'An attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada' - Macleans.ca

‘An attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada’

Tory cabinet member says Canada is prepared to take a hard line with Tehran


In a little-publicized interview with Shalom Life, Peter Kent, the Conservative minister of state for foreign affairs of the Americas, suggested Canada was prepared to take a hard line with Iran over the continued threat its nuclear program poses to Israel. “Prime Minister Harper has made it quite clear for some time now,” he said, “and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada.” In the meantime, Kent said Ottawa would be pursuing efforts to impose ever-more stringent sanctions on Tehran. “We have had some sanctions for some time on equipment and materials related to the making of nuclear weapons,” Kent told the Toronto-based news site, “but it may soon be time to intensify the sanctions and to broaden those sanctions into other areas, such as economic areas which we hope would discourage Iran from its current course.” However, should diplomatic efforts prove ineffective in containing the Iranian threat, Kent said Canada wouldn’t rule out a military strike: “[It] is the last possible option but that remains in the broad range of options and unfortunate possibilities”

Shalom Life

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‘An attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada’

  1. Kent said Canada wouldn't rule out a military s.trike. This is not the Canada I knew. Sabre rattling and empty threats used to be below us. I miss the old Canada.

    • Me too. I miss the old Canada which could back up threats like these by sending in one of the world's best military forces and tearing the bad guys a new one.

      I think that Canada hasn't been seen since the Korean War.

      • "…and tearing the aggressors a new one."

        Wasn't the Korean war ended via negotiations and compromise with the enemy?

        • Technically it's ongoing, not ended, but yes.

          But Canada's part was to go in, kick some serious tail, and then pull out once the UN decided to stop fighting. We did tear both the DPRK and the PRC a new one. See the Battle of Kapyong for example.

  2. Very nice. So I guess the next time Katusha rockets rain down on Israel, Peter Kent will volunteer for the IDF?

  3. "Kent said Canada wouldn't rule out a military strike"

    Who are you kidding? Canada's military is not in any particular shape to be making "military strikes" against anyone. If anyone is going to defending Israel, it'll be Israel. Frankly, they're more than capable of taking care of themselves.

    Seriously, lets call this what it is: Empty pandering.

  4. The Iran government must be hurrying its citizens to shelter as we speak…what a joke!

  5. "Prime Minister Harper has made it quite clear for some time now,” he said, “and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada."

    Mr. Harper should look at a map sometime. Israel is not Canada. Nor should it be associated with it. Mr. Harper will you please go home.

    • You ever hear of this thing called the "Korean War"? Or this other thing called "World War 2"? Or this other thing called "World War 1"? In each case, Canada went to defend another country that was not Canada.

      The point is that we stand up for people who are under attack from arrogant bullies. This is one of the things that makes Canada great. People who think we should just stand by while someone mugs another country are unworthy of our history.

      • Israel is the second-most arrogant bully on the planet.

  6. This is absolutely outrageous and completely unacceptable. These people do not speak for me. Have we learned nothing in the last eight years? This is exactly the type of posturing, spin and outright lies that lead to the attack on Iraq and hundreds of thousands of civilian and military deaths. The same imperialistic military industrial hegemony that brings us right in line with U.S. foreign policy.
    There won't be one single son or daughter of Harper or his government on the front lines, but they'll be ready aye ready to sacrifice yours or mine, and all too ready to murder thousands if not millions of Iranians. These people make me ill, and ashamed of what we've become. Enough!
    -Bill Desmond

    • I couldn't have said it better. I agree so strongly.

    • I agree as well.. I am truly disgusted at our U.S gov't… Our forefathers are rolling over in their graves.

    • Bill, I trust that these people do not speak for you. But they speak for me and for more Canadians than any other party.

      • They speak for 20% of the registered voters as of the last election.
        To put it another way, they may speak for more than any other single party but they still are the voice of a small minority and should bear that in mind when concocting policy for the entire country.

        Israel is a nuclear power and fully able to conduct any 'defense' it requires.

  7. Since when has Canada started speaking on behalf of defending Israel.

    Can we have a referendum on this issues!!!

    Canadians have problems settling the Quebec separation issue which haunts us every now and then.

    Why worry for Israel? What have they done for Canada?

    Recall…..Fraudulent Canadian passport was used by Israel's Mossad agents to enter into Jordan and assassinatel a palestenian.

    Did Canada ever bother to following up that issue which created global embarrasment for Canadians.

    Trust me….our Canadian government is bought. Do not expect sensible statements from them. As such Harper keeps a tight check on what his ministers speak in public.

    So if you hear such garbage from them, you know it has been screened and the speaker is being told to speak to gain popularity and score points for the government and attract voters.


  8. Canada, already stretched thin with 2700 soldiers in Afghanistan and 2000 in Haiti, attacks country tht has1 million soldiers and possilby nuclear weapons. This made my day. I'm actually laughing.

    I may not have all the briefing material that Peter Kent does, but here's how it would unfold.

    If the U.S. isn't striking back with overt military action they won't even let Canada talk publicly about launching a strike. If the U.S. does strike back, we tag along with a token contribution.

  9. This is down right shameful for us Canadians to stand under a statement like this, first off Canada has no place to give threats like such and furthermore why for Israel? give me one good reason why? lol.

    • Thanks for that link Donna.

    • thanks

  10. After reading the above, I am proud to be Canadian, Canadians have a sense of justice and Israel is not necessary a country to be supported for its war crimes actions against civilians (elders, child, women etc…).

  11. As a gay moslim American I am ashamed. As you know israel is not a democracy but military dictatorship consists of bigots and gay bashers. As a Marxsist and humanitarian I am outraged.

    • There's plenty of bigots and 'gay bashers' all over the world. Is there any particular reason why you've singled out these issues for Israel? Hell, if you really want to know what its like to be discriminated against as a homosexual, try outing yourself in Tehran. I'm going to guess that you'd rather do it in Israel.

      As evidence, lets look at the first sentences from these articles on Wikipedia:


      "LGBT rights in Iran since the Iranian Revolution of 1979 have come under governmental persecution, with international human rights groups reporting public floggings and executions of lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals."


      "Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Israel are considered the most developed in the Middle East."

    • Marxists still exist?

      • Not only that but gay muslim American Marxists…i'm impressed…i'm not even a good liberal…although i can manage Canadian.

    • As a gay humanitarian I would think you should be more concerned with Iran hanging gays from cranes,

      Or moslim youths bashing gays nightly, in Amsterdam,

      or the countless Imams who condem homosexuals around the globe.

      You are out of line to call out Israels record on gay rights (pretty good actually), to the various Islamic states (appalingly bad)

      Clean up your own house first!

    • I think he's trying (not very well) to make fun of Andrew Sullivan.

      • Trying and failing miserably actually!

    • How can you possibly be a "moslim," i.e. Muslim (one who believes in God) and a "Marxsist," i.e. Marxist (an atheist)?.

  12. So, Kent and Harper assert that Canada, a non-nuclear weapons state, will come to the defense of one nuclear state (Israel) if attacked by an aspiring nuclear state (Iran)?

    Mr. Kent, please shut up. Mr. Harper, please go back to Calgary. You are both embarrassingly out of your depth.

  13. Donna Gilmore – so what? So a Jewish group thanks Kent for promoting good relations – is that the so called clandestine Jewish Lobby working so deviously against …what exactly?
    Remember all you leftist canadians: All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.
    And that's what you're really about, isn't it – doing nothing. Finally, you've got a leader with some backbone because standing up to do-nothing constituents such as yourselves takes just as much guts as standing up to the Ahmadinejads of this world.

    • Annie , I agree with your statement, " All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. " however what comes mind is Harper`s thunderous silence when the IDF killed a Canadian major at a UN post in broad daylight and also when Israel practiced genocide in the Gaza strip.

      • You have no idea what yoyu are talking about, Gary. The facts do not support you.
        Annie, you at least are showing some dignity.

        • and this why the PM/Kent panders…..

    • It is possible for Canada to firmly support Israel's right to exist in peace, free from the pathologies of it's neighbours, without resorting to hyperbole like "would be considered an attack on Canada." That phrase is for practical purposes meaningless. Kent knows this.

  14. What an idiot.

    A Middle-Eastern theocracy seems to have more influence on our government than most provinces now.

    Well done Reformers!

    • a “middle eastern theocracy?” and you’re calling someone else an idiot? Israel is the only place in the Middle East where Arab women can vote. It is the only democracy in the region, not theocracy like Iran or fascist dictatorship like Syria, or monarchy like Jordan.

      oh and i’m pretty sure israel was planning to handle itself without the mounties assistance, but thanks for the offer anyway :)

      • You live in a fantasy world. At best, Israel is an ethnocracy with its Palestinian/Arab citizens at the very bottom denied full access to democracy. Israel is the only country in the world that differentiates between citizenship and nationality, i.e., there is no such thing as an "Israeli," only Jews and non-Jews – the very essence of discrimination.

        • David, you do not the facts,

          There are Israel citizens who are Muslim, Christian, Druze, Bahai and other, with full democratic rights and freedom to practice their religion. Israel's national culture is Jewish for the most part, just as Canadian, US and European countries are for the most part Christian.

          May I remind you of the existence of Muslim countries where someone violating the rules of Islam may be persecuted?

          Israel is the only Jewish country, and apparently you and many others do have a problem with that. There is a name for this phenomenon, but it is politically incorrect to mention it …. well, the term nowadays is "Anti-Zionism"!

  15. I'm sure many posters here would prefer to do nothing, if Israel were attacked.

    Kents statement is an empty threat, but I have no problem with the sentiment,
    and neither should any moral, thinking, informed Canadian.

    • So the "moral, thinking and informed" thing to do is make empty threats? Empty gestures? Empty rhetoric?

      Glad to see that Kent, the Canadian government, Israel's government and Iran's government are all paying the same lip service.

      • I don't know how I could have been any clearer in separating the empty threat part, from the sentiment part.

        Some people will always go out of their way, to misunderstand any statement about the Middle East.

        • Empty rhetoric is part of the sentiment.

          Any black and white interpretation of the Middle East requires rhetoric.

          • I don't view anything as "black and white".

            It's still pretty easy for me to decide who I think Canada should support, if it came to war between Israel and Iran.

            I hope it would be the same for you.
            Nuance doesn't make Israel and Iran equally bad faith actors. Far from it.

          • Go sober up.

          • Nice rebuttal.

            Go smoke another one.

          • if Kent was worried about bad faith actors why did his statement not include a clause that conditioned the (empty) commitment based on Israel's actions? Is Israel beyond reproach?

          • Not sure what you're asking in the fir st part, but the second part is easy.

            No, Israel is not above reproach (or Canada for that matter), but the current Iranian leadership is beneath reproach.

          • AJR you were suggesting that nuance and a calculation of who is acting in good faith and bad was part of any reasonable calculation of who deserves support at any point in town, I believe. if so i agree fully. i was merely pointing out that Kent, and Harper before him, simply offered blanket pro-Israel support regardless of what they do. that is unreasonable and immoral.

          • I took it to mean in the case of a pre-emptive strike by Iran.

            It's really just empty pandering IMHO, but it certainly has raised up some discussion here.

            I don't mind the sybolic gesture to the state of Israel either, if thats what it was, they often take far too much unwarrented abuse IMO.

          • AJR, respectfully, i am not sure that there is anything to support interpreting it "to mean in the case of a pre-emptive strike by Iran". Kent makes clear that Harper has been saying this for some time.

  16. Let Iran beware.. we have 24/7 video-cast of Celine Dion to blanket-broadcast their country with if they get out of line.

    And if that doesn't scare them, we'll bring out the big guns… Corey Hart.

    • That last question shouldn't need an answer, but it does raise a question…

      Do you feel that Iran, and Israel are morally equal?

      To try and make it clear why I think this is a silly question, I'll put it to you this way
      If we rushed to war in WW2 to protect Poland, why wouldn't we rush to protect Germany?

      Answer: Poland was our ally, Germany was not. Same reasoning applies here.

      • AJR79,
        If Poland was our ally, why did we so freely hand them over to the Soviets right after the war and allow them to be subjected to 44 years of persecution?

        • You are correct.

          We did abandon Poland to 50 years of communist rule.

          It is a sore point of shame with me, but I wasn't around in 1945, to see how sick of war the world was.

          If there is a clear victor in WW2, it is the Soviets.

          That has nothing to do with coming to Israels aid if they are attacked thou…

          • "It is a sore point of shame with me"

            Not to be too hard on you or anything, but it would be hard to decide which country was least vulnerable to American attack: the Soviet Union in 1945 or Iran in 2010. Iran today, I suppose, but mainly because the Soviet Union in 1945 would have swept over Western Europe like a tidal wave. The only way to win, even if the USA had as many A-bombs as the USSR suspected, would have been to systematically nuke central Europe.

            You can't decide war policy on the basis of what just feels good, either then or now. Iran is effectively invulnerable, except to nuclear attack; and a first-strike nuclear attack is simply not an option.

          • I see how you could have took what I said to mean that I think it's a shame that WW2 didn't continue, but thats not what I meant.

            Although it might "feel good" to consider what may have been had they sent Patton to take Warsaw, it would have been imprudent, and probably disasterous, to do so at the time.
            (Although other countries like Romania could have been saved if they had been more aggressive)

            The real "shame" I was thinking of was that when Britian and France finally declared war on Germany, it was to help preserve Polish independence.

            They failed to meet this objective, and it is a shame.

            I don't agree with your assesment of Irans "invulnerability" to conventional attack.
            Irans airforce wouldn't stand up a week if the U.S opened up a can.

          • Oh, I don't think the Iranian airforce would last 24 hours. It might not last six hours. The question is, why would Iran capitulate once the US had air supremacy? Iraq didn't capitulate until Baghdad was taken, and the Iranians are a whole lot more keen on their regime than the Iraqis were on theirs. A ground invasion is just not possible. The Iranians are more anti-American than the Iraqis; they're far more full of religious zeal; there are 74 million of them and they have a huge army; their country is not flat but rather extremely mountainous. So you can't invade them, and if you bomb them and they don't give in, all you can do is bomb them some more until domestic and international disgust force you to stop. Meanwhile you've provoked the mother of all oil crises and spent another $500 billion. Iran is militarily invulnerable.

          • Not so much "invulnerable" as "unoccupiable".

          • Quite right — they would be wrecked. But are we talking about retaliation for an attack on Israel? Any serious attack might well prompt Israel to use the bomb. Israel has not been attacked conventionally since it acquired a nuclear capacity, and IMO a conventional attack would prompt a nuclear retaliation. That was always the Cold War doctrine of deterrence, n'est-ce pas? But if Israel has the capacity to respond apocalyptically like that, why the need for US help, much less ours, in retaliating?

          • You're right that Israel does't need anyone's help if it chooses nuclear retaliation, but there are many reasons why it might prefer to keep conventional military response like air strikes on the table. Despite Israel's doctrine of deterrence, it would probably (hopefully) try to avoid a nuclear strike unless it felt there were no other options and its very survival was at stake.

            A conventional (non-invasion military) response is the preferable option if Israel's allies, particularly the US, are committed to providing conventional military support (e.g. warplanes, cruise missiles).

            I agree that Canada doesn't have much to offer militarily in any Israel v Iran scenario, so the value of Canada's support is mostly symbolic.

          • I should have said "a sore point, and a shame", but you didn't really misinterpret.
            I do feel some sense of shame at having abandoned the Poles to nearly 50 years under communist yoke.
            It may have been neccessary, but it still sucks.

            I don't think an invasion of Iran is neccessary at all.

            The type of conventional military action I would consider would be airstrikes to take out the nuke facilities, and I don't think we are at that point yet anyway.

            I am actually much more hopeful, then I used to be, that the Iranian problem will largely be resolved from within.

            The demographics, and society are looking ripe for change in the not to distant future.
            Not all Iranians are that keen on the current regime.

            If the question comes down to letting the current regime have a nuclear weapon, I have to vote no, let's do everything that is neccessary to prevent that.

      • Different situation. We have a formal alliance with some nations, and with those I could understand this stance. However, my understanding is that we do not have any sort of formal alliance with Israel. As such, if we're willing to put ourselves on the line for one country, why not any?

        • It may not be a formal alliance, but if this is coming from the PMO, I think our stance should be clear to the Iranian govt.

          Clarity, in this case, is a good thing IMHO.

          If Israel starts threatening to wipe Iran off the map, then we will play the "why not come to Irans defence?" game.

          You are trying to equate Iran to Israel.
          I have a hard time not finding that very annoying.

          Getting back to Kents statement….
          Keeping a military option on the table, makes soft power more effective (again IMHO).

          • "Keeping a military option on the table, makes soft power more effective (again IMHO)."

            And just what is the military option that Canada brings to the table, exactly?

          • Does Canada have no military then?

            I don't think we would be the only ones to respond if Israel were attacked.

            Saying that we would join in doesn't bother me.

          • You're right, this will definitely force the Iranians to rethink their whole approach.

          • I figured you would be above a strawman like that Jack.

            I never claimed Canadas stance would affect the Iranian policy, but adding our voices sure doesn't hurt.

            If you think that the Iranians won't take note of it, then I think you are wrong.

          • It hurts because it makes us look ridiculous. We might as well announce our intention to be the first nation on Mars. Worthy? Sure. Farcical? Oh yeah.

            Besides, if Iran attacks Israel it will lose all its major cities in about 15 minutes. They are not going to attack Israel conventionally or with nukes. Israel does not need our help.

          • I see your objection, and sympathize, to a degree.

            I don't see it as making us look ridculous since it is a threat in addition to what the States and Israel would already do.

            The main thing Canada would bring to any such action would be our reputation as a resonable country.

            It may be that this statement is mostly for domestic consumtion (ie. hawks like me), and the possibility of having to carry thru on it is minimal, but something inside me likes that we stand shoulder to shoulder with our allies, as the Iran question becomes more prominent.

            Perhaps I'm viewing this in only the best possible light, but I see it as a statement of solidarity with our natural allies, and I have no problem with it.

            Also, I think that Canada has built up a little more military creditiblity then you admit, even thou the big stick will always be south of us.

          • I think that if Ministers are going to make statements like this to the press (albeit rather obscure organs: seriously, "Shalom Life"?), it should reflect Government policy; if it does reflect Government policy, then we are treating Israel as an ally; if we are going to treat Israel as an ally, we should have a formal, reciprocal treaty. That way, there would be no suspicion that Peter Kent is making up Canadian policy off the top of his head, perish the thought.

            Do you think Israel would spontaneously defend us if we were attacked by, oh, Denmark? If yes, then we are natural allies; if not, we're just servants.

            I do think Canada has military credibility, but it's the credibility of having high quality troops who can get in there and do a specific task extremely well. But let's face it, we can barely field two battalions at the same time.

          • Attacked by Denmark? Seriously?

            Do you think it is likely that Canada will be attacked by anyone?
            How does that compare to Israels chances?

            Even though Harper put the Khandhar extention to a vote, I'm not sure that is precedent that the PM must, in any potential future action.

            I'm sure the chances of an attack on Israel from Iran directly are low, for the reason you mentioned. So the point may well be moot.

            Also, when I descibed myself as a hawk it doesn't even mean that I favour needless, or illegal interventionism.

            I do believe that a strong, united international community will have to be brought to bear to deal with Iran, hopefully without military action.

            Telling this to "Shalom Life" does seem like pure pandering.
            I'm not sure why the CPC feel that this small demograpic is so important.

          • I think we're basically in agreement. Yeah, we're not likely to be attacked by anyone; I picked Denmark because that's the only country we have a territorial dispute with. But I do think it is asking us to sacrifice a lot of our dignity to have non-reciprocal alliances.

          • The really silly thing about this is it effectively changes nothing. Under which liberal pm would Canada not have come down on the side of Israel in a conflict with a country like Iran. The only thing that makes any sense is more domestic politics from Harper. It's got all his classic hallmarks, it's ineffective, it's merely empty symbolism and it is unenforceable…it's simply an empty gesture aimed at the Canadian jewish vote. Again, i ask: under what possible circumstances would a Canadian gov't not support Israel?

          • I like how quickly you swing back and forth. Iggy could even take lessons from you.

            First our 'soft-power' is enhanced by our military option threat. When Jack challenges that statement you dismiss his criticism of the notion that the end game of these idle threats is too effect change in Iran as a strawman. (If the intention of soft power is not to seek change is the offending country's behaviour, what is it????). then you say adding our voices to the list of those will be noted by Iran.

            which is it? are we supposed to believe this will be effective or not? i can't keep up with your flip flopping!

          • The strawman I was refering to was the one where Jack suggested that I held the position that Kents statement would cause Iran to change its policy.

            I have no problem with the statement, even thou it is empty pandering. I think it reflects what Canadas foreign policy should look like, even though Israel is quite capable of defending herself.

            I prefer empty sabre rattling, to the "bow our heads because our armys not big enough" approach.

    • Just play Nickleback. or Kiss that will do the trick they probably like Celine.

  17. None is putting pressure on Israel to destruct its huge nuclear weapons. For Iranians (even all their Citizens) they don't understand why Isreal owns these weapons and they are not allowed, and who is telling them not to: Amerivan, France, England etc.. who have these weapons and Americans are the only once who have used them to kill in Japan. something is wrong and they talk about democracy and justice, we must be taken for morons…..

      • Israeil have never recognized thatit owns nuclear weapons, more they have jailed one of their citizen who worked in nuclear plant because he mentionned it publicly to media, he has been released but he is not allowed to leave Isreal neither to talk yo media and we call Israel a democraty, the biggest joke, lie and manipulation in history and they are the aggressors of all their neighbours and they are presented to us as victims, come on wake up Canadians. It is the end of the propaganda of zionist media and groups such the one who give an award to our Harper…..

        • If you think that there are any innocent nations in the ME, you're delusional.

          I'm not sure why people don't hold the Arab nations responsible for what they do. Israel has to endure regular rocket attacks from groups supplied by Iran, Syria, et al., but as soon as Israel responds, they're the bad guy. And look out if they happen to accidentally kill any of the civilians that the terrorists / freedom fighters are hiding among, universal condemnation.

          I'm sorry but holding Arabs to different standards than Israelis is basically calling the Arabs children. It's racism, pure and simple.

          As for your claim against the legitimacy of the Israeli democracy: At least they're trying. And doing a hell of a lot better than the Arab nations in the ME. Egypt is supposed to be among the most free of the Arab nations, receives a 6 from human rights watch (1 to 7 with 7 being the least free).

          Shall we list the HRW rankings and make an educated decision free from rhetoric?

  18. Kent and Harper , please join the army and go to Afghanistan for sometime. Don't worry we have many good people here even in your government to take care of Canada. Such statement reveal that you have no attitude towards our people fighting in the front line. You just use army as a tool or fuel to burn.

  19. Who cares. Myself and those belonged to me will not be involved in attacking Iran in defense of Isreal

  20. The Harper government has taken an unteneble and unsustainable position on Middle East policy. As long as Canadians are silent, we are complicit in Middle East apartheid.


    • You are right, we should speak loud and clear: thank you Mr Harper for supporting democracy over terror!

  21. I'm glad our government is taking this line, but we're not the ones that could deter such a nightmare. It's the US that held the cards here.

    Unfortunately the US is currently led by Barack Obama, who has wasted the past year trying to appease Iran. Weakness in foreign affairs always leads to larger wars – that is where we are headed.

    • Er…just how many wars did the neo-cons start? And how many has Obama started? It's highly debateable whether the Bush policies did anything at all to make the world safer…for every fire he put out that clown Cheney started a wildfire somewheres else.

      • When Iran violated its agreements concerning nuclear development, the correct response was military action. In this way one forestalls the problem from metastasizing. Bush and Cheney failed in this respect – they knew what had to be done, but their hands were tied by a hostile Democrat Congress elected because the American people had lost stomach for fighting.

        Then when Iran crushed its dissidents with massacre and rape, immediate support for the dissidents and military aid was the correct response. There was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity here to save a lot of lives and overthrow the regime simultaneously.

        Obama was too naive and weak to do either, and the Ahmadinejad regime knew it. Hence they proceeded. Now they are on the verge of having nuclear weaponry and the problem has become much more complicated. Continuing down this course leads to Iran and Israel going to war, and not likely a conventional war. We will all be pulled into a much wider conflict at that point.

        This is a repeating pattern throughout history: a pugnacious country builds up for aggression, and surrounding powers have a choice between making a sacrifice to stop them or putting it off. In the cases where they put it off, they end up paying a much higher price and enduring a much larger war in the long run.

        • "Obama was too naive and weak to do either, and the Ahmadinejad regime knew it"

          Gaunilon, plainly we can all see that the decision is not near that black and white. with scores of troops in iraq already and continuing surges in Afghanistan, what troops exactly would he sent to Iran. More Blackwater types? Do you really think, regardless of the noble goals of supporting the dissidents in Iran, we really want a world that has American in engaged in war in three middle eastern countries simultaneously? that, to me, spells near certain disaster (not that the other two fronts aren't already!).

          • "Do you really think, regardless of the noble goals of supporting the dissidents in Iran, we really want a world that has American in engaged in war in three middle eastern countries simultaneously? "

            Of course not. But the choice wasn't war or no war. The choice was: (A) small war now while supporting helpless victims of an oppressive regime, or (B) large war later after leaving the victims to their fate. The US has chosen option (B). Far more people are going to die because of this choice.

          • How is there a choice? The US does not have the military capacity to attack Iran effectively. It could drop a lot of bombs, but what else? Occupy Tehran, a city of 10 million people? Bomb the oil refineries, sending us into a global depression? What is the option, o wise General Gaunilon, that Obama failed to pick? Spell it out or have done with your empty accusations.

          • i think you are setting up a false dichotomy. I am not convinced that a more immediate war would be necessarily small. both iraq and afghanistan were wrongly advertised as such. not to mention that the more wars the west initiates in the middle east, the higher likelihood that diverse "enemies" will come together. further it doesn't do anything to answer of what resources would exist to undertake it.

          • Actually Iraq and Afghanistan were very small wars by any historical measure. The coalition lost less men in each conflict than died in single one-day engagements in major wars.

            A more immediate war certainly won't help now, you're right there. It's too late. The time to act was either in 2007, when both Iraq and Afghanistan were reasonably stable, or last year when the Iranian populace rose up against their overlords. In 2007/08 the Dems had just won Congress by campaigning against the Iraq war, and a blatantly partisan NIE had just been released claiming that Iran had no nuclear ambitions (har!). Conservatives called it the lie that it was, but it gave the Dems enough ammunition to force no further action on Iran. There was no way Bush could act.

            In 2009 the Dems still held Congress, and to make matters worse Obama had assumed the Presidency – so not only was there no military aid for the Iranian uprising, there was not even a verbal show of support until it was too late.

          • What BS. Open American support would only have galvanised the silent, conservative, nationalist majority against the Iranian resistance (who are a brave minority). It was already obliged to head off charges that it was a Western plot: footage of the American president pledging military support to the revolutionaries would have destroyed them.

            "Actually Iraq and Afghanistan were very small wars by any historical measure. The coalition lost less men in each conflict than died in single one-day engagements in major wars."

            So you are proposing a general mobilisation. To invade Iran. To support Israel. In case the Iranians actually get the bomb and want to commit suicide. Good to know where you're coming from.

          • "You ask how many wars Obama has started. Answer: none, yet. I ask you a question in return: of all the wars in US history, some are large and some are small. Do you know how many of the large ones began under Republican Presidents"

            What does that matter. With the notable exception of ww2 and the belated but timely entry into the great war, i can't think of a single US war i'd consider a just war.

            "Actually Iraq and Afghanistan were very small wars by any historical measure. The coalition lost less men in each conflict than died in single one-day engagements in major wars"

            You miss the point Gaunilon. No one can afford to fight these large scale wars anymore – thank goodness! Fomenting revolutionary democracy[ supporting any resistance that has a reasonable chance of flourishing] is probably the best we can do for Iran, sadly.

          • "i can't think of a single US war i'd consider a just war."

            Interesting. You wouldn't consider the Civil War (Union side) to be a just war? Nor the Korean War?

            No one could ever afford to fight these large wars – that doesn't (unfortunately!) prevent them. England couldn't afford a large war in 1939. She fought one because of the appeasement policy her left-leaning Parliament had espoused in the late 30's. The US couldn't afford the Civil War – they fought it because of the idiotic 1850 Compromise that put off a smaller conflict.

            It's a commonly repeated pattern in history.

          • "i can't think of a single US war i'd consider a just war."

            Interesting. You wouldn't consider the Civil War (Union side) to be a just war? Nor the Korean War?

            No one could ever afford to fight these large wars – that doesn't (unfortunately!) prevent them. England couldn't afford a large war in 1939. She fought one because of the appeasement policy her left-leaning Parliament had espoused in the late 30's. The US couldn't afford the Civil War – they fought it because of the Democratic Party's attempts to appease slave states in the 1850's.

            It's a commonly repeated pattern in history.

          • Chambelaine[ or Baldwin] was a lot of things, but left leaning wasn't one of them. There is i believe a school of thought that credits him for buying Britain a year after the debacle of Munich…they were not at all ready. Great powers haven't changed, they have interests, not friends, and only occasionally moral consistancy.

          • From 1936 (when Hitler occupied the Rhineland) it was Labour that opposed sanctions while the Conservatives were unable to present a unified front against them. From Labour this was the usual leftist "peace at all costs" attitude, and from the Conservatives it was largely due to Nazi sympathies.

            I'm sure you'd disagree, but I view even the half-Conservative stance as leftism. They sympathized with Nazism – i.e. National Socialism – a program of increased government control, reduced individual liberties, hostility to Christianity, and elimination of the disabled and unwanted by euthanasia and abortion. I call that Leftism, and I see no essential difference between today's socialist leftism yesterday's National Socialism.

          • Hadn't considered the civil war.
            As for the Korean…maybe…although the military industrial complex that Eisenhower[ a republican, and a great one IMHO] warned about was starting to drive US foreign policy, so i'm not sure. I was using just war in the Augustinian sense of the word…which certainly wouldn't include Vietnam or Iraq.

          • Fair enough. Treating the problem in the rigorous Augustinian/Aquinian model, I agree with you on Iraq, but not on Viet Nam.

          • Oh, look at Gaunilon, pretending he knows history! It's so cute! Britain's left-leaning Parliament in the 1930's, when both Labour and Tories were against rearmament and the "right-leaning" Tories were pro-Fascist (cheering the bombing of their own ships sent to aid the Spanish Govenment)!

            And the "Democratic Party" of the 1850's is now on the left too, apparently!

            What a wonderful way to be Gaunilon!

          • How about the Revolutionary War?

            That one was just.

          • i'll grant you that one…

          • The Revolutionary War was not just!! Their whole history has been cursed because they embraced greed in the name of liberty.

          • Actually I find that one pretty dubious. Unfortunately every time I've tried to debate it with an American, no matter how level-headed, they've gotten emotional and irrational in short order.

            So there may be a good defense of the Revolutionary War in rigorous terms, but I've never seen it.

          • Eh, I'm not so sure the Revolutionary War was all that just.

            Any loyalist descendants in Ontario want to give their opinion?

          • you are still missing the point, which many conservative commentators made at time: the US had no capacity to go. while the 'small' number of deaths may help make your case other assessments of size are still not in your favour (e.g., relative proportion of troops already committed to A&I/available for battle; length of engagement) and the fact that the size of the risk was enormous if other muslim countries considered a second 'proactive war' a line in the sand or if you and the others that support military action in Iran are wrong in the same way that those supportive of action in Iraq and Afghanistan were (that it would be a short engagement). we are coming up on 10 yrs in Afghanistan with no sign of imminent resolution.

            it also rules out the possibility that other means might secure the same end.

          • I don't think there is an "Obama strategy", first off. I think he's flying by the seat of his pants, and he's more concerned about partisan politics than doing what's best.

            As to the actions that could have been taken in Iran, I think the US military could have handled it if they'd been backed by the overall population. I don't even think it would have been that hard. But even if direct military intervention was off limits, I think a decent President could have pressed for UN intervention when the protesters were being slaughtered, or he could have pressed for observers during a replay of the election. This was a very similar situation to the Ukrainian Orange Revolution, in which Bush weighed in and the revolutionaries got a fair re-vote. The US has a lot of leverage if they choose to use it.

            As it was, Obama did eventually weigh in verbally, but only after the Neda assassination video went viral and he began to suffer in the polls because of his silence. His weighing in didn't cause mass slaughter of the dissidents…but it was too late to help them.

          • "I don't even think it would have been that hard"

            let me try a different tact. given that we were sold that bill of goods on Iraq and Afghanistan, why should I believe it on Iran?

            agree on the use of the UN, though I am also cognisant that the problem with that approach is that it would be pilloried by a great deal of the right as ineffectual.

          • The invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq were actually dead easy. Took weeks.

            What became difficult was the occupation afterward. This was due to three factors:
            (1) Bush initially appointed three men to take charge (in Iraq) one after the other, and each bungled it. He bears responsibility for this – it was inexcusable. It wasn't until Petraeus that things came together.
            (2) The Dems opposed every move to the greatest extent possible, even calling the surge a failure before it began and insinuating that Petraeus was a liar for suggesting otherwise. They were aided and abetted by publications such as the NYT.
            (3) In Afghanistan the occupation was actually quite smooth until the US started setting deadlines to pull out of Iraq. Then the foreign fighters who had been flooding to Iraq started being redirected to Afghanistan, a much harder theater of ops for the Coalition. This was a serious tactical error on the part of the US – once involved in Iraq they should have maintained the focus there since the battlefield (educated populace, desert, etc.) favours them. This error came about because of pressure from the Dems in Congress to set timelines in Iraq rather than using it to advantage.

            As to UN, of course it would have been ineffectual militarily, but it would have applied some diplomatic pressure to Iran and could have provided the US with some political cover as they began to enforce sanctions. This would have (a) slowed the nuke program, (b) allowed buildup for a military strike, and (c) possibly applied enough pressure to bring about fair elections.

  22. I agree w/you Marge.. well spoken

    • Equating Israel with the Natzis is utterly beneath contempt.

  23. Great! Let's go to war with "Leased Submarines" or Helicopters that crash off the coast of Newfoundland…..
    Aren't we supposed to be peacekeepers? Harper Go Home, please?

  24. This is the Bachman-Harper Overdrive speaking:

    Bachmann: America ‘cursed' by God ‘if we reject Israel'
    By Andy Birkey 2/8/10 8:34 AM
    At a Republican Jewish Coalition event in Los Angeles last week, Rep. Michele Bachmann offered a candid view of her positions on Israel: Support for Israel is handed down by God and if the United States pulls back its support, America will cease to exist.


    Separate church and state. The Bible is NOT our foreign policy manual.

    Harper, go home.

    • Amen to that! Israel is a rogue state, far moreso than Iran (and I'm not trying to defend Iran). Iran has suffered at the hands of the Americans through CIA interference and the US military backing of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, while watching Israel brutalize Lebanon, Egypt and the Palestinians in Gaza. I don't think Canada has any interest in a conflict between these two at all, other than to serve as peacekeepers.

  25. If there are nazi types in this country, then you see one when you look in the mirror.

    • i'm as critical of Israel as the next person…but the phrase judeo-nazism is an abomination! Have you no shame?

      • Trolls rarely do.

  26. "So, Kent and Harper assert that Canada, a non-nuclear weapons state, will come to the defense of one nuclear state (Israel) if attacked by an aspiring nuclear state (Iran)?"

    Well put.

    I might add that if the government really stands by this view, Kent should do the honest thing and propose putting Israel in NATO, and see what happens to his government's poll numbers. Hell, I'm uncomfortable with Canada being pledged to the defence of Slovakia, let alone Israel.

    American aid proponents careless fostered a Western blank-check sensibility in Georgia, which convinced them they'd have help if they attacked a Russian-protected zone in South Ossetia. Look how well that worked out for them.

  27. …as a human who enjoys the quiet of peace, threatening other nations is stretching it a bit…there are other diplomatic ways to make strong statements , shucks every comic pokes fun at canadas' arsenal and military might and strength,now we have alleged sex killers within the military(all of which is in our daily media reports! words are not mine)….gawd what a wonderful country! and the hate the people spew at anything first nations or aboriginal of which names are thoroughly race based and condescending….it is disgusting

  28. What happened to Canada as "honest broker"? We once had a foreign policy guided by constructive dialogue and reconciliation to help resolve conflicts. Hard-nosed ideology, my-way-or-the-highway, seems to have replaced rationale discourse — both internationally and domestically. These bellicose Harper Conservatives put peace, order and good government in serious danger.

  29. Just more U.N. style dithering. Chamberlain all over again.

    "We'll huff and we'll puff
    And we'll blow your house down"

    There will be no action by any Western country until an Iranian-made tactical nuke goes off in our backyard.

  30. Thank you. In that case, I believe we can let your readers judge your credibility as a student of history. Your last sentence is about the same as someone saying that Catholicism is about the same as cannibalism because they both begin with the letter C.

  31. News just came in ……..just check this…..

    fake British Passports used by Israeli Mossad to kill in Dubai.


    And CANADA wants to protect such a dirty country and its filthy minded people who believe in assassination, killing, genocide, bulldozing houses, dropping phosphorous bombs, terrible human rights record in occupied Palestine.

    Israelis have used fake Canadain passports too in the past to kill.

    Kent and Harper, get your minds straight. You guys need brain surgery.

  32. I guess after reading most of the comments here in this section its easy to see why most people see Canadians as nice little ninnies who are unable to stand on our own for what is right.
    I am not a fan of Isreal but the government of Iran is a lot scarier. Most Canadians somehow believe that waving two fingers and chanting peace in the streets will solve the worlds problems. Tell you what, if you are so sure of your beliefs then Canada will buy you tickets to Iran and you can run around breaking windows and mailboxes chanting peace with two fingers in the air. Then you can have a real heart to heart with that brilliant man Ahmadinejad and tell him that peace and love will prevail. After that Canada will fly you to North Korea where I am sure you will be welcomed as the two fingered Canadians who saved the world with a hug.

  33. I guess were bombing the west bank next time they send a rocket into northern israel? That would be interesting.

  34. What disturbs me here is that this comes across not as an indication of support in the case of clear aggression by Iran, but rather unconditional support if Israel is ever attacked, regardless of reason or preceding events. Threats by Iran's leadership are certainly troubling, but virtually everyone recognizes that Iran is just posturing to shore up support in it's own country – any real aggression would be met with swift retaliation and the Iranian leadership knows that.

    Canada has always been cautious about engaging in wars on behalf of our allies. Just as in Vietnam or Iraq, if our allies don't have a good reason to be at war, we shouldn't go. If Israel is engaged in war because of unreasonable aggression from other states, sure, we should support them. But, if Israel does something stupid or morally unjustified that precipitates war on its soil, at a sheer minimum, our support should not be guaranteed. I'm not saying we shouldn't ultimately assist them if that was the case, but by providing that guarantee, we risk encouraging those stupid and morally unjustified actions that could lead to such a war.

  35. Meanwhile, Israel sits on over 200 nuclear warheads with advanced missiles capable of delivering them anywhere in the region and far beyond. (Israel also threatened to use its nuclear weapons during the 1973 war unless the US replaced the weaponry destroyed by Egypt in the Sinai, i.e., nuclear blackmail. Nixon complied with a massive air lift.) Israel also refuses to sign the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and will not permit inspections at its Dimona nuclear site. Consequences: the US continues to give Israel nearly $10 million in unconditional aid each and every day, 365 days a year. HYPROCRISY BEYOND WORDS!!

  36. Boy!, if this gets any hotter we might have to tow one of our Subs over there and start making threats!….Ha Ha!…LOL!!!!!!!!!

  37. Wow, thank you Mrs Kent and Harper. Once again, you have shown that you are true friends of Israel. Why then do most Canadian Jews still vote Liberal?

  38. Let's play to our strength. We have considerably more influence international as diplomats and peace keepers than we could ever muster militarily. Up until the conservative occupation of Canada, we were internationally regarded and the people's interests were well reflected in our foreign policy. Now, we are on a different path: taking ourselves out of the diplomatic game, and being a cheerleader at the game of military posturing.

    Get Harper out of gov't before he does to us, what Bush did to the US.

  39. Harper has made it quite clear for some time now,” he said, “and has regularly stated that an attack on Israel would be considered an attack on Canada.”

    Not on your life, harper. You do not represent the majority of Canadians. Hearing the Israeli minister on the DOHA debates saying that Canada's prime minister was the best friend Israel had made me ill. WE ARE A NATION USED TO PLAYING PEACE-BROKER – we do NOT take sides. Harper can don a yarmalke and move to Israel with the rest of the east coast Americans who seem to dominate the politics of the United State of Israel. He's no Canadian.