Granatstein slams

Today one of the doyens of the pro-war lobby slammed, once again, in the national media.

This proves that supporters are having an impact, shaking up the pro-war lobby!

What’s your reaction?

The DND-backed academic Jack Granatstein, the old Cold War warrior whose monthly pro-war rants are dutifully reprinted in mainstream newspapers across the country, used his access to promote the Harper government and a stronger military role for Canada in the civil war in Mali.

The Ottawa Citizen, which carried the attack, has agreed to accept an article from me in reply to Jack Granatstein’s column today, but I want your help!

Send me your response to Jack Granatstein’s column, right away, through the comment section. Leave a comment as soon as you can – hopefully today. I will read everyone’s remarks as I prepare to write my own newspaper article.

Why the pacifist left is marginalized on Mali

By J.L. Granatstein,
The Ottawa Citizen
February 6, 2013

The situation in Mali remains complicated and unclear. In the midst of an attempt by Ansar Dine and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb to take over the country for militant Islam, there is also a historic north-south division and rival Tuareg factions in the north struggling for dominance in their long battle for independence. The small French-led intervention quickly pushed the Islamists away from the major towns, but it is likely to be a long, slow struggle to root them out of the desert.

The Canadian Forces’ role has been a minor one — a CC177 transport aircraft continues to carry French soldiers and material to Mali and a small special forces team has deployed, apparently to protect the Canadian Embassy and its staff in Bamako. Prime Minister Stephen Harper made clear that there will be no members of the CF in combat in Mali.

The political response to the Canadian effort in Mali surprisingly was generally positive, with both Thomas Mulcair of the New Democratic Party and Bob Rae of the Liberals supporting the government’s actions. However, the response of the pacifist left, usually one that slavishly follows the NDP line, this time spun off on its own.

First, there were complaints that the French, even if led by the Socialist president François Hollande, were up to their old neo-colonialist games in a former colony. That France had few commercial assets in Mali and most French citizens there were dual citizens of Malian origin did not matter. But surely there were Canadian interests there? A few relatively small gold mining operations in Mali were either wholly or partially owned by Canadians, but scarcely enough to explain the Harper government’s support for the French.

Then there were the concerns, better founded, that Mali was not really a democracy and thus not worth supporting. A military coup by the Mali army — much better at staging coups than at fighting — had toppled the country’s government in March 2012. Canada had cut its aid efforts as a result and continued to press the interim government to hold elections and return to the democratic path, even as fighting raged.

But the major thrust of the opposition to Canadian efforts, led by Stephen Staples of the Rideau Institute and his website, was a concern about “mission creep.” We had seen mission creep in Libya in the NATO operation that toppled Gadhafi, the argument went, and now the same process was underway in Mali. First, as Staples has noted, Canada was “contributing very large transport planes … (and this) is direct involvement, it is flying into a combat zone, it is transporting light tanks, vehicles, supplies for the French military into Mali, so it is playing a direct role.” Canada had deployed one aircraft, and it was flying into Bamako, the capital, 700 kilometres from the fighting, but a reliance on facts has never been Staples’ strong suit.

Then it was the special forces commitment. Given the secrecy of JTF-2 operations, who knew what they were doing today and might do next week? Prime Minister Harper’s statement that the Canadian Forces would not see combat in Mali was immediately discounted. As one comment on’s blog put it, JTF-2 were only “licensed thugs paid to do the government’s dirty work. With someone as morally bankrupt as Harper generating the targets, heaven knows what they’ll be doing in Mali.” The vision of the Prime Minister sitting in his Langevin Block office and directing JTF-2 to take out an AQIM camp in the sand dunes was clearly a captivating one.

What was completely missing in the comments from the Staples crowd was the obvious: the Ansar Dine-AQIM attempt to take over Mali had to be resisted in order to prevent the creation of an Islamist stronghold that could shelter terrorists and serve as a base for expansion throughout the Sahel and North Africa. The draconian brutality and nihilism of the Islamist occupiers of Timbuktu and other towns has been widely reported, and there were likely links between the Mali Islamists and the terrorists who had killed so many in the Algerian gas plant attack.

Islamist terrorism is a threat to democracies everywhere, but those who oppose any military intervention anywhere — unless it is United Nations blue helmet peacekeeping which is, by definition, always good — seem blind to the realities of 2013. Stephen Harper bad, military intervention of any kind bad, mission creep inevitable and bad — it’s a tiresome refrain. How fortunate that the Opposition parties had better sense in this instance than the Rideau Institute and

J.L. Granatstein is a distinguished research fellow of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute.
© Copyright The Ottawa Citizen

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187 Responses to “Granatstein slams”

  1. margaret beresfordFebruary 24, 2013 at 8:02 pm #

    Democracy everywhere? But, it is conditional on countries that have resources that the West vs East want. Please cut the democratic rhetoric, enough already no one believes that the present government is looking around the world just to help out those in such desperate straits, in other words those that have tried and fought for freedom for over 50 years to finally do whatever they can to attain what (others) have or strategically think they don’t deserve. I am talking about Haiti, a country with people that have endure beyond imagining to get so close only to see the one democratic leader they voted for —taken away in the night by —guess which two countries??? Haiti is the one example that defies every Western assertion time after time about how much they care—support—-give—fight for those who really want ‘Democracy’. Not even the UN can act up to their own rhetoric —when proof exist to show culpability —use diplomatic immunity. Meanwhile, Haitian have somehow managed to endure earthquakes, storms, outside manipulations during their supposed free elections—only to be denied the full impact of the billion dollars donated to make them stand on their own. Now if the big Western powers can’t even get it straight and do right by a tiny country like Haiti, do they really think their taxpayers can have any confidence in anything they pledge, promise, or plan???

  2. Steven StaplesFebruary 18, 2013 at 10:13 am #

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments, thoughts and reactions to Jack Granatstein’s column slamming Last Friday the Ottawa Citizen ran my response in the newspaper, and a similar version appeared online earlier last week.

    We have posted the printed version of my op-ed on, and you can see it below:

    Op-Ed: Canadians are right to worry about getting involved in Mali

    By Steven Staples, Ottawa Citizen February 15, 2013

    Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird stunned parliamentarians studying the situation in Mali this week when he told them, “We’re not at the drop of a hat going to get into another Afghanistan.” Many Canadians would agree.

    In connecting Afghanistan and Mali, Minister Baird was tapping into the mood of a public that is leery of the role being played by our military in the troubled West African country of Mali, and rightly so. Having emerged from the sacrifices made in Afghanistan with seemingly little to show for them, Canadians cannot be faulted for fearing “mission creep” and involvement in another unwinnable conflict.

    Some have found this reluctance to embrace the war frustrating. War historian Jack Granatstein, a well-known supporter of a strong Canadian military and critic of UN peacekeeping, used these pages last week to berate what he described as “the pacifist left,” and my organization in particular, the Rideau Institute, for not supporting the Harper government’s military contribution to the conflict.

    Granatstein argued that “the Canadian Forces’ role has been a minor one,” (“Why the pacifist left is marginalized on Mali,” Feb. 6). The Harper government deployed one of our newest and largest transport planes to aid the French military in fighting rebels and al-Qaida-affiliated fighters who had taken control of several cities in Mali. “Prime Minister Stephen Harper made clear that there will be no members of the CF in combat in Mali,” he added, and “Islamist terrorism is a threat to democracies everywhere.”

    But as a historian, can Granatstein overlook our past mistakes in Afghanistan, only to repeat them in Mali?

    Even Time Magazine described Mali as “Africanistan.”

    Like Afghanistan, Mali’s problems weren’t solved with the end of the Cold War. Regional and ethnic grievances and inequality persisted, and this led to rebellions by the Arabic north against the black African south. Canadian troops, if sent to back the southern-based government, would find themselves taking sides in a simmering civil war, infused by Islamic extremism.

    The fight against the Taliban and al-Qaida in Afghanistan was similarly tangled up in a complex civil war. At least three different jihadist groups have been fighting in Mali, sometimes allied with rebels from the northern Tuareg minority who are seeking a separate homeland. All of these groups have been armed by weapons seized in the chaos of the Libyan war.

    And just whose side would Canada be on? Ottawa protested and cut off aid last year when elements of the Malian military staged a successful coup and installed a puppet administration. In fact, as the Ottawa Citizen reported, the Malian troops formerly trained by Canadian Forces took actions to oppose the coup leaders, but are now in hiding or were killed by the military leaders we are now supporting by aiding France.

    Canada’s experience dealing with the untrustworthy and election-rigging President Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan proved that winning the hearts and minds of the people is impossible when you’re seen to be backing a corrupt government.

    Of course there are many differences between Mali and Afghanistan, but clearly the Harper government knows that Canadians are tired of soldiers being killed in fighting. Hence the Prime Minister’s repeated assurances that Canada’s military involvement is limited and will not involve combat.

    But it comes down to this: who can the public trust?

    As one of our supporters wrote to me, “Unfortunately I do not know enough about Mali; however, I doubt if (Canada’s involvement) has too much to do with Islamic terrorists.”

    Some Canadians worry that a new military mission in Mali could be used to advance other interests and investments, just as the Libya conflict was used to promote plans for F-35 stealth fighters and new attack drones.

    Granatstein and his cohorts defended the war in Afghanistan, even when it was obviously failing. Their views rarely, if ever, diverge from interests of the military brass and associations supported by the Department of National Defence. Should his advice be taken now?

    Notwithstanding their resistance to a military role, Canadians are generous and support UN peacekeeping. An informal poll found that a majority of our own organization’s supporters through strongly supported humanitarian aid to Mali, while firmly opposing military intervention.

    As international NGOs are pointing out, the recent fighting between rebels and French troops have created a food crisis in the country. Here Canada could play an important role.

    As well, a new UN-led peacekeeping mission, recently proposed by France, would be a “game changer.” While Canadian military spending is at the highest level since the Second World War, our contribution of UN peacekeeping troops is at a historic low, numbering in the dozens.

    A majority of Canadians support increased Canadian involvement in UN-led peacekeeping missions, likely to the chagrin of Granatstein. But should Canada and the international community learn from past mistakes, there may be help yet for the people of Mali.

    Steven Staples is president of the Rideau Institute, an independent research, advocacy and consulting group based in Ottawa.

    • Lynda PesklevitsFebruary 18, 2013 at 2:40 pm #

      Thank you for taking a stance – read you e-mail too late to get a comment in – mali and many other african state are “complicated and unclear”, and when situations are complicated and unclear, the wise seek clarity first and an understanding of the situation – I recall the African troops saying they wanted to do this one their own – this is hubris of the first order to interfere.

    • Andrew KinsmanFebruary 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm #

      Mr. Granatstein should be sent to Mali, preferably with his hands tied behind him and an apple in his mouth.

  3. Derrick WayneFebruary 17, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    Congrats Ceasefire and remember “there is no such thing as bad press.”
    To the pro-war gang,
    My brothers, you have lost some of your humanity. You are addicted to amassing wealth, at the expense of those producing it. Your addiction creates more enemies and insecurity. Stop destroying and start producing. Alay your fears; there is enough of everything to go around. The first step is admitting your addiction.

    Let’s put our military, and related industry, to use on public infrastructure projects.

    Get me out Of NATO, NAFTA, TPP, oil. Get me into transparency, accountability, and a distributed democracy.

  4. JeanFebruary 13, 2013 at 12:01 am #

    Herr Harper and his warmonger gang must be removed and charged with treason for working towards their destruction of Canada. NO MORE WARS = NO MORE HARPER CONS. Harper murders innocent people so he can steal their resources, Canada included.

  5. Bonnie GibbFebruary 12, 2013 at 3:37 pm #

    Thank you Ceasefire for your stamina to challenge the Harper agenda. I agree with so many of the comments that tell ordinary Canadians to read and think critically, especially the mainstream media. We must not be apathetic to the greed of the corporations and the politicians they control. We can assume that if our government sends in military to Mali, there is an economic need. Noone wants innocent citizens hurt but sending in Canadian military in any way does not guarantee long term safety. The current issue of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives just revealed the atrocities of Canadian mining companies in Guatemala.

    We citizens of Canada demand that our tax money be used to help us first. We want democracy restored, our resources protected, jobs secured at home, health and safety money sent down to the provinces, teaching peace respected and honoured, not the military might so loved by Harper and money set aside for all people. So many social groups have had funding cut with only skeletal remains for the ‘look’ of caring. What has happened to our sense of being an honourable and peacekeeping country? If we have to pay the most taxes, we should have the most say, not the elite who simply want to make more on the backs of the helpless.

  6. Robert WalkerFebruary 12, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Unfortunately Canada’s main interest is the export of capital, mostly in the form of mining interests. Canadian intervention through our “special” forces in Mali started long ago directly involving us in factional conflict within the Mali armed forces. The sooner Canada gives up its colonial interests and finds the means to deploy peacekeeping forces as part of a legitimate UN brokered peace agreement between all parties the better. The real question is whether the UN is capable any longer of doing this

  7. cherylynFebruary 11, 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    This is one conflict I believe it was right to enter. Libya was the only other intervention I supported. Sometimes what is being done to people is just too heartbreaking to stand by and watch.

    Yes, “helping” doesn’t solve everything, and sometimes it makes much more sense for someone else to do the helping but it’s heartbreaking when no one will. I was very relieved to see that the Arab nations covertly came to the aid of the Syrian people when the UN couldn’t. Weren’t we all?

  8. gary jacksonFebruary 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    what is not unclear and complicated is jack’s change from a peace stance to being in suppoert of imperialism.It comes down to money.In the western world,if you support the facists,then you will be successful.If you do not,you will be marginalized.Take a look at all those lefty pundits that are now sucking up to the western politicians-its about money.

  9. kim nielsenFebruary 11, 2013 at 4:54 am #

    “complicated and unclear” means we have no business being there. Involvment, no matter how minor, is still involvment; and just because party leaders approve dose not mean that the people Canada approve.

  10. ruth macleanFebruary 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    blessed are the peacemakers….

  11. Edward MullensFebruary 9, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Anyone who has followed the writings of Mr. Granatstein knows that he is one of the USA’s most loyal sychophants. When it comes to judging US actions and intentions his opinion can be totally discounted.

  12. Herman BakkerFebruary 9, 2013 at 1:46 am #

    Granatstein opens with the line that the situation is unclear and complicated. Therefore not a reason to go to war.

  13. Geoffrey McDadeFebruary 8, 2013 at 7:53 pm #

    Granatstein has written that Canada does not need UN approval to attack other countries and believes we should do so if it is “in our national interest”. You may recall that Hitler relied upon a similar justification. This is the justification for wars of aggression i.e. wars in which those we attack in no way threaten Canadians. Granatstein uses the word “pacifist” as if it is shameful to oppose war. Odd really when you consider how well recent wars have worked out like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and the earlier bloodbath in Vietnam.
    Indeed the Mali mess is blowback from the attack on Libya which enabled islamic fanatics to gain access to vast amounts of modern weaponry and invade northern Mali. Libya is now in a state of violent anarchy following our “help”.
    Granatstein mentions the fact that we are now intervening in support of yet another military coup leader but doesn’t consider that to be an objection worth discussing. To him every threat to our “national interests” is eligible for solution by violence. He is a soulmate of George Bush Jr.

    Read his recent ravings here:

    • Hector LeisersonFebruary 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      I completely agree with you.
      I found in the web (google), under “Canadian Gold mining companies in Mali”
      that at least 6 – 8 Candian companies are operating. I have no info to evaluate how big or small they are… but I can imagine that Harper feels it’s his obligation to support a country where they opearte, and if the government is a military dictatorship, so much better for the companies.
      Those military can easily repress any protest from the local population, as it is the case in Central America an probably around the world.
      I fully agree also with Robert Fisk, on his opinion that basically in Mali
      there is a several decades old civil war, and consequently “THE WEST HAS NOTHING TO DO IN MALI” AND SHOULD NOT INTERVINE”.
      As an antecedent, France and Canada were also in Haiti (jointly with US)to remove the democratically elected President Aristide… and to protect the
      business interest of Canadian agro-companies who exploited the workers.
      In addition, this Harper decision is in line with his purpose to make Canada a militaristic country.
      Thank you.

  14. darcy curtisFebruary 8, 2013 at 6:10 pm #

    Just what al c.i.a.duh are we fighting. the ones that attacked us on sept 11 or the ones we are supporting in Libia and Siria? It would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Again i guess it has nothing to do with Mali being the 3rd largest gold producer in the world. Seems “spreading” our version of a democracy is at the barrel of a gun and hell be damned to all that get in the way. What really matters is the banks get there pound of flesh and the rest of us go along with it (like we were asked anyways) that’s our version of democracy pay up and shut up. That being said most people are to busy watching hockey to really give a damn about anything else, apathy is why we are in the mess were in and unfortunately i don’t see that changing anytime soon until it may be too late.
    Thanks for doing what you do. At least there are still some people that do care about what is going on in the world.

  15. Shakilah MehrunnisaFebruary 8, 2013 at 2:54 pm #

    Who was it that said that it is easy to gain support for war – you just drum up irrational fear in the population?

  16. CarolineFebruary 8, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    It is interesting how consistent are the rants of irrational opposition. When you cannot logically defend your position you resort to demonizing the opposition. It seesm to me there is that element in the article.
    But more generally and to me very disturbing – is the no-longer-progressive conservative trend in rewriting history. I am thinking about how Canada’s Peacekeeping missions are being denigrated and the wars we have taken part in glorified. It is a major retrograde step

  17. Kevin KvisleFebruary 8, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Let me tell YOU, Jack, a tiresome refrain – these illegal resource wars of the type Canada is shamefully participating in in Mali. The USA undermined the Malian economy with cotton subsidies to American cotton farmers, then Mali turned to mining. Canada used to buy a lot of Mali’s cotton, now we get 99% of it from the USA.

    Canadian mining firms such as IAMGOLD moved in, and now NATO’s military is protecting them from the outraged locals who are unduly affected by “the adverse health and environmental effects associated with the part-Canadian-owned Sadiola and Yatela mines” as stated in a report written in part by Canada’s North/South Institute.
    Report link>

    Jack Granatstein trots out that silly idea about “being threatened by terrorists”. Geez Jack, having fought them for 12 years now, maybe we ought to just consider surrendering. After all, how many more dead people laying in the bombed out streets of Canada can we take? These terrorist attacks just don’t let up Jack, they are everywhere, the terrorists have taken over, oh no, terrorists help me help me terrorists are coming to get me Jack!!

    But no, its not funny at all. Canada is participating in illegal, immoral, greed-driven resource wars against people who’s lands we are invading, and polluting, and who’s ancient tribal and nomadic ways we are upsetting. We have no right to do this.

  18. Henry Evans-TenbrinkeFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    Simply put,in order to regain international respect, Canada needs to return to its past role as a peace keeping nation.

  19. Josette WierFebruary 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    I so much despise this militarization of Canada and our “Royal” forces. The DND budget is worse than Attawapiskat’s accounting and yet gets away with non sensical participation in far away geopolitics which should not involve Canadian military.

  20. Mary GrohFebruary 7, 2013 at 7:57 pm #

    Pacifists should not be faulted for reminding people that violence begets violence, and for pointing to the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as recent examples of this. How many more “terrorists” sprang out of the ground in those countries when we tried to stamp them out with superior military force? If the problem in northern Africa is pernicious ideas spreading out from the Arab world, Canada should be contributing hugely towards the education of the local populations. If the shortage of arable land across the Sahel is the problem, we should be in there wholeheartedly with developmental expertise. But our money and energy is going into the DND, so naturally the problem in Mali must be seen as requiring a military solution. That this might be ineffective or counter-productive is not to be considered.

  21. Sandra MichealsFebruary 7, 2013 at 7:47 pm #

    I am so disgusted with this one sided reporting on the ongoing involement in the middle east and africa. We have no right to be involved in any type of warfare anywhere in the world. We used to be known for our peacemaking; not any longer.
    What I don’t understand is where does the “Source” information come from. For example, senior officals report, White House advisors report: Why don’t we have good solid investigative journalism.
    This issue in Mali didn’t just pop up out of nowhere. we along with other Wester Powerbrokers are just looking for another excues to be involved in warfare. The industrial military complex controls our governmnet.
    Sandra Micheals

  22. Pauli SommerFebruary 7, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    Thanks to we can all see what’s the real agenda behind this military aggression.

  23. Cecily PorterFebruary 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm #

    I agree that Canada should not be at war, period. That is what Stephen and Ceasefire are all about.

    Essentially what we have here is a government complying more and more with American interests, and until the Canadian people seriously want to change this, the military-industrial complex will keep dictating government policy. Essentially, as long as these guys are in charge of Parliament, the situation will not change.

    In all fairness though, Canada really does have some interest in “appearing” to show some support for the people in this part of the world, who by all accounts, do not want to be controlled by people who impose a religon and consequently a political way of life, that they do not wish to be subjected to. (With Islam, the Sharia Law of religion, also dictates your political life. There is no theoretical separation of religion and State)

    At present, the people with money want to maintain the staus quo in Mali, which really is better than people killing each other (fornow).

  24. Mervyn NicholsonFebruary 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    Professor Granatstein is a relic of Cold War hysteria.
    He should be required to re/read Major-General Smedley Butler.

  25. Geo. NevilleFebruary 7, 2013 at 5:48 pm #

    Granastein has not really addressed his heading, “pacifists of the left divided”, if indeed they really are divided. Instead of providing substantive illumination, he chose to heap scorn on Steven Staples of the Rideau Institute and That approach is counter-productive and wins no recognition from this quarter.

  26. Cecily MillsFebruary 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    “Stay out, stay out, stay out …” said award-winning journalist and Middle East expert Robert Fisk in an interview with Lee Berthiaume of Postmedia. We should obey his advice.

  27. Dennis ChoptianyFebruary 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm #

    This situation in the sub-Sahara area of Africa has been going on for decades and is not just confined to Mali. And anyone who thinks that it is over, since the rebels have retreated is dreaming in Technicolor.

    Fighting the insurgents or rebels is like playing Whack-a-Mole. Therefore, mission creep is not just possible – it is inevitable, and it will not be confined to Mali.

    Without looking at the root causes and addressing them, there is little point in creating another Afghanistan (where Westerners are fighting a no-win civil war and supporting a corrupts and inept figurehead government with no chance of winning anything – particularly when western troops pull out).

    People in sub-Sahara Africa are young, uneducated, frustrated, restless and discontent. The borders are artificial and just plain awful – showing little regard for cultural, linguistic or racial factors. Governments are corrupt and ineffective. Foreign corporations are taking as much as they can out of the countries with little return for the citizens. Armies are ill-trained and poorly equipped, and more interested in gaining power than in protecting civilians. People are poorly educated and with an average age of only 19 are easily influenced by whoever can offer them something better (even if those offers are down the road and often a ploy). All of those issues need to be addressed and resolved before anything positive can happen for the native populations.

    Yes, it was painful listening to stories of atrocities committed by rebels in Mali. But it is much more horrendous to hear and see what is going on in Syria.

    Peacekeepers are needed in Mali and surrounding countries, but those peacekeepers MUST be African. Otherwise, the problems of colonial Africa will come into play and hatred toward the West will increase significantly.

    By all means, support an African Peacekeeping Force. But also support a movement to identify and address the root causes of the struggles in sub-Sahara Africa.

  28. Lawrence DoneganFebruary 7, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    ” War is wrong in that it makes more evil people than it takes away.” So runs an ancient Greek proverb, but what is not clear to the Canadian government is that to resolve war with more war is a recipe for enormous human suffering. Wise and humane minds are not looking for opportunities to, in RIck Hillier’s words, kill scumbags, and, suffice it to say, the civil war in Mali has seen massacres conducted by the Mali government.

  29. Bruce RosoveFebruary 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    The mess in Afghanistan is one good reason not to send troops to Mali. One cannot make peace by making war.

    Surely, there are better ways to create peace in Mali than sending troops.

    The reasons for violence are always unmet needs. Better to learn what those needs are and find ways to help those whose needs are not met to have the skills and resources needed to meet their legitimate needs.

  30. Frank HiebertFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:44 pm #

    “The situation in Mali remains complicated and unclear. In the midst of an attempt by Ansar Dine and al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb to take over the country for militant Islam, there is also a historic north-south division and rival Tuareg factions in the north struggling for dominance in their long battle for independence. …” (opening from Granatstein’s article).

    In the midst of all this complicated lack of clarity, why would we risk committing the lives of our young men and women? Have we not learned anything from Afghanistan? Perhaps we can count on Granatstein and Harper to be the first to commit the lives of their own children/grandchildren to such a glorious and patriotic cause! Ha! Good luck with that!

    • B. SpeersFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      Let’s not forget that al-Qaida (the database) is a CIA operation and is not akin to the Taliban. The Taliban is an extremist Islamic group, and most Islamic people do not support the Taliban, but are very afraid of them. I’m surprised that Islamic people aren’t suing government and media on a regular basis for every false, pejorative, anti-Islamic accusation or action against them.

    • tonyFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:20 pm #

      Granastein got one thing right… it is a complicated and unclear. Unfortunately he then tries to simplify things by talking about simple solutions… let’s once again punch above our weight. C’mon Jack, retire already.

  31. Dale DewarFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:40 pm #

    On one station, I heard the broadcaster say that Canadian Special Forces were in Mali “to protect Canadian interest”. What might those interests be?

    In March 2012, IPPNW sponsored a conference in Mali at the request of a group of villages referred to as “Falea” – about 2000 people scattered over a few dozen km in loosely knit groups of extended-family round grass huts. They had approached the Falian government for help because a mining company had destroyed one of their two wells. (Pitiful wells at that – the remaining well took two full minutes to fill a litre jug.) The company that had been doing the prospecting and had ruined their well was Rockgate – listed on the Canadian stock exchange. Our interests indeed!

    Go for it – Steven – you leftist pacifist you!!

  32. Anne StreeterFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm #

    Mr. Granatstein uses the term “tiresome refrain” in reference to those who disagree with his ongoing warmongering. I think the term more aptly applies to his verbal output. Personally, I have a problem with old white guys sitting in their offices suggesting other people’s kids be sent to foreign wars as cannon fodder! Are Iraq and Afghanistan not enough of a lesson – or Vietnam, the grand daddy of them all! Enough! Bring back the Blue Berets!

  33. Reynold ReimerFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    The so-called war on terror seems to have become a license to make war anywhere, anytime. We need raise the bar far higher when it comes to justifying a decision to commit (to) war.

    The justification must pass stringent tests of credibility. We’ve been lied to many times.

    If we are to be part of some sort of world police force why are we impotent when it comes to bringing war criminals like Bush, et. al., to justice? Why do we continue to ally ourselves with the failed state to the south of us which claims the right to kill and imprison people without due process and which employs torture? Obama is perceived as some sort of improvement but he has failed to turn off the killing machine. His use of drones may well constitute war crimes.

    As for the perception that we always support blue helmeted UN peacekeepers, I’d like to protest that the Minustah force in Haiti have acted more like occupiers than peacekeepers. People in our government, both Liberal and Conservative, have lied to us about Canadian actions in Haiti.

  34. B. SpeersFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    My response to the Federal Government and its supporters is: mind your own business. Harper is a traitor and has committed treason by attending Bilderburg in 2003, so why hasn’t he been charged and forced to step down. I will not support our Federal or Provincial governments, nor will I follow its laws until it is entirely reformed and our banking system is restored to a non debt-based system of currency. It is good to see that the revolution is beginning in the U.S. as laws are being created by states to oppose the new gun laws and to ban drones. There will be a full blown revolution, likely World wide, by the end of 2013. Government is a fraud, income tax is a fraud, free trade is a fraud, our politicians are working for bankers, and the Federal Government is in violation of almost every law in existence. Harper is a traitor as he has publicly stated that “there is no room” for nationalism in today’s globalist World. How in the Hell can a P.M. not be a nationalist? Isn’t that being a traitor? We need to force these fools out of office immediately. Enough is enough! The Federal Government doesn’t even meet the minimum requirements of law since it refuses to permit appropriate sustenance for the people of this country with its allowance of GMO foods and poisons such as aspartame to be used in BABY FOOD! There is no suprise regarding the Mali issue. These are very sick people. Never forget that.

  35. Ruth NichollFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    Mr Granatstein can be counted upon to speak his forever-unchanging mind. The corporate media can be counted upon to give him a platform, whether because he sells copy or because his ideas are good for shareholders in the armaments industry, or both. I think he gets it wrong, time and again. So here I am, having to be disagreeable, yet again. How annoying!

    What, exactly, is an “Islamist”? Sort of like a “Christianist”? “Jewishist”? “Hinduist”? I could go on, but it is getting ridiculous. Oh! Wait a minute, I get it: it’s sort of like a (wait for it)… “Commmunist”! And that’s where Mr Granatstein cut his baby teeth.

    The way we keep wars going is to blind ourselves to any evidence of common humanity in some part of the human flock, separate that part out, and give our newly separate brethren a label. It helps the war effort if the separated bunch have a label for the rest of the flock, of course – “Infidel” or “the West” maybe.

    That the vast majority of Malians are Muslim isn’t mentioned by Mr Granatstein, nor that this fresh volley of mayhem is occurring in a country which has been dealing with a thirty year civil war, fought mainly between ‘the North’ represented by a people known to us as the Taureg, and ‘the South’ represented by a people known to us as … well, not known to us, actually. The ‘non-Taureg’, I guess. the northern people are said to be paler than the southern ones. There is a centuries-long history of enslavement of southerners by Taureg, and lots of evidence that this hasn’t ended to date. Like all wars, hard to find the good guys, isn’t it? But let’s not let Mr Granatstein fool us: the good guys are not ‘us’, either.

    A missing piece from the Granatstein article is that northern Mali is reported to to have a large amount of Uranium. That this would be of interest to France with its large number of nuclear power plants shouldn’t be overlooked. Then there is the rarely-noted business of Malians who lived in Libya for decades, serving in Mr Ghadaffi’s army. The fall of that (rather secular) regime released these well-armed and highly-trained men who then went back home. With their weapons.

    All of this reminds me of the way not to put out a fire: don’t aim a shocking and awe-inspiring hard stream at the very middle of it. The combustible material just blows off all over the room and starts a dozen little fires that quickly overwhelm the room. Then, everybody burns.

    The Pacifist Left (see? He’s separated and labeled part of the flock, like I said), amongst its many misdemeanors, has for years been urging Mr Harper and his government to reconsider the cuts this government made to African aid, and begging him not to tie what’s left of that aid to Canadian business interests. Mr Harper has not listened. Maybe sending just one big plane and making no commitment to do more shows he is just a wee bit embarrassed, though. For how would it look if Canada threw the millions we said we couldn’t afford – millions for education, health care and all those things that showed Africans that we are part of the same flock – how would it look if we threw those millions into arming and supporting our troops involvement in a war in an African country we only recently learned was more than a few acres of sand, and whose capital city we all thought must be the magical city of Timbuctu?

    I hope Mr Harper is embarrassed, just as Mr Granatstein ought to be.

  36. Ken CollierFebruary 7, 2013 at 3:49 pm #

    First, a typo – it’s doyens, not doyons.

    Canadian mining companies and probably the petro corporations are licking their chops at getting their influence into Mali (further). See:

    Not a long step to military intervention.

  37. Stan MarshallFebruary 7, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    Does this mean that Granatstein will support all NDP policy on war related matters? I doubt it. The position taken by just goes to illustrate that democracy should have room for civil society to hold all those in elected positions to account for their actions, policies and positions. I expect nothing less from This is outside Granatstein’s frame of reference.

  38. Susan HuebertFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:49 pm #

    I find this article disturbing. It is essentially an attack on free speech, with its inflammatory wording and quick dismissal of any pacifist ideals. The article is also somewhat short-sighted in claiming that the war is being fought for freedom and human rights. Where is all the freedom-loving rhetoric when women and men in Saudi Arabia have lived under a repressive regime for years? Why did it take 9/11 for the western establishment to realize that there was something badly wrong in Afghanistan? Given western governments’ track record on human rights issues overseas, it seems unlikely that this war is being fought for any great humanitarian purpose. If that is the case, then why is the war being fought?

  39. Penny OyamaFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    As long as no-one reacts to the questionable actions of the pro-corporate Conservatives, their dictatorial reign continues to lead Canada down a path that is contrary to the wishes of the Canadian citizenry. As well, people in this country continue to assume that everything is ” just fine, thank you” as long as no-one raises issues to their attention, and speaking out seems to be the only way these days. As with all international situations, this one in Mali is complicated by history, local situations, recent events, etc., which the average Canadian is not knowledgeable about. However, as in every case so far, the minute western societies with their own agendas get involved, the locals suffer! So staying OUT of the conflict is the only way for Canada to respond! THANK YOU, STEVEN STAPLES!!

  40. KarenFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:27 pm #

    I am so tired of listening to the people creating the boogyman terrorists! These people are trying to create fear and justify the call to arms for totally false reasons, and we the people are sick and tired of this! Stop the war drums!

  41. Kirk GalbraithFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:04 pm #

    Follow the money! Check to see if Mali has a central bank? If not that is the reason they get labelled “terrorists”. See John Perkins book Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

  42. RonMacDougallFebruary 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    According to Vijay Prashad of Newsclick, the UN support for the intervention is despite Deputy Asensi.s ( member of French Parliament)claims, also shaky. Just to mention the UN has been caught a bit wrong footed, once more opening the door to an intervention with safeguards in place, but then watching one of its permanent members disregard the caution and its provisions as it bombs and kills civilians in the name of the UN. For the French left to hide behind the UN, when it is exactly what the military assault is doing, is to ridicule the UN Charter and the entire tradition of anti-colonialism and human rights.

  43. Jerry PanenkaFebruary 7, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Actually, stopping most wars is easy.
    The Neo-Cons who love wars hate paying for them through higher taxes even more.
    They want us to pay for their blood-thirsty halucinations. The distinguished Scholar Dr. Granatestein, as well as some in Harper’s government, suffer from the Napoleonic Complex.
    To cover the cost of wars, have the provinces whose MP’s support war pay an extra tax covering its cost. See how their electorate would feel about paying higher taxes!

  44. LeonFebruary 7, 2013 at 1:12 pm #

    Granatstein’s Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute is a mouthpiece for defense contractors. He also speaks on behalf of the C.D. Howe Institute. In an article he penned for them, he says Canada must tailor its foreign policy to please the U.S. because we depend on their goodwill for favourable trade terms. Of course, he will want to get Canada embroiled in an very long-term war of terror (sic). Furthermore, nobody knows what the JTF2 actually does; not the regular military chain of command, and maybe not even Harper. In Mali, they are most likely taking orders from the U.S. Africa Command. Whether Ceasefire echoes the position of the NDP or the Liberals, furthermore, is irrelevant. Ceasefire is an independent, non-partisan institution.

  45. Leo KurtenbachFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:54 pm #

    Speaking in Saskatoon on January 29th., Robert Fisk stated that whenever the citizens of Mali, or any of the sovereign countries in the Middle East [ME] oppose interventions, or armed forces from outside the ME region, they are accused of being terrorists.

    Robert Fisk also said that there were great underdeveloped resouces of oil in the Midle East.– He also noted that people in the Middle East are seeking freedom, dignity and independence.

  46. Joy TaylorFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:48 pm #

    I believe when government leaders are in favour of sending our troops to war that those leaders should lead.Like in days gone by…the government leaders should not have to mount a white charger BUT should lead the fight that they so strongly believe in,in a tank .It would show that as they led the young men and women into the fray,that they are not really behind them but right in front in the thick of things.Maybe wars would cease if this was the rule.

  47. Bob McNarryFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:47 pm #

    I suggest that Granatstein get his facts right by reading Doug Saunders new book “The Myth of the Muslim Tide”. I have watched his ideas evolve over time into a right-wing apologist.

  48. arleneFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Staging false flags,

  49. Doris RoutliffeFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    The Wikipedia article on Granatstein does not give details of his lengthy “military service”. Has he been involved in actual combat somewhere? I’ve experienced war (WWII) and its aftermath firsthand, that is the reason for my support of Btw, Stephen, you misspelled “doyen”.

  50. Gordon SpaffordFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:04 pm #

    I agree with Jeff – “As long as you keep attacking people, you are going to continue to make terrorist out of them”. Other than that I can offer only observations. I tried to make sense of the situation but the best I could find is an article in the December, 2012 New Internationalist “How the US has been sponsoring terrorism in the Sahara”, which confirms only one thing – the situation is a big mess. And all over a chunk of very unproductive desert that the Tuareg had somehow learned to survive in and for some reason have become “Islamists” and “terrorists”. What does that desert have that is so important? While I’m at it may I suggest that the term “Islamist”, currently in common use by the media in a pejorative sense, does not tell us anything about anyone and is probably offensive to a great many.

  51. SUSAN EYREFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:50 am #

    Mail has resources to steal, Syria does not. Al Quaida is a computer system not a terrorist sect. There is a power struggle over the resources between America and China -pity the poor Mali citizens who are in the middle of this resource war -where none of them benefit. Canada should not be going to Mali. Canada should be busy taking responsibility for mitigating Climate Change,as we are one of the worst enemies of world health and environment.

  52. DaveFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    For 6,000 years of recorded history Granatstein and his ilk have been peddling their view that the road to peace is paved with weapons, blood and the corpses of friend and foe alike. Their thinking has brought the human family to the brink of nuclear annihilation and now, also to looming, if not imminent, environmental catasrophe. Instead of spending trillions on defending ourselves against ourselves we should be spending our resources on addressing the causes of conflict like poverty, ignorance, sickness, environmental degradation and lawlessness. Instead, this distinguished research fellow, presumably an individual with a brain, though evidently not a heart, but on the payroll of his military masters, would have us accelerate as we go farther down this road to destruction.

  53. AndrewFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:32 am #

    Taking for consideration PM Harper personality (anti democrat) and long history of imperialist interventions of USA (Canada become puppet of the gendarme) I will be against any Canada military involvement. You can ask me in future but after we will have proportional elections in Canada. Until that moment we have manipulation instead democracy.

  54. Jack RobinsonFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    Despite Mr. Granatstein’s questionable creds as a ‘Distinguished Fellow’ of a Conservative-funded stink tank and the Citizen’s Quebeccor corporate cheez wiz, what I find the most absurd about the article’s attempt to stigmatize those of us who oppose Canadian forces interventions abroad, whether ‘humanitarian’ in rationale or part of the Free World’s Crusade against nutso Islamic jihadists when and wherever their turboned mushroom heads might pop up… is the suggestion that both opposition leaders actually supported Harper’s logistical largesse when no actual debate occured in the House re: The specifics of our role, a timeline for the mission and it’s actual troop support involvements. But hey yuz Ceasefire Wiseguys and Wusses… Better learn how to duck like Daffy whence them drones come a-lookin’ for ya!

  55. PatrickFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    I think Steven’s hyperbole did the anti war movement a disservice on this one.

    Ghandi was dealing with Britain, a Nation that had at least an understanding of the concept of Democracy and could be embarrassed on the world stage (Palestine, Suez).

    al-Qaida and other such fanatics are typically ill educated.(burning the library in Timbuktu) When someone like that barges in your door all the talk in the world ain’t gonna help. Sometimes ya gotta fight fire with fire.

    Mission creep is a justifiable concern, and if JTF2 are there to protect embassy staff why don’t they just pack em up and move em out?
    But you don’t have to lay on the over blown hyperbole at every opportunity, it makes you sound like a strident wacko.

    Gotta side with NDP& Libs on this one

  56. Ian LFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    Why are these war mongers chomping at the bit so much? Why do they constantly need to justify their existence? Why does there seem to be no time for the current situtation in Mali play out? Canada is already involved with transport support for the French. Why must we do more or send ground troops? I’m all for the current limited role Canada is playing in this conflict, I agree that that there needs to be something done in Mali, and there is something being done on the ground in Mali, plenty being done. I’m all for a UN/coalition peacekeeping force being sent over there, when the time is right.
    Our country doesn’t have the money and resources like other countries currently have, and what countries like France are currently doing protecting ‘their’ interests in that area. I saw a recent story on the CBC news where Malian ground troops were being interviewed. They seem to have a good grasp on the situation. There seems to no desparation on their part. If they need help, they will ask, will they not? They were ever grateful for France stepping in with ground support when they did. This Malian army major being interviewed not only doesn’t want Canadian troops on the ground there, he said it is not necessary at this time. “We don’t need the Canadians here” were his exact words. What, is this Malian army major lying or something?
    We Canadian citizens/taxpayers are getting quite sick and tired of all the knee jerk Harper govt/DND reactions to the daily foreign and domestic policy issues that are ever constantly arising. Just like the Harper govt immediately wanting to set policy on dual citizens involved in terrorsim. I will give the conservatives credit, this is a good idea, and I could just be for it, but like Liberal leader Bob Rea said, “We just can implement brand new policy on the fly all the time.”
    There needs to be more time for this issue Mali to play out. Knee jerk reactions are definately not the path for this country to follow. If these ‘knee jerk’ reations that are constantly being rammed down our throats by the Harper govt are the way to go, where are these types of reactions when dealing with the many problems/issues/expendatures on our own soil?

  57. Alois AmannFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Granatstein is a consumate dissembler, he and his ilk have been framing debate in this country most of the last century.

  58. Alfredo LouroFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:48 am #

    As Robert Fisk pointed out in his talk in Calgary, the west is getting involved in a 30-year-old civil war in Mali.

  59. HeatherFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    Canadians cannot afford to be policmen of the world anymore than the Americans could – look where the US economy is after Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • NancyFebruary 7, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      Mr. Granatstein’s article follows two oft-used tracks, both of which have little, if any, empirical evidence to support them. The first is that military intervention, and support of that intervention, is the best or only way to keep dangerous ‘forces of evil’ in check. Surely history has shown that this is, at best, a very short term solution that leaves underlying matters festering. The second is that we should accept our governments analysis about the nature of conflicts in other lands. Again, historically, involvement has more often been generated when the interests of powerful lobby groups supporting government are finally affected. We should be seriously questioning why we should intervene militarily / support that intervention, and why now.

  60. JeffFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:40 am #

    As long as you keep attacking people, you are going to continue to make terrorist out of them. It you claim is is the necessary response, then you are forgetting what Ghandi said “An eye for an eye and the whole world goes blind”.
    I think some people just want war for the sake of wanting war and invent reasons to go to war. They would be better off by making a video war game of monopoly. A game where, instead of you landing on a property and buying it, you invade a property and take over it. Then, you add austerity measures for good measure. You stop handing out $200 when you pass “Go” and you double the amount of rent for no reason. That way the game won’t take forever and a day to win and you can receive instant satisfaction from playing it.
    The best part will be for the rest of us. That way the rest of us peace loving people won’t be drawn into war and have our lives turned upside down by those who would rather go to a foreign land and kill someone rather then go to a foreign land and do some sightseeing and other, normal, tourism things.

  61. dalma postigoFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:33 am #

    I am against war, Period. They are sending our children to kill and be killed, to cover the precious interest of hiden people, that invoking any pretext to make a gain. Usually religions matters. 99% of the wars Humankind fought, were fought for religions that wanted power, with the people behind to cover their own interest.
    Is very usuful to study history, you can see the pattern repeted over, and over.
    Also I agree with Ms. Wilson, we never asked or consult with the people invoved and different cultures. We apply our own biases, and don’t even understand life in dofferents parts of the world but our own, granting that we do so, somtimes is not even so.

  62. Mel TintpulverFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:30 am #

    Neo-conservatives always want war. Two reasons for this.

    The superficial reason it’s simplistic and very good optics … defending freedom, us and them, patriotism, sacrifice for the common good etc. etc. (see Bush and Iraq).

    But the more important reason is that it gives the neo-con a ‘legitimate’ way to spend the public coffers. Then there’s no money left for the programs that they don’t like (all that socialistic mumbo-jumbo like a decent minimum wage, national child-care, pension reform, affordable and modern transportation systems in large cities, etc.).

    Interestingly enough, we can decrease our national debt … but not if we’re wasting money on wars in foreign locations.

    Does anyone know how much taxpayer money was lost to the war in Afganistan?

  63. Henry KopkeFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    If some Canadian companies have investments and interests in northern Africa then it should not be the responsibility of the Canadian people at large to protect such interests. Mr. Granatstein has always been in favour of military actions, whenever he has commented on television or elsewhere. Mr. Staples and Ceasefire do well to object to further military involvement in Mali or where ever. The world does not need to be ruled by warriors.

  64. George McMasterFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:22 am #

    Stay out of Mali … fight the war on poverty in Canada.

  65. arleneFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    quotes from Information Clearinghouse, “People who go uninvited, to a country other than their own, shooting, detonating bombs and killing civilians… We call them ‘Terrorists’ when they come here. We call them ‘Heroes’ when we send them .” – Evette Carter

    “The best way of avenging thyself is not to become like the wrong-doer.” – Marcus Aurelius Antoninus – (121 AD -180 AD) Roman Emperor, 161-180 AD

  66. Czandra MostlyFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:12 am #

    I suggest the video “Myths for Profit” to anyone who thinks that peaceniks automatically give their blessing to blue berets or any oxymoronic “peacekeeping forces”.

    I object to the language of “rooting out” people from the desert as if they were weeds. Mr. Granatstein appears to favour democracy (whatever that may be in its myriad watered-down forms we know), but cannot make room in his world-view for people with a significantly different conception of reality than the standard North American one in all its shifting permutations. Everyone who is violent and Muslim is identified as “al-Quaeda aligned”, no proof, no questions. This is singularly un-academic.

    People who promote peace do so not because we are unrealistic, ignorant, self-interested, wimpy, slavish, etc. We promote peace because we know that force breeds anger, damage, more force exponentially. If you want to use the image of weeds for the humans you target in wishing to eradicate extremist Muslims, then do the research – forceful weed-killers produce stronger, more resistant weeds. People who promote peace have no financial interest in promoting peace. People who promote war very often have money in mind.

  67. Vera GottliebFebruary 7, 2013 at 9:24 am #

    Perhaps Mr. Granatstein should be shipped off to some war area, affording him the experience what war is all about. These ‘armchair’ warriors – too much of a coward to join in the battlefield, yet always ready to shred those who favour peace.

  68. Dwight PetersFebruary 7, 2013 at 9:21 am #

    “Islamist terrorism is a threat to democracies everywhere”. A similar rallying cry by George Bush led to the the US’s now discredited and Canadian supported invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq that caused the deaths (or collatoral damage) of 10s of thousands of innocent civilians. If is guilty of caution in Mali then this is well justified by the track record of the war on terrorism to date (whatever that means)

    Granatstein is using the same old fearmongering to justify granting the Canadian and other governments a free hand in Mali. If we’ve learned anything over the last decase hopefully its two things.

    First, that any interventions by the West in sovereign countries need to be clearly justified and kept on a short, transperant leash. Second,the real threat to “democracies everywhere” is either internal, like Harper’s omnibus bills or external from power countries like the US protecting their strategic interests.(Haiti, Iran, Panama, Chile, Pakistan etc etc)

    As repugnant as qroups like Al Quadea are, they are simply the symptom of the more fundamental failures and policies of the democracies themselves.

    • Vera GottliebFebruary 7, 2013 at 9:28 am #

      And by now we know that Al Qaeda is nothing more than fiction created by the CIA (Centre for International Atrocities) in order to justify American aggression all over the planet. The BBC has a documentary on this.

    • Vera GottliebFebruary 7, 2013 at 9:30 am #

      The BBC documentary I am talking about is entitled: The power of nightmares.

  69. Ron McAllisterFebruary 7, 2013 at 9:12 am #

    Sounding like a cold war warrior Granatstein could be reading from a U.S. diplomatic handbook critical of the on coming rush of communist ideology. The “domino” affect is how Jack still views the world. Libya’s Ghadafri fought these religious fundementalists, just like Mubarack, and Assad and our old friend Saddaam Hussein. Those men however were secularists and they were our friends until we thought we knew better. After Ghadaffi was attacked by NATO forces what we’re finding out now is that he actually kept those fanatics at bay. Now they’ve give the keys to the city, just like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. These men and their followers aren’t friend

  70. Jamie LaidlawFebruary 7, 2013 at 8:26 am #

    Has a risk assessment been done? If so what are the risks as currently modelled.

    Has a cost benefit analysis has been done?

    Further, what good does this do Canada?

    • Marg BuckholtzFebruary 7, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      This the question that is “missing in action”: what good does this do for Canada? Surely, rational people in 2013 would ask this question before rushing into yet another expensive war in another continent.

  71. judy haivenFebruary 7, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    And who says the war against the “other” — Islam — isn’t going strong. Mali is a case in point.

  72. Len RingFebruary 7, 2013 at 8:15 am #

    Follow the money. If it’s not oil or some other natural resource then it’s just make a buck selling one side or the other arms. Some one else will pick up the slack on the other side.

  73. janiceFebruary 7, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    Henry Kissinger, one-time U.S. Secretary of State said, “Military men are just dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy.”
    I have two boys in the military and i’m sick to death of this defacto government using them to satisfy their lust for blood, profit and power on behalf of the elites they answer to. The elite that control the governments of this world, the newspapers and everything we hear, see and think. Killing other people in other countries is never about justice or right and anyone who continues to believe that are indeed dumb fodder. People have to realize their so called governments are not in control and never have been. They will continue to do what they are told by the people in high places that have the power to make or break them. Until we take away their power and control over us as individuals we will never fully understand the truth of what is really going on. I myself withdrew my support many years ago. It’s time for the rest of the world to wake up. Stop allowing them to take your children for their own sick and evil benefit. There is nothing honorable about killing other people in the name of peace.

  74. DOUG McLELLANFebruary 7, 2013 at 7:49 am #

    I think maybe Ceasfire hit a nerve.

  75. robertFebruary 7, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    a must see and hear

    Click on the “Captions” icon to get the English subtitles. You won’t be disappointed.


  76. Arthur KoanFebruary 7, 2013 at 3:44 am #

    Clearly, perhaps to somebody, these worldviews of his, his discerned Islamophobia and repeated references to al-Qaida/Qaeda bogymen; the new cold war warrior theatrics and paid for thugs, or his visible authoritarian stance that seems especially scripted for authoritarian followers – perhaps at the behest of his associated think-tank membership. Of course it could be what appears to be a general lack of neural grey matter associated with consciousness, which thus leads to his SOP disinformation package that hints, maybe at stock in the military industrial complex or at the very least a subscription to Jane’s Defense monthly that helps to sanctify his belief in our misguided foreign policy.

    On the other hand, it could just be his description of saving the world for democracy; whatever he thinks that is.

  77. Grace IsaakFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:40 am #

    Mr. Granatstiens comments appear to be created to fill oped requirements. I cannot believe a Canadian with his qualifications could possibly support the idea of actively becoming involved in a conflict between two unknown opponents in a continent of which we know so little.We did this in Afghanistan and were there for nearly 10 years!

    Further, all Canadians need to be thinking of alternatives to war when it come to solving world differences. Why can world leaders not see that human beings are a hair’s breadth from eradicating our own kind.No other living creature has refined the art of killing other living creatures as well as does humanity. And we’ve hardly begun to use the most lethal weapons yet, the nuclear weapons arsenal, pollution and climate change. We may be the most intelligent creatures on earth but we have also got to be the most stupid.

  78. Allan DavisonFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:29 am #

    I don’t expect the liberals to be in favor of peace, but it’s unfortunate that the ndp now are committed to feeding the war machine. Well good. The greens will benefit

  79. BerndtFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:07 am #

    Some background from other perspectives are useful, which Granastein is either completely ignorant of, or willfully blind to.

    points out for example that the current de facto leader in Mali was implementing Sharia Law, and places this in the context of the Libya debacle
    (yes, ‘military intervention bad’) and its fallout. Part of this fallout includes US Special Forces trained Malian officers and troops defecting to the ‘rebels’ (shades of Afghanistan?).

    There seem to be credible accounts going back awhile that the government in Mali actively facilitated AQIM as a tool against the northern Tuaregs:

    Granatstein glibly speaks of ‘terrorism being a threat to democracies everywhere’, somehow ignoring his own admission that Mali is not a democracy, implying however that we ourselves are in ever present danger. We may be, but waring tactics have only exacerbated these insecurities.

    Even Cameron declared that the terrorist threat in Mali will require a response measured in years, even decades. So the mission creep fear is very real and acknowledged by others with more standing than Granatstein. He never actually addresses this point, only proudly pointing out a factual error with his academic’s eye for such things.

    All this points to far more complexity in this situation than Granatstein’s simpleminded point of view, with his supposed cure all – namely yet again guns can silence a situation where negotiation is badly needed.

  80. Sandra CurrieFebruary 7, 2013 at 2:01 am #

    The Harper regime has been supporting roque mining companies, some of them operating in Mali. Our diplomatic corps are not merely lobbyist for these mining companies and for potential tar sands oil markets. Harper uses the military and government influence to support regimes, no matter how dictatorial, that let our mining companies commit human rights abuses, exploitation, and sometime murder. Our country has lost any positive currency we held internationally. Harper’s foreign policy has threatened Canadian security and made us a legitimate target for terrorists.

    • Sandra StephensonFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:19 am #

      good pint, Sandra Currie. And in Africa, and in South America. I don’t even want to travel with anything that identifies me as Canadian – remember the days we used to travel with Canadian flags on our bags to distinguish us from the disliked American tourists?

  81. RTFebruary 7, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    Granatstein is a lobbyist paid for by the Alberta oil patch and American war contractors. (

    Show him for the paid mouthpiece he is.

    The Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute [founded in 2001] ( is a Calgary, Alberta-based Canadian lobbying organization. Corporate donors to the organization currently include ENMAX ( and General Dynamics (, the sixth largest defense contractor in the world [1]. Past donors include the Canadian Council of Chief Executives ( Source:

    In 2003, Granatstein co-wrote a paper titled, “National Defence, National Interest: Sovereignty, Security and Canadian Military Capability in the Post 9/11 World” –

    Much of the war rhetoric in “Post 9/11 World” plays on the pride of Canadian citizens:

    “By engaging other nations, Canadians enhanced national pride while
    protecting national interests. Pride is essential to a people’s sense of self-worth; interests are essential to a people’s well-being.”

    “Increased defence spending is a sine qua non for a safer, more secure,
    more prosperous Canada, let alone a Canada that prides itself in doing good
    works. Canadian productivity depends on markets, on outlets for Canadian
    enterprise, genius, and productive capacity. Gaining the maximum access to
    those markets depends, in part, on international stature. Sometimes a better
    mouse trap isn’t enough in a world that still values allegiance and friendship, and determines to take care of one’s “own” before taking care of one’s neighbours.”

    “Recommendation 1) The Canadian Forces are a vital instrument of national
    defence and sovereignty and a key implement for the achievement of
    Canadian national goals at home and abroad. A strong and modern
    military, designed specifically to meet Canada’s security and foreign policy
    needs, will serve Canada’s pride and Canada’s interests. It is, therefore,
    incumbent on Canadian governments to ensure that Canada’s military “

  82. Brenda HillFebruary 7, 2013 at 1:12 am #

    Who is pressuring Canada to go to Mali? Who will benefit? Not Canadians, not the people of Mali. Who stands to gain, I wonder…..$$$$$, NO I do not want Canada to go to Mali.

  83. Dale AndrewsFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:48 am #

    What Granatstein didn’t mention is that France has two uranium yellow cake mines in Niger next door and China has one. The royalties from these mines don’t go to the people, but rather into the pockets of the elite who funnel it into their Swiss bank accounts. For further information on this, read “The Race for What’s Left” by Michael T. Klare, chaptter 6. France wants to protect these mines from the Tuaregs in the northern part of the Niger. Isn’t it strange that the main streem media in this country makes no mention of this. The MSM, including the CBC, are just cheerleaders for Harper. Granatstein is a typical neo-liberal or more likely a neo-conservative since he is a lapdog for the Conservatives. He must be one for the few academics who supports Harper. His reward for this will never seeing his budget cut by Harper. As for Mulcair supporitng Harper, what is so surprising about this? Jack Layton did this all the time and his his goal for the party seemed to move it as far to the centre as possible. Mulcair is only continuing and seems to be moving into “right” territory with his support of the pipelines in northern BC. The NDP are proving to be just as opportunistic as the Liberals and the Conservativess once they get into government and to hell being accountable to the people who voted them in.

  84. Mike JamesFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:42 am #


  85. Barry BuckleFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:41 am #

    France uses nuclear energy for most of it’s power … Mali has uranium … need more be said. Watch the well documented movie THRIVE which you can find on Utube. This film pretty much sums up what is going on internationally … and we should all be worried.Watch it to it’s conclusion. Harper and his party are just another tentacle, like the Republicans and Democrats … puppets controlled by the same small group of puppeteers…. who also control the media,your food supply, your educations system,your medical system … pretty much every aspect of your life.

  86. Elke DenhartFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    I am apalled by the article of Prof. Jack Granatstein who obviously relishes the drums of war and uses the so convenient “al Quaeda” as an excuse.
    Canada has no right to interfere militarily in Mali AT ALL………NONE !!!!

  87. Eric TrueFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:37 am #

    This is the same old story, follow the money.
    WE do not want to be involved at any price. We do not have enough young men/women to go much further.
    Too much PTSD, and little help for those that need it.
    The Harper Govt want’s Canadian souls to throw away again.

  88. Joy LFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:31 am #

    I do not have enough information to provide suggestions re: strategy. However I would caution you to use factual language rather than imflammatory or judgemental rhetoric or personal attacks on Harper. This is counter-productive.

  89. Moyra MulhollandFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:21 am #

    Before going into any war, it seems to me that it is imperative to understand clearly what the war is about, who gains from it and who usually gains from the results of it. For example, which country gained most from the WWII? England? France? Germany? If I remember correctly England was impoverished for decades while Germany flourished.
    Who lobbies for war? People wanting peace and safety? Arms manufacturers? Who?
    In this case who gains? The lively youth out for adventure and heroics, but who are either killed or come home maimed physically and or psychologically? the army Generals? Who? I fail to understand the answers, but would need them to advise one way or the other.

  90. mikeyFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:11 am #

    This will help explain much:

    The idea is that while you and I are required to transact business with piece of paper and ink, large banks and nations still settle their accounts with gold, which is simply wheeled from one nation’s vault to another to settle a debt, all of it under the roof of the Federal Reserve Gold Depository in New York City, or the similar institutions at the Bank of England and Band of France.

    Then, in 2009, a worker at a German gold bullion trader grew suspicious of a gold bar that had come in, and decided to assay the gold content. But the drill bit broke, revealing that the core of the gold car was filled with tungsten, a metal almost the exact same density as gold. The bar was cut open, and the scandal reported on German TV.
    It quickly became apparent that the problem of tungsten filled bullion bars was widespread. Because many of the fake gold bars had the marking of US sources, nations began to ask for audits and tests of the gold bullion held in their name by the New York Federal Reserve. To the surprise of many, the New York Federal Reserve refused! Indeed the New York Federal Reserve refused the German government permission to simply look at their bullion! Germany’s private central bank then went public assuring the Germans that they trusted America’s private central bank and did not need to see the gold. That was followed by a bizarre editorial from CNBC’s Senior Editor Jim Carney that it didn’t really matter if the bullion was really there at the New York federal Reserve, as long as the bookkeeping said it was!

    That set off everyone’s alarm bells! READ THE REST!

    • arleneFebruary 7, 2013 at 10:29 am #

      the federal reserve sent phoney gold bars to both China and Russia, made the news there but not in our non-free Canadian press.

  91. John WarrenFebruary 7, 2013 at 12:05 am #

    The Malians (French & Canadians) celebrated the combined forces “scattering” out the insurgents from Timbuktu, only to find them quietly entering again to lay mines. This is the nature of war these days and no one ever wins. These wars are designed never to have a conclusion. The French are in it for the “long haul” and the Canadians are the first to come to the aid of the French forces. The probability of “mission creep” is extremely high, given the government’s history in sending our troops and transport right behind the invaders.

  92. bruce jacksonFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:52 pm #

    The Gulf war between Kuwait and Iraq – Aug 2 1990 and February 1991 – Brian Mulroney said the same line. There are no Canadian troops involved in combat in Iraq. What he failed to mention was that the Canadians were the operators of the “War Room” where the strategic planning and running of the war was carried out. I was introduced at a Rotary Club luncheon to a General who was there complete with slides and stories of Canada’s contribution.
    When that war was over the Kuwait was indebted to the Western Bank interests for the next twenty – five years. Before the war started Kuwait had nearly 25 % of all money on deposit in the major western banks. The Kuwaitis paid the costs for that war. When in debt and desperate for income Canadian Prime Minister’s tend to sell their souls to the devil than tell the truth. What rent are they charging on the aircraft? Will this mission pay off the capital debt in a couple of months?? Or which PM Harper buddy holds the lease on the plane and is it a case of use it or lose it??

    Nothing new under Mulroney and his proteges.

  93. Menno MeijerFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:45 pm #

    Blue Helmets are not always good, as the Rideau Institute and have pointed out by standing in support of Bill C-373 to create a Department of Peace. The Department of Peace initiative is clear about the use of negotiation and unarmed peacekeeping practises to establish true and lasting peace.
    Advocating armed intervention is more likely to be “blind to the realities of 2013” than advocating non-military strategies in the post-Cold War era of intrastate conflict. However, non-military strategies include getting tough on Western corporations that are complicit in human rights abuses and environmental degradation.

  94. Alfred MumaFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:43 pm #

    There isn’t much one can say to a person like Mr Fisk. There isn’t very much one can say to any person who can only see one way to solve differences and problems, through name calling and put downs on one hand and on the other a person of war and war interests. They are not interested in peace or diologue as shown in his put downs of people who have differenting views to his own. And there is no point in responding in the same manner as he does because hopefully people interested in peace are also interested in reconciliation.The only course of action is to keep promoting peace and peaceful solutions.

  95. Richard A. PaquetteFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:29 pm #

    I think our buddy Jack makes our point for us. reiterate what you have already said and then baffle him with facts about the truth for his statement that we on your side have forgoteen something. we have not forgotten anything and putting facts in your response will only confuse him and his ilk. Remember, they do not like facts, facts only get in the way lol.

  96. ArnonFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:28 pm #

    The only way to avoid the appearance and accusation of self-interest is to operate under the aegis and control of a dis-interested third party. It’s a truth that helps to validate the scientific method. While the UN cannot be said to be dis-interested, its mandate is clear (global peace and general goodweal) and the involvement of as many parties as possible provides the closest thing to dis-interest (global mutual self-interest) as is possible.

    Canada should not engage in any action outside its borders save under this aegis.And yes, with the blue helmets, if Canadian financial interests are involved. We are not the global police, the UN is. If Canadian financial interests wish to involve themselves in a country’s civil war, let them hire their own mercenary army to assist. There are enough of them out there.

  97. Doug McGowanFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:27 pm #

    Jack Granatstein seems to start off on the right foot: “The situation in Mali remains complicated and unclear.” – Apparently to Jack Granatstein as well. Likely willfully.

    There is good evidence – though not in Granatstein’s resources – that the weapons coming out of Libya are in all likelihood one-and-the-same supplied to his loathsome “Islamist terrorism” a “threat to democracies everywhere, …” by none other than the US of A, albeit by way of the “back door”.

    So it is: Jack’s “al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb” are one day our “freedom-fighters”, and in the next breath, a “Terrorist Organization”.

    And this “fellow” of the “Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute”: What is that? Orwellian Double Speak for a facade (Lackey) for the “Military Industrial Complex.” The possibility should not be overlooked. No doubt, one of Steven Harper’s “Charities” for tax purposes!

    Diana Johnstone very recently (Feb 2) produced an article that appeared in on how the R2P has been warped, when need be, as a means for the West to violate sovereign states in pursuit of our (Their) resources. Excellent, informative and concise!

    The link is below.

  98. Jean-Daniel CusinFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:26 pm #

    A few trite but probably applicable truisms:
    – Never let a crisis go to waste.
    – What appears to be the situation is not.
    – Follow the money.

    The industrial military complex permanently needs wars to maintain its bottom line. Whatever it takes. And here, with Granatstein, we have a chief apologist and marketing arm of the industrial military complex telling us that wars are necessary. A new war had to replace Libya, and before that, Irak.

    It’s just sad, isn’t it? How many human lives will be lost in the name of profits?

  99. Friederike KnabeFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:23 pm #

    Steven, just a couple of small points. 1. there is no “civil war” in Mali. There are two conflicts: one longstanding one between the Tuaregs in the North and. other Malians. This conflict can ONLY be resolved through negotiations between the Tuaregs and the Malian government – a legitimate government that takes responsibility for implementing any agreement (something that was not done during earlier negotiations, the last in 2006. 2. The other conflict is imposed on Mali’s majority by various Islamic groups, controlled and led by non-Malians. There, I don’t see any alternative to military action to get them out of the country and reduce their military power and arsenal. Now, how to move on that is a good question also. Limiting international arms and drug trafficking in the region would be one strategy, but not enough… because of the links to Al Qaeda. 3. Canada’s mining interests may be larger than we know… On the other hand, Canada has been involved through NGOs in Mali for many years and only recently reduced its financial commitment. I doubt that the Canadian government is interested in military engagement in Mali.

  100. Allan S TaylorFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

    Everything I’d say has been said.

    I only add that Churchill said something like this. It is better to
    jaw, jaw, jaw, than to war, war, war.

  101. PaulFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

    Professor Granatstein makes a living extolling war as a basic human function.The idea of humanity without war is totally foreign and apparently repugnant to him. If he could spend his considerable energies and skills proposing some alternative means for human beings to achieve peace it could be a blessing for the world.

  102. Wally SwarchukFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

    I recently read an article by Jeremy Keenan titled “How the US has been sponsoring terrorism in the Sahara”. Unlike many western media articles,which fail to provide adequate context to the situation in Mali, professor Keenan writes about the Bush-Bouteflika meetings which ushered in a whole new era in US-Algerian relations. Upon reading about this covert joint forces in countering terrorism plan it is difficult not to conclude that any involvement by Canada in Mali today could be seen as a classic mopping-up of the mess left by the Bush administration in North Africa.

  103. Rosemary KeenanFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:09 pm #

    What assets is Canada trying to protect in Mali? Answers are provided on the Canadian Foreign Affairs and International Trade website: “Natural Resources Canada estimates that Canadian companies, led by more than 15 mining and exploration firms, had approximately $230 million in assets in Mali in 2010.” In March 2011 Canada began negotiations towards a Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Mali, indicating “A bilateral FIPA will provide greater predictability and certainty for Canadian investors considering investment opportunities in Mali. Canada’s objective in entering these negotiations is to secure a comprehensive, high-quality agreement which will protect investors through the establishment of a framework of legally binding rights and obligations.” We are sending in the military to protect investors. We are exploiting a developing nation to plunder its resources. We are waging war to make huge profits for the arms industry. Who are the terrorists here? When will we recognize that the way forward is for all sides in any conflict to come to the table and negotiate fair trade agreements that support local communities and peaceful co-existence on this planet?

  104. Phil LittleFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:02 pm #

    I remember an interview with Robert Fisk ( ) where he clearly states that this is not an Islamist war but a civil war that has been raging for 30 years. In a larger context, Harper is showing his Islamophobic ideology and animosity, which led us into wars in Afghanistan and Libya. Both of those conflicts were military failures in that Islamist regimes have or will result. There is no moral victory in this military experience for Canada. Canada is duplicitous in its intentions – it claims to oppose Islamist forces in Mali but it supports Islamist forces who are fighting the regime of Assad in Syria. An Islamist regime in Mali is a concern, but supporting the current military government in Mali should be an equal or greater concern – as the Military of Mali overthrew the democratic government and are already reported to be involved in gross human rights violations. This is a sad civil war in which Canada ought not to be involved. The borders were decided by European powers creating a nation that did not represent natural demographic realities – resulting in the Arab north which has always opposed the “African” south of Mali. Harper has shown no concern or respect for our own military forces – they are expendable and used to win brownie points among NATO allies. There are no moral or military reasons to enter into a war in Mali.

    • Evelyn RebmanFebruary 6, 2013 at 11:21 pm #

      There is no win win for war. Everyone suffers. We should get to heck out of Mali and mind our own business. Lots to do here in Canada re-fighting the big oil companies from destroying our environment and keeping our own Governments from encouraging them. I agree with Robert Fisk.

  105. Mario ZironeFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:58 pm #

    Perhaps Dr. Granatstein should read the article in the Guardian Africa network – Mali: five key facts about the conflict at
    It seems to me that Granatstein is twisting the facts on two key issues. One is that France defends its intervention because it was asked by the interim Prime Minister of Mali. The current Mali government was not elected and therefore lacks the legitimacy to ask another nation to intercede. The second, is that the reference to al-Quaida in the islamic Maghereb is used to create fear in order to draw support and validity to his argument. The article in the Guardian states that the al-Quaida in Mali “…is not the same as the al-Quaida of Osama bin Laden.” Al-Quaida allows AQIM to use its name in order to increase its global profile.

  106. Phyllis ReeveFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    Mr. Granatstein’s tone always annoys so much that I have difficulty focusing on his argument. But in a way the tone IS the argument – dismiss as nonsense the views with which he disagrees. He refers to Libya, but does not look at possible links and unintended consequences between the fighting which occurred in Libya and that now going on in Mali. Nor does he begin to do justice to the complexity of France’s history in Africa. He assumes Al Quaeda as ongoing monster, but should read the relevant feature in the current Guardian Weekly.
    Canada should be on hand for humanitarian and peacekeeping assistance, however ridiculous Granatstein find this.
    I don’t find his views ridiculous – I find them frightening.
    Thank you, Steven.

  107. SharonFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    How many more wars can Canada afford? Let’s use the money to clean up our own backyard.
    If you hit someone, they grow up wanting to hit you back. If you can refrain from hitting them when others are hitting, they will grow up remembering your kindness, hopefully passing it forward.
    Fighting begets more fighting – Give peace a chance.
    Let’s be remembered as honestly trying to keep peace and negotiate compromise around the world, instead of charging in with all guns blazing.

  108. RosalindFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:38 pm #

    Re: Mali

    It is very depressing to see how, day by day, Canada is losing its reputation as a fair-minded and neutral country. Once great peacekeepers, we are insinuating ourselves more and more into wars and turmoil in other countries because of P.M. Harper . Who does Harper think he is, Obama? He has overnight taken over the policy of the U.S. towards Palestine and now this latest blunder of lending a hand in the war in Mali.


  109. SteveFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:37 pm #


    First of all don’t respond to his blather just state your points logically. Control the debate.

    Having said that, you might point out that the reason “France has dispatched thousands of troops to push back rebels armed with weapons seized in Libya, who are aligned with al Qaeda fighters” is exactly because we helped these “rebels” by our military intervention in Libya. We supported them in Libya and now we’re going to fight them when they expand into Mali? Crazy stuff but maybe that’s just because the situation in Mali is “complicated and unclear” right?

    It is still possible for Canada to get back to its historic role as peacekeepers but never after being involved in the war in the first place – that’s called occupation.

    I thought it was interesting that he devoted a whole paragragh essentially repeating your points on mission creep. Pretty much everyone knows mission creep has happened in almost every conflict the “West” has been involved in for the last 50 years, it’s a legitimate concern. He tacks on a little ad hominem attack on you at the end, I suggest you refrain from returning this favour as it sells newspapers but doesn’t do much for the argument…Steve

  110. Gary MagwoodFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:35 pm #

    The case for not getting involved in the mess that is North Africa only requires three words: Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya. Many years, huge losses in human terms with physically and mentally damaged resident populations and returning “vets.” Not to mention the trillions of dollars that didn’t buy any appreciable improvement in the respective populations’ well being. Why do we keep doing the same old expecting a better outcome?

  111. Onni MilneFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    As stated by others in this commentary, the “terrorists” that Jack Granatstein is talking about were created by the West. We colonized Africa and stole its resources for our governments and political projects. I believe the “terrorists” in Mali used the only strategy left to them after not being listened to or included for centuries. Pirates off the coast of Somalia board ships and ask for ransom. I have no doubt that ransoms given will never replace the billions stolen from Africa by our enlightened forefathers.

  112. Doug EnghFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Mr. Granatstein’s comments look and feel like pure propaganda with no real research in the article?

    He has done no research on the real issues:
    – who provided the Muslim terrorists with weapons and how was it done?
    – were any of the Muslim terrorists trained and armed by those who now want to kill them?
    – analyzing the globalization approach of the Harper conservatives?
    – who is making how much accessing what resources in Mali?
    – why lambast Muslim terrorists but say nothing of Western terrorists?
    – why are taxpayers shelling out money on war mongering?
    – who is paying the tab for this venomous bad mouthing of well meaning people? Could it be our friend Mr. Harper and his buds or is it the Canadian taxpayer on the hook?
    Now this should be investigated. Maybe this guy could do some real research for a change.
    He certainly doesn’t like Ceasefire (looks like Ceasefire is holding up a mirror making him uncomfortable),

  113. alexander proctorFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    PLease are the epitomy of over the hill,lost in the ages..and hoping to stay in the public eye throuh weird assumptions and all the photo-ops possible.[unknown or unremembered.we spent a short time together.]

  114. Murray LumleyFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    I heard Robert Fisk speak about the Mali and North Africa situation as part of his talk in Toronto on January 21. He described what is taking place in Mali as a civil war between the Tuaregs along with other ethnic groups of the north and the ethnic group of the south – mostly Africans. Mr. Fisk said it was a ‘civil war with a veil of extreme Islamism’. He also said that the NATO assault on Libya had complicated the problems because of the release of Libyan weapons into North Africa. Mr. Fisk also pointed out that the national borders in this region were created by European colonial powers and the tribal peoples who have lived here for millenia pay little attention to these borders – migrating as they always have. He accused western leaders such as British Prime Minister Cameron of having no understanding of North African affairs – illustrated by Cameron’s cheer leading of the Algerian army’s assault on the hostage takers at the Algerian gas plant only to be horrified at the blood bath – that the Algerian army always kills everyone, including the hostages.

    The West’s media also illustrate their poor understanding of the African situation by always naming it as an Al Quaida controlled affair when Al Quaida is a spent force. He quoted from the Globe and Mail to show how little information comes from anywhere but the U.S. or other western sources.

    Mr. Fisk called the situation in Mali very complex and recommended great caution in dealing with something that we in the west do not understand very well.

    • Ann GibsonFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:47 pm #

      Reading Mr. Fisk’s comment it strikes me that it was ever thus. We think that we can resolve others’ problems without bothering to find out just what that “other” is all about. Haven’t we managed to avoid going to the trouble to understand our own first nations history [good and bad] all these years. It has apparently just been too much trouble.
      And while we do have scholars who have tried to learn about Mali or Japan or India or whoever, these persons are rarely consulted in the public media, and so people like Mr. Granastein who should be ashamed of himself when he speaks of Islamist terrorists being the culprits. Who are these Islamist terrorisrs? Does he mean Muslims? Such carelessness disgusts me and I despair.

  115. BillFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    This latest article by John Pilger provides background.

    The real invasion of Africa is not news and a licence to lie is Hollywood’s gift

    31 January 2013
    A full-scale invasion of Africa is under way. The United States is deploying troops in 35 African countries, beginning with Libya, Sudan, Algeria and Niger. Reported by Associated Press on Christmas Day, this was missing from most Anglo-American media.

    The invasion has almost nothing to do with “Islamism”, and almost everything to do with the acquisition of resources, notably minerals, and an accelerating rivalry with China. Unlike China, the US and its allies are prepared to use a degree of violence demonstrated in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Palestine. As in the cold war, a division of labour requires that western journalism and popular culture provide the cover of a holy war against a “menacing arc” of Islamic extremism, no different from the bogus “red menace” of a worldwide communist conspiracy.

    Reminiscent of the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century, the US African Command (Africom) has built a network of supplicants among collaborative African regimes eager for American bribes and armaments. Last year, Africom staged Operation African Endeavor, with the armed forces of 34 African nations taking part, commanded by the US military. Africom’s “soldier to soldier” doctrine embeds US officers at every level of command from general to warrant officer. Only pith helmets are missing.

    It is as if Africa’s proud history of liberation, from Patrice Lumumba to Nelson Mandela, is consigned to oblivion by a new master’s black colonial elite whose “historic mission”, warned Frantz Fanon half a century ago, is the promotion of “a capitalism rampant though camouflaged”.

    A striking example is the eastern Congo, a treasure trove of strategic minerals, controlled by an atrocious rebel group known as the M23, which in turn is run by Uganda and Rwanda, the proxies of Washington.

    Long planned as a “mission” for Nato, not to mention the ever-zealous French, whose colonial lost causes remain on permanent standby, the war on Africa became urgent in 2011 when the Arab world appeared to be liberating itself from the Mubaraks and other clients of Washington and Europe. The hysteria this caused in imperial capitals cannot be exaggerated. Nato bombers were dispatched not to Tunis or Cairo but Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi ruled over Africa’s largest oil reserves. With the Libyan city of Sirte reduced to rubble, the British SAS directed the “rebel” militias in what has since been exposed as a racist bloodbath.

    The indigenous people of the Sahara, the Tuareg, whose Berber fighters Gaddafi had protected, fled home across Algeria to Mali, where the Tuareg have been claiming a separate state since the 1960s. As the ever watchful Patrick Cockburn points out, it is this local dispute, not al-Qaida, that the West fears most in northwest Africa… “poor though the Tuareg may be, they are often living on top of great reserves of oil, gas, uranium and other valuable minerals”.

    Almost certainly the consequence of a French/US attack on Mali on 13 January, a siege at a gas complex in Algeria ended bloodily, inspiring a 9/11 moment in David Cameron. The former Carlton TV PR man raged about a “global threat” requiring “decades” of western violence. He meant implantation of the west’s business plan for Africa, together with the rape of multi-ethnic Syria and the conquest of independent Iran.

    Cameron has now ordered British troops to Mali, and sent an RAF drone, while his verbose military chief, General Sir David Richards, has addressed “a very clear message to jihadists worldwide: don’t dangle and tangle with us. We will deal with it robustly” – exactly what jihadists want to hear. The trail of blood of British army terror victims, all Muslims, their “systemic” torture cases currently heading to court, add necessary irony to the general’s words. I once experienced Sir David’s “robust” ways when I asked him if he had read the courageous Afghan feminist Malalai Joya’s description of the barbaric behaviour of westerners and their clients in her country. “You are an apologist for the Taliban” was his reply. (He later apologised).

    These bleak comedians are straight out of Evelyn Waugh and allow us to feel the bracing breeze of history and hypocrisy. The “Islamic terrorism” that is their excuse for the enduring theft of Africa’s riches was all but invented by them. There is no longer any excuse to swallow the BBC/CNN line and not know the truth. Read Mark Curtis’s Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam (Serpent’s Tail) or John Cooley’s Unholy Wars: Afghanistan, America and International Terrorism (Pluto Press) or The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski (HarperCollins) who was midwife to the birth of modern fundamentalist terror. In effect, the mujahedin of al-Qaida and the Taliban were created by the CIA, its Pakistani equivalent, the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Britain’s MI6.

    Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser, describes a secret presidential directive in 1979 that began what became the current “war on terror”. For 17 years, the US deliberately cultivated, bank-rolled, armed and brainwashed jihadi extremists that “steeped a generation in violence”. Code-named Operation Cyclone, this was the “great game” to bring down the Soviet Union but brought down the Twin Towers.

    Since then, the news that intelligent, educated people both dispense and ingest has become a kind of Disney journalism, fortified, as ever, by Hollywood’s licence to lie, and lie. There is the coming Dreamworks movie on WikiLeaks, a fabrication inspired by a book of perfidious title-tattle by two enriched Guardian journalists; and there is Zero Dark Thirty, which promotes torture and murder, directed by the Oscar-winning Kathryn Bigelow, the Leni Riefenstahl of our time, promoting her master’s voice as did the Fuhrer’s pet film-maker

  116. Bob StuartFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

    Using “The Islamists” turns this into a Crusade. They have been carefully cultivated – the Hawks even still use “Al Queda” – “The List” of CIA dupes working to destabilize the secular democracies. They have no lasting appeal, except as the only alternative to corporate dominance.

  117. John MackintoshFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    It is my understanding that most of the major international mining companies in Mali are Canadian owned. I also note that Robert Fowler while working for the U.N. and was enroute to one of these mining companies was abducted. I think that there is more to this story. The Canadian Mining Industry has come under the scrutiny of International Agencies due to it’s sometimes exploitative reputation. How do we know that the insurgency or rebellion in Mali is not as a result of our neo-colonial mining companies who are raping the lands and funneling the profits out of Mali? Something stinks in Mali when Harper sends in troops to protect Corporate interests.

  118. Barbara BirkettFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:58 pm #

    I think a careful response is indicated.The Mali situation is complicated, and I personally see a possible role for peace-keeping by Canada. The French have put a temporary stop to some of the problems with the extremists, but the country remains divided and the needs and rights of the peoples in the north and south will take along time to secure.

  119. Andy HansonFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

    Even if this is little more than support for the French forces, it continues to build a vision of Canada as a warrior nation, loyal, nationalistic, and militaristic. By being in Mali we have removed ourselves from any process of dialogue. We have lost our credibility with everyone involved. Had the same funding been put into building Mali as is being used to attack it’s people, fundamentalism would not have had an opportunity to become a rallying point.

    Granatstein can make a good argument — he is a historian after all. What he cannot do is explain why shooting very poor people is better than feeding and educating them and providing health care.

    This is not a nation vs nation war, it is a revolution, a civil war by desperately poor people who have nothing more than their beliefs. How are they ever going to mount an attack on Europe with AK47s and RPGs over the Mediterranean? That was an absurdly desperate rational by the French government that our media have parroted without question.

    I just might be cynical enough to suggest that supporting France was an attempt by the Harper government to see if it can win Quebec over to some form of militarism. The response of the other two parties would indicate that it was working.

  120. Jesse McNicholFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:51 pm #

    Dear Steven,

    Thanks for all your hard work! I would just like to point out an aspect of Mr. Granatstein’s argument that I think is misleading. He talks about the left’s response to Canada’s involvement in Mali as being more measured this time and he uses this to try and make it sound like only truly hysterical hippies (such as yourself) would have an issue with this (and goes on to throw in a low-blow about you not adhering to facts). However, we have to realize that the current leader of the NDP, Mr. Mulcair, is bringing the party away from its traditional position on the left wing and into the centre of Canadian politics. Whatever the NDP’s reasons for this strategic move, it is now the case that many so-called left-wing views are being discounted as being radical since they are not legitimized by a current major political party. This shifting of the window of acceptable debate is an insidious strategy. Don’t let him force you to debate in his small arena where the deck is stacked against you. Remember that you represent all the Canadians who wish our nation would return to its role as a peacekeeper. I’m not sure exactly how many of us there are, but I’m sure it amounts to more than a few! Good luck, and thanks again for all your work and for speaking truth about power for all of our benefit! Yours,

    Jesse McNichol

  121. robertFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Mr. Granatstein said in his first sentence, “The situation in Mali remains complicated and unclear.”
    The rational human response would be to pursue clarification and diplomacy, not armed conflict.

  122. CliffFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    Chomsky’s recent comments draw a possibly useful distinction between political Islam and more solely religious Islam:

    “Concern about political Islam is just like concern about any independent development. Anything that’s independent you have to have concern about because it might undermine you. In fact, it’s a little ironic, because traditionally the United States and Britain have by and large strongly supported radical Islamic fundamentalism, not political Islam, as a force to block secular nationalism, the real concern. So, for example, Saudi Arabia is the most extreme fundamentalist state in the world, a radical Islamic state. It has a missionary zeal, is spreading radical Islam to Pakistan, funding terror. But it’s the bastion of U.S. and British policy. They’ve consistently supported it against the threat of secular nationalism from Gamal Abdel Nasser’s Egypt and Abd al-Karim Qasim’s Iraq, among many others. But they don’t like political Islam because it might become independent.”


    Might this distinction help form an argument to explain Canada’s current involvement in Mali, especially in light of all the support Canada provided Mali before militarist political (and religious) Islam), whose goal is to drive the “west” from much of Africa, became so prominent?

  123. ElspethFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:44 pm #

    Al-Qaida is very bad. Islamic extremists are bad. It’s terrible for women to live under their rule. Canada is not doing so well in human rights, nor in womens’ rights. First nations women are murdered, and the RCMP doesn’t bother to investigate. Girls who are 16 are forced into polygamous marriages in Bountiful, BC. Their 14 year old brothers are sometimes kicked out of town. These lost boys become drug addicts and are at high risk for suicide. So which countries are sending their military to Canada to help all these sad people?

  124. C. StaffordFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    There’s a simple way to discern an underlying agenda – one that isn’t designed to seek truth, or a whole, all inclusive picture – when discussing differences of opinion.
    That is – and it is clearly present in Mr. Granatstein’s response to the Ceasefire article – a form of contemptuous judgement that tries to turn serious questions from someone who disagrees with him, into nothing more than childish ignorance and stubborn fixation on a ridiculously biased dislike of our premier. (Similar to the Conspiracy Theorist dismissal.) Pejorative comparisons are the only response possible when there is no desire to probe beyond the surface or disturb the appearance of righteousness attached to aggression and militarism. There are many other issues at play here, and they are not going to be made transparent when there’s a lucrative investment in meeting all problems with polarized assertions and brute force.

  125. David C. FoxFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

    Where is there any analysis of the GOLD AND MINING interests in Northern and the rest of the African continent.

    Did not the IMF and other pro-poverty and structural adjustment organizations help create the disaster in Mali?

    Why is Canada building bases in Africa? What are our interests there?

    Please ask these questions.

  126. Bob NationFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

    With all respect, I feel that Stephen should be careful with his own language. The quoted “licensed thugs paid to do the government’s dirty work. With someone as morally bankrupt as Harper generating the targets, heaven knows what they’ll be doing in Mali” raises the rhetorical level, but not the information level. This invites Granatstein’s sarcastic tone in response. So we get a slanging match, not helping our crediblity. Better to sound more distinguished than the “distinguished research fellow”. Also, I’ve not heard that Canada has sent more than one plane, while Stephen is quoted as saying more than one, and into the war zone. Overstating the case will only discredit us (while selling more newspapers — they thrive on controversy).

    • Steve StaplesFebruary 6, 2013 at 10:19 pm #

      Hi Bob – that was a quote from on of our supporters to the discussion. Canada actually ended up sending two C-17s after the first one broke down and had to be replaced (a brand new aircraft purchased at a cost of about $250 million+). There was also some suggestion at the time that one of our Hercules C130Js was going to be sent. Cheers.

  127. Bill PrestwichFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

    It is time someone gave Granatstein a box of toy soldiers to play with to spare us his neanderthal depraved militarism. The organization he represents is just a propoganda organ for the war industry.

  128. Betty WeeninkFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

    Only paranoid people want guns!

  129. MichaelFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    I`m all for J.L. Granatstein`s position, as long as he and P.M Harper are on the front lines!

  130. David SkulskiFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    The situation in Mali is doubtless complex and certainly the destruction of irreplaceable historical artifacts in Timbuktu is deplorable but Canadian involvement does not seem to me to be justified. Granatstein is entitled to his opinion but his attack on you is unwarranted, mean-spirited and borderline libelous. He finds the “refrain” “tiresome”? Too bad, Jack, because we’re going to keep on singing.

  131. robert korolFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:30 pm #

    I’m assuming that Granatstein was in favour of the overthrow of the Gadaffi regime in Libya, carried out by rebels that included al Qaeta and aided and abetted by NATO. Canada sided with the rebels in this case, contributing about 20% of the 10,000 air stikes thus helping to push that country into the proverbial “dark ages”. Now then – shouldn’t we, and our NATO partners, bear the lion’s share of responsibility for controlling subsequent action by those who took over the country including its stock of weapons? And yet Granatstein says: “In response to the crisis (i.e. that in Mali – my insert), France has dispatched thousands of troops to push back rebels armed with weapons seized in Libya, who are aligned with al Qaeda fighters.” Let’s be consistent here. We helped al Qaeta in Libya. Why are we turning our backs on them now? Do we not like al Qaeta anymore? We also seem to like them in Syria! What gives here anyway?

  132. Dan SchubartFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    War represents a failure of diplomacy and of long-term thinking that benefits the greater number of citizens on both sides of the question. The pro-war lobby likes to enrich itself from the manufacture and sale of arms, from the reconstruction that sometimes follows conflict and from sharing in the plunder of territory gained. Most of the chickenhawks have little or no personal experience of actual fighting but are quick to send others off to ensure their profits. We are protecting mining assets for our ‘friends’ in Europe who never quite finished pillaging under their former colonial régimes, and the rise of salafism and wahabism can be traced to outrage over continued Euro-American interference in the affairs of the Middle East and Asia. The longer we engage in the behaviour that irritates, the more difficult it will be for us to extricate ourselves intact, which, of course, ensures that the war-like will feast at the public trough on an extended basis.

  133. HowardFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:27 pm #

    ‘Mission Creep’ is a very apt term for ANY military intervention that the Canadian forces and those of other nations who are asked to ‘assist’ in non-combative roles, no matter what the cause. Military intervention means military intervention and only encourages the myth that military action solves anything in a positive way worldwide. War is NOT the answer. A shift in thinking is required for this planet to survive. I do not support any military initiatives and hope that we the people can stop the military-industrial complex from dictating how we get along with each other. HM

  134. DanFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm #

    My initial response is to say Canada stay out of the Mali “civil war”, until I remember Ruanda, where neglect by the West (It’s only Africa, after all) led to mass genocide which an earlier and stronger response by UN/Canada could have made a big difference.

  135. Jordan ThorntonFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    This goes a bit deeper than just “Islamists armed with weapons seized from Libya”. The US trained many of these militants, to be used as proxies in NATO’s bid to take over Libya, mainly in the name of securing an alternative to Iranian oil, just as sanctions against the oil-rich regional rival were being escalated.

    The treatment of this conflict by our media and politicians contrasts sharply with its Framing of the proxy war in Syria, where militants, both Syrian and non-Syrian, were coordinated, trained, armed, and directed by the US, Israel, and aligned states in a campaign to seize control of the country and its airspace, and weaken Iran.

    Mr. Granastein, like much of our media, ignores the brutality of the regime we’re helping to prop up, not to mention AFRICOM and the on-going race to secure the region’s vital resources.

  136. DonnaFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:10 pm #

    This argument for war in Mali and Canadian support is just specious and makes me suspect that we are really protecting mining interests and not the people of Mali.

    I don’t mind my tax dollars going for schools and food security there, but stay out of any military involvement.

    It is just plain wrong.

  137. Mike GFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:57 pm #

    Steven, I am currently looking more into the connection, but it may be beneficial for you to do your own research along with anyone willing to help; IS it any co-incidence that Mali is a huge Gold producing country at the same time Countries like Germany have demanded their gold back from countries such as France and the USA? has been running some stories on this co-incidence and I have emailed Mike RIvero the publisher who will assist me in digging this up a little more. I think the FED needs gold and as we know, generally all wars are fought for the banksters.

  138. David HillFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:56 pm #

    Granatstein should check his facts before jumping all over those who think involvement in the Mali intervention is a good idea. Quite apart from the lack of parliamentary debate, there is the fact that:(a) the French are jumping into the middle of a civil war that has been going on for 30 years, in a country whose boundaries were set by colonial powers; and (b) there’s the uranium mining as an additional attraction. Not to mention the fact that the current Malian government is the result of a coup last year.

    Lester Pearson had it right. Canada’s role should not be military interventions, but defence and peace-keeping. Protect Canadians and legitimate Canadian interests, but don’t get involved in other countries questionable fights. Was there a UN mandate for the French? Are the real facts known, or are we being sold a bill of goods — again?

  139. Carol JuddFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    What is this Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute, anyway, of which Jack Granatstein is a “distinguished research fellow”. Do I pay for this institute with my taxes? Why is he slavishly supporting the Harper Conservatives. For your information, Jack, I am not a slave to anyone and my mind is not owned by anyone but myself. This is indeed, “mission creep”. So creep back and creep home. You are creeping me out!

  140. Robert DollFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I do believe Granatstein makes some reasonable observations. There does appear to be some UN support for the action there. African nations seem to be wanting to step up involvement. It does appear that “locals” seem to appreciate the intervention.

    On the other hand, the reported behaviours of the Malian army in the “recaptured” areas and the apparent fact that the Malian military overthrew a democratically elected–and functioning?–government should give pause to enthusiastic interest in Canadian military intervention. Why he has decided to “pick on” and ridicule Steve and Rideau is unclear however.

    Certainly with Canadian mining interests abominable human rights records around the globe that does not justify our engagement!

  141. Marie CernyFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I have no concrete advice for the situation in Mali, but I am convinced that as human beings we just have to find a different way to resolve conflicts. We go too fast to shooting and killing each other. I hope that Canada can become a leading light in finding alternatives to wars. For now, let’s try be peace keepers and peace makers again.

  142. Larry BrockelbankFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm #


    I thought you might find this article from Znet interesting and perhaps useful.

    I’d love to see your answer to Granatstein.

    Larry Brockelbank,
    Midland, ON

    • Fred BraileyFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:37 pm #

      The article, by Bill Fletcher (Znet link provided by Larry Brockelbank) shows
      some of the deep complexity in Mali history and society. There is enormous risk of “unintended consequences” no matter what form of intervention is introduced.
      In the case of Afghanistan, Russia and America have both learned to their regret, that intervention escalates into prolonged and costly warfare, resulting in the “conquerors” leaving behind a situation even worse than existed before the misguided intervention took place. This is a common outcome for warfare, but the media seldom report the appalling costs of their “masters” military adventures.
      Fred Brailey
      Orangeville ON

  143. harry glasbeekFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:52 pm #

    The Granatstein argument to urge Canadians to support an old colonial nation in Mali posits that we, Canadians, for the good of the civilized world and for our own good, must stop the barbarism known as Islamic terrorism, wherever it dares to raise its ugly head. We are civilized because we favour democracy and Islamic terroists are uncivilized because they are against it. Intriguingly, Granatstein only speaks for democracy in Mali NOW. He does not find it streange that his and our devotion to democracy was not perturbed by how Mali was governed before the Islamic terrorists had made sufficient in-roads to make the French fear that their puppets in government were going to bite the dust. He and we were not interested in why people in mineral-wealthy Mali are poor and their elected governemnt officials rich; he and we were not interested in the fact that the Tuaregs had been marginalized and felt the burden of discrimiantion for eons; he and we were not perturbed by the military coup that had thrown out an elected government; none of thoose anti-democratic practices concerned Canadians. Only when Islam is making in-roads should our governemnt send aid and troops to save the world. This is so obvious, that the government does not need to discuss this with the public; nor is the extent of its potential intervention to be discussed. After all, we can trust the governemnt and its intellectual gatekeeprs like Granatstein to make the proper democratic decisions on our behalf wthout having to worry our pretty heads.

    I think the writings of Jack Grantstein make the case why the Ministry of Defence should be renamed the Ministry for War.

  144. Captain Colin Smith. M.Sc.February 6, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    Stephen, I believe we should expose the role of JTF-2 as Harper’s private army sent out to do it’s dirty work. Proof of the illegality of moat of JTF-2’s assignments can be underlined by it’s role in Canada’s complicity in the illegal overthrow of the constitutionally-elected, legitimate democratic government of Haiti. In 2004 JTF-2 was sent in to secure the airport while US and French troops detained President Jean-Paul Aristide in his home and confronted him with the ultimatum of either resigning or being fed to the US financed and armed paramilitary death squads coming across the border from the Dominican Republic. He reluctantly resigned and was flown out in an unmarked white Boeing 707 to West Africa. Thus is Canada now guilty of a violation of international law. Ask Granatstein to condemn this action, and others JTF-2 has committed, I think once again in Peru, and challenge him to justify it. What else has this band of licensed thugs done. I personally think that Granatstein is a dinosaur, and not worth the effort. If they can do that to a democratically elected government what else have they done, and what are they doing in Mali. The purpose of their use by Canada is obvious, to evade international law and commit crimes. So what are they really doing in Mali.I left Canada in disgust 2 years ago and will not return until Harper and his ilk are gone.

  145. B. ClarkeFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

    Yes, what happened to those blue helmeted Peace Keepers, the Canadian ones, I mean? That’s what is needed right now, and interesting that Granatstein, a definite war monger should even mention the UN ones in his newspaper commentary. It could also be construed that since the war in Iraq is winding down, Harper is now looking elsewhere for a likely location in which to install a new war initiative. Afterall, he has to find some use for those F-35 fighter jets which he says he isn’t buying, but may well seize on afterall.

  146. Dianne GrimmerFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Mission creep is a legitimate concern. I support this concern, Steven Staples. At the same time, the French are allies and it’s the same boondoggle we have been in several times already with the USA – are we with ’em or agin em’? Luckily we took the right stance with Iraq, not so much with Afghanistan. In Mali Harper took a cautious approach offering minimal assistance to France and I hope nothing further, no “mission creep”.

    Incidentally, interesting column on Harper’s changing response over 10 years by Andrew Cohen in today’s paper – “Gung-ho on Iraq, Harper cautious on Mali”. Saw it in the Times Colonist.

  147. Chris BowersFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    If you are looking for serious reporterly input, you should try to contact Roger Aniss:

  148. BertFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    HI Mr. Staples,
    Please keep pushing back at the war mongerers. Work towards us becoming once again peacekeepers instead of dreadful peace ‘makers’.

  149. Khurram SyedFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Canada lost the respect of the world when it abandoned its peacekeeping role for active combat in ill-conceived, doomed-to-fail wars. I no longer wear a maple leaf pin while travelling.

  150. FRANKFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Reports from Mali indicate that there are enormous human rights abuses by the Malian forces as well as the insurgents. Until Mali can somehow get a government strong enough to control its own armed forces, and respecting everyone’s human rights (including the opponents), we have a quagmire. In addition, the government must deal with ethnic/regional conflicts which date back generations. I can’t imagine that Canadian armed forces, as armed forces,
    have ANY role in all this, EXCEPT, perhaps to provide some assistance with health care or logistics in hard-hit areas. Canada should be supporting education, health care, efforts to upgrade government capacities, etc. (tho’ our current government may not “get” this, as it seems hell bent on dismantling capacity of canada’s government to provide services, and has a lousy record on sorting out OUR disputes our tauregs (first nations))

  151. Fred ApsteinFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:45 pm #

    Stephen Harper Bad;

    Answer; Steven Harper has repeatedly refused to provide the transparency he promised. We believe that Steven Harper governs Canada in ways that benefit a small minority of wealthy individuals and corporations. So yes, if you’re asking, Steven Harper, bad. Ceasefire is hardly alone in this opinion. Recent polls (you’ll need to find one) show that Canadians don’t trust him.

    This leads to mission creep. If Steven Harper has a plan to send Canadian troops to Mali, let’s get it out in Parliament, out in the public domain, and talk about whether Canadians want to wade into this. Mission Creep leads to sacrificing the lives of Canadian soldiers, often with no benefit to the country where ti fighting is, or to Canada. Look at Iraq. Look at Afghanistan. Do the Canadian people want to spend money and young lives on what looks to become a guerrilla
    war in the Sahara Desert?

    “Islamist terrorism is a threat to democracies everywhere, but those who oppose any military intervention anywhere — unless it is United Nations blue helmet peacekeeping which is, by definition, always good — seem blind to the realities of 2013”

    This is meaningless. Many democracies have not joined the Mali experiment. There have been a lot of lives lost on both sides and trillions of dollars spent on the “war on terror”.

    How’s the war going? The more we spend and the more people are killed, the worse it gets. Can anyone honestly tell us that there’s a winner, or that it looks like there may be a winner?

    Albert Einstein said “To do the same thing over and over, and expect a different result is insane”
    (check that quote – it’s close, but maybe not exactly right).

    Keep up the good work!
    Fred Apstein

  152. a sinclairFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:44 pm #

    Never any real solutions to the root of the problem from the neo-con war hawks. Never prevention or working towards a lasting solution. In short, all foreign aid must be cut off these wingnuts spout, further guaranteeing a perpetuation of this. Maybe that’s what they want.. Can’t spend a few million on schools to educate people for instance and give them the tools to fight extremism themselves.. Heck no.. Not when those same millions can be spent on bombs and cruise missiles. After all, its working out so well in Afghanistan and Iraq.
    but the neo-cons think they are unique, that lessons of the past never apply to them. “insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results” – Albert Einstein

  153. fontaineFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

    yes, peace must come from peace.
    i encourage Stephen Staples to write from a place of peace in his heart.
    respectful and calm – persuasive from a place of love.

    • Sylvia SmithFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:49 pm #

      I am tired of the pro-military stance that Granatastein can’t help promoting because he is “one of the guys”that seems to think the only kind of history that matters the bang bang shoot ’em up, we win” kind of history.

      Can’t stand it, never could, and the more The Citizen promotes this kind of academia, the more impoverished we become as a nation who then begin to feel there are no other viable alternatives.

      I guess real people’s lives, the ones who don’t carry the guns and shoot them, the ones whose lives are most at risk (women and children) just don’t seem to matter in Granatastein’s weird world. Only the profiteers and big corporations that are making billions from victimizing others, matters.

  154. yanisFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:38 pm #

    sir. you are a part of an old tried and true system. war . . . you represent an antiquated mindset that is crumbling before our very eyes. no matter how hard you try to prove your importance protecting us from manufactured bogey men you will only prove to fumble over the covert methods of your cohorts. your time of warmongering is waning.
    long live love, compassion and communication.

  155. LenFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

    The title of Granatstein’s commentary — “Why the pacifist left is marginalized on Mali” — evinces the typical pro-war lobby’s misunderstanding of the pacifist movement, namely that if those pesky and irrational pacifists could only be persuaded to see that some wars are just and right, then the pro-war lobby could get on with its general business of killing, maiming, and profiting. Pacifists, as far as I understand the term, believe that war — as a general concept, as a solution to ideological differences, as a response to aggression — is wrong. Claiming that pacifists are wrong because the opposition parties in parliament support military invention is a distortion and a trivialization of the pacifist position that objects to war in principle on moral grounds.

  156. KenskyFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

    Lots of great articles on the Mali invasion by Nato forces…

    Mali and AFRICOM’s Africa Agenda: Target China
    by F. William Engdahl

    Condemnation of Mali war and denunciation of Western neo-colonial plot

    Mali war – 46 articles

    Peace and hope,


  157. Lloyd LitkeFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

    Gold exploitation and the arms trade are terrible reasons to inflict death and injury on anyine, including Canadian soldiers. We should not be in Mali in a military capacity.

  158. MargotFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    I am a Quaker, and believe that we need to think Peace in order to create Peace. Peace is not an end, it is the path. It is what we do. We work for right use of resources, for protection of all human beings and all life forms. We work for the balance of resources so that all might live to the best of our capacity.

  159. AnneFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    well I suppose something about old war horses being put out to pasture would be deemed too personal . . .

    • Lloyd LitkeFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:35 pm #

      Actually, Anne, that sounds perfectly apropos!

  160. Derek and LornaFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    War is obviously good for PROFITEERS.

    It is truly repugnant that endless wars will continue for the foreseeable future.

    When the war criminals are finally brought to trial will Canadian leaders be among those in the dock?

    It is a sad state of affairs when Canada abandons its rightful historical role as that of a peacekeeper/peacemaker in our world. Shameful.

  161. Joey JoJo Jr. ShabadooFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:28 pm #

    This article is biased. While Islamic terrorism is not an ideal system, alongside other forms of religion-based terrorism, these islamic terrorists were created by our own allies south of the border the same way the Afghan Mujahideens/Taliban were created by them and their Gulf coast allies. Don’t believe me? Ask Reagan, or read his bio for that matter.

  162. Gord HunterFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:26 pm #

    Oh stop it Jack
    We should not be there. No ands, ifs or buts

    • MonicaFebruary 6, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

      Gord, I, and the majority of Canadians would agree with you, “that we should not be there, no ifs, ands or buts”. This is not Canadas’ role to be in Mali, other than offering minor diplomacy, democracy and peacekeeping assistance. Canadas’ focus needs to be here right now, solving our own problems mounting in this country. There will always be international conflicts and there will always be those who believe Military action and assistance is needed and promote that, at whatever lengths, when instead, careful diplomacy, assistance in democracy discussions, and peacekeeping should be the focus of ANY assistance. And that should be Canadas’ role, to a minor degree, if any – peacekeeping and diplomacy. When will the international pushers for Military interference, get that too? Have we not evolved as a human race, and learned at all, after all the lessons in history?

  163. BradFebruary 6, 2013 at 8:25 pm #

    This is just plain wrong of him to say!

  164. Don ChesneyFebruary 6, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

    “It is likely to be a long slow struggle.” That´s just what the war profiteers like to hear isn´t it? Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for a long slow struggle which will inevitably fail and the terrorism will probably spread here to Canada. Will we be able to know when we have won? Will a permanent presence be necessary? Will we create enemies for ourselves that we never had before?

  165. Susan BainFebruary 6, 2013 at 6:36 pm #

    It seems to me that the “assets” Canadian forces are protecting are not limited to diplomats. A number of large multinational gold companies are operating in Mali, including large and small Canadian mining companies. IAMGOLD seems to be the largest Canadian gold company exposed to Mali, 16% of its production comes from the country. Avion and Avnel are smaller Canadian producers, but Avion has has a large exposure to the country as its flagship projects are in Mali. (Source: Business News Network, Financial Post)
    I found this information on the CIDA website:


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