Saturday, January 26, 2008

Wanting Their Cake and Eating it Too.

From the CBC...

"Demonstrators gathered outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington Friday to demand protection for U.S. soldiers who seek refuge north of the border to avoid deployment to Iraq.
A group of about 50 American veterans of the Iraq war and their supporters said they want the Canadian government to provide sanctuary to men and women trying to escape military commitments in the U.S."

As a former soldier in the Canadian military I have to oppose this request. If you join the military you should be prepared to go wherever you are sent. The history of US military deployments should have been enough to prevent these people from joining in the first place. If you want to choose which conflicts you engage in, become a mercenary. It is not an a la carte situation.

I am sure that the American soldiers are happy to be rid of these cowards. I would be. A soldier needs to be able to count on his fellow soldiers to watch his or her back. A soldier that is prepared to run away because he or she does not like the conflict they are sent to has no business being in the military in the first place.

I am also not sure why these people think it is the job of Canada to offer sanctuary to soldiers who refuse their deployments. We might not support the invasion of Iraq, but that does not mean we are going to oppose the US government to protect people who are willing to abandon their oaths. I think some Americans have a misguided idea as to what Canada is all about. We do not want to become the dumping ground for people who do not like their home country.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Is This What We Are Fighting FOR?

From the CBC...

"An Afghan court on Tuesday sentenced a 23-year-old journalism student to death for distributing a paper he printed off the Internet that three judges said violated the tenets of Islam."

Apparently freedom in Afghanistan, the freedom we are being killed to create, means those who insult Islam must die. That is not the freedom I support. I have no problem with Islam, but I do feel people, especially Muslims, should have the right to criticize how the religion is practiced. Has anything really changed in Afghanistan? Are the current rulers any better than the Taliban? Not from what I can see.

I hope that the USA and its' allies use their newfound influence over that nation to push them to reconsider this punishment, and whether what was done is even a crime. Should they refuse I think we should pull all of our troops out of the region. Is this why 78 Canadian soldiers have died so far? To protect bigotry?

I certainly do not believe that we should be dictating to the Afghans how to run their country, but at the same time I do not believe we should be over there protecting them just so that they can murder people who have different opinions than the government. And that is really what we are talking about here, an opinion, something someone wrote.

Canada should especially take umbridge to this. Canada does not have a death penalty, and does not support a death penalty. Why are our soldiers dying to protect a government that is so opposed to our values? It is time for Canadians to call this one quits and come back home where they belong. We are peacekeepers, not defenders of evil.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Freedom of Religion, As Long as it is Christianity

There is an email circulating the web these days which claims that Obama is Muslim, and this is reason enough as to why he should not be President. I personally think he should not be President because of his lack of experience. Being Muslim is NOT a reason. I find this sort of attack troubling, because at the heart of it is bigotry and hatred.

When Al Qaeada claims that the USA is at war with all of Islam, emails like these only help their cause. I assume that AQ surfs the web looking for ammunition, and you can bet that they pass on this email and the many comments that are generated from it. This, in turn, helps their recruitment efforts. The USA is finding it difficult to meet their military recruitment goals, while AQ grows by leaps and bounds. I recall that shortly after 9/11 the US government said there were about twenty thousand AQ operatives around the world. The number of AQ operatives killed in Afghanistan and Iraq has surpassed this number a while ago, yet the killing continues. Clearly AQ has been gaining many new recruits while the US has difficulty keeping its' numbers up.

Furthermore, the USA claims it has freedom of religion. Is this merely a code phrase for freedom to be Christian? Even being Christian is not good enough. Ask Mitt Romney, who has to defend his entire faith, which is frequently called a "cult" by the religious right (wing). Is Christianity a religion about dividing people? It sure seems to be if the evangelicals represent that religion. I do not believe they do, however. I think they are a radical fringe of Christianity, the same way that AQ and its' supporters are a radical fringe of Islam. Had these same people been born in an Islamic nation I am certain they would be part of AQ.

There are nearly a billion Muslims in the world, the vast majority of them being moderates. If America cannot distinguish between the radical fringe and the moderate majority, it is a nation in dire trouble. Not only will it create more enemies than it can deal with, but turn off its' allies.

Obama has come forward to say that he is not Muslim, but a Christian, and has attended the same church for 20 years. It is sad that he has to waste the little airtime he gets pointing this out. Even if he were Muslim, it should not matter. In fact, what better way to defeat AQ than by putting a Muslim in the White House. It would counteract their recruiting efforts. Instead the USA plays into the hands of AQ.

It is time that the USA grew up and discredited those who think that being a Muslim is a bad thing. It is time to show the world that those with such bigotry are a tiny minority in the USA...unless of course they are the majority. If that is the case it is time the USA collapsed.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

There is a Surge in my pants!

It amazes me how short people's memories are. Every news source I turn to these days talks about how the "surge" in Iraq is working, how victory cannot be far away. Are these people daft? No one seems to remember what the purpose of the "surge" is. It certainly was not simply the reduction in levels of violence in Iraq from Beyond Imagination to Horrific. The reduction in violence, which is only temporary (and still quite high), was a prelude to the Iraqi government cooperating and working together to get Iraq back on track. That has not happened. The government still fails to work together to govern the country as a single entity. There are three distinct groups that refuse to work together, and are merely biding their time until the US pulls out and they can finally resolve their mutual dillema.

Neither the Shiite nor the Sunni nor the Kurds trust each other. It took an iron-fisted dictator like Saddam Hussein to keep them in line. Neighbouring states have an incentive to keep Iraq in chaos. They do not fear that the violence will spill over their borders. They fear a unified Iraq. A unified Iraq took on a country three times its' size (Iran) for almost a decade, and was not defeated by that greater force. A unified Iraq took out Kuwait in as little time as it took the US to take out Iraqi government. These neighbours will continue to oppose (in their hearts) a unified Iraq, and will continue to be obstacles to that goal. Internal and external forces are operating against the US mission working, and the US has squandered its' resources in a pointless war. No longer is their talk of the US fighting two major wars at once. The US cannot even handle a tiny country like Iraq (with approximately 20 million people). Iraq is smaller than Canada in population.

So to those who keep saying that the "surge" is working in Iraq, I say it is not and challenge them to show how the Iraqi government is finally working together.

That was the original point of the "surge" after all.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Welcome to Veritas Realpolitik

My wife tells me that my prose is liquid gold and that I should write a blog. I used to have one (before the term "blog" appeared), but then allowed it to disappear. I have decided to create a new blog, which will largely focus on geopolitics and the American system. Although I am Canadian, I have been living in the USA for over a decade now. I will always be a Canadian, and no amount of time in the USA could ever change that. I also lived in Japan for a year, a country with which I have an intense fascination.

I should have started writing this before the US invasion of Iraq. Then my many predictions which have come true would have been dated and available for all the naysayers out there. As a good Canadian I am most definately a Liberal (not the party, the ideology), and as a history teacher I have a solid background from which to draw analogies. It is too late to predict a US failure in Iraq, which would lead to a general weakening of the USA. At this point people could honestly say it is nothing more than 20/20 hindsight.

Let me begin my first blog entry with a few predictions;

1) China will be the next Superpower by the year 2020.
2) In the year 2020 (or nearabout) the world's supply of oil will hit critical levels, and begin a downward spiral that will not stop until an alternate fuel source can be discovered.
3) The Democrats will win the 2008 election, but because Bush left them so many problems to deal with, which they will be incapable of resolving, the Republicans will win the 2012 election.
4) Iran will become a much stronger nation because of the US failure in Iraq.
5) The Kurds will fail to create a homeland because of their support of terrorism to achieve their objective.
6) European countries will break apart into smaller units in the next few decades, specifically Spain, Britain, and Belgium.
7) The USA will lose its Superpower title by 2030.
8) The US economy, fraught by corruption, will continue its' swing from recession to recovery every 5 years or so, until such a time as their government actually uses foresight to prevent the foreseeable corporate problems that it has thus far ignored.