An Armchair Mayor editorial by Mel Rothenburger.
IT’S A STRANGE world when a Canadian prime minister celebrates the killing of an enemy soldier. But that’s what Justin Trudeau was doing this week after it was revealed that a Canadian sniper has set a new world record by picking off an ISIS fighter in Mosul from three and a half kilometres away.
“What happened there is, first of all, something to be celebrated for the excellence of the Canadian forces in their training, in the performance of their duties,” Trudeau said.
“But it’s also something to be understood as being entirely consistent with what Canada is expected – and Canadians expect our forces – to be doing as part of the coalition against Daesh (ISIS).”
In the past, Canadian marksmanship has been celebrated in the Olympics. In times of war, Canadians used to be peace makers. Now, we’re peace makers as long as we do our fighting from a distance. Now, killing a person on the battlefield is something to celebrate if it happens from a long way away, according to Trudeau.
It’s also interesting to know from the prime minister that this doesn’t change Canada’s non-combat role in Iraq.
During the 2015 election campaign, he promised to end this country’s combat involvement there. After the election, the Liberals pulled six CF-18s out of the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIS and put 200 special forces troops on the ground in support of the Kurds.
But taking the first shot at an enemy — even from 3.5 kilometres away — seems a lot like active involvement in a war. As Opposition leader Tom Mulcair said, “You can’t have people shooting people to death on the frontlines and still claim this is not a combat mission.”
Used to be that killing someone, even an enemy soldier, wasn’t anything to celebrate, even when necessary and for the best of military reasons.
But the times, and our definitions, are apparently changing.