Mr. Speaker, atrocities have been perpetrated in this world, and Boko Haram and ISIL are responsible for many of them.
Such barbaric acts can only be condemned. We have seen terrible things. A London taxi driver chose to serve his fellow humans by driving a truck to transport food to hungry people. ISIL punished him for his good deed by slitting his throat. It goes without saying that such things are reprehensible.
However, the members of this group are not the only ones. Saudi Arabia has committed atrocities too, such as sentencing a man to 1,000 lashes. Raif Badawi, whose family has sought asylum in Canada, would also like to be shown some compassion. There was a major problem when Muslim peoples learned that the American CIA had systematically tortured all of its detainees. It goes without saying that reports and information about the torture meted out by the CIA proved a powerful motivator for young Muslims to join the terrorist movement. That is dangerous. That is the worst thing that could have happened.
There is also Congo. Five million people have died there since 1998. That is more that the populations of Kuwait, Afghanistan and Vietnam combined. Nobody is asking us to drop bombs there. No, that place is not interesting. There is no oil there, just Africans, and they are not worth much. However, Boko Haram is in Nigeria. Members of that organization have declared war on the whole world, and they kill anyone who is not with them. No exceptions. Some groups have threatened Canada and Australia, but Boko Haram believes that everyone in the world is an infidel. We are not going to Nigeria though. There are terrorists in Mali and many other places. Libya is a good example, but we are not going there. We pick and choose based on what the Americans want.
However, we are Canadians here. We do not want to be a caricature of George W. Bush. We do not want our Prime Minister to be the clone of George W. Bush. Clearly, we do not agree with them. They had promised—a promise that smacks of George W. Bush—that Canadian troops would not participate in combat. That was promised, sworn up and down. On September 30, the Prime Minister said so in the House. We now know that this is not true and that Canadian troops were on the front lines. They were directly accompanying the troops into combat. However, we have just been told that Canada will make a big change.
For 11 years, the Americans dropped a lot of bombs in Iraq. They sent in an army of 250,000. The result is that we are now forced to go back. We should perhaps realize that the military approach and bombings do not give long-term or reliable results. When the Americans withdrew from Iraq, they told the Iraqi people to be democratic and respectful of rights. Influenced by an Iranian government, they did not really turn to democracy. In light of the Iranian influence in Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Qatar created a resistance force to combat the dangerous Syrian regime that was too close to Iran and the government that was sympathetic to Iran. They created the army of the Islamic State. On that day, frankly, they did not ask us for our advice. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
How is it that the Islamic State, which, with about 40,000 men, is not particularly big, was able to get to the gates of Baghdad? It is quite simple. The Iraqi army, with a force of 200,000 men, did not fight. We saw 60,000 Iraqi soldiers be beaten by 800 terrorists. With odds of 1 against 75, the 75 lost. They deserted in droves, and, anyway, those 60,000 men were not 60,000 men because in the very democratic Iraq, officers commanding battalions of 500 men really have only 250. They take the salaries of the 250 phantom soldiers and put the money into their own pockets. In the Iraqi army, officers' ranks are bought and sold. We can understand how, in the face of such corruption, Iraqi soldiers are not very motivated to fight.
There is a second problem. Not only does the Iraqi army have no interest in fighting, but Iraq's Shia population is also quite sympathetic to the Islamic State. People may well ask me what is happening: we cannot have any sympathy for barbarism. But there is barbarism on both sides of the border. People have been murdered and oppressed because they were Sunni. Sunni journalists, Sunni politicians, men and women, have been murdered by the Iraqi government. That is oppression. Christians have been oppressed by the current Iraqi government, a government that is neither democratic, nor very respectful, nor very civilized. This has led to the situation where, when the Islamic State appeared in many towns, the people were sympathetic to their cause. Bombing them is not going to stop them from being sympathetic. Perhaps they need something other than bombs.
When the machinery of government is destroyed, we see the rise of armed gangs and warlords—and, heaven knows, that machinery can so easily be destroyed in places like that, like Libya, Yemen, Iraq or Syria. Clearly, something has to be done about the situation.
Twelve years of American bombings created a new generation of young people who see the western world as a threat, not as a source of assistance, not as an example, but as an enemy who destroys everything, including water systems, power supplies and schools. Obviously they do not think we are very nice. What is more, people watch television. They see the barbaric acts of the Islamic State, but they also see the barbaric acts committed by the CIA, which tortures people. I do not need to say it. Everyone is saying it. Even the Americans themselves recognize it. That was the worst and most foolish thing they did. They created their own enemies. They provided them with free propaganda.
Of course, Canada has other more powerful weapons. Fortunately, the NDP is the historic heir, if you will, of Lester B. Pearson. We want peace and we are going to build it. We will get there not by going to war, but rather by preventing war and preventing terrorists from getting weapons. Some countries are providing them with weapons. It might be a good idea to stop that. Some countries are buying oil produced by the Islamic State in Iraq. Perhaps that needs to stop. That would be practical and useful action. In short, we need to take away their funding and their military resources; no weapons, no war. That is how we would intervene and it does not require bombing civilians.
This is the type of action that the NDP is going to promote. Of course, we are also going to promote food aid for all those in need. We cannot just donate a few tents and say that we are supporting the civilian population. We have to make that a priority. The Red Cross and the Red Crescent need and deserve support.