Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Canada in Afghanistan

Canada in Afghanistan By MICHAEL NEUMANN

For many Canadian partisans of The Mission in Afghanistan, Canada is just fighting the good fight. Their attitudes are curiously anachronistic, as if our boys have gone off to stick it to Jerry. There are yellow-ribbon support-our-troops stickers on many cars; there's home town pride. Embedded correspondents produce little more than a stream of human interest pieces, as if Afghanistan was some enormous Katrina aftermath. You'd probably find something similar in Norway, Finland, and other Nice Countries that have sent troops over there. Perhaps Americans would feel the same way were the whole Afghanistan question not obscured by the much more spectacular disaster of Iraq.

The opponents of The Mission sound wimpy. They say it's not a peace-keeping operation-- so what? Is nothing else ever justified, under any circumstances? They point out that the mission doesn't have popular support. Again, so what? Can't something unpopular be right? They claim it helps the Americans, but the Americans, really, are beyond help, and Canadian assistance isn't about to turn US idiocy into success. They protest that civilians are being killed. True: one might add that 'collateral damage' is a rather abstract way to describe tearing off a child's face and going 'oops'. However all modern wars, because they involve air power, inevitably involve collateral damage, so only a complete pacifist could find this objection decisive. Should we not tell other countries or societies how to run their lives, ever? How about Rwanda?

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