Re: “Research or war machine,” March 17, 2006.
To the Editor:
As indicated by professor Nick Dyer-Witheford, the Counter-Stryker group takes issue with Western’s involvement in the improvement of the Stryker light armored vehicle (LAV), which is capable of delivering deadly force. Many students with whom I discussed this issue were at odds with supporting research to enhance a vehicle with these capabilities, especially as it is being used in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Some question the necessity of heavy weapons on these vehicles when Canadians are using them to perform peacekeeping. What Canadians sometimes forget is that all military operations — including peacekeeping — require these capabilities. Weaponry such as that mounted on the Stryker ensures the safety of our soldiers when a goodwill campaign is met with a hostile reception by extremist factions.
‘Counter Stryker’ also takes a negative view of the ethics associated with a university conducting this type of “undemocratic” research. Stephen Maynard called for a series of public debates regarding both Western and London’s involvement with the Stryker and military research in general.
I argue that the safety of our soldiers, which is enhanced by systems such as the Stryker, is paramount and not open for debate. Some of the Canadian soldiers injured and killed in Afghanistan were occupants of vehicles produced by General Dynamics. I feel that anything Western can do to improve the ballistic materials on these vehicles, and thus the security of our soldiers, is not only ethical but our national duty.
Civil and Environmental Engineering IV