Dudley Do-Right Takes Charge In Libya

It’s not the old empires of Britain or France, and it’s not the new empire of America.  World leaders, in what seems a rare nod to appearances, have decided that Canada, or at least a Canadian general, will take a leadership role in the operations in Libya.  Lt. General Charles Bouchard will take command of NATO forces to enforce the no-fly zone, as well as perhaps the yet-to-be-defined no-fly zone ‘PLUS’,  as part of the United Nations backed mission.

After criticism, from both ends of the political spectrum, of imperial war being waged against the Libyan people, the measures necessary to protect those same people from the tyranny of Muammar Gaddafi must now be given a kinder, gentler, face in order to appease those unable to tell the difference between illegal wars of occupation, without the support or approval of the international community, and a UN sanctioned, multinational force, charged with the humanitarian mission of protecting the Libyan people as they strive for emancipation.  Although the participation in this operation is made up of fewer nations than Iraq or Afghanistan, having none of the fake or coerced participation of George Bush’s Coalition of the Willing, and, unlike said coalition, that existed only as an attempt to put a legitimate face on an illegal war, is in response to the requests of the people of Libya, the Arab league, and the UN, it seems a necessary move in order to assuage the fears of those challenged by prejudice.

Canada’s long-standing role, as a financial and military supporter, and participant, in UN police actions, seems sufficient to suggest that this appointment is based on more than simply the optics.  Lt. Gen. Bouchard holds a Bachelors degree from the University of Manitoba as well as the completion of a national and international security program for senior executives at Harvard University.  He began his 38 year career in the Canadian forces 1974 and graduated as a helicopter pilot in 1976.  He’s been the deputy commander of NATO’s joint forces command in Naples, Italy, and has worked at key positions within NORAD as well as having served at several US military bases.

While the particular qualifications of both Lt. Gen. Bouchard, and the Canadian military, make it well suited for this role in the Libya operation, it is difficult to ignore the political benefits of this arrangement.  One is hard-pressed to identify a case of international malfeasance on the part of Canada, and the country’s popular image of suffering from indefatigable politeness makes it the perfect good-cop to replace the American bad-cop, and offers a measure of calm to compliment the passion of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Additionally, while the forces of old, and new, empire may seek to remove the spotlight from themselves, Canadian Prime Minister Steve Harper is facing a tough election at home where his domestic record may benefit from distraction.  As the leader of a conservative government that has burdened the citizens of Canada, while bending over backwards for corporate interests – much like conservative political forces in America and the UK – Harper may be hoping to capitalize on the general public support for the humanitarian mission.

Canada, and Lt. Gen. Bouchard, may very well be the perfect choice for this role in Libya.  They certainly possess both the experience and ability to perform in this role.  But, it’s difficult to ignore the cynicism that recognizes this to have more benefits than simply military and logistic.  The danger that this move signifies an increased politicization of the situation in Libya does not bode well for the continued integrity of the operation or how the ‘PLUS’ part of the no-fly zone ‘PLUS’ shapes up, or not.

While this decision may be generally beneficial, future decisions that place too much weight on such considerations may prove irresponsible.  This win-win situation may please both the Imperial powers as well as the embattled Canadian Prime Minister, and benefit the people of Libya, but, lets not forget, the people of Libya are meant to be the key focus of these decisions, not the after-thought.



11 Responses to Dudley Do-Right Takes Charge In Libya

  1. James March 27, 2011 at 2:12 am

    As a Canadian, I’m really not sure how to take this story. Should I be insulted? Or just pass it off as typical American ignorance? I think I’ll choose door number 2, Monty….

    • Liam Fox March 27, 2011 at 7:28 am

      Please be specific about your objections, and to what your charge of ignorance refers. The information? The analyses? The use of Dudley Do-Right to make a point? This post was written by a Canadian. Perhaps there’s a door you missed.

    • Antifa_Action March 27, 2011 at 8:21 am

      HA! I thought Canadians had a sense of humour, James. According to your own comment, you have your boxers in a twist for no reason.
      Good post with a great point Liam. Canada is often ‘viewed’ as a Dudley Do-Right… is that being taken advantage of for political reasons despite Canada’s proven ability to perform this role well on their own merits? Is the action being politicized and will that effect judgment in the future? Worth consideration, and no reason to get insulted. lol

      • Alan W. March 27, 2011 at 2:49 pm

        What’s there to say about objecting to use Jay Ward’s creation “Dudley Doright”? Having been in his studio (my grandfather was with him when he was just a Berkeley Real Estate agent) Mr Ward never meant any harm to the good people of Canada. Sure … NOW the article uses the cartoon as a character, but anyone in their right mind knows that Canadians are nothing like this.

  2. Terry March 27, 2011 at 7:01 pm

    “As the leader of a conservative government that has burdened the citizens of Canada, while bending over backwards for corporate interests – much like conservative political forces in America and the UK – Harper may be hoping to capitalize on the general public support for the humanitarian mission.”

    You’re a Canadian??? and I assume you consider yourself an intellectual??? and still you compare (derisively) Canadian conservative politics with American conservative politics…are you insane??? A Canadian conservative (like me) is just this side of Karl Marx compared their American counterpart…and that’s just fine by me.

    • Liam Fox March 28, 2011 at 8:54 am

      Wrong Terry. Very wrong. Canadian conservatives are not “just this side of Karl Marx.” They are capitalists; free market capitalists in fact, and have been fighting against the very strong Canadian social system, slowly eroding it, including the once much stronger health care system. They’ve done everything they can to assist in undermining that system towards a two-tiered system that has left the Canadian elderly without many of the basic services that were once covered, and struggling young families burdened with extra co-pays. Their lack of reinvestment in the system has caused even further problems. and that is just one example.
      Do not try to equate capitalist conservative politics, even Canada’s version, with the economic and social justice principles of Marxism.
      Your comment does nothing other than quote me, attack me personally, and then label yourself as a conservative as proof that I am wrong about the conservative government in Canada. You offer no facts or explanation and only a personal opinion about yourself as supposed proof. I suggest that such a comment makes you either intellectually lazy, or simply so self-centered you are unable to see your own folly.

  3. Charle March 28, 2011 at 1:46 am

    I wondered what happened to Dudley, now I know.

  4. Lily March 28, 2011 at 1:47 am

    Poor Penelope Purebred had been tied to the tracks for years waiting on him.

  5. Nicole March 28, 2011 at 1:48 am

    I wonder what happened to Barack Obama? Apparently philsperspective has lost sight of the fact that Barack Obama’s the president of the United States.

    What’s the matter Phil? Not quite the hope and change you were hoping for?

  6. Zoe March 28, 2011 at 1:49 am

    As soon as Egypt slips out of the US/Western grip, suddenly the US/West see an urgent need to “liberate” an area that is immediately right next to Egypt?

    Gee, after the first Gulf War, the US suddenly saw a need to invade Somalia and “fix” it – an effort which ended in disaster. You don’t suppose the US was really motivated by wanting to create a military staging area, in case it had to attack Saddam again, do you?

    I’m surprised they haven’t accused Gaddafi of having WMD yet. They had restored relations with him after 9/11, and he was being invited around to all the Western capitols. Why is he suddenly become a terrorist once again in Western eyes?

    This is about Egypt, and the fact that it’s no longer under Western control.
    The West needs to seize control of that area because they want a place from which they can attack Egypt in case it doesn’t play ball with them.

    • Liam Fox March 28, 2011 at 8:38 am

      You conveniently overlook the request from the Arab League to the UN, and the subsequent UN resolution, 1973, that requested intervention on behalf of the people. Intervention that includes non-western Arab nations. I know it makes it much easier to present a conspiracy theory when you ignore all the facts, but…..

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