February 18, 2009

Should Canada be in Afghanistan?

The death toll of Canadian troops in Afghanistan has now reached the ‘century mark,’ and many continue to wonder what, really, are Canadians doing in that far-off part of the world. There’s something very incongruous seeing images of coffins being loaded on aircraft, followed by clips of crowds waiting in Canada waving banners proclaiming ‘We support our troops.’ If you stop and think about it for a moment, isn’t that ridiculous? If we really cared about our soldiers, wouldn’t we keep them out of harm’s way entirely? “But,” you protest, “that’s what soldiers are for-- taking risks to fight for their country.” Alright, then: just how are they helping Canada by fighting in Afghanistan?

Nobody in Afghanistan had anything against Canada prior to the US-led invasion of their country in 2002. Oops, that’s ‘the ISAF’ invasion, of course. And who is ISAF (the ‘International Security Assistance Force’)? Apparently, ISAF was put together by NATO… and NATO was ‘authorized’ by the UN to do their nasty work. However, we all know now that the UN was deceived and bullied by the USA into agreeing to the whole deal. As a long-time, faithful member of NATO, Canada was ‘expected’ by our ‘friends’ the Americans, to supply substantial military muscle to their ‘war on terrorism.’ Treading with political caution, our Prime Minister of the day, Jean Chretien, stick-handled the puck past the Iraq war… mainly by agreeing to send our troops to Afghanistan. The mission has been sold to Canadians, by both Liberal and Conservative governments, as some kind of ‘humanitarian, forceful peace-keeping,’ which has had a hard time being understood by ordinary Canadians. The European NATO partners-- who know something about war-- have shown no desire to expose their troops to battle-risk in such a quagmire.

While the big media corps have pretty much regurgitated the government line, the Globe and Mail ran a column on June 19 that essentially described how the war was a necessary part of Washington’s global strategy to secure control of petroleum sources and the pipeline routes used to deliver the oil to friendly ports. Like most stories of foreign policy, it’s a long, sorry tale; but the upshot is that Canadian soldiers are dying in Afghanistan to serve the insatiable lust for petroleum of our giant neighbor… that’s the bottom line. All the talk about bringing ‘democracy’ etc., etc., is just a lot of self-serving bunk. If we really ‘support our troops,’ let’s bring them home alive! As to the argument that we’re doing ‘humanitarian work,’ just think of how many civilians are being killed as ‘collateral damage’ by ISAF weapons-- surely they’d be better off without foreign troops on their soil. Meanwhile, we ‘support our troops’-- by weeping appropriately and assuring ourselves that they die for noble causes. It’s incredible madness.

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