The general and the Eyes Guy

General Jon Vance leads the revamped mission against ISIS.
General Jon Vance leads the revamped mission against ISIS.

As Canada is set to spend $1.6 billion over the next three years on the mission against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, known as Operation Impact, extended until the end of March 2017, Chief of the Defence Staff General Jon Vance met the Eyes Guy.
Ah! Sunny Ways: Canada is majoring on security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance, such as water, shelter, health care, hygiene and sanitation and building capacity in those countries helping refugees from the region.
Still, we cannot underestimate Vance as he is a fighting general who we can trust while we sleep soundly here at home, dreaming of changing the world. This is a man’s man.
And we should thank Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for pulling Canadian fighter jets from the combat mission against ISIL in two weeks in light of that expanded mission focused on training local security forces and helping to rebuild the shattered region.
It’s left the poor fighting-mad opposition Conservatives alone on the war path in a tantrum. Yikes!
“We think we ought to avoid doing precisely what our enemies want us to do: they want us to elevate them, give in to fear, to indulge in hatred,” Trudeau said.
Also, Eyesers, the Canadian Armed Forces at the same time continue to participate in Operation CARIBBE, the multinational campaign against drug trafficking by transnational organized criminals in the Caribbean Sea and the eastern Pacific Ocean. Two Kingston Class vessels, HMC Moncton and Summerside sailed from Halifax Harbour to the scene recently.
Vance’s father Jack Vance retired as vice-chief of defence staff, the number two general in the country, while Vance was a captain serving with the 3rd Battalion Royal Canadian Regiment stationed in Germany at the time. Dad’s advice: “Be yourself; courage of convictions.”
Vance was promoted to his current rank and formally appointed as the Canadian Armed Forces chief of the defence staff in July 2015. One of Canada’s most decorated soldiers, his honours include the Order of Military Merit in the rank of Commander, the Meritorious Service Cross with bar and a Mentioned-in-Dispatches. In 2011, he was awarded the Vimy Award for his contributions to Canadian defence and security.
He served two combat tours in Afghanistan, was a senior NATO commander in Europe and was responsible for all Canadian military operations in Canada and overseas. Armed with a master’s degree in war studies, he was one of the principal authors of the army’s counter-insurgency manual which was adopted during the Kandahar campaign.
Vance started uniformed life at age 13 as an army cadet in Lahr, Germany. (The Eyes Guy was a Boy Scout by age14 and earned a swimming badge. More of a bottom feeder, but you get my drift.)
Anyway, as more of a let’s make love and build bridges kind of guy, Eyes believes we need to make this world a better place, to build a bright future for all, so the new mission works for me.
And Vance realizes the need for maintaining good relations with scribes like the Eyes Guy, regardless of their personal convictions about war and peace, even when dealing with stories defence doesn’t want out in the public domain.
An example, Eyesers, is when in 2013 Canadian Forces military police launched an investigation regarding CTV journalist Bob Fife. Fife rocked the propaganda boat when he revealed then-chief of the defence staff General Walter Natynczyk in 2011 spent more that $1 million using government aircraft to jet to hockey games and a Caribbean vacation spot.
This is a test of a man’s man: is he a swim with or against the tide general? Is he prepared to speak truth to power?
Vance is, according to retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie, who said he is blunt and known for speaking truth to power which could make him a popular choice for a military struggling to redefine itself following the Afghanistan mission.
Indeed, Vance is striving to live the advice from his dad: “Be yourself which I took as don’t be contrived; don’t put on airs. And he always taught me to have the courage of my convictions, as long as they were thought through.”
Eyes likes the words of fictional finance minister Eric Cameron from The Best Laid Plans, who said, “I worked as a relatively low-level civilian public affairs officer for the Department of National Defence for 13 years with Generals Hillier, Natynczyk, Semianiw, Lawson, and Vance. If I had to pick the best of the lot, it would be Vance.”