Baird and the bomb -

Baird and the bomb


Jonathan McLeod objects to John Baird’s signing of a bomb in Libya.

I do not like this tradition of writing messages on bombs, especially when those messages are written by our politicians. When using a bomb as a form of expression, there is only one message being expressed: Massive Violence … There is no political action more severe, destructive and permanently altering as war. We should undertake such activities as rarely as we can. We should avoid war, violence, blood and death as much as is reasonably possible. We should – when forced into such grim duty – take lives, destroy communities and shatter families with the utmost reverence for life.


Baird and the bomb

  1. So, according to Jonathan, we should sign bombs with: “We respect your life”.

    War is bad – get used to it.

    • Maybe it has more to do with manners.

      Baird should have written an apology on the bomb, like how Canadians apologize when someone else step’s on their foot or somesuch.

      • I was commenting tongue in cheek.

        Whatever is written on a bomb is totally irrelevant. It is a non story – Aaron finds them everywhere.

  2. It was a very stupid thing to do, but not surprising from Baird.

  3. Writing a message on a bomb is probably in line with long military traditions.

    I am sure during mediaeval times “Up Yours” might have been scrawled on siegecraft or “Eat me!” on the cow being launched from a catapult. Indeed the Roman phalynx might have been arranged from time to time to appear from the sky as a raised middle finger.

    However, I think it is a totally different kettle of fish when our purported top diplomat takes part in something like that.  Coming from a soldier – understandable.  Coming from a politican, especially in charge of our diplomacy – unacceptable.

    • That Baird is arguably our top DIPLOMAT is probably the best argument against the writing on the bomb that I’ve seen.  I still think the whole issue doesn’t even rise to “molehill” status, let alone something worthy of article after article, but I can see how the writing on the bomb could be construed as undiplomatic and less appropriate for the Minister of Foreign Affairs than if, say, the Minister of National Defence had written the message.

      That said, the message he actually wrote, of course, is pretty much in line with the sentiments of all Canadians though.  I don’t think there are many people who would argue against a desire to see a free and democratic Libya.

      • Writing on a bomb makes it personal…and since we have nothing against Libyans, and they have done nothing to us, it was totally inappropriate.

        We were only supposed to be clearing the airspace over Libya to begin with…and Gaddafi no longer has an airforce….so we should be gone.

        • First, we’re not only supposed to be clearing the airspace over Libya, we’re supposed to clear the airspace over Libya as STEP ONE of protecting civilians on the ground in Libya.

          Secondly, even if the message “makes it personal” so what?  Don’t we personally want the people of Libya to be free?  Don’t we personally want democracy to come to Libya some day?  It amazes me the number of people who seem to think that dropping the bomb on Gaddafi’s forces is one thing, but writing “Free Libya” on the side of it before hand is some big problem.

          • It was ALL we were supposed to do….there was no ‘step two’

            This is called ‘mission creep’

            Libya isn’t going to have a democracy because we bomb it

            There is far more to democracy than killing people

          • You literally have no idea what you’re talking about… you just spout cliches mindlessly.

            Why don’t you take the time to inform yourself about the mission, and its successes and failures, so you can offer intelligent commentary instead of the usual vapid platitudes?

          • The UN resolution clearly authorizes member states to take ALL NECESSARY MEASURES to protect civilians from Ghaddaffi’s forces short of an occupying ground force.  Eliminating Ghadaffi’s air force is one measure necessary to protect civilians from his reach, but it is by no means the only measure needed, nor is it the only measure available to us, and the United Nations has specifically authorized states to do anything they deem necessary to protect civilians, with the only exception being a ground invasion and occupation of the country.

            CR’s right, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • @Crit_Reasoning:disqus 

            Why don’t you stop whining and sulking about me, and stick to the topic?

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus 

            Yawn, which would explain why everyone from the US congress to Russia is complaining about the overreach.

          • The U.S. Congress and the Russians?

            There’s two groups that have never been wrong, lol.

        • The UN resolution authorizin protection of civilians in Libya was not just about “clearing airspace”. And since Ghadafi is still quite capable or wreaking revenge against those who oppose him, the need to destroy his military capacity remains. 

          Dropping bombs on people is “personal”, acknowledging the fact we are doing so and showing solidarity with our air crew is something the politicans who sent them to do the job should do. Mr. Baird’s actions were not only appropriate, they were laudable.
          The idea that we should ask our service men and wome to go to war with their heads hung down and wiping tears of shame and regret from their eyes is nonsense.

          • Another armchair warrior….we were supposed to clear the airspace…nothing else was specified past that

            It’s like regime change without saying so now

            No, it’s not personal….all we were doing is clearing airspace so the rebels wouldn’t be at a disadvantage.  The rest is up to them….we aren’t supposed to be in a civil war.

            Baird is a dork….and so are you for the ridiculous misquote

          • we were supposed to clear the airspace…nothing else was specified past that

            Saying that again doesn’t make it any more true.


            Note paragraph 4 which authorizes member states to “take all necessary measures… to protect civilians and civilian populated
            areas under threat of attack”.  What part of “take all necessary measures” are you reading to mean “clear the airspace and nothing else”?

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus 

            A ‘no-fly’ zone was all that was specified…and to secure that they were to take all necessary measures.

            As in shooting down Libyan aircraft

            It was a very limited mandate…already overrun by eager beavers…..which is why people are complaining

          • Well, no sense arguing with you any more Emily.  I provided a link to the text of the UN resolution.  If you don’t care to read it, then there’s no point in arguing with you about its contents.

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own:disqus 

            I read it when it was passed….followed the situation ever since

            Something you’re obviously not doing

          • The act of writing the message was arguably an act of showing solidarity with the air crews, but I’d argue that the message itself (“Free Libya”) is actually, and more importantly, a message of solidarity with the oppressed people of Libya.

          • Either way, it is hardly the “scandal” that some want to make it.  It is interesting how many people on this site are upset about any sign of war-like attitude on the part of the government (however mild) but are quite sanguine about the prospect of Ghadaffi crushing his oppoents, with the predictable bloodbath that would entail. 

          • MikeRedmond:

            “but are quite sanguine about the prospect of Ghadaffi crushing his oppoents”

            that’s the left on foreign policy: usa, israel: bad
            iran, hamas, gadaffi, north korea: not that bad, to judge them would be racist… or something

            it’s the ultimate in self-deprecating sophisticated white liberal guilt: actively cheering on those who want to kill you.

          • @artist_fka_alfanerd:disqus 

            More grand and glorious flakey partisanship talking us into more war, war, war.

            Will it take a nuclear one before you figure out this is jingoistic bullshit?

    • In the words of some character Greg Malone played, circa the first Gulf War:

      “Brown people overseas must die,
      So we can raise the flag on high”

      I’d guess that this sort of thing probably happens a lot when politicians visit the troops.  It’s probably an effective morale booster.  It never gets publicized, however (or at least hasn’t since the disaster that was Korea in the ’50’s).

      I support the rebels in Libya, but I don’t believe for a second that bombs dropped from high altitudes are going to effectively or solely target Libyan government forces.  There is always significant collateral damage and friendly fire.  Even with the advent of so-called smart bombs.  The original mission (as I understood it) was to control the air space to prevent Libyan government forces from flying their own bombing/strafing missions.  How does the bombing of “compounds” achieve control of the air space?

      • How does the bombing of “compounds” achieve control of the air space? 

        For one thing, the bombing disables SAM sites and other anti-aircraft military infrastructure on the ground.

        The altitude from which the bomb is dropped is irrelevant, because of the nature of the bomb.  These are precision-guided bombs, not gravity bombs.  There is very little collateral damage.  Thousands of bombs have struck Libyan targets with only a few regrettable instances of collateral damage, because the bombs are so accurate.

        • Yes….tsk tsk…’regrettable collateral damage’

        • Smart bombs still highly inaccurate.  One source: BBC story .  I’m worried that mission creep has affected the Libyan mission..

  4. “There is no political action more severe, destructive and permanently altering as war.”

    Yeah, but for the lifespan of a gnat the Americans will like us and that’s good for our precious economy. Liberty for SNC-Lavalin and Suncor/Petrocan – Why We Fight.

    Our policitians need a little schooling about the wars which were fought during the last century. What few facts do Conservatives absorb when they go to school anyway?

    • The Americans have even let us take the lead on this.  Of course it’s not because they value our leadership, it’s because they don’t want to be seen to be bombing yet another Arab country.

  5. I think we all know Baird would probably wet his pants in a life-threatening situation. Why are all chickenhawks righties?

    • Classy.

      • Like the “courageous warrior” Harper who is too big a coward to answer questions from reporters. Now watch the rightwing chickenhawks whine about how mean we are to them.

        • Whatever makes you feel better. It’s going to be a long four years, isn’t it?  

        • Are you still bitter about the majority thing?

          As a proud rightwing chickenhawk myself, i’ll let you know that we think it’s rather cute and pathetic that you think you’re mean to us.

          go protest something buddy, like f*ck the system, man!

          • Like…join the army, man

          • tic toc tic toc tic toc…think he’s done it yet, or do you think he’s probably got “other priorities”? 

          • @craigola13:disqus 

            Oh I’m sure he has ‘other priorities’

            Chickenhawks are always keen on ‘other people’ doing the fighting for them

  6. Baird’s actual comment (well not really):

    “Compliments of the Harper Government. Here for… ummm… us.”

      • And the hawks go mute.

  7. Jonathan McLeod starts by saying: “Perhaps I’m being a little hyper-critical…” Classic understatement. 

    His whole point, while well-intentioned, is wooly-headed and rather silly.  We shouldn’t write on bombs because it’s nonchalant and disrespectful of life? 

    Those bombs are being used to save lives, by striking at the military apparatus of a murderous dictator bent on massacring his own people to cling to his illegitimate power.

    No doubt McLeod thinks that the use of precision-guided munitions in this regard should be a sombre and deeply respectful affair, with Canadian Forces personnel speaking in hushed, reverent tones as they contemplate the terrible reality that bombs don’t just destroy targets, they also kill people.

    I respect his intentions, but not his naive, hypersensitive objection to the tradition of writing stuff like “Free Libya” on bombs.  A classic example of someone far too preoccupied with a particular kind of symbolism, instead of practical reality.

    • You’re wearing your pith helmet aren’t you?  God Save the King!

      • Pith off, Jan!  :)

        • For that ‘m putting on ‘Imagine’ and playing it really loud.  By the way the Bombay Company makes a replica field bar you might be interested in.

          • Hey, I love that song!  You inspired me to listen to it too.

        • Line of the Week, old boy.

          Pip pip. Jolly-o

    • Yes, I guess according to Mr. Mcleod bomber pilots in WWII shouldn’t have painted cartoon characters on the noses of their Halifaxes and Lancasters, and modern army regiments shouldn’t parade to jaunty marches played by brass bands, but rather walk quietly, perhaps to the accompaniment of a string quartet, while they ponder how disrespectful of life they are. 

      • Or ….they could be professional

  8. I don’t have a problem with members of our armed forces doing it, I have a problem with Baird, as our Foreign Minister doing it.  I don’t believe Cannon would have done it, he had a little class.

    • I have a problem with Baird, as our Foreign Minister doing it.
      Why, exactly?  (Aside from the fact that you’re knee-jerk anti-Baird as a result of your partisanship.)

      • Actually I am more concerned by the mission.  I have the scars from arguing that a military solution wasn’t the solution in Afghanistan and it looks like we’re going to have to start this discussion all over again with Libya.  We are not learning from history.

      • I can see a (very thin) argument that the Minister of Foreign Affairs is essentially a diplomat, and that the act of writing on the bomb (though not the message written) could be construed by some as “undiplomatic”.  Even that’s a pretty huge stretch imho, but I don’t think it’s an irrational argument or anything.

        • Oh….well we’re all relieved then.