Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Our Role in a New War

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Our Role in a New War

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Our role in a new war

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An editorial from the Red Deer Advocate, published Oct. 7:

It's pretty well a done deal: Canada will go to war -- in a limited way, at first anyway -- in the Middle East.

The majority of government MPs in Ottawa will see to that rather quickly. The promise to consult and debate the proposal regarding our active combat role in the fight against the terrorists in ISIL was concluded in one day, Friday.

A majority of Canadians, even those who self-identify as Liberal or NDP supporters politically, support sending air strike equipment and personnel to Iraq and probably to Syria. The evidence of that was shown in several polls conducted last week.

Here's the extent of Canada's commitment to the international military effort in Iraq right now: 10 aircraft of various kinds, 600 military personnel, for six months.

No Canadian ground troops will be sent, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper promises he will consult and debate again if the six-month engagement is to become something longer.

Although the goal suggested by U.S. President Barack Obama is to eliminate the ISIL threat, Harper says Canada will deem our mission a success if we "seriously degrade the capabilities of ISIL."

Our aim is to stop the terrorists' ability to conduct military movements of scale, or to operate in the open.

Harper has also said that if the president of neighbouring Syria requests it, he will authorize Canadian planes to do bombing runs at targets in Syria.

That we can do in six months. In fact, current information says the stated Canadian goal has already been reached. ISIL no longer conducts military movements "of scale." They are hiding in the villages, towns and cities -- among civilians.

For his part, Obama is already speaking publicly about the probability of civilian casualties, the men women and children who get blown up by the smartest of smart bombs nearby the buildings identified as containing ISIL forces, leaders or equipment caches.

In Canada, Harper is not talking about such things. He is also not talking about his government's cutbacks to accepting refugees fleeing towns controlled by ISIL. …

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