Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Stephen Harper and the Great Con War on Syria
Well the day Stephen Harper has been waiting for so long has finally arrived.
The day when he can spread his wings again.
Puff out his feathered chest, pose as a Great Warrior Leader.
And announce that he is inflating or expanding his Great War on Terror.
The Conservative government is proposing to expand Canada’s role in the fight against Islamic State militants to Syria and extend the mission by one year to March, 2016, sources say.
It proposes another 12 months of “military contributions,” including air strikes in Iraq and Syria, and says the government will keep to its plan not to deploy troops in a ground combat role there.
No doubt hoping the opposition parties will vote against the military mission again, and he can portray them as soft on terrorism.
But this time that pathetic act may not be as successful as it was last time. Because while Canadians support extending The Mission:
An Ipsos Reid poll released on Monday suggested that two in three Canadians support an extension of the military mission. The poll, conducted for Global News between March 16 and March 19, is considered accurate within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
They are nervous about expanding it, and it should be very easy to argue that expanding the mission into Syria is a really bad idea.
Since as the former Canadian ambassador Paul Heinbecker writes, it can only help that country's brutal dictator hang on to power.
It will be a tragic irony if the anti-Islamic State Coalition, including Canada, ends up strengthening President Bashar al-Assad rather than saving his Syrian victims.
If out of fear of Islamic State and of a desire to stop them, the Coalition were to ally itself, de facto or de jure, with Bashar al-Assad for fleeting tactical advantage, it would be the ultimate betrayal of the Syrian innocents. And of our own values.
And we do have other better and more Canadian options.
It will also be easier this time for the opposition to argue that only reason Stephen Harper is making such a big deal over Canada's tiny contribution to the war on ISIS, is because he's desperate.
Desperate to distract attention away from the economy...
And it is all about crass political expediency.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is getting Canada more deeply entangled in a war of political convenience rather than one of strict necessity with his plans to ramp up our military involvement in Iraq and Syria.
He no doubt hopes it will help brand his Conservative government as forceful in defending Canada’s interests heading into the coming federal election, and rally his base.
It is mostly show.
Our warplanes based in Kuwait have carried out 53 airstrikes so far. That’s a tiny fraction of the 5,300 targets the U.S. reports destroyed. And we have fewer than 70 trainers in Iraq. Our support may be welcome but it’s hardly decisive.
And the best way to deflate chicken hawk Harper is to ignore his little war, ridicule his delusions of grandeur...
Raise questions about whether the real reason he wants to bomb Syria is because the Christians in that country are among the strongest supporters of Bashar al-Assad. So it is all about pleasuring his rabid base.
And focus on the real issues.
A majority of Canadians feel the Harper government has played out its string and it is time for a change. The Tories are under fire for their wildly overreaching Anti-Terrorism Act and for fanning fear and anxiety about Muslims, and for their obsessively punitive crime bills.
They are still mired in a Senate corruption scandal. And they are vulnerable on pocketbook issues: job insecurity, tax giveaways that favour the few, rising economic inequity, shaky pensions and unmet child care needs.
Harper’s eagerness to play a token role in a murky war shouldn’t be allowed to blot out the sun. Canadians have bigger bones to pick with this government.
The ones that will destroy him.
The war will take care of itself.
And with a little bit of luck. Since Syria is a really bad place.
It will also take care of him...
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