Two days after the Paris attacks, France orchestrated an airstrike on Raqqa, Syria in retaliation. According to CNN News, ISIS claimed responsibility for the atrocities and, in response, French bomber jets were sent in and destroyed several ISIS buildings and key sites, including their headquarters. But ISIS claims that despite the enormous airstrike, there were no casualties, and that the targets were evacuated long before in anticipation of retaliation.
Through the lens of the media, the Paris attacks were a clear act of war. But in a sense, France didn’t really get the vindication and justification it wanted for the innocent blood shed in Paris, as more civilian blood was undoubtedly shed during the many airstrikes in Syria. As a viewer of these events from afar, one cannot help but wonder how Justin Trudeau will respond.
Airstrikes on Syria have continued since Prime Minister Trudeau was sworn into office; the National Post reports that he plans to withdraw from the mission led by the United States against Syria and Iraq. According to the Ottawa Citizen, Trudeau has said very little about the Paris attacks or ISIS / ISIL; his only comment was when “he had spoken to the public safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, as well as police and security officials to ensure Canadians remain safe.”
In the same article, Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada does “need to be part of the fight to degrade and destroy ISIL. We only question the way we should best do that.” In that regard, the Liberal government is faced with a very difficult decision, hopefully one that will protect its citizens. Ironically, Stephen Harper made it very clear during his federal election campaign that he thought Canada should continue to fight alongside their allies against terrorists like ISIS, and now it looks as if Trudeau might implement the same strategy for direct attack — there has been an escalation of airstrikes from Canadian CF-18 jets on ISIS in Syria despite Trudeau’s determination to cease participation, according to the National Post.
On the other hand, Trudeau has been commendable in sticking with his promises to help the refugees when he could have reneged on his promises in the aftermath of the attacks, and it shows a respectable level of integrity. However, there needs to be a high level of alertness and careful screening of who is let in to the country. There is also the underlying fear that there will be similar threats of terrorism coming to Canada if the government should allow so many refugees through its doors. Not many refugees are secretly ISIS terrorists bent on destroying Canada, but it is frightening to think of the possibility of some kind of retaliation if Canada does go after ISIS.
There is no easy choice; let’s hope Trudeau makes the right one.