Letters

The Mail

Kosovo pilots

April 10 2000
Letters

The Mail

Kosovo pilots

April 10 2000

The Mail

Letters

Kosovo pilots

As I read “Canadian aces,” (Cover, March 27), I can’t help feeling a bit ashamed that Canada was partly responsible for the death of an estimated 500 civilians during the Kosovo air attacks last year. However, I can feel pride when I think of how many civilian lives our military pilots saved from Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic’s wave of terror. Moreover, my pride increased as I read the accompanying article, “Choosing Canada,” as it outlines how other Canadians have opened their communities and hearts to Kosovo refugees.

Ross Moncur, Kingsville, Ont.

Thanks for publishing an excellent article on our Canadian pilots over Kosovo. As a serving Canadian Army officer who has endured the last few years of an almost ceaseless drumfire of bad press, it was refreshing to read this piece. Your article did two very important things for Canadians. First, it showed them the truly determined, capable and professional human beings who wear this country’s uniform. Second, you clearly reminded us of

the ultimate and sombre purpose of any armed force: to be ready to fight the nation’s wars. Peacekeeping, while important, is only a part of the military picture. The Canadian Forces have a long and proud tradition of combat service, to which these brave pilots have now added another chapter.

David J. Banks, Oakville, Ont.

As someone whose parents, siblings, nieces and nephews lived in horror for 78 days, fearing these brave pilots, I cannot understand the cruelty of your article. For the first time, I can see the faces of people who almost left me without any family. I can learn their names and how happy they were to oblige killing everyone who ever meant anything to me. Miryana Heath, Vancouver

I’m on record as an outspoken critic of NATO’s war against Yugoslavia, yet I can still take pride in the professionalism of our Canadian pilots who participated in this unjustified action. Nevertheless, I was disappointed at the uncharacteristic hyperbole in describing our pilots as “aces.” Ace is a title bestowed on someone for shooting down a specific number of enemy aircraft. Engaging infrastructure targets from high altitudes is not and never will be included in the qualifying criteria, and I’m quite confident that our past aces and your new ones would agree.

Gen. Lewis Mackenzie (ret’d),

Bracebrldge, Ont.

My Oxford dictionary defines an ace as “a pilot who has brought down many enemy aircraft.” During both wars the air forces engaged in, it was

Experience required

When I read about someone from Russia coming to this country, being here for only a few months and getting a job with a computer company, I was astounded (“Jobs, jobs, jobs,” The Economy, March 20). I was born in this country, I am a Canadian and am more than qualified for the computer jobs I send my résumé to. I have, as of this June, been three years without employment and am at my wit’s end. Where are all these so-called jobs? Michael Rutherford, Toronto

usually a count of five enemy aircraft. Using that term in this context is unfair to those who earned the tide of ace.

Cy Relph, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

Your story was interesting and informative, but using the descriptions “exclusive” and “for the first time” was somewhat misleading. Last Oct. 24, Maj. Glen Phillips was the guest on the CBC Newsworld broadcast, Mansbridge One on One. For 30 minutes, he talked to Peter Mansbridge about what it was like to be on those bombing runs over Kosovo, about his pride in the job he was sent there to do, and about the internal conflicts that he faced with the mission. Maj. Phillips should know, because he flew more missions than any other Canadian pilot in that war. He even brought along his home video, shot during his stay at the Canadian base at Aviano to share with viewers. We’re glad Macleans has seen the merit in the same story.

Cynthia kinch, Executive Producer, Mansbridge One on One, Toronto

The same bombing campaign that destroyed Kosovo also wantonly destroyed the entire civilian infrastmcture of Serbia. You very casually avoid mentioning this fact.

Anton Skerbinc, Boswell, B.C.

Sharing the dedication and sacrifice of those who fought in Kosovo was timely and compelling. What was not told was the predilection of the Chrétien government for dangerous underfunding of defence. Our pilots were sent to war in marginal aircraft. It was outstanding that 18 Canadian CF18s successfully struck 10 per cent of the NATO targets in Kosovo and Serbia. But it must have been cold comfort to the pilots to learn of a similar CF-18, flying over Cold Lake, Alta., that lost part of its tail section because it had corroded from the inside out.

Letters to the Editor

should be addressed to:

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J. Cecil Berezowski, Brentwood Bay, B.C.

The future war-crimes prosecution of NATO leaders will be grateful to Macleans for the following passage: “[Allied air force commander Gen. Michael] Short had wanted to open the campaign with a massive, lethal bombing of Belgrade, taking out the Serbs’ air defences, power grids, bridges and command centres. . . . But Short did not get to wage the war he wanted. In June, 1998, he had two American officers draw up detailed plans for his strategy, but the document was shelved by Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO’s supreme commander.” In other words, detailed plans for NATO’s bombing of Serbia were made seven months before the January, 1999, Racak “massacre,” which NATO attributed to the Serbs, and the Washington crisis factory used as an excuse for manufacturing the subsequent Kosovo crisis.

Bob Djurdjevic, Founder, Truth in Media, Phoenix, Ariz.

Log on for music

I must say, every time I read an article on the MP3 situation, I have to laugh (“FreeMusic,” Cover, March 20). I used to work in the music business, but I left because the simple fact is that record companies got greedy: it costs about a $1.50 to produce a CD, and they sell it for $ 16.95 and up. Now, they think we are willing to pay up to a dollar a song for an MP3! I, and others like me, don’t even use the Net. You can go on MIRC32 and get album after album free, sometimes before they are in the stores, and then surf the Net for the cover art and, voilà, you’re done. I haven’t bought a CD in two years, but

get up to 10 albums a month from around the world. Log on and take a chunk of what belongs to you!

Adam Rayfield, Toronto

I have been using Napster for about a month and I think it is great. The whole idea that I can download songs not available in Canada because they are European releases appeals to me. As well, I often download one song by an artist that I would never usually buy. I will not stop buying CDs of the music I like, but I feel that Napster is an alternative way to get a variety of music, and, who knows, if I like a song I hear from an artist unknown to me, I may buy the CD.

Carla Barnes, St. John’s, Nfld.

Selling ‘our water’

Three cheers for Andrew Phillips’s “They don’t want our water” (March 27). The first time I saw Council of Canadians chairwoman Maude Barlow’s exhortation to protect “our water” and “send a contribution,” it struck me as a very nice way to make a living. I started to rack my brain for other issues that might milk surplus dollars from the paranoid fringe in Canada. But after considerable reflection, I decided they have already all been taken. The barrage of begging letters in my mail every day makes that pretty clear.

J. E. Loomes, Edmonton

Evidently Andrew Phillips thinks that Americans don’t want Canadian water. The governments of some provinces, including British Columbia and Ontario, don’t agree and have banned bulk water export. Other provinces are now moving in that direction.

Alan Bangay, Salmon Arm, B.C.

If Canadians must insist on believing that the Yankees are coming, I have a few suggestions for you as a country. Elect Alliance party leadership candidate Stockwell Day. That’s about as right wing as you can get. Then spend all those precious Canadian tax dollars that would normally go to support important things like a failing medicare system, that fountain being built in Shawinigan courtesy of your responsible prime minister and his pork-barrel politics, and bilingualism, and channel them into something really significant like, umm, the military, to defend the border against us. But wait, then you’d be just like us! We wouldn’t have to invade you, you could become our newest, biggest state. Maybe that’s jumping the proverbial gun a little. How about the largest U.S. territory?

Kate Madsen, Kintnersville, Pa.

‘Selective outrage’

I might sympathize with Barbara Amiel’s complaint about being labelled a right-wing extremist—people get labelled so easily these days—were it not for the biases she reveals so blatantly (“On being ‘right wing,’ ” March 20). “Denying the communist holocaust,” she claims in the very column where she disclaims her extremism, “will get you a chair at any Western university.” Wow. Here’s another little-known truth from

the same source: “The reason I am called right wing today is only because the spirit of our times is left wing and most of our elites, including the media, are imbued with this spirit.” Where is the evidence for this “spirit of our times,” and which elites are so afflicted? The business elites in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver? The political elites of Ontario, Alberta, Ottawa? Those who own and run Canada’s two national newspapers? Perhaps Amiel lives in some other time, or place.

Ivor Shapiro, Toronto

It has long been recognized that, as Barbara Amiel illustrates, the selective outrage and prosecution that exists has always been pro-communist and anti everything else. I well understand why she writes, and why she has always been attacked. Keep on trucking, Barbara.

Edward Kennedy, Harrowsmith, Ont.

Leading example

Fotheringham’s example of the

best newspaper lead of all time was a real grabber (“Ah, to be a media magnate,” March 27). Here’s another, which introduces the reader to the sad story of the suicide of a fastidious young woman: “Always a tidy girl, Penny hanged herself in the closet yesterday.” Peter Spohn, Penetanguishene, Ont.

Pay rates, tax rates

Talk about diametrically opposed. First, I read the letter from Dmitri Fedorov (“Smoke and mirrors,” The Mail, March 27) and then I read “Why I stay ... for now,” by James Cherry (“Over to You,” March 27), who turned down an offer to move to the United States. My wife and I came to this country from England in 1969, after being solicited by the government to become teachers. We signed up for two years, and here we are, 32 years later, Canadian citizens, living in this magnificent country. We need more people like Mr. Cherry than like Mr. Fedorov. If you need a hand packing your suitcase, Dmitri, let us know. But you don’t know what you are missing.

David and Christine Price, Arborg, Man.

So, computer programmer Dmitri Fedorov plans to drain his brain to the United States when his “salary hits $70,000.” While he’s quibbling about a few per cent in tax, he could be earning at least two or three times that $70,000 if he moved to the Bay area of California. As a high-tech worker who chose to move from the United Kingdom to Canada, I strongly feel that the issue before Canadians who aren’t happy with their take-home pay isn’t tax rates but pay rates. By the way, I’m staying.

John Walmsley, Victoria