Not that it comes as a surprise, but some of Canada's political and media elites are demonstrating breathtaking cluelessness on the fundamentals of military affairs. The fretting by the opposition parties and their journalist allies about "mission creep" in Canada's contribution to the anti-ISIS coalition betrays a profound ignorance about what goes on in a war zone.
The Canadian special forces on the ground in Iraq are there to train local troops in counter insurgency and the use of laser technology to call in air strikes. It was not the government's stated intention to have Canadian troops involved in a combat role, but a in a fluid battlefield scenario, you don't get to call time out if you find yourself under fire. You shoot back, which is what Canadian troops have reportedly done on at least three occasions.
Canada is part of a just and necessary mission in Iraq, and the elite Canadian troops on the ground undoubtedly embrace the opportunity to put their training to the test in combat. NDP leader Tom Mulcair is smart enough to realize all of that but it hasn't stopped him from trying to score political points by accusing the government of deliberately misleading Canadians about nature of the mission. Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and his media groupies, who are considerably less savvy than Mulcair, still think we can beat ISIS by sending blankets to refugees and hugging it out with the terrorists.
Meanwhile, the real work - the difficult and deadly work - continues to be done by those best trained and equipped to respond to a rapidly evolving combat situation. Empty suits and keyboard warriors half a world away should leave them to it.