Afghanistan: Why wait for 2011?

So I Ask:

question: Why doesn’t Canada ALONE send 1,000,000 troops to Afghanistan? What’s with this measly frickin 2,000 or whatever we have there? No wonder so many are dying? We should flood the place with (mostly) white folk–go big or go home. Imagine every NATO nation sending a frickin MILLION troops! Garrisons. Just invade like a motherfuck, stay for umm 20 years and colonize the shit outta them. THAT would shake things up. Not a few thousand sitting in the countryside driving around and blowing up on roadside BOMBS. That’s what I call a troop surge. How many of our people fought in the wars we were remembering yesterday? And that was a WAR–why do we call this silly placement today a WAR?

The only way to honour troops is to bring them home now
By Michael Hollett

How ironic that as we seek this Remembrance Day to honour the men and women who die on behalf of our country, purportedly in “just” wars around the world, we wear poppies in their name.

Poppies, cultivated to produce opium and heroin, are the one sustainable cash crop in the failed state of Afghanistan, the site of a murkily defined mission that appears to have achieved less than nothing.

Lest we forget? The only real way to honour our soldiers this Remembrance Day is by ending Canada’s participation in a pointless war. Immediately. Before any more hearts are broken and any more lives destroyed.

It’s a sad fact that as the world celebrates one of the greatest pacifist achievements of our time – the fall not only of Berlin’s Wall but of Communist totalitarianism – we Canadians are still engaged as America’s proxy in an old-school, ill-fated effort to wage war and impose politics from the top down. 

Why is it that those sending our country’s soldiers into peril get to claim they’re “supporting the troops,” while those of us wishing to respect our armed forces by keeping them out of pointless danger get painted as unpatriotic?

How can the Stephen Harpers, Michael Ignatieffs and Don Cherrys of this country even pretend that any of the Canadian blood spilled on the dusty sands of Afghanistan is achieving anything we can be proud of? 

After the embarrassment of the recent Afghan pseudo-election, can anyone really believe that Canadians are dying in the name of democracy? 

Afghan attempts at representative government are at least as flawed as those of South Vietnam in the early 60s. Back then, the American government of St. John Kennedy chose to look the other way as the anointed custodian of freedom, Ngo Dinh Diem, was assassinated in an attempt to produce a government the U.S. could at least claim was somewhat democratic.

And tragically, as in the disaster of Vietnam, Canada’s casualties aren’t just measured in body bags. A generation of damaged people is returning from this horrific war, veterans unable to function as they once did, a ghostlike mystery to the families who sent them off to Central Asia with the best intentions.

Hamid Karzai unapologetically struts around sustained by cronies, corruption and foreign armies, as despicable as any post-colonial Cold War lottery-winning head of state – the lesser of some envisioned greater evil. The Afghan president is supported by imperialist governments afraid to let their imagined enemies gain the upper hand, while true local initiatives never get a foothold. 

No foreign force has ever been successful in Afghanistan. Do we really think America and its allies will be the ones to change that?

As drone aircraft ply the skies above this forbidding landscape, young people who have honed their skills on video games drop bomb-bursting payloads on more and more unintended civilian targets, alienating a populace exhausted by corrupt government and foreign invaders.

Let’s not become a country expert at empty gestures, our soldiers used up in ill-advised political exercises and grim-faced globalization, but a nation willing to put its precious troops at risk for the sake of peacekeeping and justice.

It’s time to stop naming the highways carrying coffins from military planes to morgues for our heroes, and start treating our soldiers like heroes by refusing to casually sentence them to death for confused reasons. 

If we can even remotely trust this country’s politicians, this ill-fated mission will end in 2011 anyway, so let’s be truly brave, admit our mistake and bring these bright-faced and well-intentioned Canadians home before more are crammed into caskets to be honoured at flag-draped overpasses. 

Let’s not ask the men and women who bear arms, ostensibly on our behalf, in Afghanistan to become this century’s George Lawrence Price – the last Canadian soldier killed in WWI. At 10:59 on the morning of November 11, 1918, one minute before the armistice, Price stepped out of a building in the French village of Havre to be cut down by a German soldier’s bullet. He was this country’s last grim casualty in the war to end all wars. 

This mission is a bust, and everyone knows it. Let’s leave now, before one more beautiful citizen of Canada gets added to the list of those who died selflessly, but tragically, in vain.

michaelh@nowtoronto.com

NOW | November 10-17, 2009 | VOL 29 NO 11

Copyright 2010 NOW Communications

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One thought on “Afghanistan: Why wait for 2011?

  1. Rick Hillier was all on about how Canada needs to grow up and participate in the struggle against fundamentalist Islam and accept deaths yadda yadda yadda–then my question was—Why the heck didn’t we grow up enough to take a million troops into Saudi Arabia, where all the funding, organizing, and Wahabist craziness originated in the first place? Why do we just follow the States if we’re all grown up? It’s American petro-dollars that have gone to Saudi Arabia in the first place that funded Osama et al–who the CIA sent to Afghanistan–so I figure we should attack the SOURCE. Find the carcinogen, not the tumour.

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