(Editor’s note: The Stratford Gazette is pleased to introduce well-known resident Ethan Rabidoux as its new columnist. Be sure to check back here regularly for his take on local issues and on what’s happening around the world.)
Canada is now in Iraq.
After wisely choosing to avoid a quagmire 11 years ago our elites have decided it’s now time to send the Canadian Forces in to attack ISIS in Iraq and Syria for half-a-year.
Yeah, that ought to do the trick.
Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly yet expecting a different result. Britain and the United States have been bombing Mesopotamia for over a decade. Another six months of bombardment is not going to magically cause peace, freedom and democracy to suddenly spring forward.
ISIS is one of many vicious and cruel forces in the Middle East. The region is loaded with blood thirsty dictators who are propped up by the West and barbaric non-state forces we choose to ignore. Saudi Arabia, the West’s closest ally, beheaded 80 people last year. Many of them were “guilty” of practicing the “wrong” religion (i.e. not Islam). No calls for an invasion. The glib moralizing by the government and its parrots in the media on Iraq rings hollow to most Canadians.
I served for three years in the Canadian Forces and I’m a member of the Army, Navy and Air Force Veterans Association. The hard truth is that after a decade of terrible leadership in the West, there are no good options left in Iraq. Ivory tower academics, gutless chicken hawks and wannabe cowboys in positions of authority have pushed that volatile country to the edge of a precipice.
Using Einstein’s definition, if our government actually believes what it says, it has gone mad.
The good news – I don’t believe Stephen Harper is crazy. The bad news - his hide-and-seek peak-a-boo handling of this file hints at something far worse.
This nation has a long history of non-partisan cooperation in times of war and crisis. The federal government in all the major conflicts would reach out to the opposition and bring them in to the decision-making process. The goal was to create a broad, unified consensus that everyone could stand behind. If we’re going to send our soldiers off to die, nothing less should be accepted by Canadians from our leaders.
The exact opposite approach was taken here. It begs the question, why?
The government started off with a lie saying the Americans had approached us to get involved. The Pentagon replied saying our government approached them. No request was ever made.
When NDP leader Tom Mulcair asked for details about the mission we witnessed the pitiful, pathetic performance of Harper’s parliamentary secretary Paul Calandra as he tried to dodge and evade the questions about Iraq by dragging Israel into his answers. It culminated with a teary-eyed apology from Calandra for his own behaviour in the House of Commons the following day.
The Prime Minister also said our CF-18s would bomb Syria if asked by the nation’s president Bashar al-Assad to do so. Flashback: on September 6, 2013 Harper said the Assad regime had used chemical weapons against its own people who were rising up to overthrow that hideous government and vowed that Assad would “pay for his actions.” The UN estimates the death toll of the Syrian civil war to be around 191,000 people. Now we’re going to bomb ISIS in Syria if Assad asks us to?
The notion that another six months of bombing will stop ISIS and fix all the problems is naive at best and could actually make an already explosive situation even worse. My suspicion is that Stephen Harper already knows this to be true but is pressing ahead anyway.
Canada had it right in 2003. The case for war wasn’t made then and it hasn’t been made now. Until a coherent argument is presented, our soldiers should not be asked to shed even a single drop of blood.
Ethan Rabidoux was a broadcast journalist for six years and is now an author. More information about his work can be found at www.ethanrabidoux.com.