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ZFBoxcar
29 Nov 03,, 00:09
http://www.nationalpost.com/national/story.html?id=A11A505A-34EE-42B0-8928-18F9223E3E18

PM accused of duplicity on Iraq war
Military made private offer to help U.S. while Chrétien opposed mission publicly: Misled U.S., experts say

Chris Wattie
National Post


Friday, November 28, 2003

Soldiers from B Company of the 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Light Infantry unload from a U.S. Airborne Black Hawk helicopter at the airbase in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in February. Documents show the Canadian military had misgivings about a sizeable contribution to the Afghan force.

CREDIT: Kevin Frayer, The Canadian Press

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The Liberal government has been duplicitous in its response to the war on Iraq, publicly opposing military action against Saddam Hussein while privately allowing the Canadian Forces to make a tentative offer of ground troops to the U.S.-led coalition, opposition critics and defence experts charged yesterday.

Documents obtained by the National Post show Canadian diplomats and military officers were forced to tell the United States their "BG [battle group] offer [was] now off the table," after the government surprised its own defence planners by announcing Canada would instead send soldiers to a "peace support" mission in Afghanistan.

Spokesmen for John McCallum, the Minister of National Defence, said yesterday he was not available to comment on the documents.

But Stockwell Day, the foreign affairs critic for the Canadian Alliance, said the decision to pull the plug on the offer was made at a time when Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, was publicly saying Canada would stay out of the conflict.

"Clearly he knew that these plans were moving ahead.... It was duplicitous," Mr. Day said. "He kept the military planning below the radar while above the radar, he made it look like nothing was going on."

Elsie Wayne, the Conservative defence critic, said the government's handling of the Feb. 12 decision has seriously damaged Canada-U.S. relations.

"The Minister of Defence was down in the United States telling them we'd send troops and the Prime Minister turns around and says no, we won't," Ms. Wayne said. "Our credibility down there has deteriorated significantly under this government and this sort of thing is the reason why."

Mr. Day said the about-face on Canadian participation in Iraq shows the Prime Minister was being capricious when making important decisions.

"All the planning was moving ahead with the Prime Minister's full knowledge and then apparently on a capricious whim, on Groundhog Day, he checks the latest poll and brings everything to a shuddering stop," he said. "It was irresponsible."

Ms. Wayne said Mr. Chrétien overruled his own Cabinet in deciding against joining the United States in Iraq and ignored the advice of his own military in deciding to send troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

"Our men and women in uniform are on the ground, they know what's going on and they know what's needed ... and they should be listened to ... but they weren't," she said.

The documents obtained by the National Post show the military had misgivings about a sizeable contribution to the Afghan force from the start.

A memo dated Feb. 3, 2003, by Vice-Admiral Greg Maddison, the deputy chief of defence staff, notes the "role of ISAF is uncertain as security/political issues remain uncertain throughout the country."

The document concludes Canada should not take over as the leading nation in the security force, but could act as "co-lead nation" -- sharing command of the UN-mandated force with another country.

However the memo also notes "many key questions regarding [the] future of ISAF mandate and geographic scope remain unanswered," and says there are "no clear indicators that ISAF, under current mandate, is contributing to the security of Kabul."

And a Jan. 18, 2002, e-mail from Gavin Buchan, the Foreign Affairs political advisor to the Canadian military officers posted to the U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., questions the usefulness of sending troops to Afghanistan.

"ISAF leadership represents a major resource commitment but ISAF, operating only in Kabul and surrounds, is not the key to the future security of Afghanistan."

Colonel Alain Pellerin, the retired army officer who is now director of the Conference of Defence Associations, said the Chrétien government led the United States into believing Canada would join its "coalition of the willing."

Col. Pellerin said Canada gave every sign of joining the United States in the months leading to the March 20 invasion of Iraq, including issuing a Cabinet order in November, 2002, giving permission for 31 Canadian exchange officers serving with U.S. and British units to participate in the war.

"At almost the same time, a Canadian was offered command of the coalition task force in the Arabian Sea," he said. "That would not have happened unless they thought we were coming on board with Iraq."

Commodore Roger Girouard, a Canadian, took command early in 2002 of a multinational task force in the Persian Gulf region, which was under command of the U.S. Navy's 5th fleet based in Qatar, coalition headquarters for the war in Iraq.

Leader
29 Nov 03,, 01:10
"All the planning was moving ahead with the Prime Minister's full knowledge and then apparently on a capricious whim, on Groundhog Day, he checks the latest poll and brings everything to a shuddering stop," he said. "It was irresponsible."

I wish I could say I was shocked, but I'm not. Chrétien is just another snake politician. Is he going to do what is right? No, he'll just check the latest poll to see if his ass is covered.

Ray
29 Nov 03,, 05:26
Isn't Canada an independent country?

ZFBoxcar
29 Nov 03,, 06:29
Ray, whats that got to do with anything? The article is talking about how the Canadian government was preparing to send a force to Iraq but one glance at the polls and probably a reminder by political advisors that the more he disses Americans, the more support he gets from the large liberal population, and he switches to a larger force to occupy Afghanistan. This went against the advice of his cabinet and the Ministry of Defense. Im sure the Colonel knows more than I do on this, but if the Ministry of Defense thought the Iraq mission was a better idea than the Afghan mission, doesnt it seem as though Chretien is throwing our soldiers into more harm than necessary for a PR stunt? What Id like to know from the Colonel is, which is more dangerous, Iraq or Afghanistan? Iraq grabs the media attention, but it doesnt seem as though Coalition forces occupy much of Afghanistan besides Kabul.

Ray
29 Nov 03,, 11:06
Boxcar,

The comment was not on the article. It was on the comments. The image that Canda must toe the US line and be a dependency is rather demeaning and therefore any suggestions, implied or otherwise, is rather extraordinary.

ChrisF202
29 Nov 03,, 15:18
Originally posted by Leader
I wish I could say I was shocked, but I'm not. Chrétien is just another snake politician. Is he going to do what is right? No, he'll just check the latest poll to see if his ass is covered.
I hate people like that, the best politicians are the ones who do the right thing, even though they might not get relected

ZFBoxcar
29 Nov 03,, 15:46
"All the planning was moving ahead with the Prime Minister's full knowledge and then apparently on a capricious whim, on Groundhog Day, he checks the latest poll and brings everything to a shuddering stop," he said. "It was irresponsible."


Ms. Wayne said Mr. Chrétien overruled his own Cabinet in deciding against joining the United States in Iraq and ignored the advice of his own military in deciding to send troops to the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul.

Ray, the decision was totally the Canadian governments, what this article is talking about is how and why that decision came about, and how it was a last minute change. The Canadian government was originally going to contribute, that does not make Canada a dependency, it makes them an ally. Chretien changed his mind at the last minute against the wishes of the military and the cabinet. THAT is the issue, not whether or not Canada should have an 'independent' foreign policy. And why is that to be independent, Canada must disagree with the United States?

Ray
29 Nov 03,, 17:06
The best politicians are those who do the right thing. There is no doubt about that. But then who is to decide what is the right thing?

In a democratic system the Chief Executive is responsible. In a Parliamentary democracy, it is collective responsibility of the cabinet and ministers. Therefore, what the PM did was OK especially since the minsiters did not object. In fact, they should have resigned in case they did not go along with the PM. Like it happened in the UK.

In a democarcy, one has to suffer a govt till it term expires. As far as the military is concerned, they have nothing to say in policy making. The civil govt is supreme in a democracy.

Boxcar,

The above should explain that the real issue is not resigning. If indeed the Ministers were that agains they should have resigned. They too are responsible for the decision. That is how Parliamentary democracy functions - collective responsibility.

Also one doesn't have to agree with the US to be independent as is the case if one does not agree. It cuts both ways.

Now, if the PM is wrong, then he will be voted out the next election. Till then one has to suffer him. That is if indeed the majority are against the decision.

ZFBoxcar
29 Nov 03,, 17:48
Nobody is saying what Chretien did was illegal, what Im saying is that he was wrong. He CAN defy his ministers and ignore the opinions of the military, but he shouldn't.

Officer of Engineers
30 Nov 03,, 05:40
Rehashing of old news. I'm surprised NP left out that Major-General Cameron Ross resigned in protest over the ISAF deployment. Then, the Chief of Land Staff, Lieutenant-General Mike Jefferies was told only minutes before the Minister of National Defence told the House of Commons.

The discussion went beyond the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group. It was up to including the Royal Canadian Dragoons and its Leo C2 Sabre Force Squadron. 2 RCR was going to be stripped to re-enforce both battalions. Essentially, Land Force was offerring a reduced (two battle groups) 2nd Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group. Talks were with the Brits to add a 3rd battle group to bring 2Bde up to strength.

What really pisses me off is that Chretien sent the MND McCallum with hat-in-hand and on hands-and-knees to Rumsfeld to beg the US to let us Canadians back into those secret briefings that the US started to deny the Canadians. Those briefings were on a need-to-know basis and if the Canadians were not going to be in Iraq, then we didn't have a need-to-know.

We were promisng the Americans things that Chretien knew he wouldn't want to deliver. It really pisses me off that he couldn't be upfront and honest with the Americans.

What's really fucking worst is that we were in that war in a sort of underhanded way. We were operating under Operation Enduring Freedom, not Operation Iraqi Freedom even though they were both commanded by CENTCOM. CENTCOM couldn't care less. If the Canadian ships and Canadians were in the right time at the right place, they were used in OIF.

Chretien couldn't even be honest with the Canadian people. Our Flag should be flying besides the Americans, the British, and the Australians. It isn't and that's a lie to the Canadian people and an insult to those who served in that theatre.

Officer of Engineers
30 Nov 03,, 05:51
Originally posted by Leader
I wish I could say I was shocked, but I'm not. Chrétien is just another snake politician. Is he going to do what is right? No, he'll just check the latest poll to see if his ass is covered.

Clinton and Chretien got along great together - enuf said.

Officer of Engineers
30 Nov 03,, 06:07
Originally posted by Ray
Boxcar,

The comment was not on the article. It was on the comments. The image that Canda must toe the US line and be a dependency is rather demeaning and therefore any suggestions, implied or otherwise, is rather extraordinary.

Sir,

Canada is the mouse sleeping besides the American elephant. No matter how begnin the elephant, the mouse isn't going to get much sleep.

Confed999
30 Nov 03,, 14:44
Originally posted by Ray
The image that Canda must toe the US line and be a dependency is rather demeaning and therefore any suggestions, implied or otherwise, is rather extraordinary.
It's not the US and Canada, really.... Everyone believes that everyone else should "toe the line" that they draw, human nature.

Officer of Engineers
30 Nov 03,, 16:05
Originally posted by ZFBoxcar
What Id like to know from the Colonel is, which is more dangerous, Iraq or Afghanistan? Iraq grabs the media attention, but it doesnt seem as though Coalition forces occupy much of Afghanistan besides Kabul.

Afghanistan is more dangerous.

Iraq is the kind of war that we have been preparing for for over 40 years. We have no idea about insurgencies despite our experiences in peacekeeping ops where insurgencies do happen. It makes a world of difference when you're not the target or rather that they can't piss you too much that you leave and let the other guy have a chance at them.

We were training and equiping for Iraq when the surprise announcement came. MGen Ross resigned in protest because we were not ready in any shape nor form.

And it shows when the two Canadians died. I don't mean the Iltis thing. I don't know if a tank could have survived that blast.

However, 24 hours after the engrs swept the road and the patrol was way too long. That's a peacekeeping schedule that obviously have no place in a war zone. There are other such peacekeeping rules that I am strongly against. However, we have no other rules to fall back upon and we just can't go about in a wartime envirnoment that shoots everybody who couldn't raise their hands fast enough.

The sad fact is that we don't know how to do an Afghanistan.

smilingassassin
13 Dec 03,, 03:15
Now that Cretien is out of parlament perhaps we will see more co-operation with our American allies. Cretien did nothing more than taint a close alliance with our southern freinds with his distastefull asskissing with France and Germany in an attempt to somehow keep a totally useless U.N. alive, a U.N. where the French can win all thier battles by stiffling usefull debate and progress on international affairs instead of loseing in the REAL battlefeilds.
Unfortunately Canada wouldn't have been able to send too much support seeing as Cretien aside from our navy has seriously underfunded our armed forces. Canada's Naval assets can fit into American task forces seemlessly but our army has inadequate combat fatiques and poor comunication equipment and our CF-18's are starting to show their age.
It dosn't look like its going to get any better under our new PM Paul Martin but if we are lucky our ageing sea kings might be replaced by EH-101's and theirs talk of us getting British Hawk trainers which would at least be a start when it comes to upgrading our airforce.