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Beyond Beyond Chutzpah: Israel Hints at Canadian Military Aid Request PDF Print E-mail
Peace News
Wednesday, 16 August 2006 10:27
Beyond Beyond Chutzpah: Israel Hints at Canadian Military Aid Request

PEJ News
- C. L. Cook - The Canwest News "Service" is reporting, Israel's ambassador to Canada, Alan Baker floated the idea of Canadian naval vessels patrolling the now oil soaked coastal Mediterranean stretch between Lebanon and Syria. Baker's trial balloon, delivered to the press in Ottawa today, is just one facet of Israel's endgame in its "war" against Hezbollah; an attempt to draw international forces to clean up the mess they initiated in battered Lebanon.


Beyond Beyond Chutzpah:
Israel Hints at Canadian Military Aid Request

C. L. Cook

PEJ News
August 16, 2006

It must seem a perfectly reasonable expectation from the Israeli government's point of view; isn't that how things work in post-modern warfare? It worked in Yugoslavia, where "NATO" pulverized the population and civil infrastructure, then leaving the remnant Former Republic of Yugoslavia to be garrisoned by someone else, it's crippled economy gifted to off-shore corporate interests. It's what's happened in Afghanistan, and Iraq. So, why not Lebanon?

Canwest makes no mention in today's piece of Canadian civilians slaughtered by the Israeli Defence Force. Not a discouraging word is heard in Kelly Patrick's screed of the unarmed four U.N. peacekeepers deliberately murdered, one of them Canadian. But then, why should Patrick go out further on a limb than the Canadian government, reminding Canwest's diminishing readership of unpleasant truths concerning cap-in-hand Israel's authorship of the unfolding disaster over there?

For their part, the government of Stephen Harper is staying mum, the pm's director of communications, Sandra Buckler coyly saying, "I don't wish to speculate on calls that have yet to take place." 

Under Security Council Resolution SCR 1701, the UN calls for a 15,000 member bolstering of the current United Nations' Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the same Israel recently targeted, to work in conjunction with the Lebanese Army to ensure Hezbollah does not threaten northern Israel. The UN also proposes the international force disarm Hezbollah and ensure no weapons come into the country. No demands of Israel are apparent, save they train their fire solely on the residents of Prison Camp Palestine, sparing the Lebanese the treatment so familiar there.

Ambassador Baker acknowledges, Canada is "pretty heavily engaged in Afghanistan," but says he still believes "Canada can do more now."

And, I suppose he's right. Now that Iraq is destroyed, and the murderous sanctions regime officially ended, those Canadian naval vessels that worked so diligently to enforce the starvation of the Iraqi people can now be resourced to do similar duty in the Med. That is if they can muster the bodies.

According to Canada's military strong man and chief of defence staff, General Rick Hillier, "Whether we have the capability to contribute there would be entirely dependent on the kind of mission, the kind of mandate, and the kind of job that a force would have to do." I guess it "kind of" depends too on whether the Canadian people are prepared to foot the bill for yet another foreign occupation, and whether the Canadian Forces have the boots at command to handle three simultaneously.

Hillier appears on another page, opposite the graveside photo of Corporal Sarah Keller. Keller's husband Bryce is, to use the pm's phraseology when referring to 9/11's dead Canadians, "one of about 30 killed" so far in Afghanistan. No doubt dying "doing the job he loved." Hillier opines it will take "years and years" to rebuild that battered nation. These are years to go, on top of the five years Canadian taxpayers have ponied up to piece together the remains of America's bloody bombing campaign and occupation. 

How to do that with Canada's tiny military?

Not to worry, Rick's boss Stephen "just call me Steve, Dubya" has the answer. The Conservatives [sic] say they want to see thirteen thousand more boots filled to be shipped overseas. But, recruitment and retention is apparently a problem for the Forces here. The press coverage of one sombre ceremony after another probably isn't helping (one reason perhaps Sandra Buckler advised "Steve" not allow coverage of such dreary events). But Hillier is optimistic about new recruitment directives saying, "We've thrown, if you will, a transformational grenade in the middle of our recruiting process." Sounds great, Rick. Do go on!

Meanwhile in Sherwood Park, Alberta, widowed Corporal Sarah Keller is comforted by her family and friends, commiserating the loss of her husband, one of seven Canadians killed in Afghanistan in August alone. But, perhaps not only seven dead; another attack in Afghanistan wounded six more Canadian soldiers yesterday. There the Canadian "forward operating base," where Canadians have been mounting their search and destroy missions across Panjwaii district, came under mortar fire. And if Canwest is to be believed, there is more to come, as "Taliban" fighters are massing.

Expect this week to hear the official Israeli request for Canadian "aid." And expect too to hear your pm Harper accept the challenge to "keep Canada free, etc." But, this mission won't be free; it will cost Canadian prestige, Canadian tax dollars, and perhaps, as we've seen in Afghanistan and Haiti, Canadian blood as well.

Chris Cook is a contributing editor to PEJ News and hosts Gorilla Radio, a weekly public affairs program. You can check out the GR Blog here

Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 August 2006 10:27

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