The Canadian portion of the NATO bombardment of Libya has cost in excess of $24 million thus far, and this week the Conservative government will debate and pass an extension of the mission to the expected tune of an additional $34 million.
The NATO intervention, initially sold to the public as limited in nature by using the 'humanitarian' excuse, has morphed into something more. This comes as no surprise, as anyone who believed that Libyan protesters could be protected from Gadhafi's forces without taking out Gadhafi himself is naive by definition.
They sold the military action piecemeal, refusing to be up front and honest of their intentions. What started - and to this point continues - as a strictly air-only program to establish a no-fly zone with no 'regime change' stated as a goal has grown to the point that many now believe it is a question of when, not if, boots will be on the ground.
Make no mistake: Moammar Gadhafi is a vile, repulsive person with laundry list of atrocities. His hands are bloody from the Pan-Am 103 terrorist bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland as well as countless other violent acts against his own people. He should have been taken out right after his role in the 1988 attack was revealed.
If the intent of the current NATO sorties is to remove Gadhafi from power, then our government has the obligation to be honest with us. I, for one, have absolutely no problem with that.
There are some troubling issues that are being ignored, however. The most common question is why we aren't doing the same in Syria, or Yemen, or any of the other Middle East/North African nations that are seeing protests. If Libyan protesters are worth the effort, why aren't the Syrians?
A bigger and more pressing question is, who exactly are we supporting? While our media is full of claims that the citizens of Libya are 'standing up for democracy', we have yet to hear any protester state that as their reason to riot. Instead, the whispers of involvement and coordination of the protests being handled by nefarious groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood are growing louder.
There is even evidence that many who are protesting in Egypt and Libya are al-Qaeda fighters who have spent time killing American and Allied soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Have we gotten into bed with terrorists?
If the goal is to remove murderous leaders who impose their destructive will on the citizens of their respective nations, then send NATO in.
But, if after careful and thorough examination it is revealed that we would be assisting al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, or other oppressive organizations in their goal of spreading radical Islam throughout the region, then the NATO action must stop immediately.
A choice between Gadhafi or al Qaeda has no correct answer. If that is the case, then NATO should get out of the battle immediately.