Sunday, March 15, 2015

The would-be Warrior King who cannot find his big-boy war pants

Defence Minister Jason Kenney and his parliamentary secretary James Bezan were spinning yarns last week about the Royal Canadian Navy's derring-do in the Black Sea. Those darned Ruskies tried to intimidate our brave men and women in uniform, but nosiree, we stared 'em down, we did!

Turns out the tall tales were mostly just wishful thinking. The Canadians are in the Black Sea as part of NATO exercises intended to intimidate Russia, yet nobody at NATO can confirm the Canadians' story. A BBC journalist with the fleet claims Russian surveillance aircraft came no closer than 128 kilometres, while the supposed confrontation with a Russian warship never happened at all. Maybe somebody at DND got metres and kilometres mixed up, an easy enough mistake to make, especially in the heat of a close call (or possibly not that close) with Putin's evil legions.

After all, facing possible enemies isn't part of the day to day drill for our Royal mariners. The war they're fighting on the high seas is the War on Drugs. Here they are seizing six tonnes of hashish in the Arabian Sea in 2013. Here's a big heroin bust in the Indian Ocean a year later. And hold the phone, here's two headline-grabbin' busts in one week last October... and another one just last week!

We may have lost in Afghanistan, but at least we're winning the war on drugs!

Like all the best wars of modern times though, the war on drugs is never over, and it occurred to Harper's brain trust some years ago that the Royal Canadian Navy would need some new kit to keep up the good fight. The Harper gang announced a new shipbuilding program to much fanfare back in 2010, and have re-announced it to varying degrees of additional fanfare several more times since, but so far all that the new shipbuilding program has produced is this spiffy video.

Latest rumours on actual ships are that the yards might begin cutting steel by 2020.

Meanwhile, let's not forget the war on terror. Alas, the latest round in our war on terror has pretty much disappeared into that ever-threatening fog of war. When big Steve sent sixty-nine of our brave men and women in uniform into Iraq last year they were on a "training" mission to bring the Iraqi Kurds up to snuff on how to shoot guns and other war-type stuff that, after the last fifty years of fighting Iraqis, Syrians, Turks, and each other, they apparently need "training" to figure out.

And wouldn't you know it, before you can say "pants on fire," there's been a bad case of mission creep and our trainers are shooting up the bad guys and coming home dead.

That's the way we roll here in Harper's Canada. Cynically putting "our brave men and women in uniform" in harm's way just to goose the polls in an election year has become completely unremarkable where it should instead be completely unacceptable.

We've almost completed the transition from peace-makers to war-mongers.

It was therefore gratifying to see Canadians out protesting in considerable numbers against Harper's latest initiative to remake Canada as a police state, the odious Bill C-51.

Perhaps we're waking up.

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