Monday, October 06, 2014

Harper's War: Churchill Moment or Swan Song?

It was the night before Canada officially goes to war, and no doubt in his command bunker Stephen Harper must have been in a state of feverish delirium.

No doubt believing that Harper's War will make him look like a Great Strong Leader, and that he'll be able to destroy the ISIS hordes AND the opposition.

That this is his great chance to save his old and tired government. 

With six planes and no boots on the ground.

Or as Michael Den Tandt calls it, his Churchill moment. 

This may be, paradoxically enough, Stephen Harper’s finest hour. The man who admires Lincoln, Churchill and Thatcher, at last has his opportunity to lead as he imagines they did, with unyielding conviction and no care to the political cost. Hanging in the balance are Harper’s fourth term, and his legacy.

For the Conservatives now have the ultimate differentiator between themselves and their opponents; an open-ended, aspirational foreign war in which they stand alone, guardians of all that is good and true, while the “wets” of the New Democratic and Liberal parties natter from the sidelines.

But of course this bombing for votes strategy has its risks.

The wrinkle – the wild card that makes this a Hail Mary pass, in political terms – is that it all may go so very badly wrong. In effect Harper has relinquished a large measure of control over his political future to luck, and the U.S. air force, and the ability of Iraqi Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites to first, cobble together a stable new polity in the midst of civil war, and second, defeat and/or contain Islamic State, in some way that is recognizable, before Canadians go to the polls next fall.

And sadly for Great Churchill Leader's legacy, it's already going horribly wrong. 

US-led air strikes in northern Syria have failed to interrupt the advance of Islamic State (Isis) fighters closing in on a key city on the Turkish border, raising questions about the western strategy for defeating the jihadi movement.

The bombing campaign isn't working. And for a very good reason. 

For while it may be satisfying to see an ISIS pickup truck being blown up by a missile fired by a British warplane...

And I must admit I enjoyed that one immensely eh? 

The problem is the missile cost more than the pickup truck, and the truck was probably empty. Because as in every other war the forces on the ground are adapting to the situation. 

Isis has adapted swiftly to the new situation. Vehicles and equipment are scattered, fighters disperse as soon as western jets appear in the sky. These multi-million dollar warplanes have often been reduced, it seems, to blasting single pick-up trucks and the like with ordnance worth 10 or 20 times the value of the targets.

The CF-18 fighters Canada is deploying are not the ideal weapons.

Modern war planes move very fast and fly very high, most of the time. They miss things, waste their bombs. Those under attack dig in, they move at night, they go to close quarters with the enemy to deter attacks in which the other side would have to risk killing its own people. They move next to civilian communities, because they know the attackers want to avoid civilian deaths.

And it's only a matter of time before the cries for boots on the ground become almost deafening.

Which will leave Harper trying to explain why he's not answering the call to duty, if ISIS is such a monstrous threat to Canada. 

It will force him to defend a failed and very expensive bombing campaign.

Or explain why he is exposing our pilots to the risk of being captured and beheaded. For nothing.

Or why he's jumping into bed with the notorious Saudi beheaders. 

While making it MORE not less likely that terrorists they created and finance could attack Canada.

I mean with friends like Churchill Harper who needs enemies eh?

Which is the way the opposition needs to attack him and his Cons at a time when many Canadians support this doomed mission. Strongly and unapologetically.

So all those Canadians understand this message:

The bombing mission is useless. It risks the lives of our pilots, and the lives of Canadians here at home, and all over the world.

We could have done something more useful and more Canadian to help in the fight against ISIS.

But we didn't because all Stephen Harper wanted to do was look like a Great Strong Leader...

To try to boost his sagging popularity.

And he didn't care how many Canadians he KILLED. 

And the good news? 

Harper's War is already starting to look less like Churchill's V-for-Victory moment, and more like the Charge of the Light Brigade.

Or the charge of the Con Brigade into the hornet's nest.

Iraq is a hornet’s nest, in other words, into which this country is now thrusting itself, with no apparent strategy beyond shoring up alliances. Monday will be Stephen Harper’s “some chicken, some neck” moment. Conservative MPs will be hoping, as they watch the headlines between now and election day, that it’s not their swan song.

And he will get stung. It will be his swan song.

He will wear this war like a shroud.

And it will help destroy him...

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  1. So now we have the combined wisdom of the Sun and and the National Post broadcasting the Harper Agenda. Sorry Conrad people dont read anymore. We feel, we feel bad and your agenda is dead.

    1. hi Steve....yes I see that the Sun is under new management, and the only thing the Peladeau separatists own now is Sun TV News. Trust me, as soon as I get a bit of time I'm going to have fun with that one... ;)

  2. Anonymous8:40 PM

    Harper even lied and said, the US requested him to take a bigger role, in the war against ISIL. The US said, they did no such thing. Obama did mention the Netherlands and is grateful for their support. However, Harper didn't even get an honorable mention.

    The bombing isn't working either, so they say. It will take boots on the ground and even that may not work. They just regroup and start all over again. They just adapt to the situation

    They want we dirty infidels out of there countries. I say get them out and keep them out. We can send those countries people out of country and keep them out too.

    Harper called Putin and Russia evil Communists. Then Harper sells Canada to Communist China.

    Go figure, Harper needs a full mental evaluation, he is becoming nuttier by the day.

    1. hi anon....yes, as we all know, Obama despises Harper so much he didn't ask him to join his coalition, so Harper invited himself. But the good news is the war will be his undoing, and make him even nuttier than he is now...

  3. Anonymous9:13 PM

    Love your blog. Can hardly wait until next year as we get closer to the election.

    1. hi anon....thank you, that's very nice of you, and most encouraging. And believe me I'm also looking forward to the next election. I'm a bit tired now, and not as sharp as I should. But when the bell rings I will be ready... ;)

  4. Anonymous9:28 PM

    Well Simon, if there are any Canadian "boots on the ground" in Iraq or Syria they should be Stephan Harper, Julian Fantino, John Baird, Chris Alexander, and as a bonus include Tony Clement.

    1. hi know for about ten minutes after I read your comment I couldn't get the image of those five Con clowns in Iraq. Although I believe you forgot privates Calandra and del Mastro, because one look at them and even ISIS would start running.... ;)

  5. I must be blind. I cannot find the Twitter icon so that I can tweet your blogpost so I shall do it the old-fashioned way: copy-and-paste.

    1. hi deBeauxOs....I don't have a little birdy at the end of my posts. I set out to do that once, but I think I had smoked a joint and the HTML defeated me. I'll try again soon, and thanks for sharing my post, and for supporting me so much as you have always done. I'm a very lucky person....

    2. An easier way would be to d/load 'add this' - a small free app. I use google chrome & it works well with it. There are a # of browsers you can use it with....... hope this helps!

  6. Since this war is about oil and minerals, will Harper be rewarded down the road

    1. hi inky mark....yes I have read some material on the Cons eyeing the Syrian oil fields hungrily. All these wars have been about oil. They cloak their military adventures in the fine rhetoric of democracy and human rights, but the oily goo is what they are really after. I'll do some research and see what I can do to help get that message out...

  7. This was my response to the Michael Den Tandt column: 10/05
    "Churchill moment"? LOL - surely you jest!! A sign of disrespect to mention those 2 names in the same sentence! #HeilHarper, so far removed from reality, is likely rubbing his hands together and giggling in girlish glee - soon he'll be able to play with his GI Joe's and F18's and those unrealistic fighter jets he wanted so badly (except they won't work in our arctic)! I'm sure he's already got his writers working on the somber messages home to the families of those Canadian men (who surely will be killed, altho he suggests there will be no boots on the ground). REMEMBER HOW HE LIES???

    He asked the US to shove Canada in deeper, not the other way around, as he'd like everyone to believe! And, as far as his Con MP's 'wondering' if this gamble will be his/their swansong? - Really? I mean, Michael, did you write that with a straight face?? The only way these thugs will be in office after the election is if - in addition to the (Un)Fair Election Act that they passed (to be in their favour), and the additional ridings (again, to be in their favour) - and the huge number of voters they will have disallowed a vote at the polls (again, to be in their favour) and they cheat, bully, threaten, intimidate in every possible way they can - AGAIN - to win!

    1. hi cheena...good for you that is an excellent message. I thought about defending Winston too. My granny had a signed photograph of Churchill in her living room, and if anyone had compared Harper to him, she would have given them a piece of her mind. ;)
      Churchill's cigar was bigger than Harper. And if Great Leader had been in charge of Britain during the Blitz, we'd all be speaking German today.
      But don't worry, the next election will be our finest hour, and we will defeat him...

  8. Transcripts: Oct. 3 speeches by Harper/Mulcair/Trudeau

    Transcript: Oct. 3 speech by Elizabeth May

    "Without disrespect to any of us, bombings have never ended an Islamic or any religious extremist terrorist threat. Time after time it has made matters worse. Let us try to look to the lessons of history before we go to war again." -- Elizabeth May

    PrimeTime Politics Weekend - October 3, 2014

    We will have extensive coverage of the Prime Minister's announcement of the new Canadian military mission in Iraq, with responses from the party leaders, analysis and reactions. Martin's journalists guests are: Louise Elliott (CBC Radio) and Mark Kennedy (Ottawa Citizen)


    01:36 Harper

    14:00 Mulcair

    23:44 Trudeau

    32:12 May

    36:26 scrum with Trudeau

    44:30 panel (Erin O'Toole, Jack Harris, Joyce Murray)

    60:40 Louise Elliott (CBC Radio) and Mark Kennedy (Ottawa Citizen)

    Kennedy: (66:30) "What I'd like to know is: six months from now, what will Canadians think of this mission? Will they be appreciative of Stephen Harper for leading this country into a combat mission because they might be fearful of the risks they [terrorists] pose here at home, or, will there be mishaps? I mean things, you know, happen in a theatre of war. Will a CF-18 go down? Will a Canadian fighter pilot be caught hostage? And will a CF-18 bomb--unfortunately--a civilian town? These things could all blow up on them [Conservatives] and so therefore what might happen is the opposition would then stand up and say: 'Uh huh. We told you so.'
    It could go either way."

    1. hi David...yes Mark Kennedy is right. The war may appear pretty shiny now, but it will rust quickly. All wars do. And since this one was created by other asinine wars, one can only hope that most Canadians will finally understand that repeating the same mistake over and over again is the very definition of INSANITY...