Canada in Iraq
Thanks once again to the revelations made public by WikiLeaks, Canadians now know that, contrary to the stated policy, Canada did pledge to support U.S. President George Bush’s war in Iraq in 2003.
Prime Minister Jean Chretien received plenty of kudos for declaring that Canada would not be joining Bush’s “coalition of the willing” in attacking Saddam Hussein. That statement was made in the House of Commons on March 17, 2003 just two days before the U.S. started raining bombs down on Iraq as a part of their self-proclaimed Shock and Awe Campaign to depose Saddam.
It is now known that while the Canadian public applauded Chretien for his refusal to commit to the war, senior Canadian bureaucrats spent that very same day reassuring American diplomats that our military assistance could, in fact be relied upon.
According to the leaked U.S. documents, James Wright, an officer with the Department of Foreign Affairs, met with American embassy officials to emphasize that, contrary to Chretien’s public statements, Canada would “discreetly” make available naval and air assets to assist the U.S. during the Iraq invasion and its aftermath.
In the end, Canada’s military contribution amounted to far more than a simple token gesture. The widespread scope and scale of Canada’s involvement in the Iraq war was documented by the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade (COAT) in their December 2010 edition of Press for Conversion.
In that 52-page report, COAT details not just the equipment provided but also the profiles of the many senior Canadian officers who served alongside their American counterparts. Most notable are Chief of Defence Staff General Walter Natynczyk and Chief of the Land Staff Lieutenant-General Peter Devlin (both served as deputy corps commanders in the U.S. III Corps in Baghdad).
This info can be accessed at the website: http://coat.ncf.ca
Publicly Prime Minister Jean Chretien was adamant that Canada would not join US President George W. Bush in his war on Iraq. However, it was just revealed through WikiLeaks that, behind the scenes, Canadian government officials were assuring their American counterparts that Canada would indeed be part of the "Coalition of the Willing" against Iraq in 2003.
Source: Esprit de Corps, June 2011. p. 55