The multiple shootings in Ottawa
could be Canada's 9/11, spurring America's northern neighbor to take terrorism more seriously, retired U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters says.
"At the risk of exaggeration, I'm talking symbolically, assuming this does turn out to be Islamist terrorism, this is like Canada's 9/11 in the sense it's their wakeup call," Peters said Wednesday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"Canada, they're great folks with great capabilities, very brave, but they've been sleepwalking to a degree.
"I know our U.S. counterterrorism elements have sometimes felt that the Canadians just didn't take the threats seriously enough."
On Wednesday morning, a Canadian soldier was shot and killed at the Canadian War Memorial in Ottawa and "numerous gunmen" were seen running towards the nearby parliament buildings in Canada's capitol, where more shots were fired.
Canadian officials told CNN and other media outlets there were at least 3 separate shooting incidents at roughly the same moment — just before 10 a.m. local time in Ottawa.
Peters — author of the bestselling Civil War novel, "Hell or Richmond,"
published by Forge Books — said the US and Canada have cooperated well for the most part on terror prevention.
"We've had our disagreements and they found us heavy-handed, we found them light of touch sometimes and the Canadians have been very proud of the fact that they're not a militarized society, that they're very peaceful," he said.
"But unfortunately … whether this turns out to be an al-Qaida or Islamic state plot or just homegrown jihadi crazies, the point is jihad, fanatical jihad, has global reach, it is a global threat.
"The most dangerous aspect for all of us of the shooting today was that it shows how much damage one or perhaps two or three gunmen can do. I mean they shut down the capital of Canada, there are dead and wounded."
No matter what the motives are behind the shootings, Peters noted, "this was an important symbolic victory for the jihadis."
"Even though the gunman in the Parliament building was not able to reach the caucus rooms and slaughter legislators, parliamentarians … nonetheless, he was able to get inside Parliament, shoot things up," he said.
"Some Canadians perhaps thought they'd be safe because, well after all, they're not the US, they're not the great Satan, but we're all the great Satan to the jihadis. Even many of their fellow Muslims are Satan, so this fanatical sort of Islamist, puritan, maniacal take on religion threatens everybody.
"In any society, there are winners and losers and if you get young punks who are just disaffected or as is often the case, native-born Christian crazies who convert to Islam because they're just seeking a cause, they can just do tremendous damage."
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