After the Conservatives vote this afternoon to go to war, we will enter the annals of historical folly. Dishonesty and folly are Stephen Harper's hallmarks. They are present in everything he does. But his entry into Iraq is truly foolish, for several reasons. Michael Harris writes:
When Steve made his war announcement against the beheaders, there was a strange addendum.
Although Canada would join the noble bomb-fest in Iraq, there would be no bombing in Syria without the permission of the leader of that country.
But the leader of that country is the same monster Steve wanted to bomb only a few months back. Remember that guy, the one who used poison gas to kill his own people? Hundreds of thousands of Syrians have died in that country’s civil war. So why does Steve need the permission of the monstrous President Assad to save Scarborough from ISIS?
Besides the problem of asking his enemy's permission, Harper has created the problem of bombing people who could be his allies. How does he propose to distinguish between enemies and allies:
And then there is the small difficulty of identifying who to drop the bombs on. For years, a deadly civil war has been raging inside Syria to topple President Assad. Many factions are involved in the fight, including some that are backed by the United States, and others that are mortal enemies.
That is where the trouble starts. The U.S. backs the Free Syrian Army. But it does not back and instead targets the Jabbat al-Nusra group because of its alleged affiliation to al Qaeda. And that is a problem because the Free Syrian Army sees Jabbat al-Nusra as a valued ally in the fight against Assad. Remember that old the-enemy-of-my-enemy-is-my-friend thing?
Michael den Tandt writes that this is Harper's Churchillian moment. But there is a big difference between Harper and Churchill. Churchill was no fool.