OTTAWA -- Canadian army officers are negotiating the purchase of as many as 100 surplus tanks from the German and Swiss armies, CTV News has learned.Gee, what's happened since 2003? Oh, that's right, this:
The deal may yet fall through but, even if it does, the fact that army officers are contemplating a purchase that could more than double the number of tanks in the Canadian Forces represents a significant strategic shift, military analysts say.
As recently as 2003, military planners were proceeding to sell, dismantle and mothball Canada's tanks. The Liberal government of the day approved a $3-billion plan to replace Canada's fleet of 66 Leopard 1 tanks with lighter, faster and more mobile armoured vehicles.
The [US] Army has deployed a new troop transport vehicle in Iraq with many defects, putting troops there at unexpected risk from rocket-propelled grenades and raising questions about the vehicle's development and $11 billion cost, according to a detailed critique in a classified Army study obtained by The Washington Post.The idea of light, mobile forces replacing heavy armor has died in the valleys of Mesopotamia just as surely as all the other fantasies that were used to sell that war. If Hillier sincerely has changed his mind on this matter, then I say good for him.
To put it more clearly, the value of lightly-armored, highly mobile forces is only even theoretically apparent if you don't intend to do any occupation. Otherwise, all you've got is lightly-armored targets, that are spending most of their time rolling slowly through urban streets.