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Where we stand
There may be little that can be said with certainty about the Islamic State phenomenon, but one thing is remarkably clear – the war on terror isn't reducing, and certainly isn't defeating, terrorism. Yet, we're advised we have no option but to intensify that failed war (IS Is Waging A Two-Front War – So Must We; Nov. 16).
The Pentagon claims U.S.-led bombing has killed some 20,000 IS fighters, yet U.S. intelligence sources report a surge in recruits, currently some 30,000 fighters from 100 countries. This highly successful IS recruitment is in fact aided by a bombing campaign that is now carried out mainly by Western states, feeding the IS narrative of a crusade against Islam.
As U.K. analyst Paul Rogers puts it, "In blunt terms, [IS] is actually being strengthened by the air war, and it can be assumed it wants more." In the wake of Paris, the world seems set to oblige.
If we don't know the solution to the IS menace, and we manifestly don't, we should at least stop fuelling it. Accepting refugees is the right thing to do; dramatically increasing humanitarian support in the region is critically important, both to support the victims and to dampen IS recruitment.
Bolstering Syrian peace talks and pursuing more inclusive governance in Iraq gets closer to addressing the roots of these multiple crises and thus would be worthy added national objectives.
Ernie Regehr, Waterloo, Ont.
Of course, our (naive) Prime Minister and his peers in the civilized world stand by France at these – only the latest – dark hours. But we can't "stand with" at the same time that we "stand down" in the Middle East. We have a job to do – in the previous generation it was called responsibility – to fight terrorism, and those who will make it, at the source. Otherwise, words are just words – sadly, the only currency of politics today.
Joe Shlesinger, Toronto
I feel great sorrow about Paris, and also great frustration about the inequities of the world. Where were the hashtags, the public protests, the outrage when civilians died in in bombings in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, Iraq? NATO and U.S.-led coalitions sow violence abroad, killing thousands of civilians with drones and air strikes. Why are we so shocked when the violence boomerangs our way?
The extremism of Islamic State and the suffering it inflicts are frightening to be sure, but will not stop until we acknowledge the role we played, and continue to play, in bringing it about.
Myriam Brulot, Vancouver
The carnage in Paris reinforces the tragic fact that civilization itself is under attack by a relatively small but resourceful enemy.
When civilized Canada withdraws from the fight against extremism, the message to IS is to step up attacks such as those in Paris: Inadvertently, Canada is communicating that terrorism works. Let Europe endure the attacks while Canada sits it out: That is the message that encourages the terrorists.
Some argue that attacks on IS encourage recruitment. It's the opposite: What draws recruits is the success of IS in terrorist attacks and territorial expansion. Justin Trudeau has bought into the myth, not the reality.
Canada is one of the most civilized countries in the world. The civilized world looks up to Canada to do the right thing – to join with the rest of civilization to destroy and discredit this evil.
David LeRoy Nelson, Miami Beach, Fla.
The U.S. is only accepting 10,000 Syrian refugees, and it takes more than a year for a Syrian refugee to gain admittance because of the stringent U.S. screening process; Canada expects to bring in 25,000 refugees in under seven weeks.
I'm sure Islamic State has already done the math: Our system would require more than 99-per-cent accuracy to ensure that ISIS is unable to get at least one bogus "refugee" into Canada. No doubt that individual will have been trained to disappear off the radar shortly afterward, and could end up anywhere.
If the next attack happens on North American soil, there will certainly be some explaining to do by the Liberal government.
R.M. Davis, Simcoe, Ont.
Notwithstanding the likelihood the passport found near the body of one of the Paris attackers may have been forged, it is debatable whether vetting every refugee entering Europe would have stopped the attacks since a number of attackers were born and raised in France, while others were brought to France as children.
Larry Hughes, Halifax
By all means, bring the 25,000 refugees to Canada – then bring more. Canada has a moral obligation to help. But do it responsibly.
This is bigger than keeping a campaign promise. Focus on families with children, take them at a responsible pace that permits thorough screening, so Canadians can welcome refugees with confidence and compassion, not fear.
Margaret Turner, Calgary
Re Why Economic Growth Is Part Of The Climate Solution (Nov. 14): Let's turn it around. Climate solution is part of economic growth.
In Canada and around the world, new ways to capture and store renewable sources of energy, including solar, wind and tidal, while aimed at providing climate solutions, also create a wave of economic growth. Sustainable energy solutions also can be good for the bottom line.
Mary Anne White, director, Dalhousie Research in Energy, Advance Materials and Sustainability
Who doesn't benefit
Re Read The TPP? You Must Be Kidding (editorial, Nov. 13): A document of 6,000 pages and weighing 45 kilos is considered a "free trade" agreement? This should be our first clue that what is contained within the Trans-Pacific Partnership is not intended to benefit those who have no hope of understanding it – which is just about everyone.
Conner Steacy, Kingston
Wanted: help to die
Re Assisted-Dying Panel Receives New Orders (Nov. 16): The panel set up to look into assisted death talked to 48 Canadian organizations? My wife's cousin endured four months on morphine, bed ridden, on oxygen, with zero hope of survival. He asked to be allowed to die, but of course, he couldn't get doctor-assisted help to do so. His wife, who did everything for him, called it torture. Torture on the both of them.
Let anyone who disagrees with assisted-dying spend four months nursing a dying person. They will not need a panel or 48 Canadian organizations to make up their mind on the right thing to do.
Jim Houston, Oakville, Ont.
Careers, on ice
Re Harper's Life After Politics? Bet On Lucrative (Nov. 14): If Stephen Harper does become the next NHL commissioner, will players still be allowed to speak to reporters?
John Edmond, Ottawa