Tuesday, January 17, 2006

An Open Letter To Stephen Harper

Mr. Harper:

In that certain elements of the national news media seem to have already ordained your ascendency to the Prime Minister's Office without the benefit of counting the ballots of actual voters, I feel this would be an appropriate time to ask a question which has been weighing heavily on my mind.

In the run up to the US invasion of Iraq you took a position of unequivocal support for the actions of US President George W. Bush. In your speech to Parliament, 29 Jan 2003, you said:

I noted that there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein operates programs to produce weapons of mass destruction. Experience confirms this. British, Canadian and American intelligence leaves no doubt on the matter. Saddam Hussein's continued non-compliance and non-cooperation with the United Nations only confirms this information. Hansard, January 29, 2003

While we now know that British and American intelligence was manufactured and intentionally falsified, your reference to Canadian intelligence is worrisome. We both know that Canadian intelligence contained no such information. The information provided by Canadian intelligence analysts was annotated with both its British and American sources. It was not independent of the other two, nor did it provide any additional source data which would verify the information provided by the US or UK. In short, there was no Canadian intelligence. You knew this.

You also said:

The limits of UN declarations are not the limits of Canadian foreign policy or our security needs. While Canada has always strived to work with the United Nations and other multilateral bodies, we have also pursued independent policies with our allies.
...what we have are members of the international community failing to stand behind UN resolution 1441. They are failing to back the multilateral coalition including Britain, Australia, the United States, Spain, Italy and others, that is prepared to show Saddam a credible threat of force by redeploying in the gulf region. Hansard, January 29, 2003

The US had started to build its so-called "Coalition of the Willing" without allowing the UN to complete its work, yet you were suggesting that a crisis before the UN Security Council should be dealt with by some other Bush contrived, ad-hoc, international body.

In the same speech to Parliament, in reference to Saddam Hussein, you also said this:

His known ties to terrorist organizations and his continued development of weapons of mass destruction would accelerate, leaving the world a less safe place and heightening the possibility of a repeat of September 11 or far worse. Hansard, January 29, 2003

This information was wholly unsubstantiated and originated with Bush administration talking points. This suggests that, with no other information than that provided by Bush rhetoric, you supported Bush's position.

You then said:

We do not believe a second resolution is warranted. There have been a series of resolutions going back to the terms of the ceasefire in the gulf war in 1991. It is clear to us that a second resolution is not legally required. Whether it is advisory or not is a decision the Security Council itself and the allies are going to have to take. Hansard, January 29, 2003

Echoing the rhetoric of the President of the United States, with no other substantive information, you were prepared to act outside the chosen course of action by the United Nations and a majority of the international community. Further, NATO had held firm with the UN action.

After the US and UK had taken action against Iraq, without full UN concurrence, you and Stockwell Day co-authored a letter published on 28 March, 2003, to The Wall Street Journal in New York entitled, Canadians Stand With You. In this letter you stated:

Make no mistake, as our allies work to end the reign of Saddam and the brutality and aggression that are the foundations of his regime, Canada's largest opposition party, the Canadian Alliance will not be neutral. In our hearts and minds, we will be with our allies and friends.
These values continue to be embodied in our allies and their leaders, and scorned by the forces of evil, including Saddam Hussein and the perpetrators of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

This was in complete defiance of a decision which was taken by the duly elected Parliament of Canada and merely echoed points made by the Bush administration.

You then appeared on Fox News, as reported by CTV in Canada and repeated the substance of your letter to The Wall Street Journal on the air. You stated at that time that you spoke for the "Silent majority".

Time has proven your position was completely wrong. Had you held the reigns of government at the time you were unswervingly supporting the position of the Bush administration, you would have been responsible for untold numbers of deaths of members of the Canadian Forces which you would have committed to an ill-conceived US military adventure. You have the comfort of having not been permitted that horrible mistake.

In this campaign you stated that in the event of an international crisis leading to possible war, you would only commit Canadians to combat if there was a "major international concensus". Given that you have already demonstrated you would work outside the UN and ignore the direction of NATO, Canada's primary military alliance, your phrase is vague and undefined. It could mean a lot of countries or one other country. It possesses no weight.

So, my question to you, sir, is this:

Given that the Bush administration lied to its own people, manufactured, manipulated and cherry-picked intelligence to build a case against Iraq; and,
Given that the Bush administration has violated the Constitution of the United States in conducting illegal communications intercepts on its own citizens; and,
Given that the Bush administration is clearly attempting to build a case against Iran:

Would you commit Canadian Forces to combat in support of the President of the United States in a military action, against a sovereign nation, which had neither attacked nor threatened to attack, based exclusively on US originated intelligence and against the concensus of established international bodies such as the UN or NATO?

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