Chrétien: Canada should have taken the easy way out

There was a reason I despised this man when he was in office, and now I recall it fully.  He has no concept of what motivates men and women in uniform; they are simply pawns to be moved about in whichever fashion causes his poll numbers to rise:

On the eve of Parliament’s re-opening, former prime minister Jean Chrétien has driven a new wedge into the federal Liberal Party with his indictment of Paul Martin as having blood on his hands over the deployment of Canadian troops in Afghanistan.

Mr. Chrétien makes the charge in the just-published second volume of his memoirs, stating that because his successor “took too long to make up his mind” about what should be done with Canadian troops stationed in and around the Afghan capital of Kabul, “our soldiers were … sent south again to battle the Taliban in the killing fields around Kandahar.”

— Michael Valpy, “Chrétien: Martin’s dithering led to soldiers’ deaths in Afghanistan“.  Globe & Mail, October 15th, 2007.

Translation:  If I were still PM, we would have shirked the heavy lifting of combat duty and reconstruction in Taliban-contested provinces for the safety of crossing-guard duties in NATO-controlled areas.

Let’s get one thing straight, M. Chrétien.  The people with blood on their hands are the Taliban fighters struggling to bring back 7th-century despotism to a recently-freed populace.  Paul Martin may (or may not) have dithered too long, but the mission is nonetheless an honorable one.  One that we should be proud to take up—because it is difficult, and because few nations can muster the will, the men and matériel to make it reality.

As President John F. Kennedy once said of the Apollo program, we choose to do these things “not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.”

I am not surprised in the least that M. Chrétien does not see ISAF’s efforts in these terms.  As with any other time he’s touched the military file, Chrétien’s always looking out for number one.   Screw ordinary Afghans, how is this going to affect me?  Am I more or less popular than before?

Good riddance, petit imbécile.

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2 Responses
  1. Mark Collins says:

    Chretien said at a July 1997 NATO summit to his Belgian counterpart, not knowing the mike was live:
    ‘In terms of U.S-Canada relations, and particularly the use of Canadian troops to do the dirty work for the U.S., Chretien said: “(Clinton) goes to Haiti with soldiers. The next year, Congress doesn t allow him to go back. So he phones me. Okay, I send my soldiers, and then
    afterwards, I ask for something else in exchange.”‘
    Not a great source but I vividly remember seeing it on TV at the time and being completely appalled. Talk about Don Jean.
    Maybe someone can find another source.
    Mark
    Ottawa

  2. Chris Taylor says:

    I recall something along those lines but yeah it’s tough to find a source. The New Republic and a few other outfits quote a piece of it (mainly focusing on NATO expansion) in an article, but leave aside the Haiti remarks. =(