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Michael TaubeWhen Justin Trudeau and the Liberals won last year’s federal election, Canadians knew things were going to be different. Just how profoundly different is starting to become clear.

Here’s the example to end all examples: the federal government actually believes Canada isn’t at war with ISIL.

After last week’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, Trudeau told reporters, “A war is something that can be won by one side or the other and there is no path for ISIL to actually win against the West.” Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion doubled down and said, “If you use the terminology ‘war,’ in international law it will mean two armies with respecting rules and it’s not the case at all.”

The government’s position is disgraceful.

Yes, the academic definition of “war” doesn’t perfectly fit with this situation. But do the Liberals really believe these bloodthirsty ISIL savages would spend even a nanosecond trying to define what they’re waging against their enemies?

Sun-Tzu wrote in The Art of War, “Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories.”

While the Trudeau Liberals may not believe we are at war with ISIL, it goes without saying that our enemy, ISIL, believes they’re at war with us.

Graeme Wood, contributing editor to The Atlantic, wrote a year ago that this group maintains a “carefully considered commitment to returning civilization to a seventh-century legal environment, and ultimately to bringing about the apocalypse.” These barbarians require “territory to remain legitimate,” Wood noted, “and a top-down structure to rule it.”

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, ISIL’s infamous former emir (or commander), was named caliph of the Islamic State in western Iraq and northeastern Syria in June 2014. A complete takeover of the Levant region, including Israel, Palestine and other Arab countries, and even parts of Turkey, is believed to be the ultimate goal.

They use terrorism, war crimes and other violent acts to build and extend the caliphate.

There have been reports of ISIL conducting mass executions of Syrian and Iraqi soldiers and citizens, using chemical weapons, raping and kidnapping women, and turning children into sex slaves. They’ve captured territory and destroyed important cultural and religious sites, including Syria’s Temple of Baalshamin, Temple of Bel and Arch of Triumph, and Iraq’s Dair Mar Elia (or St. Elijah’s Monastery). They’ve imposed sharia law and forced Christians to convert to Islam — or else.

The world has watched in horror as videotaped beheadings of Arabs, Muslims, Christians and westerners, along with photos and images of severed heads on poles, are released by ISIL.

How any of this could be classified as anything other than “war” is impossible to comprehend.

To be sure, Trudeau’s preposterous assertion about war is as politically motivated as U.S. President Barack Obama’s ridiculous assertion about the war on terror. During Obama’s first term in office, the White House infamously replaced the communications term “Global War on Terror” with the incredulous “Overseas Contingency Operation.”

Trudeau and Obama, both liberals, were obviously trying to downplay communications strategies directly associated with their conservative predecessors, Stephen Harper and George W. Bush respectively. But their attempts to adjust the political narrative are petty and juvenile.

The modern definition of war has certainly changed. Soldiers don’t line up in rows of infantry to shoot at one another. Terrorist groups and rogue nations fight their enemies as they see fit, with self-created guerrilla tactics. Competing armies no longer respect the rules of the battlefield.

This doesn’t mean that war, as a term or concept, has changed one iota. ISIL is clearly at war with a wide variety of countries, including Canada.

Trudeau, Dion and others, therefore, need to acknowledge what is painfully obvious to most nations and world leaders. We are at war with ISIL.

Michael Taube, a Troy Media syndicated columnist and political commentator, was a speechwriter for former Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He holds a master’s degree in comparative politics from the London School of Economics.

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