Volume 95, Issue 25

Wednesday, October 17, 2001
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Anthrax hysteria strikes London

The world at war

'Mike the knife' cuts himself

Unique war insight from USC GM

Vampires, ghosts not educational

Lefties concerned by anti-terror movement

News briefs

Unique war insight from USC GM

By Kristina Lundblad
Gazette Staff

While NBC and CNN consult their military gurus, The Gazette has its own expert a little closer to home.

The University Students' Council's general manager, Mark Sellars, joined the Canadian army in 1975 and by the time he retired had 26 years of military experience under his belt.

"It's a mystery until you're in it," Sellars said, in reference to army life, adding it is full of average Canadians from a wide spectrum of society.

Sellars served five years with the Special Service Force during the Cold War and was stationed all over the world, including Angola, Croatia and Bosnia.

His duties ranged from chief instructor of tactics in the Canadian army to being responsible for security during the first inter-racial election in South Africa in 1994.

Sellars ended his career in Meaford, Ontario, where he served as commanding officer and retired as a lieutenant-colonel.

In reference to the United States' current war on terrorism, Sellars spoke from a strictly military point of view.

"The U.S. response is presently one that is designed to have the most impact with the least risk," he said. "There is no air war. We're dominating air space, thus giving us freedom of movement.

"The enemy [the U.S. is] fighting has the advantage of knowledge of terrain, while air strikes [can] hit anywhere without a threat of serious retaliation," he said, noting Afghanistan offers no serious air defenses.

In regards to Canada's involvement, most of the 2,000 Canadian troops sent to help the U.S. are sailors and airmen who form a support system, with the exception of pilots who play a combat role, Sellars said.

The U.S. humanitarian campaign in Afghanistan is an idea Sellars believes will not be successful.

"You don't solve humanitarian problems simply by delivering food and water," he said. "It has been tried before and failed miserably, as it will in Afghanistan."

As to why the U.S. still drops food, Sellars explained it removes some of the dependence of average citizens on the Taliban and puts the West in a more positive light.

The current war is about making it clear that challenges to U.S. security will be met with a response, Sellars said.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001