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Selling the Iraq War

By: 
Paul Stevenson

January 27, 2015

The Canadian Government, military, and their think tank buddies have been waging a profit-driven public relations war to convince Canadians that the latest war in Iraq is not a war.
 
Stephen Harper had told the House of Commons in the fall that Canadian troops would not be involved in any on the ground fighting in Iraq. But on January 19, the Canadian special forces commander, Brigadier-General Mike Rouleau announced that Canadian troops had in fact been shot at and shot back against ISIS in Iraq. The Harper government was once again caught in a lie, but claimed that being in a firefight is not the same as being in combat.
 
A war by any other name
The quagmire that the US found itself in after the illegal and devastating invasion in 2003 is still fresh on the minds of many people. Obama was elected based on opposition to the Iraq War, and Harper had to admit that the Iraq War was “absolutely an error.” Politicians both north and south of the border, therefore, want to convince their own war-weary people that this will be a more limited war that will be free of casualties.
 
The problem is that people aren’t stupid. They can see that a firefight is a combat operation no matter how you spin it. But that hasn’t stopped the CDA Institute from trying to come up with a new spin. George Petrolekas, a member of the board of directors for the institute, in an article in The Globe and Mail used some linguistic gymnastics to clarify the situation saying, “It is possible to be in a war, but not at war.”
 
The reality is that if you are—in an official military capacity—shooting at other people who are themselves a military then you are both at war and in a war.
 
The CDA Institute seems content however to stick with the ruse. This isn’t too surprising given their recent statements to the media. It appears that their entire plan is to obfuscate and confuse. The same author, Mr Petrolekas has written many articles for the Globe. In one written in October 2014, he states that what is needed in Iraq is a short war. He follows up with an article this January stating that we need to be patient and that the fight in Iraq will be a long one. Thanks for the clarity.
 
CDA Institute
Unfortunately, the CDA Institute as become he go-to group for analysis on the war in Iraq. They have now been featured on most mainstream media outlets as the beacons of strategic thought on the issue.
 
Just who is the CDA institute? Those who have followed the burgeoning Canadian weapons manufacturing and export sector may recognize the acronym. The Conference of Defence Associations is the main organizing and lobbying body of the war profiteers in Canada. Not surprisingly, they’ve yet to meet a war they don’t like.
 
This “charitable” group spends most of its time lobbying for more military spending. Given the recent attacks on charities in Canada, it is remarkable that this group—so clearly political and partisan—has evaded scrutiny by the Canada Revenue Agency. Of course, the fact that the slideshow at the top of their website features a picture of Stephen Harper standing beside a saluting Prince Charles and Camilla may have something to do with it.
 
Harper and his war profiteer friends think we are dupes. They applaud the human rights record of dictatorships such as in Saudi Arabia as they sell them weapons, and they are working overtime to convince us of the moral superiority of their own brand of foreign policy.
 
Stop the wars
What we know is that the horrible situations in Iraq is to a large extent the result of the destruction of that country by western forces intent only on securing strategic resources and markets. This phase in the war is no different, even if the characteristics of the non-combat-combat may be.
 
All this war is doing is providing ISIS with legitimacy in the eyes of the people the West is bombing. The end result will be more attacks at home that justify more attacks abroad that will result in more war. It is time to stop the cycle of endless war. The only way to do that is to get all the Western powers to bring their planes and troops home now.

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