We are very fortunate here at the UofC, and at CMSS specifically, to enjoy regular presentations by academics, policy-makers, and members of the armed forces who come to share their experiences, research, and opinions with us. These presentations are invaluable to our development as students. They force us to pull our heads out of our books, they provide access to information not readily available in the library and – often – they offer a forum for open discussion on important and topical issues. I say “often” only because this forum for constructive dialogue is occasionally, and in the case of our defence department, all too frequently, squandered. Why does DND choose to continue sending out representatives to “discuss important and relevant issues to all Canadians” and then refuse to actually discuss the issues? We appreciate that some things are classified, that others are not easily discussed with the public, and that significant time should be spent on the varied and wonderful achievements of our armed forces operating around the world. That said, why must we pretend that all decisions concerning Canadian defence and Canadian military operations are beyond reproach – or at least discussion and re-examination? Where, if not in an academic setting, with students who are currently researching these issues and many of whom are preparing to fill the very positions our government and armed forces now hold, should real discussions take place? Not every meeting or presentation should be treated as a PR opportunity. You’re not fooling anyone guys…. we know that things in Afghanistan and elsewhere weren’t all flowers and sunshine. If you’re not willing to discuss the real issues, the same things are going to happen again next time. Please don’t patronize us. We’re grad students… not journalists.