Bombing is a tactic, not a strategy. In order for any tactic to work it must be part of a well thought out strategy, not merely a ever growing target list. Strategy, in a democracy, is not the job of general or admirals but of the democratically elected government of the day. Generals and admirals are there to implement one component of strategy, but any strategy that only focuses on the armed options is doomed to failure.
Despite what some borderline fascists wish us to believe, armed forces are not the first line of defence. The first line of defence for any nation is its diplomatic service. Extremists on either side of a conflict may not wish to negotiate, that doesn’t mean the rest of us have to be held hostage to them. It wasn’t armed victory that lead to the Good Friday Agreement, or created the Palestinian Authority, or insert hundreds of other examples dating back to the Egypt Hittite Treaty from the Bronze Age.
Canada needs to redevelop its once elite diplomatic service and start engaging the world, even some of the most distasteful elements. This is not to generate more jobs in region x, y, or z but for greater global security. We can start climbing out of our diplomatic hole by signing/ratifying the Arms Trade Treaty, imperfect as this treaty is it will start slowing the flow of weapons to the groups causing the genocides, chaos, and refugee crises we are experiencing in the world. The next step would be to use Canada’s resources to hunt those profiteering from these conflicts. If all else fails, use a JTF2 sniper bullet to stop them.
Diplomacy isn’t all black tie/gown cocktail parties and conferences in exotic places, it is also the horrible conditions of refugee and displaced people camps. Canadians should stop leaving it to overworked and underfunded NGOs to solve the refugee crises and demand an increase in federal funds. We could scale back some of the concrete industry subsidies, sorry infrastructure budget, and use the money saved to bring 125,000 Syrian Refugees from Lebanon. I’d rather use the money to save lives than fill potholes, and helping Lebanon may keep the conflict from consuming Lebanon creating another wave of refugees.
The second line of defence, and of strategy, is intelligence. For decades Canada has made policy in a vacuum or trusted allies without looking too closely at their agendas. Canada needs to create, under Parliamentary supervision, an independent spy agency that reports to the Chief Clerk and the Prime Minister. The mandate of this agency should be based in ethics, flexible in response to a changing world, and free from partisan politics or skewed world views.
The third line of defence is the Canadian Forces, but in a diplomatic and intelligence role. The Hollywood soldiers who are blindly obedient, unthinking, human drones are not needed for what is happening in the Middle East, or anywhere else. What is needed is intelligent people with ‘Mark One Eye Balls’ on the ground providing information, giving out aid, bringing fighters over from the other side, and helping with development. Dropping bombs hasn’t built anything for those in the conflict zones yet, nor will it.
Canada’s Forces are ill equipped for intervention in Syria or Iraq, sure we’re flying high and dropping bombs but that isn’t going to work. What Canada needs to intervene, apart from political will, is a ground attack plane that can fly low and slow enough to see who’s who. Having a pilot with a brain on scene is better than having someone in a computer kiosk watching through cameras. Canadian Forces would also need a more fluid structure to respond quicker to threats and force the other side to react.
The biggest thing the Canadian Forces needs is a massive increase to the training budget, which should be second only to pay and benefits. What use is the latest hardware if our people are not trained to use it effectively. Technology is there to assist, not replace, hard training.
For those prospective Canadian Prime Ministers here is some homework:
- Sun Tsu The Art of War
- Military Instructions from the Late King of Prussia to his Generals
- SAS Secret War Tony Jeapes
- The Mind of War: John Boyd and American Security Grant Hammond