By: Scott Taylor
Last week, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair set the defence community abuzz when he made the statement that, if elected, the NDP would end the military commitment to combat ISIS in Iraq.
In any previous election, the military old boys’ club would have responded to such a pronouncement with amused chuckles. The New Democrats could always promise the moon because everyone knew they would never form the next government.
This time around, the polls indicate that Mulcair, as prime minister, is a very real possibility and, hence, his claims could become reality.
In immediate response, the usual warmongering tub-thumpers decried any immediate withdrawal from the allied coalition in Iraq. “We will lose all credibility with our allies,” they chanted, followed by the emphatic argument that we “must stay the course.”
The course that they suggest could mean another five to 10 years of military campaigning.
There is no way they can make any kind of accurate prediction of when victory will be achieved because, up until now, no one has thought to describe what victory would look like.
That’s right, folks! We know that we have sent Canada’s sons and daughters into harm’s way to battle against ISIS evildoers, but no one has ever explained to the Canadian public who exactly we are fighting for.
At present, the list of those allied with Canadians in the fight against ISIS includes Syrian forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah, Shiite militia and Iranian military advisers.
However, we know that Assad is evil because when the insurrection began in Syria in 2011, then-foreign affairs minister John Baird cut off all diplomatic relations with the Syrian government and championed the rebels with chants of “Assad must go!”
Those cheers for Syrian rebels of course became a little muted when it was revealed that those fighting Assad were actually al-Qaida and ISIS. Oops!
Then there is the fact that Hezbollah fighters have flocked to Syria to combat ISIS. The Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization is of course listed as a terrorist organization by the Canadian government, yet here they are engaging a mutual enemy. Complicated!
Inside Iraq, the U.S.-trained and -equipped Iraqi security forces simply melted away at the first sight of Sunni extremist ISIS forces in the spring of 2014, and the Shiite majority government in Baghdad had no choice but to rely upon private armies.
To bolster these Shiite militias, embattled Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi also called in Iranian military advisers. We know that Iranians are evil because back in September 2012, John Baird also cut off all diplomatic ties with Tehran.
Canada maintains the position that Iranians are evil to the point that when the Iraqi Shiite militia, supported by Iranian forces, attacked the ISIS stronghold of Tikrit last March, RCAF spokespersons made it clear that, although allied warplanes bombed in support of that attack, Canadians definitely did not.
Similarly, when Canada extended and expanded the mission to include ISIS targets inside Syria, Defence Department spokespersons claimed that such airstrikes were not in support of Assad; they were simply against his ISIS enemies.
Now comes word that Russia is officially entering the anti-ISIS fray by providing support to embattled President Assad.
Wow, that has to be a mind-twister for the Harper Conservatives!
We know that Russian President Vladimir Putin is evil incarnate, because the Harper government continuously tells us so, but now his soldiers are fighting with us against a mutual enemy. Puzzling!
Perhaps Mulcair would be better advised to state that, rather than ending the fight against ISIS immediately upon his election, he will instead be cancelling Canada’s military assistance to Hezbollah terrorists, Assad’s evil regime, Iran’s despotic theocracy and, of course, those dastardly Russians.
It means exactly the same thing, but it would be impossible for Harper and the tub-thumpers to argue with that logic.