- Does it matter that Canada has no legal cover for this? This is the first time I know of (and I am no Canadian military historian) where Canada is engaged in combat (by planes, if not by SOF-ish adventures) without either an international resolution (UN or NATO or both) or an invitation by the country to be protected.
- Is the kind of bombing in Syria different than that which is going to happen now in Iraq? That is, not that there are no targets left in Iraq but if the fighting shifts into the cities, such as Mosul, there may be different risks--more risks of hitting civilians. Is the Syrian air campaign seen as cleaner? I have no idea.
- The plan in Iraq is clear but hard--try to get the existing government to make deals with the Sunnis that bind them better than the last time. Not easy at all but an exit path. Bombing helps keep ISIS down, but lasting stability requires a deal of some kind. Syria? I have no idea. Bomb ISIS helps Assad, but not bombing ISIS in Syria helps ISIS in Iraq. Damn.
- I hate talk of exit strategies because it means you are far more focused on the getting out rather than the doing. But there is some need for some idea of what the strategy is here besides whacking moles. Attrition is probably not going to work too well.
- I do prefer renewing this thing a year at a time rather than every six months. Not just because the media time suck is then less frequent, but because none of the actors involved benefit from the spin cycle being that frequent.
- What will happen to public opinion now that the mission is expanded to Syria? The recent poll does not ask this. Given that ISIS is mighty unpopular here, especially after the events of October in Quebec and Ottawa, the best guess is that the public is not going to mind so much as long as it does not mean much more risk. Which gets back to whether the air strikes in Syria are qualitatively different than those in Iraq?
- I am not thrilled that there is not much of a learning curve when it comes to the language about ground forces: "Canada will not be participating in ground combat operations." I prefer the American language about enduring offensive operations. CANSOF are going to be doing combat, as they have already done so. They have fought when fired upon and put themselves into places where such stuff happens. They have participated in the air campaign by lasing ISIS targets, which means they are abetting combat from the ground. So, "ground combat ops" is a lousy description of what they are not doing. What they are not doing is engaging in an enduring offensive effort. If they want to foreswear raids (something that the American language clearly permits), then they can say that. Oy.
Tuesday, March 24, 2015
Canada Expands Its War: Qomments
The Nerdist broadcast has a thing called Qomments--questions and comments. Which pretty much captures what this post on the news du jour.