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CF18Canada has sent CF-18’s to participate in the bombing of ISIS.  I think this is a very bad idea and I need to tell you a story from my childhood to illustrate why.

This whole sending planes overseas to bomb people reminds me of one Christmas I had the pleasure of spending in Hawaii.  Oh let me assure you gentle readers, it was a very merry Mele Kalikimaka for my Mom and I.  We saw many wonderful sights, swam on many beaches, drove around for the first couple of days in a standard car that my dear Mum couldn’t reliably drive (which I nearly fell out of on the highway), turned my back on the ocean and was promptly slammed by a monster-wave that sent me cartwheeling underwater up a thirty-foot sandy incline losing my glasses and nearly my life in the process.  Like I said, good times.  But there was a side story that went along with our little Hawaii get-away and it involves attempting to acquire a certain toy that I reeeeeeeealy wanted.

You see, back at the time I happened to be young and had a certain proclivity toward the latest and greatest toys available at the time – Transformers.  Specifically for some reason lost to me now I wanted to get Soundwave – an evil Decepticon robot that could transform into a tape deck.  Witness (If you’re really curious, you can see Soundwave in action on youtube):

Soundwave-alternate

Whoa! So tricky, hiding as a radio/cassette player. My 10 year old mind didn’t do physics at the time, but how does a 12 foot multiple tonne robot “transform” into a human sized, human portable – boom box?

Soundwaveboxart

Daaaamn, Soundwave was cool. In the cartoon he spoke in a heavily vocoded monotone voice.

As I recall, our dynamic mother and son team spent a good deal of time on our vacation looking for the authentic Soundwave toy.  Now being that Tranformers were all shiny and new back then, they had not made it to the Big Island yet; and if they did the branded toys were snapped up by savvy Hawaiian  shoppers before the likes of our pasty Canadian tourists had even thought about buying them.

What was available were many imitation toys that mimicked the brand name toy precisely.  The knock-offs where everywhere in the Hawaiian toy stores.  And yes, in retrospect, I’m completely embarrassed at how spoiled I was for dragging my mother to so many malls in Hawaii looking for Mr.Soundwave – only child – I had no choice in the matter :)

Anyhow, we eventually had to settle on getting the very good Soundwave knock-off.  It was under the Christmas lamp and promptly opened and played with on that sunny tropical Christmas morning.  I remember though, that as much fun as I had with said toy it just wasn’t quite right.   It was almost everything I wanted, yet there was a keen edge of disappointment because we had to settle for something wasn’t exactly what I wanted.  It was a gift that involved a settlement – the best we could do at the time.

I’m sure we’ve all been in that situation in one form or another.  We’ve all wanted “X” soooo bad for so long but then “Y” comes along and we jump at the opportunity to get what we almost wanted because we figure it will do and make us just as happy.

Hint:  Settling doesn’t make us as happy.

So why is Canada going in with the Royal Canadian Air Force, when we know that bombing is not the solution to the ISIS problem?

“Air strikes alone are really not enough to defeat Isis in Kobani,” said Idris Nassan, a senior spokesman for the Kurdish fighters desperately trying to defend the important strategic redoubt from the advancing militants. “They are besieging the city on three sides, and fighter jets simply cannot hit each and every Isis fighter on the ground.”

He said Isis had adapted its tactics to military strikes from the air. “Each time a jet approaches, they leave their open positions, they scatter and hide. What we really need is ground support. We need heavy weapons and ammunition in order to fend them off and defeat them.”

Hmm…consider the words of US Army officer who sees a slightly different picture.

“For example, what would happen if the President took Mr. Kristol’s advice and bombed targets “for a few weeks” and then waited just to “see what happens”?  The first few iterations of air sorties would have a good chance of taking out numerous ISIS vehicles and personnel.  But in short order ISIS would adjust its methods of operation to disguise vehicle movements, reposition troops and embed command and control centers more deeply into civilian areas, becoming indistinguishable from the civil population.  

Now, despite having successfully destroyed a few targets, we would have pushed the enemy deeper underground, hardened his resolve, and seen his troops burrow in like ticks among the innocent residents of the cities he occupies. Further targeting from the air becomes next to impossible without killing noncombatants or sending in ground troops to flush the fighters out. Unless the President will entertain deepening American engagement by deploying ground combat units to root ISIS members out of their dug-in positions, house-by-house – decidedly not recommended – those successful bombing runs will have led to dismal failure.”

So our goal is stop the massacre of innocents and the spread of radical islamic notions. It would seem that given our tactics, neither of those goals would be accomplished. So here we are at that fateful time do we get the knock off toy – we have to do something to stop ISIS – and get not quite the result we’re looking for or do we wait for what we authentically want and commit to to bring that ideal to fruition?

Here is a strategy I think that Canada could actually play a role in; specifically point 3,4, and especially 5.  Canada’s role in the world used to be synonymous with Peacekeeping as opposed to the murderous imperialistic role that our current PM thinks is a-fucking-okay.

“To protect American and allied interests in and around ISIS, the United States would design and lead an aggressive regional diplomatic campaign to first isolate, and over time defeat this group of thugs; the military would play a supporting role.  To accomplish this objective, the United States would isolate ISIS economically, financially, and geographically, while eroding its support from within.   

To accomplish this strategic objective, the U.S. should: 

1) Work with the states around and near ISIS territory for the purpose of closing the borders leading into and out of ISIS areas including those in Syria as well as Iraq, thus depriving the jihadists of materiel that could support military operations;

2) use aggressive border control to pin ISIS to its current positions;

3) at the same time, separate ISIS from its external financial and material support;

4) conduct a social media campaign that truthfully exposes the grotesque nature of ISIS ideology in ++terms that would-be jihadists can understand;

5) conduct a sustained humanitarian aid effort to ensure the people currently under ISIS bondage will survive; and

6) institute a coalition-supported “no-go zone” between ISIS territory and that of friendly nations.  If ISIS vehicles or ground personnel venture into this zone, they will be destroyed. 

In short, we would make it clear to the world and the potential recruits that ISIS has fatally overstepped its capabilities. Faced with the stark reality that they have isolated themselves physically, diplomatically, and morally from the rest of their own region, unable to repair broken equipment, provide fuel for their vehicles, unable to replace expended ammunition, and incapable of performing even the basic functions of a state, it will be clear to all both inside and outside the blockade: ISIS is a regime of losers whose singular accomplishment has been butchering the defenseless, and the impoverishment of the civil populations under its domination.”

Jesus-fuck! Isn’t it nice when someone with a whit of sense speaks clearly to the issue at hand. Full marks go out to this individual and his thoughtful take on what needs to be with ISIS.  For a handy compare and contrast lets hear our twit of a PM on why Canada should go bomb people

“If Canada wants to keep its voice in the world…and we should since so many of our challenges are global…being a free rider means you are not taken seriously. Left unchecked, this terrorist threat can only grow and grow quickly.”

Ah, so not participating in breeding more terror and terrorists in Iraq mean that you are “free rider” and are not going to be taken seriously.  All I can say is:

Seriously?

Is France not being taken seriously for not contributing to the airstrikes that will serve only to push our goal further way?  But wait, there is more apparently bombing people in Iraq is all about saving Canadian Families…

“As a Government, we know our ultimate responsibility… Is to protect Canadians, and to defend our citizens from those who would do harm to us and to our families.”

*sigh*  Ratchet up fear and we’ll our darnedest overseas to protect the homeland.  You’d think by now we would understand this most basic of propaganda principles.  Baa..sorry for the tangent folks, but Steven Harper and the rest of his merry conservative crew of the RCN Clueless forced me to scribe about their relentless vapidity.

So, back on message – Let’s not be disappointed Christmas morning with a knockoff toy, but rather let us have Canada act in the way she knows best – humanitarian aid and assistance – and get the real toy and the real results that will bring us the ending we are anxiously hoping and expecting.

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