Monday, August 07, 2006

Mr. Harper's Big Adventure

It's about time the Canadian PM took another flyer to Kandahar.

Last week's loss of 6 servicemen to the War against the Taliban, and the wounding of a number of others points up the fact that Canada has well and truly got itself into a shooting war - American style.

The unequivocal support for Israel's 'right' to defend itself is a page right out of the neo-con's world view. Israel has a right to defend itself but all-too-often the perceived threats are imagined, more than real. Pre-emption has been a constant basis for Israeli action and the notion of the 'big-stick-beating' outweighs the surgical approach, especially with Arab neighbours. Added to this is a shreiking sense of paranoia and a willingness to believe in, and act on, worst case scenarios - all with scant, or no, evidence. "Hit Hard" is an Israeli password. The typical right-wing approach to any problem is to hammer it, physically, or with a barrage of bullshit.

That there is a symbiotic relationsip between the USA and the State of Israel is a fact of life in the modern world. Jewish members of the armed forces of the two are at entire liberty to belong to those of the other. The US administration is raddled with Jewish personnel, if not actual dual-citizens. If you've been watching TV coverage of the situation, you might have noticed how many Israeli 'spokespeople' speak with a north american accent. Israel and America share the sentiment that they are main defenders of the ramparts of freedom against the onslaught of the 'terrorists' they identify and the Islamofascists they define. They are both in deep denial of any element of causality ascribed to them. They are thoroughly modern in playing the 'victim's blame game'.

Canada has never had a particular bent toward extremes, but we have historically been affected by the elephant abutting us. The 'commie' scare of the fifties was felt here as well, the cold war as fought out on Canadian territory. Of course the economic vagaries of the US reverberate here, amplified. But while we've shared in these sensations, there has always been the basic notion that we are separate and distinct. Mr Harper's on his way to changing that. He'd like to see the economies even more intermeshed than they are. His political outlook is more attuned to that of the current US administration than ever before. That might not be a problem if it weren't for the fact that the current administration is basically chaotic in orientation and, possibly, evil in outlook. American domestic and foreign policies are antithetical to the style Canada has developed. Mr. Harper has neither sought, or receieved, a mandate to align and involve Canada as he has.

It is a good thing that Canada's military is gung-ho in its desire to execute government policy. It is good that Canadians, by and large, support their service personnel. It remains to be seen if the Canadian public is willing to support the cost in treasure, and in lives, of an adventure in democracy on the far side of the world and which holds little meaning for our country.

Mr. Harper has certainly shone a brighter light on Canadian Forces and he has been notable in being seen to be supporting them himself. There is a 'change-over' in personnel going on now which will give him another 6 months before some of our soldiers will be looking at a second anti-Taliban posting. He might want to visit the troops now, rather than waiting for the end of their rotation. Risking a shelling at Kandahar might be an enlightenment for him, if the situation gets worse in the future.

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