Department of National Defense media releases announcing the departure of Canadian frigate HMCS Charlottetown as a small warship protecting the deployment of the US nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S Truman to the Persian Gulf comes midst reports of a planned US air assault on Iran. (Paul Koring - Globe and Mail – Thursday November 22, 2007).

The announcement makes no mention of the changed international climate since the Liberal Government invoking Article V. of NATO’s Charter directed then Foreign Affairs Minster John Manley to “unambiguously” join the US military action that led to the invasion and destruction of Afghanistan and the subsequent deaths of over 70 Canadian soldiers. In 2001 Liberal Minister of National Defense Art Eggleton assigned 2000 Canadian troops, a commando unit, six warships, several Sea King helicopters and six air force planes to the region.

The Liberal policy at the time was purported to be limited to providing additional military assets to the US assault on Afghanistan that would confine the deployment of ground forces to Kabul. In addition the Liberal Government committed three Hercules, one airbus and two Aurora maritime patrol planes to help with surveillance, airlift support and “humanitarian assistance.” The role assigned b y NATO to the Canadian Navy was to provide, “interdiction” services to the US military, a form of imperial blockade and interference to freedom of the high seas, masquerading as a search for terrorists. What terrorists were uncovered, what has happened to them has never been revealed.

When the Harper Government took power it accepted the advice of General Rick Hillier and General Ray Henault, Chairman of NATO’s Military Committee to escalate Canadian participation in Enduring Freedom and fully commited Canadian forces to an active combat role in Kandahar with the tragic result that many Canadians have died, thousands of innocent Afghan civilians have been killed by NATO forces and Canada’s foreign policy has veered to the far right.

Canadians should be alarmed at a further escalation of Canadian participation in US strategic foreign and military policy. Canadian involvement even indirectly in a US attack on Iran will not only further damage and discredit Canadian foreign relations it will deepen the conflict everywhere in the Middle East and will be accompanied with the US-NATO pressure to increase the deployment and commitment of Canadian military assets to the region.

The message must be sent loud and clear to Prime Minister Harper and Defense Minister Peter McKay. No Canadian support for a US-NATO attack on Iran. End the war in Afghanistan. Bring the Troops Home.