The long awaited (if “long” is defined as a matter of months) announcement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about how Canada’s role in the coalition against ISIS would change under the Liberal mandate has finally come to fruition. As expected our military will be withdrawing the six CF-18 fighter jets from the theater, will be expanding our capacity to “advise and assist” by way of training, and in a somewhat contradictory measure to the CF-18 withdrawals, will be plotting airstrike targets from the ground and providing refueling for coalition fighter jets on bombing missions. Our government has also made considerable monetary pledges towards humanitarian aid, stabilization and reinforcement for the immensely over-encumbered neighbours to Syria, namely Jordan and Lebanon. In total, the Canadian contribution comes out to somewhere north of $1.6 Billion. All of this has been bundled up and labelled a “non-combat” solution.
Proponents of this strategy are calling it holistic, measured and complimentary to the military focus of our coalition partners, while opponents are slamming it as a half measure that sends poor signals to our allies, definitively marking us as a secondary player and far from the world leader that Trudeau proudly declares Canada needs to be.
In MY opinion there is a lot of posturing going on. Debaters are getting hung up on the use of “non-combat” versus “combat”, on criticizing some perceived lack of foresight in pulling out the CF-18s and on poo-pooing the government for taking its sweet time making decisions.
This has me begging the question, does anyone in Ottawa or the media actually care about the concrete commitments that are being made? Or is the only item of importance from the strategy the omission of direct, intentional combat participation?
Continue reading Willful Misinterpretation and Responding to ISIS with Reason