< < <
Date Index
> > >
Canadian official calls Bush a "moron"
by Elson Boles
22 November 2002 14:48 UTC
< < <
Thread Index
> > >
Bush urges NATO to focus on Iraq
'A duty to help': McCallum resents U.S. lectures on military spending
Robert Fife, Ottawa Bureau Chief  
National Post, with files from news services 

Thursday, November 21, 2002
PRAGUE - Members of the Canadian delegation at the NATO meeting
yesterday harshly criticized George W. Bush, with one senior official
calling the U.S. President a "moron" for his hardline stance against
Iraq and the Defense Minister bluntly saying he should stop lecturing
Canada about defence spending.

John McCallum, the Defence Minister, was responding to a suggestion by
Mr. Bush that the 19 NATO nations need to spend more on their military.
"While Mr. Bush may be asking for what I am asking for, I am not asking
for his help," Mr. McCallum told reporters.

Another senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, decried
the U.S. President's attempt to focus the two-day NATO summit on the
issue of military action against Iraq.

The NATO leaders, including Jean Chrétien, the Prime Minister, were
supposed to deal with modernization and expansion of the Western
alliance and strategies to combat global terrorism.

However, as at this summer's G8 summit in Kananaskis, Alta., when he
pushed Canada's African development plan to the back burner in order to
discuss a Middle East peace plan, Mr. Bush urged NATO to join a U.S.-led
"coalition of the willing" against Saddam Hussein's regime if it fails
to disarm its weapons of mass destruction.

"Ignoring dangers or excusing aggression may temporarily avert conflict
but they don't bring true peace. International stability must be
actively defended and all nations that benefit from that stability have
a duty to help," Mr. Bush said in a speech yesterday to the Atlantic
Youth Council.

Officials close to the Prime Minister made it clear yesterday that they
have little time for Mr. Bush's attempt to focus the summit on Iraq.

The anonymous senior official complained to reporters that the President
was using the summit to beat the war drums against Iraq rather than deal
with NATO modernization.

"What a moron," the official said of Mr. Bush during a briefing.

Publicly, the Prime Minister said he did not think Mr. Bush had hijacked
the NATO summit with his emphasis on Iraq, but Mr. Chrétien did take
credit for convincing the President to get United Nations approval to
dispatch weapons inspectors before launching military action.

"Canada from the beginning, we were the first one to say that we have to
go to the United Nations. Others were willing to go [to war] right away.
We said we have to follow the process," Mr. Chrétien said.

"I think this [UN] resolution moves us away from war instead of bringing
us closer to it because Saddam Hussein has to take it seriously."

Mr. McCallum responded bluntly to Mr. Bush's impassioned appeal for the
Western alliance to strengthen its military.

"NATO forces must be better able to fight side by side. Those forces
must be more mobile and more swiftly deployed," Mr. Bush told the youth
council. "For some alliance members this will require higher defence

The President did not name names, but Canada has the third-lowest rate
of military spending among NATO countries, ahead of only Luxembourg and
Iceland, which does not have a military.

The Bush administration, particularly Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador
to Canada, has repeatedly called on Canada to hike defence spending.

Mr. McCallum, however, said he was fed up with the Americans hectoring
Canada about our low defence spending even though the Minister himself
has been publicly lobbying his government colleagues for greater
military spending.

"I would not urge the President of the United States or the U.S.
ambassador to Canada to do my job to ask for more defence spending," he
said. "I think that is a Canadian matter. I think a number of Canadians
were a little bit ticked off when the ambassador keeps pushing.

"It is a made-in-Canada decision."

The United States has already requested a Canadian commitment to any
U.S.-led coalition against Iraq and the Prime Minister has indicated
Canada would be willing to commit military forces if war cannot be

Sources say the U.S. shopping list includes requests for JTF2 special
forces, naval ships, CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft and Coyote armoured
reconnaissance vehicles.

Mr. Bush has no plans to meet with Mr. Chrétien.

Some NATO members, such as Germany and France, have said the alliance
will not take up arms collectively against the regime of Saddam Hussein,
but Mr. Bush has met separately with the leaders of the Czech Republic,
Turkey, France and Britain to urge their military support if war is

In a news conference with Vaclav Havel, the Czech President, Mr. Bush
stressed military action against Iraq is "his last choice" and urged
NATO to stand with him so that war might be avoided.

"If the collective will of the world is strong, we can achieve
disarmament peacefully," he said, but warned again if the Iraqi dictator
refuses to disclose his weapons programs "the United States will lead a
coalition of the willing to disarm him."

While Iraq was not officially on the summit agenda, which was to deal
with the inclusion of seven new members and the creation of a
21,000-member rapid reaction force, Lord Robertson, the NATO
Secretary-General, said yesterday the topic will be discussed today when
the conference officially opens.

Mr. Bush said NATO needs to develop new capabilities, including more
special forces, better precision weapons and more modern command
structures to win the war against global terrorism and rogue states.

At a later news conference, Mr. Chrétien would not comment on Mr. Bush's
appeal other than to say he would like to pump more money into the
military, but his government has many other spending demands.

"Me, too, I would like to spend more money on defence. I'd like to spend
more money on everything but we have to make these decisions when come
the budget," he said.

Elson Boles
Assistant Professor
Dept. of Sociology
Saginaw Valley State University
University Center
Saginaw MI, 48710

< < <
Date Index
> > >
World Systems Network List Archives
at CSF
Subscribe to World Systems Network < < <
Thread Index
> > >