October 22, 2008

Clueless in Kandahar

Sometimes I get asked why I blog. If anyone else can think of a more productive way to get this stuff off my chest, please let me know. As Sean says, it's cheaper than therapy.

Until then, the only productive response to reporting like this, as I see it, is a response like this:

Nowhere, absolutely nowhere in the piece do we get any sort of a sense that the reporter has even the slightest clue about the purpose of all the activity around her. Fitness and marksmanship aren't a game, they're life-saving skills in the field. Esprit de corps and morale aren't just fun times for the kids at a camp, they're what hold together a unit under pressure. Soldiers don't get to drive around in "armoured tanks" - as opposed to all the unarmoured tanks out there, right? - for fun, but rather for function. Knives aren't sold at the PX as baubles, they're sold because a knife is just about the most basic tool there is, and you can never have enough of them when you're on your own in bad-guy country.

This isn't remotely comparable to a third-world resort, as Ms. Leeder suggests, where spoiled western urbanites can pretend they're not propping up a brutal, oppressive dictatorship with their tourist dollars as they quaff Pina Coladas at the poolside bar.

KAF exists to support a military effort in a country that still needs help securing its own territory. Everything and everyone on that base is pointed towards that effort in some way.

The fact that the Globe's reporter can write an entire post - an entire string of posts, it seems - that gives the impression all the bustling activity on such a military installation serves no purpose other than testosterone-charged entertainment shows just how profoundly out her element she is.

Oh, and that young soldier who showed such poor judgment in making a half-heartedly obvious pass at Ms. Leeder, the one she dismissed as a "little git, who seemed barely old enough to shave?" He signed on the dotted line to give up his life if so ordered, and had the proverbial shit hit the fan at that exact moment that he was offering to feel her up, I have no doubt he would have put himself in between her and the danger without a second thought.

You're a sheep, Ms. Leeder. A sheep among wolves, and you don't even have the good sense to recognize the patrolling sheepdogs for what they are.

As a long-time journalist friend of mine said the other day: journalism isn't a profession - there are no governing bodies that enforce standards like a College of Physicians does for doctors - it's a craft, and a rather sloppy one for most "war correspondents" these days. With this episode, the bar continues to be set at stumbling height.

Posted by Damian at October 22, 2008 12:10 PM

With a very few exceptions, I have felt that the bar for journalism for war corresponents was more at the speed bump hight..... Or maybe water main hight?

Posted by: AtlanticJim at October 22, 2008 12:41 PM

Ms.Leeder should NEVER leave the safe and civilized confines of Toronto, nowhere else quite stands up to the Centre of the Universe.


Posted by: dmorris at October 22, 2008 12:47 PM

Stupid mutts like this do a major disservice to the understanding and ability of all women.

Posted by: Rob C at October 22, 2008 1:02 PM

poor jaded empty headed little superstar wannabe.....nary a word about the big's all her hair her skin her stomach her appetite.....her tits getting groped...

Posted by: john begley at October 22, 2008 1:12 PM

I started to read J. Leeder, got about 4 para's and had to stop.
This TWITTETTE (sorry about spelling female version of twit) has no problem propping up a comunist regime like Cuba and demeaning our troups all in the same breath. Trudeau will be dancing a gig in hell by now.
I may not have agreed with sending the Army there in the first place but that wasn't their fault. In reality it was the fault of J. Leeder and her kind for supporting the crooked liberals.
I am ex RCN and understand the shot at moral by the government for the past 40 years. I lived through 10 years of it 68 to 77 and did not survive.
I have lived in 6 provinces and been to all but the Yukon (unless you cound serving on HMCS Yukon for a year and a half and have gone from a proud Candaian to an embarrassed Canadian to a seperatist. The sooner BC and the west go on its own the better.

Posted by: Tony W at October 22, 2008 1:15 PM

if you can get through reading the crap she writes without either vomiting or laughing you can then read what a real writer can do with words.

Posted by: Fred at October 22, 2008 1:17 PM

Tony W...I know exactly where you are coming from.Ten years with the Airborne from 77 to 87.I remember being happy to be on exercise with the Marines cause we knew we could trade stuff with them.Their rations at the time sucked,ours weren't that bad.Our rain gear couldn't resist a tear drop,Marine's rain gear was very effective and so,we had a deal.I can't remember how many dry runs we had during exercise cause we couldn't get live munitions.Nothing more demoralizing than dragging your butt up the side of a hill to advance on an ambush than when you get there to go,"bang,bang".All at the hands of the Liberals.

Posted by: h.ryan at October 22, 2008 1:36 PM

I find that all over the media. so called journalists who have nothing to report, and who waste media space on personal opinions about nothing. Let it go Damian! Just worry about your own writing, and chalk that up to "misinformation."

Posted by: Realistik at October 22, 2008 1:38 PM

The snotty ignorant opinion of this author is breathtaking. I should hope that her boorish self should never grace the presence of great soldiers again.

I think there comes a time in the responsible editing of a newspaper that they excise such bratty juvenile drivel, or at least relegate it to the disaffected punk youth section of the paper near the comics.

Jessica, your Mommy’s calling!

Posted by: KPD at October 22, 2008 1:43 PM

It's not that I don't appreciate the traffic, but why do you always link to the site I stopped updating two years ago? :-)

Posted by: Sean at October 22, 2008 1:56 PM

They should kick her sorry ass out of there and tell her she is not allowed to come back...perhaps the G&M will get the message.

Posted by: Al W at October 22, 2008 1:59 PM

Leeders just another bubble headed airhead from Toronto sitting at her boring office job sipping her ice cap. She's typical of the Lib left elitist type in Canada.
I think that she should be allowed to go back and perhaps take a ride with the boys from KAF to Panjawii to get a feel for the country outside of the so called country club.
Leeder's story tells us more about her than her holiday to Afghan... It tells us all about how she is a spoiled little brat with a pen who has little idea or cares very little for Canadian troops who have died for her ability to write her drivel. Soldiers like Nichola Goddard.
Leeder needs a spanking and told to get to her room so she can grow up a little bit.

Posted by: Rick at October 22, 2008 2:06 PM

It's not that I don't appreciate the traffic, but why do you always link to the site I stopped updating two years ago? :-)

Because you're not updating the new site these days either, and I figured giving people a taste of your existing work would be better than showing them a big, bold notice of how you're not updating anything until next year...since you asked, Sean. :P

(Just be glad I can still remember and credit you with ANYTHING you said all those years ago when you were still blogging...)

Posted by: Damian at October 22, 2008 2:08 PM

It's the old adage: chit sells. If you print a piece that congratulates the boys, acknowledges the terrific job they are doing, and compliment them on their honour and sense of won't sell. They want sensationalism, yellow journalism and rampant bias for their political views...and that clot headed cow delivers.

The Globe and Mail is written for stupid people - for stupid people.

Posted by: Jim at October 22, 2008 2:15 PM

Jim? Shouldn't that read writen BY stupid people,for stupid people?

Posted by: Justthinkin at October 22, 2008 2:26 PM

Why don't I read the Globe? Because I've got the guys at The Torch to do it for me. Saves a lot of grief; thanks, DB.

What is the fascination these writers have for endocrinology? Everything is hormones, hormones, hormones -- as though snapping on your webbing robs you of reason. But out of that grows their incessant "boys and their toys" taunt, which has poisoned every public debate on CF procurement for decades.

Her story's worthless tripe. But it's a good thing that you have put the warning label on it.

Posted by: Jim Whyte at October 22, 2008 2:39 PM

Excuse me, but remind me again what the hell we are doing there in the first place? Was Afghanistan poised to invade Canada or something like that?
That is not a criticism of anyone in uniform. Nevertheless from where I sit, Canadians in Afghanistan does not make one damn bit of sense.

Posted by: Edward Teach at October 22, 2008 2:41 PM

Troll alert!

Posted by: h.ryan at October 22, 2008 2:47 PM

"Because you're not updating the new site these days either..."

Hey, I'd be out there with a camera like nobody's business if my pacemaker hadn't failed. I'd like to see how far you get carrying 40lbs of camera gear with half of your circulatory capacity missing. Now I'm doing the "hurry up and wait" thing. God bless socialized medicine.

Smart @$$! :-p~~~~~~~~~~~

"(Just be glad I can still remember and credit you with ANYTHING you said all those years ago when you were still blogging...)"

The reason I quit political blogging was that I realized I wasn't adding anything to the discussion. We already have the CBC for that, so who needs me?

Posted by: Sean at October 22, 2008 2:49 PM

The headline should have read: Witless: Kandahar. JEE-ZUS PLEEZUS!

Posted by: tower at October 22, 2008 3:06 PM

Best of luck with the ticker, Sean. Stay on the right side of the grass, OK? And get back to making great photos when you can.

Oh, and you WERE adding to the discussion. Perhaps now that you're temporarily forced to more sedate pursuits, you can start writing a bit again...

Posted by: Damian at October 22, 2008 3:16 PM

Thank you h.ryan for telegraphing your intentions.
So now where is this troll you've promised us? C'mon! Out with it...

Posted by: Edward Teach at October 22, 2008 3:23 PM

The fact that she's actually being called a journalist is really depressing, I suppose one can only hope that the snotty little wench gets some sort of karma kick for being so cruel to the soldiers and the "git" who all put their lives on the line just so she can remain a snotty little wench.
She's not worth the sacrifice.

Posted by: Irene Swain at October 22, 2008 3:38 PM

Horrible Heather without the outright malice. It's the attitude...


Posted by: Mark Collins at October 22, 2008 4:23 PM

Irene...problem is,that "little git" is worth FAR more then what resulted from what her father left running down her mother's legs.
And teach....Germany and Japan were not "invading" Canada in 1939. So we should have stayed away from that to?

Posted by: Justthinkin at October 22, 2008 4:26 PM

Hey, I think I saw her on Jay Leno's 'Jay Walking'.

Posted by: Sounder at October 22, 2008 4:27 PM

Oh. And teach.As you said,"from where you sit". Kinda ironic,isn't it?

Posted by: Justthinkin at October 22, 2008 4:28 PM

Truly crappy article; great response to it though.

Me, the article's erstwhile reporter doesn't bother me -- too -- much (hey, still a free country, and you're free to be a dumbarse if you're so inclined). What bothers me the most are the real "gits" who will read that claptrap nodding their ponderous skulls in aggreement with it.

Posted by: unknown jane at October 22, 2008 4:58 PM

Truly crappy article; great response to it though.

Me, the article's erstwhile reporter doesn't bother me -- too -- much (hey, still a free country, and you're free to be a dumbarse if you're so inclined). What bothers me the most are the real "gits" who will read that claptrap nodding their ponderous skulls in aggreement with it.

Posted by: unknown jane at October 22, 2008 4:58 PM

"Horrible Heather without the outright malice. It's the attitude..."

Good point, Mark. Still, with a few years of marinating in vinegar, mix in a lot more bitterness and bile, and she just might make it.

Posted by: nine rune at October 22, 2008 5:17 PM

Oh. And teach.As you said,"from where you sit". Kinda ironic,isn't it?

Ironic? Yes. I (and the rest of Canada) sits halfway around the world from Afghanistan!
Seriously, what are we doing there?
Hunting binladen? Ok, does that mean that when he's caught the boys can come home?
NATO commitment? OK...where's the rest of NATO?
I would even accept that this was out of Brzezinski's playbook, even though that's somewhat distasteful. But that being said, as much as I don't care for American hegemony, I like Chinese hegemony a LOT less.
Just don't try selling me some jingoistic pap about "making the world safe for democracy" or other such nonsense!
Otherwise why are we wasting lives and money? If the Afghans want to take their little corner of over there and run it in a barbarous medieval fashion (and it looks like they do), as long as they're not hurting anyone outside their little paradise I say let them. I'd prefer that sort of crap to happen over there anyway, and I'd like so send them some of the ones that have crept in here that want to live that way, back over there as well.

Posted by: Edward Teach at October 22, 2008 5:19 PM

Edward,were you born in 2002 or do you just think like a 6 year-old?

Posted by: wallyj at October 22, 2008 5:42 PM

re Edward Teach's post;

Ed, did you ever hear of a little organization called NATO?

One clause of the NATO Treaty is an attack on one member is deemed an attack on ALL members. When Al Qadia launched an attack on the USA on 9/11 it did so with direction from its Afghanistan base. Hence the NATO treaty requires ALL member nations to come to the defense of the USA.

Many NATO members don't want combat postings (France, Germany, Italy etc) leaving the heavy lifting to the USA, the Brits, the Dutch and Johnny Canuck.

Posted by: Norm Matthew at October 22, 2008 5:54 PM

Ummm... quantity of knives is unlikely to make a serious difference to survival. Mostly, the PX is a place to relax and, admittedly, buy some items of kit in better quality and suitability than the Army provided...

... like knives.

Posted by: Christoph at October 22, 2008 5:58 PM

It seems that our institutions of lower learning (this includes you, Ryerson) are producing fewer and fewer journalists and more and more urinalists.

If it doesn't match your brainwashed, urban, latte-set thinking, just piss on it.

Posted by: felis corpulentis at October 22, 2008 6:09 PM

Teach - not hurting anyone outside of their little paradise? What about the countless women there who are little more than objects to be traded between households? What about the kids who are brought up in hate and grow only to know hate? What about the spillover of that hate which we witnessed on 9-11?
The problem is they ARE hurting people, and they have no right to oppress, harm mentally or physically or take the life of any other human. They have done all these things and I pray for the men that willingly go over there and fight not only to protect my rights, but to secure the rights of the people who are oppressed overseas.

Good on the soldiers, I hope those boys all make it home safe.

Posted by: Irene Swain at October 22, 2008 6:23 PM

How did this bimbo get this gig? Who IS Jessica Leeder?

Posted by: batb at October 22, 2008 6:52 PM

Typical fare from the Slop and Fail. No surprise here. What I find particularly remarkable is that she has been sent around the world, no doubt at great expense, and the best she can muster is an article of only the most superficial of observations?

Line ups, greasy scents, dusty hair. Hard hitting this article is not.

Posted by: CJ at October 22, 2008 7:00 PM

batb: Here's a list of articles by Latte Leeder; it appears she left the Toronto Star at the end of 2006 and started with the Globe in spring 2007.


Posted by: Mark Collins at October 22, 2008 7:11 PM

This gal is a Jane Fonda/Heather Mallick cross - she is a fool and the response over at the Torch says it all for me. This stupid dip speaks for, and to, no one but herself.

Posted by: Jema 54 at October 22, 2008 7:15 PM

Thank you for posting the things that you do. I mostly observe but this was an outrage.
The offensive attachment that she placed on a young soldier fighting on behalf of his and many other counties was offensive, shallow and brain- dead garble. ( not to offend that tragedy)
Should we be there? yada..yada..yada... We are there and for all of the reasons of value stated by most of your contributors.
Send this bimbo into the home of an Afghan woman deprived of the common dignities and see what disrespect can really look like!
Hurray for our brave women and men!! G##, I wish these people got out a bit more!!

Posted by: Bec at October 22, 2008 7:28 PM

Ms Leeder clearly is in urgent need of a safe latte ingestion site. I guess Timmy's just doesn't cut it.


Posted by: Mark Collins at October 22, 2008 8:06 PM

Nevertheless a nation has a right to handle its own affairs as it sees fit, and if it wants to descend into madness, it can. It isn't our place to tell them otherwise, just like we can't demand a do-over if barack osama wins in two weeks.

Posted by: Edward Teach at October 22, 2008 8:42 PM

So Teach. Germany had the right to murder millions,as did Pol Pot,Mao,Stalin,etc.Just when exactly are they going to cut you off from your mommie's cord?Or do you like the idea of subjugation and murder? If so,Somalia or Zimbabwa sounds right for you.Hell.I'll even help pay for the one way ticket for you and Jessica there.Chirpes.It's getting to the point,you are making new/mos/whatever look educated!!

Posted by: Justthinkin at October 22, 2008 10:03 PM

hey Sean, 40 pounds of gear? Time to lighten the load dude. Pack what you think you will need and make due. I learned my lesson hauling a pack a sane mule wouldn't touch up to Lake O'Hara in Yoho Nat Park.

btw, this Leeder ditz sounds like she got on the wrong vacation getaway flight. Probably ticked off the Castro Brothers weren't there to greet her either.

Posted by: Texas Canuck at October 22, 2008 10:07 PM

Edward,descend into your own madness and I will allow it.Once your madness disrupts my life and harms myself or my loved ones ,I will hurt you and do my best to make sure it does not happen again. What part of reality do you not understand?

Posted by: wallyj at October 23, 2008 1:49 AM