Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chretien and the Iraq War

From the CBC:

... even as Chrétien told the Commons that Canada wouldn't participate in Operation Iraqi Freedom, Canadian diplomats were secretly telling their U.S. counterparts something entirely different.

The classified U.S. document obtained from WikiLeaks shows senior Canadian officials met that same day with high-ranking American and British diplomats at Foreign Affairs headquarters in Ottawa.

The confidential note, written by a U.S. diplomat at the gathering, states that Foreign Affairs official James Wright waited until after the official meeting to impart the most important news of all.

According to the U.S. account, Wright "emphasized" that contrary to public statements by the prime minister, Canadian naval and air forces could be "discreetly" put to use during the pending U.S.-led assault on Iraq and its aftermath.

At that time, Canada had warships, aircraft and over 1,200 naval personnel already in the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, intercepting potential militant vessels and providing safe escort to other ships as part of Operation Enduring Freedom, the post-Sept. 11, 2001, multinational war on terrorism.
I cannot believe this sort of thing happened under a principled Liberal government! I just cannot! How could Jean Chretien do this to us! My God, we're imperialists! IMPERIALISTS!!1! The Liberal Party has betrayed Canada! Boo-urns! Boooo-urns!

Yeah, anyone who didn't know about the "secret" Canadian participation in Iraq doesn't do their homework or likes to listen to five-second soundbites over facts, logic, and reasoned arguments.

Maybe it got lost in the rhetoric down the way, but back in 2002 and 2003 there was never any move by the Canadian government to completely back off helping the Coalition of the Willing, however, Chretien made pretty clear - and it's in that article as well - that we would not be sending in ground troops to Iraq. That was always the main caveat, no ground troops - but hey, we can help in other ways, and we did, even from the beginning of the invasion. Doesn't anyone read up on this stuff? Here's an entire Wiki article screaming about it.

Honestly, CBC and fellow bloggers and Canadians at large - THIS ISN'T SECRET. Canada was involved from day one in logistics in the Iraq War, and our head of the Canadian Forces even served in Iraq as an officer. We simply never put boots on the ground, as the Americans and British pressured us to; but we've always had some participatory role in Iraq, be it in logistics, for the naval blockade (where our ships were already deployed when the invasion started), or post-invasion reconstruction. But we never put boots on the ground, and that's the bullet we avoided.

Again, it's gotten lost in rhetoric, including from Chretien, but this is openly-available history that you didn't need WikiLeaks for. Now people are ragging on Chretien - seriously? Don't blame Jean Chretien for your own ignorance on this subject.

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad someone else is pointing this out. Except for fighter jets, we had more assets in the Gulf in 2003 than we did in 1991. Supposedly they were there for the "war on terror." I'd say the WikiLeaks confirmed what we should already have suspected: that we were lied to.

    Despite the fact that the US is leading the charge to get Assange, I've long felt that they actually come out of it pretty well, if only because we all KNEW they were scoundrels. The real "victims" are all the other two-faced governments who get publicly outed as the liars they really are.