Canada backs 'proportionate' attack
By JEFF SALLOT, The Globe and Mail
Friday, September 14, 2001
OTTAWA -- Canada would support U.S. retaliation against the terrorists who attacked New York and Washington, even if some innocent people got hurt, says Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley.
The Americans will strike once they have identified and located the terrorists, he said in an interview yesterday.
"However they choose to do that, you can be sure they are going to do it. And depending on what action they take, it may well be that some innocent people may get hurt."
Asked what Ottawa's reaction to that would be, Mr. Manley said: "Canada would feel that innocent people have already been hurt."
He said Canada would support a "proportionate response by the United States to what happened in New York and Washington on Tuesday."
The options the United States is considering range from heavy bomb attacks by B2 stealth bombers to cruise missiles and even use of elite special operations troops, news agencies reported from Washington.
"You don't do it with just a single military strike, no matter how dramatic," U.S. deputy defence secretary Paul Wolfowitz said, cautioning that when it comes, the military response will be a lengthy and sustained campaign.
The U.S. administration asked Congress for an additional $40-billion (U.S.) for military spending. The money will be used to target terrorist organizations, their sanctuaries and the countries that harbour them, Mr. Wolfowitz said.
Mr. Manley, who has remained in close contact with senior U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, since the attacks Tuesday morning, said it is too early to speculate about whether the Canadian military would participate in retaliatory strikes.
However, Mr. Manley, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and other senior ministers repeatedly emphasized Canadian solidarity with the United States, noting that Canada is a close military ally as well as the Americans' most important trading partner. The military aspect of the bilateral relationship was cemented in the Persian Gulf war a decade ago and most recently during the Kosovo campaign in 1999, when Canadian fighter pilots flew joint bombing missions with Americans.
Mr. Chrétien, who declared that today would be a national day of mourning in Canada, said the terrorist attacks were "an act of war" against not just the United States, but also Canada and the other 17 countries in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
But there has not been a request yet from the United States for the Canadian Forces to join in military strikes, Mr. Chrétien added.
Official Opposition Leader Stockwell Day of the Canadian Alliance said Mr. Chrétien should express unambiguous willingness to act militarily alongside the Americans.
"There are no rear-guard positions in the war against terrorism. Only front lines," he said.
Mr. Manley, who has been concerned about President George W. Bush's administration acting unilaterally on global issues, said the NATO treaty does not prohibit the United States from acting alone to retaliate.
He would not speculate about the possibility because the terrorists have not yet been identified, although Mr. Powell said yesterday the Afghanistan-based organization of Saudi-born guerrilla Osama bin Laden is strongly suspected.
Canada has no significant military force in the Middle East at the moment. Canadian warships have been patrolling the Persian Gulf, along with the United States, for several years to enforce an embargo on Iraqi oil shipments. The frigate HMCS Winnipeg is returning to its home port on the West Coast today after a six-month patrol and a fresh Canadian ship and crew have not yet been dispatched to the gulf.
The Canadian Forces remained on a higher state of alert, but so far military movements have been minimal.
Some Forces fighter planes have been dispersed to six remote airstrips as a precaution by the joint Canada-U.S. North American Aerospace Defence Command, government sources said.