Canada Kicks Ass
A trait most unbecoming Canadians. . . .


karra @ Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:41 pm

We shouldn't be smug just because we disagree with George W. Bush, says Hugh Segal

There are few better ways to stop a dinner party cold than to offer, when the topic gets around to U.S. politics that, well, were one an American one would most likely vote for George W. Bush.

There are many levels to the kind of response this evokes from Canadian academics, policy workers, journalists or civil servants (yes, one should be careful whom one eats with).

The first and the one that speaks so eloquently about much of our intelligentsia is the rank condescension. The bias clearly conveyed is that frankly, the president of the United States is not all that bright, nor well-read, nor worldly.

Nothing so condemns Canadians to global irrelevance than this snide capacity to look down on people with whom we disagree.

When I ask whether they feel the articulate Tony Blair, the New Labour, Third Way British PM, is also unworldly and a slow reader, they shift tactics: "Well, he throws around military power without consulting."

If I note that America waited many months after some 3,000 citizens were killed in New York before removing the terrorist Taliban government in Afghanistan and that Jean Chr├ętien, that old militarist, had sent Canadian combat troops on their first combat mission since Korea to help, they change the topic quickly to Iraq.

So, first we leave a president who is not well- read, not terribly worldly and a president who is part of at least two conspiracies.

Next is the neo-conservative conspiracy to get Saddam Hussein and attack Iraq no matter what. I ask about the "no matter what" rather directly.

"Do you mean no matter what Saddam did to promote peace and co-operation? Do you mean no matter what he did to let inspectors have the time and the opportunity to verify any compliance at all with U.N. weapons rules? Do you mean no matter what he has done to repel terrorists from Iraq and reconcile with his neighbours, like Kuwait?"

Of course, the ground shifts then to the absence of weapons of mass destruction and another conspiracy to misread or distort intelligence indicating he had no such weapons. I ask about that intelligence. Is it not accurate to say the American, British and Israeli intelligence had collectively or separately made some large mistakes in the past?

If one safely assumes that intelligence services missed Pearl Harbour, missed the 1973 attack on Israel, missed the Indian and Pakistani explosion of nuclear devices, missed the attacks on U.S. embassies abroad, and missed the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, not to mention the attacks on America on September, 2001, it is also safe to assume that when faced with evidence that suggested Iraq might or might not have weapons of mass destruction ready for deployment, one might just err on the side of caution and assume the worst.

Just last year, at a conference in Moscow at the Institute for the Study of Canada and the United States, a fellow member of the Canadian delegation responded to a Russian academic's ridiculing the absence of weapons of mass destruction this way:

"I suspect that when Russian and Allied troops invaded Germany to bring the Second World War to an end, they were relieved that they did not find atomic weapons ready for deployment. Because the Nazis surely would have deployed them."

The anti-Bush argument then moves to the quagmire conspiracy, from which only large American firms and arms dealers, all friends of the Republicans, could possibly benefit.

While one can argue that any and all corporations are usually the friends of those in power, the notion that any president would take his country to war to advance companies' quarterly numbers is a little far-fetched.

On post-conflict transition, America has never been very strong.

And if elections are about the future, whom do we think is likely to end the war most quickly?

Bush, looking for his second and last term, will not leave its continuation as his ongoing legacy. A new Democratic president, who has made military courage his hallmark character trait, may well find reasons to stay longer.

Canada is not part of the coalition of the willing in Iraq, either in humanitarian or military terms except for sending money and offering to train police and others in the relative safety of Jordan. Condescension because we disagree is quite unbecoming.

Hugh Segal is president of the Institute for Research on Public Policy and a former Progressive Conservative strategist.

RIGHT on the money!!!


Ralph @ Sun Aug 22, 2004 2:32 pm

[B]Canada is not part of the coalition of the willing in Iraq,

By your tone you would think that Canada has not seen its fair hare of combat.
And I am not talking Korea.
Canadian troops are in the relatively safety of Afghanistan
And now that the US. Air force has decided to stop bombing them they are functioning very well. This is where we agreed the terrorist camps were not Iraq.
This is where and what the coalition of the willing agreed to be.


Rev_Blair @ Mon Aug 23, 2004 4:04 am

The list of countries not in Iraq is a long one, Ralph. It seems most world leaders are reluctant to illegally invade a country for monetary gain.


Robair @ Mon Aug 23, 2004 11:47 am

Rev_Blair Rev_Blair:
The list of countries not in Iraq is a long one, Ralph. It seems most world leaders are reluctant to illegally invade a country for monetary gain.
Most world leaders understand the consequence. I don't think Dubya has the capacity. Even many on the coalition are pissed about being lied to about the WMD and are currently trying to pass the buck. Australia for one...


Donny_Brasco @ Mon Aug 23, 2004 3:55 pm

Ralph Ralph:
Canada has not seen its fair hare of combat.

I happen to be a expert on combat hares.



Twila @ Tue Aug 24, 2004 10:31 am



mike2277 @ Tue Aug 24, 2004 1:41 pm

"We'd better not risk another frontal assault; that rabbit's dynamite!"


polemarch1 @ Tue Aug 24, 2004 3:07 pm

"Bring forth the Holy Hand Grenade!"


Gangrenous @ Tue Aug 24, 2004 7:36 pm

Ralph Ralph:
[B]Canada is not part of the coalition of the willing in Iraq,

Canadian troops are in the relatively safety of Afghanistan

I hope that's sarcasm.....


DMP08 @ Wed Aug 25, 2004 4:19 pm

Canadians are somewhat safer in Afganistan as long as no other friendly countries are droppongs bombs on us. :(