Not wholly unlike Hillary Clinton who claimed to have been under sniper fire in Bosnia despite confirmed reports to the contrary, Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has put a boot in his mouth. That boot belongs to the actual “architect(s)” of Operation Medusa—a 2006 Canadian military mission that eliminated 1,500 Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan—who Sajjan has diminished again with a bold-faced lie.
And as with the Hillary Clinton Bosnia blunder, the liberal press seems keen to nominally address this scandal but soften the blow and bury the strike somewhere nonlethal. Were the boot in another mouth—had it been said, for instance, by former DM Jason Kenney—the offender would surely be asked to step down.
Sajjan was in New Delhi on April 18, where he lied at length to a group of security experts about how he masterminded Canada’s bloodiest and best-executed military operation since the Korean War. He said the following:
On my first deployment to Kandahar in 2006, I was the architect of Operation Medusa where we removed 1,500 Taliban fighters off the battlefield…and I was proudly on the main assault.
Sajjan, a reservist major at the time, was less an architect and more a concrete-mixer. This is not to diminish his role as a soldier or the phenomenal work the Canadian Military has done and continues to do. No, the diminishment has already been executed by Sajjan, who retroactively jumped a few links in the chain of command in order to self-aggrandize.
The National Post’s Matthew Fisher has pointed out that:
It would be highly unusual for majors from the reserves to be the architects of large combat operations. Such duties in Afghanistan were the responsibility of generals and colonels in staff positions at headquarters in Kandahar, Kabul, and Ottawa and of battalion commanders in the field.
Yeah, no kidding. This is obviously a case of a man trying to buttress public and foreign confidence in himself, and perhaps the Canadian Defence Department by extension, with falsehoods. Sajjan is an impressive MP, and yet he has sullied himself and accomplished the converse of what he set out to do by Trudeauing the truth.
This is not the first time Sajjan has lied about this very matter. In 2015, he claimed that General Vance referred to him as the architect of Operation Medusa. Vance reportedly responded to this claim by saying: “I’m not really aware of this case.”
While many in the CAF are outraged, already the MSM is rushing to dismiss this story. In the The Toronto Star’s soft piece on this matter, they referenced Brigadier General David Fraser’s reference letter for Sajjan, which was addressed to his former employer, the Vancouver Police. The boiler plate letter is presented as vindication for Sajjan’s lie, with special attention given to this line: “He was the best single Canadian intelligence asset in theatre.” Maybe in a Cineplex Odeon.
If Sajjan is to receive the glory, then he should also receive the responsibility: responsibility for 12 dead Canadians and 31 dead civilians. Would he bear that responsibility? Or would he prefer to claim another man’s success and not his failures?
While Sajjan has apologized, the apology feels hollow; as if he was not the architect of the apology. Granted he has lied about this already in the past, and will undoubtedly do so again in the future whenever it suits him, Sajjan should step down, leaving the role to someone who respects the chain of command, takes responsibility for his or her own actions, and respects the actions of another.