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A dead Canadian general, Osama bin Laden, and the world’s worst ally

US Navy seal
The film Zero Dark Thirty’s dramatization of May 2, 2011 when US NAVY-SEAL Team 6 raids Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
Zero Dark Thirty, IMFDB
Canada has a long history in Pakistan. It was there during one of the first United Nations peacekeeping missions—UNMOGIP or United Nations Military Observer Group India-Pakistan—that Canada lost its first peacekeeper.

UNMOGIP began on Jan. 24, 1949, with a mandate to supervise the ceasefire between India and Pakistan in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Canadian Brigadier-General Harry Angle was named as the mission’s first chief military observer. But shortly after taking his post, he died in a plane crash while travelling to Kashmir. That happened on July 17, 1950. Angle was 44. He had commanded the British Columbia Dragoons in the Italian and Netherlands campaigns during the Second World War.

Harry Angle
Brigadier-General Harry Angle

In the time since Angle’s death, both Canada and the United States have failed to make a solid ally out of Pakistan. Worse than that, the billions in funding our two governments have given to Pakistan were quite likely used, at least in part, to fund and shelter the Taliban, plan operations against our interests, and even deliver nuclear capabilities to Iran and North Korea.

And of course there is the issue of Osama bin Laden, who was discovered living in what looked like a purpose-built bunker of house merely steps away from an elite Pakistani military academy in Abbottabad.


For those interested in finding out more about our fascinating alliance with Pakistan, there is an old but excellent article in the May 16, 2011, issue of the New Yorker, entitled The Double Game, by author Lawrence Wright.

“Not only has American military aid been wasted, misused, and turned against us; it may well have undermined the Pakistani military, which has feasted on huge donations but is far weaker than its nemesis, the Indian military,” Wright summarizes. “If the measure of our aid is the gratitude of the Pakistani people and the loyalty of their government, then it has clearly been a failure.”

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