We're off to war again, boys!
The war's over in Afghanistan. The Taliban can have what's left.
It cost us 10 long years and something like 8 billion bucks.
It's over in Libya too. That didn't last long. A few bombing runs and it was over. Muammar Gaddafi is dead and buried somewhere in the desert.
Now we're cranking up for another war. This time it's in Mali, smack in the middle of the Sahara where al-Qaeda in the Maghreb has already taken over northern Mali, which includes a charming place called Timbuktu.
War in the Sahara? Great! We're fighting in the sand again. Canadian troops know all about that. Can't we ever fight in the snow?
First, Stephen Harper sends a single plane. It's one of our big C-17 transport carriers filled with 35 Canadian military and it stops off in Paris (no, not for what you think.) It picks up a load of French armored personnel carriers and heads for Bamako, the capital of Mali.
It's a small start to a war. That's the way Harper wants it -- a little at a time.
We have three other C-17s waiting their turn for later on.
Meanwhile our military commandos are in neighboring Mauritania, training African troops. Our little Griffons helicopters have been there for some time. Seems some of the boys at the top saw this war coming. No sense warning us and getting us all excited.
Another bunch of Canadian commandos are helping the Niger army train for an attack in Mali later on.
The Germans and the British are sending over lots of war equipment. Even kindly Denmark is pitching in. This is a NATO and U N-approved war.
But for now it's the French who are doing most of the work. They've got soldiers on the ground -- 350 soldiers a week ago, now 700, and eventually 3.500 soldiers. Nice start. France is after all, the fourth largest military power in the West.
Last week French jets bombed al-Qaeda fortifications in northern Mali and discouraged them from heading south for an attack on the capital, Bamako.
Nice work, Pascal.
Harper is in no hurry to up the war. There was a military coup in the Mali capital last March and Harper is not sure about the boys who took over.
Moreover, Canadians have had their fill of Harper's wars. So he's in no rush to face the Opposition in the House of Commons.
So it's best to go one step at a time, or rather one C-17 at a time, even if French President Holland did call up Harper on Tuesday and begged him to send over more planes along with some big cash.
Harper replied: "One plane for one week. That's all Frank."
Yet with the C-17 packed with 35 soldiers and on its way to Bamako, and another three C-17s on the ready, Griffon helicopters already in Africa, plus Canadian troops training Africans in Niger and Mauritania, Harper's delightful little war looks nicely underway.
We recently finished distributing nice war medals to soldiers (and Tim Horton's employees) who took part in the Afghanistan excursion, and then followed it up honoring the brave lads who dropped their load on Libya.
Now we should start thinking about Mali medals before the body bags start coming back from Africa.