officials kept an eye on an outspoken opponent of the Afghanistan war last year but in a report produced about the Ottawa man’s public comments they determined support for the mission was still high and his criticism does “not seem to resonate” with the public and media.

Defence Department officials originally denied the documents, requested by the Ottawa Citizen
under the Access to Information Act, even existed. But an investigation by the Information Commissioner revealed the e mails and a report on the activities of left-wing defence analyst Steve Staples had indeed been compiled by the military.

The report was sent to 50 officers including two brigadier generals.

The release comes as the Defence Department finds itself dealing with charges from critics that Gen. Rick Hillier, chief of the defence staff, has ordered a sweeping crackdown to block the release of all files on the Afghanistan mission requested under the access to information law.

Defence officials have denied that is the case and Ward Elcock, the department’s deputy minister, issued a statement pointing out the organization understands the importance of providing information to the public.

Stapels: Selling Isn’t Their Job
Selling isn’t their job
The military report on Staples, of the Ottawa-based Rideau Institute on International Affairs, details his speech to a Halifax peace group last year and his views on Afghanistan and Hillier’s plans to move the military away from peacekeeping and into more combat-oriented roles.

It stated Staples presentation did not seem to resonate with those attending the speech but pointed out he was expected to give other talks across the country.

It recommended the military be prepared to counter Staples’ arguments.

“Everyone engaged with communicating on Afghanistan should be made aware of his arguments so that they can be better prepared to deal with them.” recommended the report to LtCol Jacques Poitras at National Defence headquarters.

In an interview, Staples said the military had overstepped its bounds but that he is not surprised by such actions.

“This is what happens when you have a different viewpoint on Afghanistan than the government and the generals,” he said.

Staples said it is not the military’s role to sell the mission and challenge those who don’t disagree with it. That is the job of elected officials, he added.

Every federal government department has a communications department with a role to monitor relevant public debate.

Army spokesman LtCol Chris Lemay said officers were simply doing their job.

“It was fair game to know what was out there,” he said. “Our job is to make sure we are aware of the information that is floating in the public domain.”

Lemay said he was not aware if the military followed up on the recommendation to prepare to counter Staples’ arguments.