It has been suggested that in a previous post (1) Canadian Defence Matters has been guilty of simplification.
There may be some justification in saying that ‘the primary task of the Canadian Armed Forces is to kill foreigners and destroy their material goods” is a simplistic assessment.(2) It is true that the purpose of the Canadian military, like that of all other departments of the federal government, is to work for the benefit of Canadians. Benefit may be an elastic term, but in this case it means defending Canadian interests. Unlike all the other departments of government however the main method the DND uses to achieve these goals is to “kill foreigners and destroy their material goods, or at least be able to believably threaten to do so, if they don’t do what we want them to.”
Obviously there are other methods that can be used to achieve the goal of defending the Dominion and the military can and should use some of them. However, in theory all of these non violent methods could be accomplished by some other organization. Only the armed forces are trained and equipped to commit violent acts on a large scale in pursuit of their objectives.
In light of recent reports on the growth of civilian staff numbers at National Defence, which grew by almost 30 per cent over six years, it is also important to remember the difference between most civil servants and members of the military. (3) Unlike most of the public service, members of the military undertake to risk their own lives to achieve the goals we set for them. This unlimited liability, even more then their willingness to do violence on our behalf, is what sets them apart from other elements of our society.
(1) THE RIDEAU INSTITUTE REPORT ON SUBMARINES, PART ONE
(2) MILNEWS.ca BLOG
(3) Too many staff, too few troops, despite cuts