Sunday, August 10, 2008

Canada honours its peacekeepers

As the article notes we are less and less involved as peacekeepers. Our role is increasingly junior partner in U.S. imperialism. Of course this is just pictured as an extension of peacekeeping. No doubt it is also a rescue of failed states, and part of the fight against global terrorism, spreading democracy, freeing Afghans to fly kites, etc. etc. and also returning the ministry of virtue and vice and helping make warlords and hangers on rich.

Canada honours its peacekeepers
Last Updated: Saturday, August 9, 2008
The Canadian Press
Canada's international peacekeepers enjoyed a long-awaited day in the sun Saturday, with the celebration of the first National Peacekeepers Day.
Veterans Affairs Minister Greg Thompson paid tribute to their efforts at a ceremony in Ottawa, telling about 100 Canadian Forces and RCMP veterans of peacekeeping missions that they represent the very essence of Canada.
"It's who we are, its what we stand for," Thompson said. "And it's what other nations think of when they see the Canadian Maple Leaf."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered similar sentiments in a written statement, describing peacekeeping efforts as "a symbol of our country's commitment to building a more safe and secure world."
Groups representing peacekeeping veterans have long lobbied for a national day of recognition. But it wasn't until this June that one was officially created, with the passage of a private member's bill sponsored by Liberal MP Bren St. Denis.
Aug. 9 was chosen as the date for the observance because it was on that day in 1974 that nine Canadian peacekeepers died when their plane was downed by a Syrian missile as it prepared to land in Damascus.
All told, more than 200 Canadians have died on international peacekeeping duty since the 1950s.
They are commemorated at a monument erected a few blocks from Parliament Hill in 1992, the site of the ceremony Saturday that served as a centrepiece for similar gatherings across the country.
Ironically, the official declaration of a national day of honour comes at a time when the Canadian military, stretched thin by its combat role in Afghanistan, is devoting fewer resources and personnel to United Nations and other international peacekeeping missions.
But St. Denis saw no contradiction, suggesting the Afghan mission fits comfortably into Canada's traditional role.
"There are serious combat elements to it [but] when you step back the ultimate goal is not to win a war," the Liberal MP said after the ceremony. "The objective is peace between and among the combatants."
© The Canadian

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