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Saturday, July 23, 2005

Re: Canada's Troops Head for Battle, Commentary by Annamarie

I have just finished reading in today's (Saturday, July 23) Toronto Star that a contingent of Canadian troops will be heading for Afghanistan, this time for the trouble-spot of the Kandahar region, to fight the insurgency there. Come October, Canada's military mission in Kabul will be wound down and troops transferred to Kandahar, with the addition of 250 troops. By February 2006, Canada will have 1,500 troops taking command of the southern region.

I am incensed by this decision of our government, especially Defence Minister Bill Graham. While I realise that the violence there has escalated, I can see no reason why Canada should be involved in ongoing combat. The "War on Terror" on Afghanistan's soil was the U.S. government's retaliatory answer to the tragic events of 9/11. I have no problem with finding the perpetrators of that tragedy but I fail to see the logic behind a long, drawn-out war, and Canada's role in it. After several years of troops and fighting in Afghanistan, nothing has been accomplished in the way of being any closer to Osama bin-Laden and his Al Queda cohorts. The Taliban was not vanquished that is why more troops are needed. If anything, the situation is worse, and between the warlords and Taliban, the opium trade is flourishing better than ever. However, listening to the Bush administration's spin, things have "improved" and "are continually improving" in that desolate land. That empty rhetoric begs the question: "Why are more troops needed if the situation is improving?" And if the situation is worsening, why are we not told in so many words? Are we such imbeciles that we need to be placated?

According to Bill Graham, Canada "couldn't walk away from the Afghanistan mission". Why not? Ostensibly, our troops there are to bolster Canada's presence by a 250-troop "reconstruction team", swelling to 1,500 troops in all by next February. Is this truly a "reconstruction team" or in reality more fighters to aid the U.S. efforts, which are already greatly extended due to Bush's failed, unjust War on Iraq? Mr. Graham also cited that this new mission will boost Canada's relations with the U.S. Why do we need kudos from the U.S.? Canada is a sovereign country, NOT another U.S. state.

A genuine "reconstruction mission" is understandable, for much of Afghanistan is still rubble after the U.S. bombings a few years ago. But combat? Appeasing the Bush administration is definitely not worth our soldiers' lives. The billions of U.S. dollars being spent - much of it mismanaged - on futile efforts in Iraq could have been used to help Afghani farmers grow viable crops instead of having to depend on cultivating opium for their livelihood. George W. Bush attacked two countries during the first term of his presidency. Both of those countries are terribly failed states, his quagmired 'legacies'. Canada must not be complicit in these crimes against humanity.

The Americans are stretched thin by the their unwarranted, illegal invasion of Iraq while new recruit levels have reached all-time lows. Bush and his neocons should have thought about finishing their mission in Afghanistan before invading a sovereign country - Iraq - under false pretenses. They should never have invaded a country which posed them no threat. Spreading U.S. imperialism in the guise of "democracy" is a policy that only Bush's sycophants and the neutered commercial, corporate "mainstream" media believe. The rest of the world know it's all about 'black gold': oil. Anyone who has doubts about this, please read Canadian writer-political commentator Linda McQuaig's 2004 book, "It's the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet", published by Doubleday Canada. It is definitely an eye-opener!

Go to original:The Toronto Star

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