Thursday, September 01, 2011

Harper's remarks in Italy

Can be found here. Canadians supported the Libya mission and the ouster of Gaddafi is a great achievement. Further, no one quarrels with the words that Harper spoke as a thank you to the servicemen and women in Italy today.

However, there were a few lines spoken by Harper today worth noting. This part:
“Which gives some proof to the old saying: ‘a handful of soldiers is better than a mouthful of arguments.’

“For the Gaddafis of this world pay no attention to the force of argument.

“The only thing they get is the argument of force.
And this part:
“They used to claim that in international affairs, and you’ve heard the quote many times: ‘Canada punched above its weight.’

“Well, to punch above your weight, you first have to be able to punch.
I don't think anyone disputes that it took force to remove Gaddafi. We entered this conflict, however, under a UN Resolution which was significantly humanitarian in its undertaking.

Harper's bellicosity today is certainly a new tone to be hearing from a Canadian prime minister.

Update (8:50 p.m.): See also Aaron Wherry's item on the origin and possible meaning of the quote Harper used above, the "handful of soldiers" line. 

Update (11:35 p.m.): A reader who speaks German sent me the original quote (below - in German). She assures me the "always" is indeed missing from Harper's version of the quote. So if he were quoting it accurately, it should properly have been: ‘a handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments.’ Something that was therefore omitted out of error or perhaps because the PM did not want to go that far. Thought I would add this here because Aaron Wherry wrote earlier tonight that  "...the original musing seems to read that a handful of soldiers is always better than a mouthful of arguments."