Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Beating Our Chests


The DTK, much like the Canadian military, is stuck on the subject of Afghanistan.

General Fraser on the subject of Afghanistan.

It's hard to find polite words to describe what I think of this particular Canadian General. "On his way out, fortunately" only covers some of my feelings.

He claims that (quoting the article) more Canadian soldiers will be killed but the cost in blood must be paid in Afghanistan unless Canadians want to fight Islamic jihadists at home. "I don't want my sons to be doing what I'm doing here on the shores of Canada", he said. Really? Do you really believe that we'll have Islamic radicals landing en masse in Vancouver if we pull our troops out of Afghanistan? Perhaps he's speaking figuratively.

I can't see any reason for the fanatical members of the religion of Islam to hate Canada or Canadians. Well, wait a minute. I can think of one reason: we keep killing hordes of their civilians in Afghanistan. Bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, then, isn't it? What he really means to say, in that case, is, "We'd better *continue* killing their civilians here, or they'll get their act together and come get us." Doesn't have the same fiery rhetorical punch, though, does it?

How about this line: "Canadians should actually do something very un-Canadian-like and pound their chests and be proud and tell everyone, because all the other nations down here are talking about Canada."

Um, yeah. Look, Brigadier-General David Fraser, I don't know what part of Canada you're from, but we really don't do the "our military is awesome" chest beating thing around here. We're proud of a lot of things, nation wide, and our military certainly has a proud history in many theatres of operations. But we aren't the "chest-beating" types. You may be thinking of some other country - perhaps with envy. But even our Americans neighbours had to fire Jay Garner when he made the same "let's beat our chests" comment with respect to killing lots of people in Iraq.

I can only hope that the same fate awaits David Fraser. The last thing we need in the Canadian military are generals making public statements about how proud they are to kill people. Yes, it's your job. Yes, you should be proud of your work. But you also have to acknowledge that killing people is nothing to beat your chest about and really indicates that somewhere, someone has royally screwed up.

The General is also irked that the twenty million that has been spent on reconstruction and development in Afghanistan is being ignored by the media. Well, General, there's a reason for that. It's because the government has stated that the military mission over the next couple of years is going to cost over three *billion* dollars. It's a relative thing. When destruction outspends construction by two orders of magnitude, it tends to take precedence in the news.

Lastly, to rub it all in, we bring in the bit about how we're really "peacekeeping". No, General, we're building an oil pipeline. Your right wing rhetoric notwithstanding.

If you really wanted to keep peace, the first thing to do is stop making war.


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