The Confused Support for a Timid Coalition
In today’s paper, Sun News columnist Lorne Gunter spelled out the futility of the American-led air-strike campaign against ISIL. As far as he went, the analysis by Mr. Gunter was somewhat accurate although he continues to cling to the absurd idea that what he refers to as ‘serious’ air strikes might work. A tepid military response is not going to defeat or even contain ISIL and anything less than a well-planned and coordinated full military campaign which by necessity will include combat ground troops, artillery and tanks is doomed to fail
In the end, the Coalition of the Unwilling that the Obama Administration has cobbled together will be confronted with the harsh choice of either packing up their tents and going home or committing to putting combat troops on the ground to deal with an enemy that has grown stronger and even more dangerous.
There was something else about Mr. Gunter’s piece that got under my hat.
There wasn’t a word – not one word – in his piece criticizing the Harper Government for doing exactly the same thing for which he is criticizing the Obama Administration. Readers who left comments agreed with Mr. Gunter even as they too managed to skillfully avoided any criticism of our own government for jumping on board the campaign they criticize.
How is it possible to condemn the lack of effective military strategy by the American government while supporting the Canadian government as it contributes to that failed strategy? Please tell me it isn’t because Obama is a Democrat (liberal) and Harper is a conservative.
There is no room for political partisanship or expediency when nations are facing war with a radical threat like the one ISIL represents.
Since the air strikes began, ISIL has continued to expand across Syria and Iraq even as the Coalition of the Hesitant engaged in highly selective ‘tank plinking’ as Mr. Gunter refers to it. Individual trucks and tanks are attacked while major ISIL munitions depots, infrastructure it controls and military installations are all but ignored.
It is war elevated, or perhaps more accurately lowered, to the level of a video game.
ISIL is now on the outskirts of Baghdad and threatening to overrun Kobane in Syria on the border with Turkey. It has a firm hold on Anwar province and is continuing both its ground offensive and effective use of social media to recruit new soldiers.
By contrast, the Coalition of the Unwilling is dithering; unwilling to commit to doing what is necessary, where it is necessary, to effectively eliminate the threat that ISIL represents. Instead, it falls back on political illusions that are as dangerous as ISIL itself.
It has destroyed some tanks, killed a few of the enemy but has no coordinated strategy to defeat or even to degrade the enemy let alone to effectively support the Kurdish ground forces in Syria. When it had the opportunity to inflict serious damage on ISIL before it attacked Kobane, it demurred. Indeed, most members of the Coalition refuse to even enter Syria where ISIL is most active. How coalition leaders expect to degrade or contain ISIL when they aren’t even showing up for the conflict continues to elude me.
The Law of Unintended Consequences has also come into play as Turkey, a member of NATO and what Stephen Harper refers to as one of our “allies and partners” not only refuses to support the Coalition against ISIL – it has attacked our other “ally and partner”, the Kurds who are doing the heavy lifting in combatting the Islamist threat.
Coalition leaders who are usually quick to offer up considerable belicose rhetoric against aggressors, if nothing else, have remained silent about Turkey’s action for the most part. But then, it does becomesa tad challenging when one partner and ally they are sworn to defend attacks another partner and ally they desperately need to do the ground fighting against ISIL.
Canada hasn’t even fully deployed and the situation has evolved dangerously. We’ve been busy and only just managed to end the bureaucratic dispute between Treasury Board and the Department of Defense over the procurement of missiles for the Iraq mission. You won’t find much criticism in the media about that – they’re all too focused on Justin Trudeau’s last comments, whatever they were.
What an amateur hour!
Over the past week, opponents of Canada’s involvement in the Coalition’s air campaign have been pilloried for their opposition but they were more right than the government on the issue. The air strike campaign is a considerable amount of sound and fury but not much else and it should be criticized.
The government has talked out of both sides of its mouth. It has claimed the threat ISIL presents as the justification for war but then backs into conflict to support a strategy that is not only no strategy at all but that is failing on a daily basis.
This is cynical politics at its worst; the illusion of doing something important while doing nothing much at all but at great expense and danger.
The Prime Minister has stated that ISIL is ‘direct threat’ to Canada and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird has referred to it as the “great challenge” of our generation. So explain to me how sending six aging CF-18s to conduct air strikes only against minor targets in Iraq confronts the great challenge of our time or counters the direct threat to our nation?
Explain to me why so many in the media prefer to waste our time with partisan criticism of Justin Trudeau rather than informed analysis of the government’s insistence on joining a collation that can’t even agree on the fundamental objectives of the mission.
Is it a mission? Is it a war? You get different answers on different days.
I think we may have become just a tad to fat and lazy here in the Great White North either that or the threat of winter being upon us our brains are starting to freeze up.
ISIL has declared war on us and whether we like it or not; whether our weak political leadership wants to admit it or not – we are at war. The only questions that remain are when do we go to war and how do we go to war?
Do we go at a time of our choosing? Do we go in strength and with the stated objective of defeating the enemy or do we dither and dally until they enemy having grown even stronger finally forces us to do what we have been trying to avoid?
There isn’t one – not one – political leader in the Coalition of Bluster that has any understanding of the threat we face or how to deal with it. More to the point, there isn’t one – not one – that is prepared to put politics aside to do what is required to defend his or her nation.
And what is required is leadership – real leadership – not the dangerously timid, self-serving foolishness we are being given and which is being supported by too many.
Has no one learned anything from history? Have our leaders so completely forgotten the consequences to Europe when the nations dithered while the Nazi regime strengthened its military and began invading and occupying other nations?
Don’t talk to me about how it might be worse under Justin Trudeau. Trudeau isn’t prime minister; Stephen Harper is. What Trudeau might do under similar circumstances is irrelevant. The only thing that matters today is what our current prime minister and other world leaders ‘are’ doing right now.
We can discuss how vacuous Trudeau might be when he’s in the election campaign next year. Right now, we are facing a war and we need to regain some perspective and properly focus on that.
The simple truth is that thanks to the same inept leadership that completely failed to defend Ukraine or even to help secure its territorial integrity, we are once again being led down a garden path of political expediency; a cynical attempt to avoid potential political fallout rather than stepping up to lead and defend our nations and our way of life.
Mr. Gunter and other members of the media might want to consider that the next time they choose to selectively criticize individual members of the coalition. There isn’t a statesman or genuine leader in Coalition of the Unwilling. It is nothing more than a gaggle of politicians stumbling along the path of least resistance.
Obama is only part of the problem. This coalition and its lack of coordinated military objective and strategy is a collective effort and the sooner we come to understand that and the danger it represents – the safer we may become.
© 2014 Maggie’s Bear
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