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Is Paul Martin drinking the Kool-Aid – more Canuck troops to Iraq?

Is Bush putting the thumbscrews on Martin?

I’ve gotten the impression that the Canadians have no interest in participating in Shrub’s Folly over in Iraq. But the Winnipeg Sun reports that Prime Minister Paul Martin is considering boosting the military’s ranks by 5,000 full-time soldiers and 3,000 reservists, with some going to Iraq, some to Afghanistan.

…when pressed during an interview on CNN’s Late Edition on whether Canada could deploy to Iraq once it bulks up the military, Martin responded: “That’s going to depend on where we’re asked to go.”

And when asked whether Canada is outright against contributing a military force in Iraq, Martin answered that Canada simply doesn’t have the soldiers to staff a mission.

“Our commitments are such that it would be very hard for us to commit troops into Iraq,” the PM said.

Martin said Canada is stretched too thin to even contribute 1,000 troops to provide security during the upcoming Iraqi election.

Martin said that, for Canada, the military commitment in Afghanistan would always trump a decision to answer the call for more troops in Iraq.

The number of Canadian soldiers patrolling Kabul were reduced from a high of 2,000 to 900 this year to give the exhausted army an 18-month break from deployments.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding