By Scott Taylor
Last week, the Canadian military told reporters that our special forces operatives in northern Iraq have been involved in numerous firefights in recent weeks with the Daesh evildoers.
After photos had appeared on Facebook showing Canadian soldiers firing anti-armour missiles on the front lines, it was not surprising that DND confirmed this to be the case.
According to Maj.-Gen. Mike Rouleau, commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces (CANSOFCOM), there have been three separate occasions wherein our soldiers engaged Daesh would-be suicide bombers with sophisticated anti-armour missile systems.
For those who have been following the now weeks-long allied offensive to recapture the Iraqi city of Mosul from Daesh, it is widely known that the evildoers have employed a multitude of suicide car bombs.
Rouleau explained: “The Kurds do not possess weapons like we have. So our three engagements with anti-armour weapon systems prevented that from happening several thousand metres before they wanted to detonate.” So far, so good. Our commandos are blasting apart the Daesh bad guys on the battlefield.
But that sounds like combat, and as we have been told repeatedly by both the former Conservative government and the current Liberal government, Canada does not have a combat mandate in Iraq.
To make the distinction clear, Rouleau stressed to reporters the fact that Canadian troops are not leading the fight, nor are they engaged in “offensive combat operations.” Digging himself in deeper, Rouleau added, “We have never accompanied any leading combat elements. My troops have not been engaged in direct combat as a fighting element in offensive combat operations.”
Huh? How can these Canadian soldiers firing anti-armour missiles not be with a leading combat element, if the only thing in front of them are the Daesh attackers? As for offensive operations, the entire push into Mosul and the recapture of its surrounding villages is one massive offensive. The Daesh suicide vehicles are desperate counterattacks to slow down the allied advance. It is a hell of a stretch of logic to push right up to the Daesh front lines and then proclaim your actions to be self-defence and, somehow, not combat.
Sticking to his guns, Rouleau tried to portray his soldiers’ actions as those of helpful bystanders who will engage Daesh with sniper fire or airstrikes to defend the Kurdish fighters they are supposed to be training. “From deliberately selected positions that maximize our utility to advancing Kurd forces, we have either defended ourselves, defended friendly forces, or defended civilians caught in the middle,” explained Rouleau.
Forgetting the fact that Rouleau’s statement of directly supporting “advancing Kurd forces” contradicts his earlier claim of having “never accompanied any leading combat elements,” it brings to mind the old axiom that if the enemy is within range of you, then you are within range of the enemy.
The crazy part of all this is that most Canadians do not care that our special forces personnel are engaged in combat with Daesh, even though they do not have a mandate to do so. The Daesh evildoers are mass murderers, rapists and perpetrators of attempted genocide. There is no doubt a sense of perverse pride among the Colonel Blimp warmongers that Canada is actively engaged in this shooting war. However, Canadian generals just can’t admit it.
I have stated repeatedly that, in my opinion, Canadian soldiers are not among the best in the world — they are the best. Our special forces operatives are undoubtedly a tremendous asset to the Kurdish forces they are supporting in battle. I am also sure that several of our soldiers have performed acts of heroism that would be worthy of medals of valour. However, due to the deliberate duplicity of our senior commanders in redefining the term combat in order to exceed their politically mandated ‘advise and assist’ role, these soldiers are not getting full credit for their service.
We can’t praise Canadian soldiers for their prowess in combat because, officially, they cannot be in combat.