Canada's military leadership has quietly promoted to general the soldier who led the ill-fated Somalia mission and who was subsequently found by a government inquiry to have failed in his duty as a commander.The CBC reports:
The military has not publicized the July 2 promotion of Col. Serge Labbé to the rank of brigadier general.
A public inquiry into the affair cleared Labbe of any personal involvement in the killing, but concluded he failed to clearly enforce the rules of engagement. The inquiry, which ran from 1994 to 1997, called Labbe's failure both lamentable and inexcusable.The Ottawa Citizen reports:
In 1997, the Somalia inquiry concluded Brig.-Gen. Labbé exercised poor and inappropriate leadership by failing to ensure Canadian troops were adequately trained and tested on the Geneva Conventions and that he failed in his duty as a commander.In the real world a promotion means you take on new duties and responsibilities. The Somalia mission took place from 1992 to 1993. So perhaps the disgraced commander has redeemed himself and is ready to take on the new duties and responsibilities that the promotion entails. But that is not so.
As the Ottawa Citizen reports:
But sources contacted the Citizen about the promotion and the Defence Department yesterday confirmed that the new rank for the officer will be retroactive to 2000.How exactly do you go back eight years and take on the new duties and responsibilities of a promotion.
But it gets worse, as the Ottawa Citizen reports:
A colleague of Brig.-Gen. Labbé said the officer is currently in Kabul as head of the Strategic Advisory Team, which provides support to Afghan government ministries. He is expected back in Canada in August and is expected to retire after that, according to the general's colleague.and:
Dan Dugas, the communications director for Defence Minister Peter MacKay, said the minister signed off on the promotion based on the recommendation of Gen. Rick Hillier, who recently retired as chief of the defence staff. "Mr. MacKay takes the advice of the Chief of the Defence Staff on staffing issues," Mr. Dugas said.So this is not a promotion, but a retirement gift to a disgraced commander. And one that the government takes no responsibility for, preferring to put the responsibility on retired Chief of Defence Staff Rick Hillier.