Friday, December 03, 2010

The Anti-Canadians don't want to live in Wonderland

That's what the rest of us want, apparently. We have an "Alice In Wonderland" view of politics and terrorism, according to the former head of CSIS.

Someone named "J.L. Granatstein", writing for the Ottawa Citizen, agrees.

It goes along with that "inferiority complex" myth that the Americans, along with Canadian journalists and right wing politicians, like to spread. Because, naturally, if you disagree with American policies, there must be something wrong with you. Maybe you have a small penis? Just sayin'.

Well, it's time to call bullshit. It's also time to call this attitude for what it is:


The vast majority of Canadian people believe in a few core values: social medicine; the illegality of torture; international law; peace keeping.

Our elected leaders, a good chunk of our military brass and many of our journalist-pundits, have separate values. Stuff like private medicine, torture-but-keep-it-quiet, dumping on the United Nations, starving peace keeping forces until they fail to function.

They hate Canada. There's no other way to put it. They find themselves at the top of a power structure, elected by people they actually hate.

So they tell us that our values are unrealistic. They tell us our rules are just getting in the way. They deride our hope for the future as naive.

They really, truly, hate us.

If you read that Citizen article, you can see the hatred. Granatstein has to tell us how we aren't "pulling our own weight" and how that threatens our "sovereignty". What he means is that the U.S. will conquer us if we don't do what they want. And then he wonders what part of American policy we could legitimately oppose?

Granatstein is upset that Canadians will easily fall in to "paroxysms of moral outrage" while failing to finish the quote from which that phrase came - namely the interrogation after torture of a child soldier. Yeah, J.L, believe it or not we get pissed off when children are tortured - even if you hold on to them for eight years and torture them as adults.

We're so fucking naive that way.

Regarding Afghanistan, what he says with irony, I say with conviction*:
How much better if the money wasted on defence spending had gone for day care or better medicare.

This is typical of anti-Canadians. Never does he explain or justify what the United States government does. It's enough to assume that America is right and everyone else is naive, stupid or evil.

I'm not naive. I do aim for everyone on this planet to live in a kind of Wonderland. By that I mean: everyone has food to eat; everyone is free from violence; every child is safe and secure; no one in enslaved; everyone can vote for their leaders.

Will it happen in my lifetime, the whole world over? Will people all over this world dump the religions and other vile philosophies that lead them violently all over the globe?

Not likely. But it's still the goal, and it's quite opposite to where Granatstein's heroes would take us - and have been taking us for decades.

I'm reminded of Philip Pullman, from the very end of the his Northern Lights trilogy.

There is no kingdom of heaven. Never was. Never will be. The idea is dead. The only thing we can do is build the republic of heaven. And we have to do that right here, on Earth.

And we will not arrive at the republic of heaven on Earth via extrajudicial killings, secret torture, enslaving people across the globe and out of sight, stealing resources from other countries and forcing other kinds of misery in far off places.

Anyone who believes so is naive, stupid and evil, and it's time we started calling them out on it. It's also time that Canadians stood up, pointed fingers, and called out the people who don't represent our values.

* - sorry Cap'n, had to steal that line.

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Diplomacy and Secrecy

I watched a CBC interview, linked from Greenwald's salon blog.

About half way through that video, a former Canadian diplomat comes on for a interview in which he derides the latest Wikileak as bad for diplomacy. His argument, boiled down, is this:

1. The Indonesian gov't was carrying out horrible human rights abuses against the East Timorese
2. The East Timorese told the Canadian diplomat
3. The Canadian diplomat told the Canadian gov't
4. The Canadian gov't could use this information in negotiations with the torturing, human rights abusing Indonesian gov't.

His argument is basically that, should this path of the information (tortured -> diplomat -> gov't) be broken by a lack of secrecy, it would fall apart. Victims would no longer feel safe to complain. Diplomats like himself would be too scared to report.

Seems reasonable, doesn't it?

Except it's bullshit.

His argument boils down to the idea that I should trust Stephen Harper, Jean Chretien or Paul Martin - under cloak of secrecy - to solve human rights problems the world over.

Really? That's your best argument? That political leaders will do the right thing if we just cover our eyes and ignore them?

I have very little patience for that level of willful stupidity, especially as it comes from someone who ought to know better.

The best thing, Mr. Diplomat, is transparency. You know what stops wars? Seeing little girls burnt by napalm. Seeing helicopters pilots shooting up vans full of Iraqi children. Seeing East Timorese slaughtered and executed by the tens of thousands (which, you'll note was not prevented by our diplomatic cables).

Would I prefer to trust the Internet or the government?

I think you know the answer.

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