Not surprisingly the author does not include the Second World War, the one that the US only joined after being attacked at Pearl Harbour. I think that each war has to be judged on the specific facts but certainly I agree with the author about the Afghanistan war. Although the Taliban had many faults and did serve as host for Al Qaeda operatives this did not justify the invasion and overthrow of their government and in effect allowing some of the very worst warlords to share in the victory.
Living the lie that wars have noble meaning
There is no good reason for Canada to be involved in Afghanistan or in support of the American war for world domination.
>by Jerry West
April 13, 2007
Two pieces of news this past week on the war front: The Prime Minister went to France to celebrate the butchery at Vimy Ridge, and eight more Canadian soldiers had their lives needlessly wasted supporting the Americans in the Afghanistan theatre of their war for global domination.
Some people call the battle at Vimy the birth of Canada as a nation. Mr. Harper called it “a coming of age.” To celebrate such a bloody engagement in a terrible war that Canada should have never got involved in as the birth of the nation is obscene, particularly for a country that has made a point of being known as a nation that believes in peace.
Bloody battles like Vimy in wars like the First World War that had no justification for being fought save greed and pride, are measures of failure, not something to be proud of. And, if Vimy represents a coming of age, our foolish foray into Afghanistan to please the Americans shows that aged or not, we haven't learned much yet.
What is really obscene in the celebration of battles and commemorations for the dead is the lie that these things have noble meaning, that it is the price of freedom and democracy. With limited exceptions that is pure BS. With few exceptions not many soldiers have died fighting for freedom and democracy except in their delusion. On the other hand many protesters and revolutionaries have.
It is sad that Canada lost over 60,000 soldiers on the killing fields of the First World War. They should be remembered, not as champions of freedom, but as victims of a system that used them and abused them. And, when we remember those who were so wantonly sacrificed, we should revile and spit upon the memory of those politicians who sent them there.
The patriotic card is popular with politicians, and from an early age, society conditions most of us to respond well to it. And what is better for playing on patriotic sympathies than historic battles inflated to mythical, even religious, proportions, except maybe a few current deaths now and then in some mission like Afghanistan?
In the past week the Prime Minister got both: photo ops at Vimy and a few more casualties outside of Kandahar. Premier Gordon Campbell even jumped on the Vimy bandwagon proclaiming April 9 as Vimy Ridge Day in BC.
Dead soldiers are bad news for the soldiers, their friends and their families. But they can be good news for a government as long as people believe they are dying for a just cause and the resulting patriotic anger moves in the government's favour.
And deaths add to another justification, one almost as phony as the fighting for freedom one; the one that says we can't quit now, it would betray those who have fallen. It would dishonour their memory, it would BS, BS and more BS. In other words, it doesn't matter if we are right or wrong, if we are winning or losing, the more who die, the more we have to stick with it. By such idiocy, the lives of soldiers are foolishly wasted.
To date 53 Canadians have been sacrificed in Afghanistan, their lives squandered by the people who sent them and keep them there. One wonders how many it will take before the patriotism wears off and Canadians demand an end to our role as spear carriers for the Americans, as IED fodder. Perhaps the Prime Minister owes his soldiers and the country his thoughts on exactly how many deaths the Afghan mission is worth. It's to be hoped not as many as the more than 11,000 who died in vain at Vimy Ridge.
The American war for global domination is in trouble. The situation in Iraq gets worse every week and the U.S. military is stretched to the breaking point. The recruiting age limit has been raised, recruit standards have been lowered, and people who thought they had completed their service obligation are being kept active and headed back to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Afghanistan, too, is no prize with insurgents in control of large parts of the country, a corrupt and despised puppet government, and Pakistan next door playing both sides of the street. Oh, and did we mention a growing drug trade?
There is no good reason for Canada to be involved in Afghanistan or in support of the American war for world domination. No reason if we stand for democracy and human rights as military occupation of the country and the ongoing civil war only delay their development. Plenty of reason though if we want Canadian industries to profit from war expenditures.
All of the myth making, commemorations and dead soldiers are no good reason to be there, despite what Mr. Harper and others would have us believe. Instead it is time to really come of age and see the past for what it was and the present for what it is.
Involvement in the First World War and Afghanistan, like in most wars, were and are mistakes.
Jerry West is the editor of The Record, an independent, progressive newspaper published every other Wednesday in Gold River, British Columbia. His columns regularly appear in rabble.ca.