Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Demise of the Blue Beret

The Blue Beret's death has everything to do with the PNAC and the mission of the US to control the world and with Canada's decision to join that mission as a junior partner. Sometimes the mission uses NATO when that is possible or even the UN when the UN will go along. The new missions are in effect occupations resulting from the overthrow of existing governments. Afghanistan is a prime example. Unlike peacekeeping missions the forces will be regarded as occupiers. Of course in western media they will be portrayed as liberators and crucial players in the war against terrorism--while all the time contributing to state terror in order to create conditions for reconstruction and building democracy. (The US coalition invasion of Iraq is portrayed in the same way as a liberation, bringing democracy, rooting out terrorism.) In Afghanistan this means propping up warlords and seeing the re-introduction of a ministry of virtue and vice and a democracy that would condemn a Muslim convert to Christianity to death-- and praising a ruler installed by US political engineering who provides work for a private US security service which sees to it he is not assasinated. NGO's and the groups that do attempt reconstruction are targetted because they are regarded as part of the mission of the occupiers--and they are! This is from the CBC.

No More Blue Berets

The iconic peacekeeping missions of the past, with blue berets on a ceasefire line, so beloved by the Canadian public, are likely gone forever, lost in a harsher world.

Experts say missions of the future are likely to be more muscular -- like Afghanistan -- and will mesh militaries, humanitarian agencies, diplomats and politicians in an uneasy but vital alliance.

The handwriting has likely been on the wall for a decade, from the days that Canadian soldiers fought pitched battles in the former Yugoslavia.

The Pearson Peacekeeping Centre, founded in 1984 to be a sort of institutional memory for peacekeeping methods and lessons, brought university students, soldiers, bureaucrats and humanitarian experts together last week for a role-playing exercise about a peacekeeping mission in the fictional country of Fontanalis.

This mission, like the operation in Afghanistan, suggested to the participants that times have changed since the early days of UN peacekeeping.

Onetime foreign affairs minister Flora MacDonald played the role of a senior UN bureaucrat in the exercise.

"Everything has changed," she said. "You can't equate the 1970s or 1980s with today or the next few years."

Col. Pat Stogran, who led the 3rd battalion of the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry into Afghanistan in 2002, is seconded temporarily to the peacekeeping centre.

He agrees there's a new world to be dealt with, where insurgents use the Internet and stage attacks unthinkable a few years ago.

Lew MacKenzie, the retired major general who led Canadian soldiers to occupy the Sarajevo airport in the 1990s, said the players have changed, as well as the methods. Where the UN once negotiated with countries, he said, today's peacekeepers must deal with far more shadowy groups.

Whatever the methods, it will still be peacekeeping, said Mo Baril, onetime chief of Canada's defence staff. In modern peacekeeping, he said, you may have to fight insurgents to a standstill, but that's not fighting a war.

One challenge, experts say, is getting Canadians to realize today's efforts are as important as those of the past.

"Successive governments have perpetrated this peacekeeping myth, that it's No. 1 in our priorities, for government self-interest because you can chop defence budgets if you think it's just blue berets and pistols," MacKenzie said.

Stogran said he's confident Canadians will understand the new world.

"Canadians throw themselves into things, the First World War, the Second World War, NATO and the watershed peacekeeping missions of the 1990s because they're interested in keeping the peace, in international stability, being a part of it."

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