Mr. Prime Minister,
Afghanistan Is Not Our War
By John Chuckman
28 March, 2006
Prime Minister Stephen
Harper says he has trouble understanding Canadians who feel ardently
that their country's soldiers should not be involved in Afghanistan.
Toronto Globe and
is not our war, Mr. Prime Minister.
We are not threatened by
voices in the Middle East opposing American policy, unless you believe
one reference in a recording of bin Laden mentioning Canada along with
other countries. That recording, along with other post-invasion recordings,
was almost certainly a CIA fraud, for Osama bin Laden had to be killed
in the heavy bombing of his mountain redoubt.
Even if you do not believe
that bin Laden is dead, what is beyond question is that American activities
in Afghanistan and Iraq are building a vast reservoir of resentments
and a training school for future terrorists. Tens of thousands of disaffected
young Muslim men not only now have something to deeply resent but they
have the operational conditions to perfect their arts of covert war.
According to countless witnesses from Afghanistan and Iraq, America's
brutal, thoughtless tactics have only inflamed tempers. Canada's good
name should not be associated with this.
The previous government's
making an under-the-table deal with Bush to place Canadian troops in
Afghanistan surely does not make it our war. Your continuing, rather
shrill, insistence still does not make it so. The deal was, of course,
an effort to placate Bush for our not supporting his illegal invasion
of Iraq. America is Canada's neighbor, but it is a fatuous and immoral
argument that you help your neighbor in criminal activities just because
he is your neighbor.
You and other voices from Western Canada have made much of reforming
Canada's democratic institutions, and I agree that a number of them
do need reforming. Yet no greater vice to democracy can exist than a
government's committing the lives of young people and the whole nation's
reputation to war without any consultation or debate. If you believe
in democratic values, as you claim, you cannot support such behavior.
The argument is all the more
powerful when war is the behavior of a minority government. Your government
represents the will of less than forty percent of Canadians. How can
you believe then that your views on the war should be the views of most
Canadians? Through polls and every other indication of public opinion,
the majority of the Canadian people have made it clear they do not support
America's wars in the Middle East.
The Canadian general in charge
of operations in Afghanistan has made public statements that are shameful
to Canada's reputation in the world. Stuff about going over to do some
killing. He sounds like an American wannabe raised on Rambo movies.
Canada did have a terrorist
incident every bit as dreadful as 9/11. I refer to the bombing of the
Air India flight years ago. Taking account of Canada's size, this event
killed proportionately more Canadians than 9/11's American victims.
While the outcome of that investigation has been disappointing, Canada
never contemplated bombing Sikh communities because of it. America's
logic in the war on terror is simply that ridiculous.