Thursday, January 24, 2008

A willing collaboration 

Over at Antiwar.com, journalist Jon Elmer gives us a round-up of Canada's involvement in the Iraq War: Canadian General Takes Senior Command Role in Iraq
. . . Brigadier-General Nicolas Matern, a Special Forces officer and former commander of Canada's elite counterterrorism unit, will serve as deputy to Lt. Gen. Lloyd Austin III, incoming commander of the 170,000-strong Multi National Corps-Iraq beginning in mid-February.
Matern is the third Canadian general to serve in the command group of Operation Iraqi Freedom. . .
42 Canadian tanks and armored personnel carriers left Edmonton last week destined for Fort Bliss, Texas to participate in pre-deployment training exercises with the US Army before a summer rotation in Afghanistan. A Department of National Defense press release characterized the training as "massive," with more than 3,000 Canadian soldiers taking part in Exercise Southern Bear.. . .
The April 2007 Iraq Reconstruction Report lists Canada as the fourth largest importer of Iraqi oil. Industry Canada records that total Canadian imports from Iraq have risen from 1.06 billion dollars in 2002 to 1.61 billion dollars in 2006, making Iraq second only to Saudi Arabia as a Middle Eastern source for Canadian imports. . .
In 2003, Canada pledged 300 million dollars in aid and reconstruction in Iraq. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has helped train more than 30,000 Iraqi security forces in neighboring Jordan, and has had top level advisors operating within the Iraqi interior ministry. As well, Canadian frigates continue to operate alongside the US aircraft carriers in the Arabian Gulf that are a primary staging platform for bombing raids in Iraq.
And here's some interesting tidbits about Brigadier General Matern:
Matern's Special Forces background is seen as an asset. "He comes in with a unique set of skills," Col. Bill Buckner of the 18th Airborne told the Ottawa Citizen. "We're the home of the airborne and the special operating forces, so he fits in very nicely to this warrior ethos we have here."
Matern was a commander in the secretive commando unit, Joint Task Force-2, before being promoted to deputy commander of the newly created Canadian Special Operations Forces Command.. . .
Its startling to see how deeply involved we really are with this immoral war.

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