No time to waver

Despite Iraq’s begrudging acceptance to allow UN weapons inspectors back into their country, and a promise to meet a Dec. 8 deadline to declare any weapons of mass destruction, the consensus is that a new war in the Persian Gulf is inevitable.
The United States already has begun preparing for war with Iraq, and is waiting to pounce on any sign—no matter how minor—that Saddam Hussein is failing to comply with the resolution.
Canadians, of course, don’t want war, which is why it’s imperative that every reasonable effort be made to find a peaceful solution to the current standoff. But if that fails, we have no choice but to stand ready with our allies.
Granted, it’s well-known that Canada does not have much military capability to contribute to an American-led coalition force, but it was good to see Prime Minister Jean Chrétien suggest yesterday that we are willing to commit troops, ships, and planes if called upon.
While some may argue the link between Iraq and the current war on terrorism against the al-Qaeda network is tenuous, at best, there’s no question Canadians face the same peril as our neighbours south of the border—whether it’s from Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein.
Canadians were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as in the Bali nightclub bombing last month. And just last week, those travelling abroad, whether for business or pleasure, were warned by Ottawa to be on alert.
And then there was that audiotape from bin Laden, himself, specifically naming Canada as a potential target for terrorism.
No matter how much we may wish to be isolated from the world’s problems, they are right at our doorstep as never before—and we must be prepared to stand with our allies, with whom we share common values and traditions, to protect those very freedoms so many Canadians already have died for.
The war on terrorism is still very real, and the current Iraqi regime does pose a very real threat to our way of life. This is no time to be wavering on the sidelines.