So, Thomas Mulcair has, according to reports in the Globe and Mail and in CBC News, rather breathlessly told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the world that “It is not clear exactly how and when this engagement occurred but it seriously calls into question your government’s claim that Canadian Forces are not involved in direct combat in Iraq” …[and, he asked, rhetorically] “Why have you not declared the current military operation is now a combat mission.”
The issue was a record breaking sniper shot …
The Globe and Mail says that “Maj.-Gen. Rouleau,” commander of Canada’s special forces, “would not say where the unnamed Canadian sniper and his spotter partner were operating for security reasons. But Canadian special forces are known to be working alongside Iraqi security forces in the campaign to dislodge Islamic State from the city of Mosul,” … [but] … The sniper team had spotted IS fighters approaching Iraqi security forces, who were unaware that they were about to be ambushed. Using a McMillan TAC-50 rifle, the sniper did not expect to hit the target at such a distance, but hoped his “harassing fire” would frighten the enemy combatants to flee.” That’s a well crafted explanation but a single, long, 3,500 metre shot is not, I think, what one might normally consider to be harassing fire ~ when one want to “harass” at 3,500+ metres one normally uses a heavy machine gun or a mortar, but, perhaps a precision sniper rifle is all that was available.
In any event, Mr Mulcair is a bit like “Captain Obvious” in the TV commercials … of course prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberals are stretching the truth about military operations in Syria and Iraq. As with so many other things, including e.g. climate change targets, all the Trudeau liberals have done is try to “re-spin” the Harper Conservative policies. The simple fact, the obvious truth, is that Canadian soldiers are fighting and killing in the Middle East; trying to parse the words is an interesting exercise for e.g. Major General Rouleau and sundry other “spokespersons” but it is clear to all but the most obtuse Liberals that Canadians are in combat … as they should be.
To be clear: I think it ‘s a good thing we are killing Da’esh/ISIL/ISIS terrorists wherever we can find them ~ it’s good to kill them with rifles, it’s good to kill them with mortars and machine guns, too, it was good to kill them with bombs and rockets dropped from CF-18s. It is also good to talk about it; our military is often too quiet when it does good deadly things. What I find objectionable is playing semantic games when soldiers are killing and in danger of being killed, too. That, playing word games, is what the Trudeau Liberals are doing.
So, we say, “thank you, Captain Obvious” for reminding us that it’s 2017, and the truth, in official Ottawa, is infinitely flexible.