August 24, 2012 - Sometimes there are compelling reasons to go to war. This reality should not blind us to the frequency of tragically mistaken decisions to go to war — even for the highest motives. Urging caution before choosing war is a counsel of care and due diligence, not pacifism.
Before dispatching troops to Iraq in 2003 as instructed by his government, the British chief of the defence staff asked for a clear legal opinion from his attorney general. His Australian counterpart simply acquiesced to the government call (though JAG lawyers were very careful about targeting). How would the Canadian chief of the defence staff respond to a parallel situation?
Iran could conceivably follow a similar storyline to Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction program in 2002-03 and Canada may have to decide whether or not to take part in another war in the Middle East. Should the prime minister decide on his own? The cabinet? Do Parliament and the people have any right to be consulted and given accurate information about the intelligence assessments? Should our leaders have to answer subsequently to an independent forum for acts of aggression or is international criminal accountability only for the West to impose on the rest? Unless we believe that Canada will never again be involved in a war — in which case its defence force should be disbanded — these questions are both legitimate and important. read more>>>