ON TARGET: It's about time Canada ends bombing mission against ISIS

By: Scott Taylor

 Royal Canadian Air Force ground crew perform post flight checks on a CF-18 fighter jet in Kuwait after a sortie over Iraq during Operation IMPACT on November 3, 2014. (Combat Camera)

Royal Canadian Air Force ground crew perform post flight checks on a CF-18 fighter jet in Kuwait after a sortie over Iraq during Operation IMPACT on November 3, 2014. (Combat Camera)

With prime minister-designate Justin Trudeau sticking by his campaign promise to end Canada’s bombing mission against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the usual warmongers and fear mongers have stepped up their game.

Desperate to keep Canada’s military in a fighting war — any war — the retired Colonel Blimps brigade has been furiously penning editorials arguing why Trudeau must stay the course and keep on bombing.

“Canada doesn’t cut and run” was Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s battle cry in Afghanistan. This was, of course, echoed by the hawks right up until we actually cut and ran from that bloody failure.

Now it is the bombing of ISIS that they claim Canada must continue. Not one of these tub-thumpers has a clue as to when victory will be achieved or even what victory will look like, and their best argument to continue dropping bombs in the Middle East is to please our American allies.

These would be the same allies who ignored the advice of Canada, the UN and the vast majority of the civilized world when they invaded Iraq in 2003 on the completely bogus claim that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. The removal of Saddam created the power vacuum that set off the insurgency and inter-factional bloodletting that led to the current complex, multi-sided conflict and the rise of ISIS.

The United States created this hydra of violent bloodletting and they still have no clue as to how to contain it, let alone restore peace and prosperity to the region.

The latest estimate from the Pentagon is that the allied bombing effort against ISIS could be extended for another eight to 10 years. In the meantime, efforts will be made to train and equip an Iraqi military that will prove self-sufficient and capable of defeating the Islamic extremists on its own. That’s right folks, if 12 years of training and equipping the Iraqi army resulted in them abandoning their weapons and vehicles at the first sight of ISIS, then another decade of training and equipping a new Iraqi army ought to do the trick.

This same formula was also recently applied in Afghanistan following several significant setbacks for the Afghan security forces at the hands of a revitalized Taliban. In this case, it has been a full 14 years that the U.S. military has been training and equipping Afghan troops, only to have the latter run in panic at the sight of a few black-turbaned Taliban fighters. The only answer to this was for U.S. President Barack Obama to announce that American troops will stay in Afghanistan longer to train and equip more Afghan soldiers. Another decade should do the trick.

This brings to mind that definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Canada was ill-advised to join in the allied bombing effort against ISIS for the very reason there is no long-term objective or a clear blueprint for victory. Whether the Harper government wanted to admit it or not, bombing ISIS targets means that our military is supporting all those factions battling those same ISIS evildoers. This list includes Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, Russia and Iranian-backed Iraqi Shiite militia.

Furthermore, when you add to this mix the mighty U.S.-led air alliance, which includes Canada’s six-pack of aging CF-18 Hornet fighter jets, it is unbelievable that in over a year of combat operations, ISIS has not only not been defeated but has not even been forced to surrender any of the territory it controls.

It is true ISIS was handed billions of dollars worth of U.S.-supplied vehicles, weaponry and ammunition when the Iraqi army deserted en masse, but these volunteer fanatics are hardly first-class NATO-standard professional warriors. In other words, for all the bluster about the evil, beheading, genocidal ISIS threat, no one is really serious about suffering the casualties that would result in actually eliminating it. Instead, the U.S. figures it is better just to bomb around the edges for years. That ought to do the trick.

Bringing Canada’s tiny combat aircraft contingent home will in no way hamper the allied air effort, and if it means we have to forfeit our place in some future victory parade, so be it. We staged a big victory celebration for our leading role in defeating Moammar Gadhafi in Libya in 2011, and look how that turned out.