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Canadian General's Comments Stir Controversy

Canadian Gen. Rick Hillier discusses Canada's new defense policy in Washington, June 1, 2005
Canada's Prime Minister Paul Martin is defending his military chief of staff, whose forceful comments last week about fighting terrorism provoked strong reactions by many Canadians.

General Rick Hillier, who took up Canada's top military post in February, says an elite commando unit and other troops are going to Afghanistan to intensify the hunt for al-Qaida and Taleban fighters, whom he describes as "despicable murderers."

Prime Minister Martin says the point that General Hillier "is simply making, is [that] we are at war with terrorism and we're not going to let them win."

The Toronto Globe & Mail says Canada may face an increased risk of reprisal attacks as a result of the military's aggressive anti-terrorist campaign. However, the influential Canadian newspaper cheered General Hillier's statements and warned that "hate-filled fanatics" are a threat to every democratic country."