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Jason Kenney, Warlord

John Bell

April 27, 2015

Welcome to the first installment in a new occasional series starring Canada’s unloveable Warlord, Minister of Defence Jason Kenney. 
Unloveable is, in Kenney’s case, not an insult but a statement of fact. He is on record having sworn an oath of celibacy, only fitting for a man who is more Catholic than the Pope. But more about his religious fervour in future episodes. On to Kenney’s lust for war.
Since his appointment to the Defence portfolio in early February, Kenney has been reveling in Canada’s holy crusade against the Saracens. In the beginning, Canada’s ill-defined military adventure in Iraq was purported to consist of a six-month foray to train somebody to do something, and that it all was supposed to end in April. At the time of his promotion to Warlord, Jason Kenney all but admitted that these terms–six months, do some training, in and out–were not enough for him. “I think our orientation on this is pretty clear, we want to play a significant role there. The precise nature of our contribution in the past six months would not necessarily be the basis of an extension, we have to look at that very carefully, but our basic position is clear: we think Canada has a role to play in fighting this terrorist organization.”
Note to Generalissimo Kenney: repeated use of the word “clear” in the midst of gibberish does not make it so.
As the deadline for this excursion to Iraq neared, the “clear” nature of the involvement became even murkier. Canadian Sgt. Andrew Doiron was killed by “friendly fire” on the front lines of the Iraq war. Doiron was killed by Kurdish allies–and three others Canadian soldiers wounded–when they showed up unannounced at a checkpoint and responded to a hail in Arabic instead of English. The Kurds report that the unmarked car carrying the Canadians was coming from the war zone, not the rear. And their actions were in clear violation of protocols, resulting in the shooting. In response Jason Kenney was less than clear, as usual, saying that Doiron’s death had “nothing to do with combat.” Isn’t it odd that getting shot to death in the middle of a war zone has nothing to do with combat? Kenney promised an inquiry, but the terms and the timing of said investigation were left vague.
Predictably the six-month deadline for Canada’s involvement in Iraq came and went, with the Tories using their parliamentary majority to extend the mission. But that wasn’t enough for Harper and his Warlord: they had to get their war on in the nightmarish quagmire of Syria as well. And with the extension of the war, the feeble pretense of this being a training mission was kicked to the curb. This was to be active warfare starting with air strikes. Kenney’s tweet of the news was celebratory: “The @RCAF_ARC, joined by coalition partners, conducted its first successful airstrike of an ISIL terrorist target in Syria today.” Unlike previous Iraq airstrikes, the target was not a dump truck.
The problem for Warlord Kenney is that a majority of Canadians (55 per cent according to an April poll) oppose going to war in Syria. And only a dwindling minority (39 per cent) support extending the military intervention in Iraq. To convince Canadians of the need to bomb Syria, Kenney told the press: “There are only five coalition partners doing air strikes against ISIL terror targets in eastern Syria. The United States is the only one of those five that has precision-guided munitions. That is a capability the Royal Canadian Air Force has, so one of the reasons our allies have requested we expand our air sorties into eastern Syria is because with those precision-guided munitions our CF-18s carry, we can be more impactful in the strikes we make against ISIL.”
One problem: Kenney’s argument was complete bullshit. Sadly, both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates possess “smart” bombs. Worse, even the somnambulistic Parliament Hill press corps knew it was bullshit, and called Kenney out. Did Kenney admit his mistake and apologize? Hey, didn’t I tell you up front that Jason Kenney is more Catholic than the Pope? That makes him even more infallible. No, the fault lay with the military brass. The Warlord explained, on the floor of the house, that he “wasn't given accurate information” by DND.
Jason Kenney is unable to be clear about Canada’s deepening involvement in the “war on terror”, because any such clarity would put him starkly at odds with most people across Canada. He has to use gibbersih instead of argument. When that fails, he uses outright lies. When caught in the lie, he lies again to shift the blame onto underlings.
This in not an isolated incident for the Warlord, it is his modus operandi. Remember how, in March, Kenney breathlessly informed the House that Canadian frigates in the Caspian Sea, part of NATO’s intervention in Ukraine’s civil war, had been “buzzed” by Russian planes and confronted by warships. It was front page news, and somehow justifies sending Canadian soldiers to train and advise the Ukrainian military. What didn’t make front page news: NATO officials said nothing of the kind ever happened. Kenney lied again, to promote enthusiasm for war.
So now 200 Canadian soldiers are headed to Ukraine. where Dmitri Yarosh, head of the neo-Nazi Right Sector party has just been appointed special advisor to the chief of Ukraine’s military, and fascist units are known to be integrated into the army. Asked whether Canada would end up giving training and advice to fascists, Kenney said: “We’re not going to be in the business of training ad hoc militias. We will only be training units of the Ukrainian National Guard and army recognized by the government of Ukraine.”
The Warlord lies again. The new budget rewards him with $11.8 billion in additional military spending.


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