Friday, October 03, 2014

Stephen Harper and the Slow Striptease to War

Well it's been a long slow striptease to war. A little tease here, a little tease there.

One moment it was the Americans inviting us to take part in their new Great War on Terror. The next moment it was Stephen Harper inviting himself.

One moment we had 69 soldiers in Iraq, and then they were only twenty-six.

But finally it seems Great Leader is ready for his close-up, and ready to reveal EVERYTHING. 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will tell Canadians on Friday how Canada will further contribute to a combat mission against Islamic jihadists in the Middle East, the Prime Minister's Office confirmed in a statement Thursday evening.

After keeping the opposition in the dark for more than a week for purely partisan reasons.

Hoping to create the impression from their protests that they aren't as determined as he is to stop the ISIS crazies from beheading us in our bedrooms.

Not Great Strong Leaders like HIMSELF...

And of course hoping to find any excuse to try to destroy Justin Trudeau.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is facing criticism for suggesting that Canada should consider a humanitarian mission in Iraq rather than “trying to whip out our CF-18s and show how big they are.” 

As the PMO was doing yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a terse statement of criticism shortly after the comment made the rounds on social media. “Mr. Trudeau’s comments are disrespectful of the Canadian Armed Forces and make light of a serious issue,” PMO spokesperson Jason MacDonald said in a statement to CTV News.

When in fact Trudeau's comment while maybe a little crude for public consumption, was not disrespectful, and it did not make light of a serious issue. 

It summed up in language everybody can understand the choice we face:

Do we go for the feel good thing of bombing ISIS? Even though we would be a mere pin prick, and the U.S. could do the job without us. It's just using us for political cover.

Or could we make a more useful and Canadian contribution to the Great War Against ISIS, by helping its many desperate victims? 

Like these terrified Syrian children who have just arrived in Turkey, whose government has been begging Canada to help them cope with the flood of refugees.

But then Trudeau's crude comment also perfectly sums up Stephen Harper himself. 

Who has always used the military, whipped it out of And waved it around like a flag.

To make himself look like a Great Warrior Leader...

Or more like a tough guy instead of a nerdy wonk.

When sadly, that's Mission Impossible.

And as Jeffrey Simpson points out, he's now leading us into Mission Implausible. 

Who are Western powers, including Canada, fighting? With what means? Are the means proportionate to the objectives? And what are those objectives, for what Prime Minister Stephen Harper has called a “necessary and noble” mission?

Leading us blindly into a seething cauldron of religious fanatics where we won't know from one day to another who exactly we're fighting. And the only sure things are that this latest Great War on Terror will suck us into its maw for YEARS.

Which is to say that no one in the bombing countries should assume anything but a campaign lasting many years, with very imprecise ambitions and shifting targets. 

The campaign would require war in two countries simultaneously, political reconciliation of a kind not seen in either, unprecedented co-operation from and among outside players (Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States), and an understanding of the societies of those countries that the bombing countries do not possess.

And of course, that the longer we're involved in that war the greater the chance that Canada itself will become a terrorist target.

So much for Great Strong Leader...

How safe do YOU feel?

But then of course he's not in it for us, he's only in it for himself.

He's playing cheap politics with war.

And Justin was wrong about one thing.

He's not whipping a CF-18 out of his pants...

Like the mission itself, it's much much SMALLER...

As small and as depraved as the man himself.

And the good news?

The way Harper has handled the lead-up to this war has made his partisan motives only too obvious.

More Canadians will see through him, and hopefully understand what should have been apparent long ago. Whatever happens in the Great War on ISIS.

We will not be truly safe.

Until we defeat HIM...

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  1. TO be honest, I though Justin's comment should have been taken well by the Air Force. Which from the actually military people I talked to, amongst others, it seemed to be. They are as concerned about being deployed for political ends as anyone. It only seems the pundits and wacky cons are taking umbrage at the statement, directed quite obviously at Stephen Harper's War. It had seemed that the pundits and journalist were starting to come out of their dazed and confused shock after years of bowing to SH, I guess not....

    1. hi Peter...I actually found Trudeau's comment refreshing, and something that needed to be said, in the language that ordinary Canadians use all the time. But our hopeless MSM seems to confuse rallying around the Cons with rallying around the Cons. And their faux outrage disgusts me....

  2. Of course not, the pundits and their masters LOVE war! Sells newspapers.

    1. hi're right they do love wars and it does sell newspapers. You think they of all people should remember the lessons of history, But they've probably seen the polls, know that most Canadians support some kind of military action, and don't want to alienate their readers. It's pathetic, and with the Cons so obviously trying to use this crisis for political purposes we deserve better...

  3. Hi Simon and I hijack your blog without prejudice often. I am celebrating something you probably see ever day.
    <a href="100,000 page views.</a>

  4. Anonymous4:56 PM

    Harper's oil and gas barons also thrive on war. Harper said the US requested, Harper take a more involved role in this war. The US said, they did no such thing. I don't think Harper understands, he behaves like a loose cannon and other countries do not want Harper involved. Harper and Baird are trouble causers and if their mouths were a little bigger? They could get both of their feet in them.

    Harper called Putin and Russia dirty Communists and then, Harper sold Canada to Communist China,

    The Harper Cons and his pundits, are all of Harper's Borg. They are all gutless, spineless cowards.

    1. hi anon....yes I've seen some stories about the big oil companies circling overhead like vultures. But I think Harper's blustering rhetoric got him into this mess, and I'm pretty sure that if the Cons try to politicize the war, they will live to regret it...

  5. I'm so sick of it all. The goal posts keep moving so that somehow every politician and journalist has to introduce any critique with the standard "we know and agree this is the [worst evil ever] before launching into some disapproval. What has happened to us. It was bad enough when critics of the Iraq war had to introduce each freaking statement with "I support the troops". Framing dissent with the propaganda used to justify these illegal military adventures only weakens the argument against the action. Sorry to get all macho, but to those truly opposed to war, grow a pair - don't couch it in semi-apologetic terms.

    1. hi Beijing...I know what you mean. Once upon a time it used to be enough to say that war is not a solution to anything. But not any longer. We have become a different more Americanized country during the Harper decade, and so much so that in Ontario more than 70 per cent support military action. Which is why the opposition parties are so hesitant to say it like it is. Which is why I liked Trudeau's comment because at least it cut through the crap. On the positive side both the Liberals and the NDP are at least going to vote against the motion, so Harper will have no political cover. As he did in Libya which was also a total debacle.
      So I think Harper will live to regret this war...

  6. The classic is, of course, "Freedonia Goes to War". with uniforms from the previous bloody conflict and lots of silly war fever!

    1. hi lagatta...thanks for that link. I've never seen that clip but it's a classic, and I think I'll save that one for the after the sham vote in Parliament... ;)

    2. If you have the time, you can see all of "Duck Soup" online. Harper would make a great Rufus T Firefly.

      They got guns,
      We got guns,
      All God's chillun got guns!
      I'm gonna walk all over the battlefield,
      'Cause all God's chillun got guns!

      Some considered this offensive to African-Americans and Negro Spirituals, but it was actually a satire of minstrel shows, themselves highly offensive. None of the people singing the song worshipping guns are Black, or even in blackface.

  7. e.a.f.11:29 PM

    Loved Trudeau's comment. It was funny. It was oh, so accurate and something younger Canadians understand. Trudeau isn't of the aging baby boomer generation. At least he knows how to get the message out succinctly.

    Read Elizabeth May's speech and watched part of Mulcair and Trudeau's on CTV national. Both were good. Much better than harper and all 3 made very good points. We need to revert to our previous roles on the world stage. We were good at it and we were liked for it. Most importantly, our young people weren't being sent to their deaths by some old fool in Ottawa.

    CTV national also interviewed a retired General Mackenzie. Now he did make some very interesting points about how the current war is being "conducted". This isn't going to turn out well. As General MacKenzie pointed out, they are using bombs which cost a fortune to bomb a couple of trucks, now that ISIS has given up their long line of trucks. as I understood him, the bombing isn't going to be effective anymore. There isn't much to shoot at anymore.

    We of course will now hear harper carrying on like a banshee because there has been another "beheading". Well cup cake, get over it and lets look at the 59 beheadings in Saudi Arabia so far this year. Oh, poor harper and mackay, what are the boys to do if they can't go play war with the big boys.

    1. hi I told John and Beijing I quite enjoyed Trudeau's comment too. I found it refreshing and I thought it summed up the situation well. And yes General Mackenzie's right. We will be using expensive bombs to attack pick-up trucks, and finding targets to bomb won't be easy. And yes, about 200,000 people have been killed in Syria and Iraq and we go crazy when some psychopath beheads some westerners. Dare I say it, we need to keep OUR heads, and confront the ISIS maniacs in a cool calm and determined manner instead of rushing off to war. Let the Americans and the Arab allies clean up their backyard or sphere of influence. We could contribute more effectively by helping on the humanitarian front. But of course we won't and it will end badly...

  8. Craig Oliver: "...and this will now be Harper's war and that's not good."

    Transcripts: Harper’s Iraq speech, and the NDP, Liberal responses

    Stephen Harper

    Thomas Mulcair

    Justin Trudeau

    1. hi David...thanks for those links. And Craig Oliver is right, this is now Harper's War. I'm still not sure whether he deliberately created that situation, or stumbled into it. But he will pay for it....

    2. "Harper's war" is going to become an Internet meme.

      And we can't forget what Elizabeth May said:

      Transcript: Elizabeth May

      Elizabeth May

  9. e.a.f.3:28 PM

    Hey I know how we can get harper to "demonstrate" what a great "warriors" he and his herd are: put them through basic military training at any base in Canada and then put them in with the real soldiers and let them "fight" just like the leaders of old. They led their armies into battle. Must have reduced how often they marched into battle. Today, world leaders send others and some one else's kid. Their kids don't go and fight. They don't go and fight. We have only to look back at the great warrior "bush". Managed to avoid all that messy "war" stuff but thought it was just fine to sent everybody else's kid into the last war in the middle east.

    Harper wants a war in the middle east, let him take his son out of school and send him to war. Ya, I know there would't be any war.

  10. What's really galling is that all the war cheerleaders that never met a military intervention they didn't like - Libya, Iraq #1, and yes, Afghanistan - condescend to address the rest of us as if we're little children living in a utopian fantasy (again) because we have the audacity to oppose this one. Would anybody actually argue that those military interventions had successful outcomes? Afghanistan is a demolished shell, Iraq is the current lovely scenario, and Libya is in the midst of ethnic cleansing and a civil war. Just read the National Post, it's enough to drive you to drink. And Al Qaeda, the original greatest threat to humanity ever and reason for the initial military excursion, travelled to Iraq, then morphed into ISIS, who is the current greatest threat to humanity ever.

    "Support" in polls is always high right at the beginning of these things, when people are living in their own "utopia" of moral clarity, fantasizing that terrorists gather in convenient, easy-to-bomb masses without any civilian infrastructure and/or civilians to obligingly have bombs dropped on them from the sky, and glossing over the lack of a credible plan - or any plan at all, in this case. As far as I'm concerned, in the words of Matt Taibbi, a favourite journalist of mine, "support" for a war in a poll should be measured in polls through questions like the following:

    "Would you yank your kid out of college or university and send him to go fight for this?"


    "Would you sign up to take part in this conflict? If so, grab your stuff - there's a bus outside."

    And we apparently don't view the enemy as so dire that we guarantee we will commit any ground forces or risk any casualties, demanding that others living in the vicinty do that work, so in the words of The Leader, we're leaving the "heavy lifting" to others - in this case, in large part to "moderate" Syrian rebels who will be trained in neighbouring countries. After the last batch of moderate Syrian rebels defected and joined ISIS, so let's hope they don't do that again...

    Reading Andrew Coyne, you'd think military intervention somewhere halfway around the world to forestall the possibility that someone there may someday plan to do something to us is a valid basis for a foreign policy, and a credible basis for self-defence. As if planning to do something to us requires geographically locating oneself in Iraq or Syria.