Canada's war in Afghanistan



© Andy Turnbull, 2006

Canada's war in Afghanistan
August 5, 2006

Why are Canadians surprised that our soldiers are being killed in Afghanistan? What did we expect?

Flaks and politicians talk about "reconstruction" and an "insurrection" but they boast about the number of guerrillas our soldiers have killed. The fact is that Canadian troops in Afghanistan are surrogates for the Americans who bombed and destroyed the country, and who now rule it with foreign troops and Afghan collaborators.

Canadian soldiers speak the same language as Americans, wear essentially the same uniforms, use the same equipment, take orders from Americans and often travel in American helicopters. Why should they be seen as anything but second-class Americans?

They are part of an army of occupation, and Afghanistan has always had a way with armies of occupation. In the 19th Century the British couldn't hold it and in the 20th century Afghan resistance fighters defeated the well-armed and ruthless Russian army. Do we think our lightly-armed peace keepers, hampered by the myth that we are trying to be friends, can do better?

The one thing George Bush has done right has been to take American ground troops out of Afghanistan, and leave Canadians to absorb the casualties and the hate.

We got involved because the puffed-up pompocrat that was our defence minister at the time was trying to be a big-shot, and he committed us to help the American conquest without the approval of the government. When Art Eggleton was kicked out of the cabinet the official reason was that he had given a government contract to his girl friend, but anyone who thinks a cabinet minister was fired for corruption doesn't understand how the Chretien government worked.

Now Harper is promising to stay the course, and to make more enemies for Canada. No doubt he will be happy when Canada is as militarized, and as hated, as the United States.

I hold no brief for the Taliban but they were Afghans, and the legitimate government of the country. If they did have training camps for terrorists and if those terrorists had attacked the United States, the Americans could have taken the camps out with commando raids. Instead they took over the country and installed a puppet government that is no more legitimate than the puppet government the Russians had installed earlier, and that the Taliban threw out.

So let's stop fooling ourselves with talk about "reconstruction" and "insurrection." What we are involved in is a conquest and the Afghans we are fighting are not an insurrection against a legitimate government. The Afghans who kill Canadians are resisting an invader and collaborators.

And we are all, Canadians and Afghans alike, victims of war-mongering ideologues whose idea of "Christian virtue" includes the torture of prisoners, bombing of cities and the killing of women, children and anyone else who does not accept the same warped interpretations of "Christianity" and "freedom."

We are now entering the era that future historians will call "the Bush wars," and it promises to be the bloodiest in history. We might have watched from the sidelines but, thanks to Eggleton and Harper, we will participate -- as a target.

Welcome to the future. You're going to hate it.

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