The feds might have been morally sure they stood with the American administration's war aims in Afghanistan, but that's about all they were sure of. This week they capped a comedy of flip-flops with a sudden announcement that they would be deploying forces to dangerous Kandahar for possible battle. Strange -- mere weeks ago our defence minister swore up and down he wouldn't let our troops near enemy fire. Funny folks, those feds.
Here's the confusing chronology.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2001
(Canada is) at war against terrorism. We will stand with our allies, we will do what we must to defeat terrorism.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien
Nobody wants casualties, but that's the nature of conflict, and when you get into conflict, whatever form it takes here, we have to be prepared to do that.
Defence Minister Art Eggleton
NOVEMBER 15, 2001
These people are not intended to go in under a full-conflict situation. And if it ever came to full conflict, they'd probably be taken out.
on the decision, never enacted, to send up to 1,000 ground troops to secure areas and provide humanitarian backup
NOVEMBER 19, 2001
Canadians do not want to have a big fight there. We want to bring peace and happiness as much as possible.
NOVEMBER 20, 2001
Ottawa is prepared to take on a little bit more risk than traditional peacekeeping but not one where (Canadian troops) are intended to go into battle."Eggleton
JANUARY 7, 2002
After consulting with our allies and closely examining the military situation on the ground, we have decided to provide a battle group to support the U.S. operation in the Kandahar area. This mission is not without risks. We're not there to do traditional peacekeeping. We're there to bring security and stability to the region.... They will carry out a range of activities including potential combat operations to destroy residual Taliban and Al Qaeda pockets.
on his January 7 announcement to send 750 Edmonton-based soldiers as part of Operation APOLLO