May 29, 2010

Yon's gonna have fun with this one (UPDATED)

Canada's commander in Afghanistan has been sacked.

BGen Menard took over command late last November. His stint as Canada's battlefield commander, which seemed to run into more than its share of problems, would have normally gone until the start of the fall, through this year's entire fighting season. BGen Jon Vance, who was the Task Force commander for most of 2009, has been sent back to take over for the rest of Menard's term. That's reassuring, obviously, but clearly this still represents something of a setback for ISAF's current Kandahar efforts, having to switch out their senior commander for the city and environs right now. Menard's Task Force comprises all the Canadian units in Afghanistan as well as the four U.S. battalions currently ringing Kandahar City.

UPDATE: The headline called it. The recently disembedded Michael Yon is claiming personal responsibility tonight for getting Menard fired: "This fight was expensive for me in many ways, but I got him. Getting this man fired was worth the fight and the costs. This will save American, Canadian, and Afghan lives." In the comments he elaborates: "I reported the sexual affair."

And to be fair, there's reason to believe him. In the case of the general's March 25 negligent discharge incident, a Yon email query about it April 17 was followed the very next day by the Canadian Forces announcing the incident had occurred and charges against Menard were pending. Yon said at the time he had heard about the ND from "a couple of interesting Canadians." It would thus seem plausible a similar tipoff led to the current situation, as well. And by the sounds of the quote reporter Matthew Fisher got from Menard just a few hours before, the BGen never even saw the knives coming.

UPDATE, Sunday: Yon's feeling his oats, as I thought he might. "If writers like [Canadian] Matthew Fisher did not see Menard's incompetence underneath their very noses, they should surrender their pens. If they will not stand up, they should not cover war... General Stanley McChrystal should be following Menard out the door. Fire McChrystal!"

Now, it would be nice at some point to get some info from someone besides Yon detailing his role in this, so we can know it's not just him falsely taking credit here (As Yon doesn't appear to have actually written anything publicly before the CF announcement of the firing, so it's not clear what it is he can take credit FOR... and recall he does have an internet tip jar to fill). Meanwhile, the Globe is reporting the second soldier alleged to be involved in this situation has also been sent home.

Posted by BruceR at 09:00 PM