Sunday, March 18, 2007

The seduction of a soldier as a young man

(photo of Andria Hill-Lehr from the Halifax Chronicle Herald)

I have never had much truck nor trade with peace nicks. I find them to be morally superficial, frequently loose with the facts and habitually blind to the interests and threats facing Western civilization. Their most egregious failing in my view is their ugly habit of asserting a moral equivalence between our Western values and those of our mortal enemies. Scratch that last thought. That is too generous. In practice, peace nicks almost inevitably grant our enemies the benefit of the doubt, while giving short shrift to those charged with defending our society.

Andria Hill-Lehr (photo above) takes things a bit further in an article in the Halifax Chronicle Herald.
Published: 2007-03-18

Mom: military seduces young

Valley woman, whose son is in Afghanistan, complains of ‘brainwashing’

WOLFVILLE — The military is seducing impressionable youth into service in the Armed Forces, says the mother of a Canadian soldier in Afghanistan.

Andria Hill-Lehr says youth of all ages are being led to join the military before they have the ability to think critically.

She said Forces’ advertisements, shown at movie theatres, target teens. She also said the cadet program starts as young as age 12 and puts youth in touch with military life.

"We’ve used words like brainwashing and indoctrination and they’ve lost their emphasis," she said. Now she uses the word seduction. The Wolfville mom spoke on the issue at a Voice of Women for Peace rally in Halifax last month and she is writing a book for Pottersfield Press, a Halifax County publishing company.

She said teens who become involved in cadets, the reserves and the regular forces are being taught to follow when they should be learning to lead and to think for themselves.

"The cadet (program) promotes itself as providing friendship, fun, adventures and challenges, but if that’s what’s important to parents, there are other ways to get it without promoting the military culture.

"Some parents see it as the opposite of joining a street gang," Ms. Hill-Lehr said.

She said youth could do volunteer work with aid groups, such as Crossroads and Oxfam.

The federal government spends hundreds of millions of dollars on the cadet program but nothing on Scouts Canada, which has more members, she said.

"If it’s all about citizenship and community, how come the guides and scouts aren’t getting that kind of support?"

She said her concerns are not based on the fact that her 23-year-old reservist son, Master Cpl. Garrow Hill-Stosky, and other Canadians are in Afghanistan.

Canada does need an army, she said, but it shouldn’t be developed through enticement of teenagers. She believes reserves should be restricted to people 18 years and older.


As the saying goes, one hardly knows where to begin, ...... but fear not, I shall figure it out.

To begin with, let me establish my credentials respecting the Canadian Cadet organization and Scouts Canada programs. A long time ago, I was myself a cadet, attaining the top rank of Warrant Officer First Class in a squadron of approximately 120 cadets. I was also a cub and a scout. Later in life I was a commissioned officer in the Canadian Forces during part of which I supervised 54 air cadet squadrons in central Ontario. Afterwards I spent some years as a training officer and a commanding officer of an air cadet squadron.

Currently, I'm a director of the Air Cadet League of Canada (Ontario provincial Committee). My eldest son is an air cadet and was a cub and a scout. This year I stepped down as a Group Commissioner with Scouts Canada and my youngest son is a cub scout. You might say I know whereof I write. You would be correct.

Ms Hill-Lehr, from her comments in the media, is an ideological horse's ass and she is obviously ignorant about the cadet program. From personal experience, I can attest that it offers some of the finest leadership and citizenship training available in any youth program anywhere in the world. In addition, cadets put in far more hours of public service than does the average peace activist in this country. Cadets in the squadron I am affiliated with spend time planting trees, cleaning up parks and ravines, visiting nursing homes, serving dinners at the local seniors centre and assisting city council in hosting numerous public events.

Aside from that, the program does not develop followers; it develops leaders who think for themselves. This is not surprising. It is run by reserve officers of the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Forces is not in the business of brainwashing anyone, in the manner of say - leftist peace activists. The demands of the modern battlefield precludes brainwashing as an effective training modality. Followers do not generally do well in the complex environment of the modern battlefield.

Of course, the vast majority of the Canadian sea, army and air cadets do not join the Canadian Forces. They are not required to perform military service, though those that do enlist normally do well. Some do very well. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, who was an air cadet, springs to mind.
"If it’s all about citizenship and community, how come the guides and scouts aren’t getting that kind of support?"
The one does not preclude the other. I'd welcome more support from government for the scouting program. Like the cadet program, scouting is a very good youth program. But the support given the cadet program is good public policy with proven positive results. It is money well spent, and as a person with a public policy background I can tell you (in case you are brain dead and weren't aware of it) that not all our tax dollars achieve positive results.
She said her concerns are not based on the fact that her 23-year-old reservist son, Master Cpl. Garrow Hill-Stosky, and other Canadians are in Afghanistan.
Think about that. It is simply not credible (see my opening comments about "frequently loose with the facts"). I suspect her 23 year old son was a cadet before he enlisted in the reserves and volunteered for service in Afghanistan. Her problem is not really that the cadet program develops followers that cannot think for themselves. It is that they do.

Her 23 year old son is a man - a man who made a choice to serve where he is in harm's way in the Canadian military - a decision that is anathema to the ideological group-think pap of a peace movement activist.

According to,

In Halifax, Andria Hill-Lehr said: "Right now I am ashamed of wearing a Canadian flag on my back."

The Wolfville, N.S. mother of a 22-year-old soldier leaving for Afghanistan in November was one of about 200 people who gathered in the Nova Scotia capital to protest Canada's participation in NATO-lePublishd operations in Afghanistan.

She took part in the rally because she said Canada's role should be as peacekeepers and nation builders but not a combative one.

"What we are doing is wrong in Afghanistan E destroying the country and promoting the U.S. imperialist agenda E," said Hill-Lehr.

She does support her son's decision but worries his spirit will be changed forever.

I'd be surprised if her son Master Corporal Garrow Hill-Stosky is ashamed of the Canadian flag he wears on the shoulder of his combat uniform. But then he's a soldier - a Canadian soldier. The soldiers I know - and I've been honoured to know many - are able to reason simple things through and it is self-evident to anyone who thinks about it that whatever we are up to in Afghanistan, the destruction of the country is not what we are there for.

I wonder whether M/Cpl Hill-Stosky is ashamed of anyone.