Bombing only marginally degrades a group like the Un-Islamic State, who take their strategies from the Hezbollah and Hamas playbook: make equipment highly mobile, and positioning them deep underground or among residential areas. To put it bluntly, fighting ISIL is less effective than tackling the humanitarian crisis from which much extremism originates.
Challenging the wisdom of charging into a region the West has shown a reckless propensity to misunderstand is not cowardly -- it is prudent. Innocent people are indeed dying and have already died, but will our bombs "save" them? Probably not. In fact, there's a risk they may accelerate the killing. Asking these questions is not naive. Not asking them is downright foolish.
Recently, Canada's military has come under deliberate, sustained attack. In fact, our Forces may already have been vanquished. Not by an enemy, but by the nation it defends. Faith in Canada's support is the one thing our Forces absolutely, positively must have to be effective. But that was taken away last year, bringing the days of selflessly charging into danger to a crashing halt.
This conflict is not Afghanistan post 9/11 nor is it Iraq circa 2004. The fight against ISIS is far more complex, multifaceted and layered than any in which Canada has been involved in recent years. The Canadian government has suggested that the best that can be done is to act now and reevaluate in six months, figure out our goals and objectives as we go. And while the government's arguments against inaction appeal to our moral imperatives doing so basically asks Canadians to support military action with no clear or realistic intentions and with little acknowledgement that this conflict is likely to last longer than six months.