Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on February 15, 2016

Last week, the Trudeau government announced its “holistic” approach to fighting ISIS. Kudos to the Liberals for keeping their election promise to pull Canada’s six fighter jets from the war.

Sadly, however, the Liberal government is not working for peace. In fact, it is expanding Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria.

  • Bombing mission: A Canadian refueling aircraft and two surveillance aircraft will remain in the region to assist with the bombing campaign = deputized bombing.
  • Boots on the ground: The size of the Canadian training mission will triple, increasing from 69 – 207. These are Canadian soldiers who will train Iraqi soldiers to kill.
  • Deadly weapons: Canada will, for the first time, provide Iraqi forces with weapons, including machine guns, and mortars.
  • Endless war: The mission has been officially extended until March 2017. However, it is not scheduled to be evaluated until 2018 and has been budgeted over a three-year period = 2019.

Although details are sketchy, the new Liberal plan also includes an increase in humanitarian aid and in diplomatic efforts to find a negotiated solution to the conflict.



ISIS is a direct result of the 2003 US invasion and occupation of Iraq. It developed out of an al-Qaida affiliate that came into existence in reaction to the American invasion. It includes former military leaders from Saddam Hussein’s army who lost their positions under the US military occupation.

Under Saddam, Sunnis held all key positions in the Iraqi government and military. After toppling Saddam, the US removed all Saddam appointees from power and replaced them with Shia politicians and military leaders. Then, after the 2006 elections, the US threw its support behind the Shia dominated government of Nouri al Malaki and its policy of Sunni marginalization. Owing to this policy, ISIS grew significantly.

Thanks also to the US, ISIS has very sophisticated weaponry. It captured hundreds of millions of dollars of US military equipment from the Iraqi Security Forces. It also has weapons supplied by the US to rebels in Syria trying to overthrow the Assad regime.


Will western military operations against ISIS bring about any good outcome? Have the first 13 years of the “war on terror” had a beneficial outcome?

  • Descent into murderous chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya: Where is the promised freedom and democracy?
  • Immense human suffering: Thousands of civilians have been killed since the airstrikes began in September 2014. Many more have been injured. Whole cities have been reduced to rubble. Millions of people have become refugees.
  • Endless war in the whole Middle East region.
  • More violence, more death, more suffering, more refugees.


The costs paid by the people in the war zone are horrendous: death, injury, trauma, bereavement, displacement, destabilization.

We in Canada also pay a price:

  • 162 Canadians lost their lives in Afghanistan.
  • 1 in 10 Canadian veterans of the war in Afghanistan are suffering from PTSD.
  • 62 veterans of the war in Afghanistan have committed suicide.
  • There are also financial costs to Canadians:
  • Afghanistan: $18 billion
  • Libya: $347 million
  • Iraq-Syria 2014 – 2015: $528 million
  • Iraq-Syria 2016 – 2019: $1.6 billion. (This figure includes both military and humanitarian operations.)

That’s a lot of money! It could have been spent instead on education, affordable housing, healthcare, and clean drinking water for all Canadians.


  • War is big business. It is very profitable for Canadian arms producing companies, making them $12.6 billion in annual revenues, approximately 50% of which comes from international sales.
  • There is an all-too-cozy mutually beneficial relationship between governments and armaments industries, a relationship that includes donations to political parties, on the one hand, and approval of military spending, on the other.
  • Who loses? Ordinary citizens everywhere!


Let Prime Minister Justin Trudeau know you want Canada to work for peace in Iraq and Syria. Working for peace means not participating in war:

  • No bombing
  • No refueling
  • No surveilling
  • No boots on the ground
  • No supplying of weapons

Working for peace also means

  • Stopping selling military hardware to Middle Eastern countries.
  • Concentrating on diplomatic peace-making in Iraq and Syria.

Politicians respond to public pressure if there’s enough of it. Let’s all take action: or 613-992-4211.




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