Monday, March 20, 2006

With God on his side

It’s the third anniversary of the U.S. and British invasion of Iraq. (No, CNN, not the “three-year anniversary”.) The word quagmire seems appropriate: “a soft boggy or marshy area that gives way underfoot; a hazardous or awkward situation”. More specifically, the invasion forces in Iraq cannot win the war, which has become a constant military and economic drain on them, and withdrawal is likely just to make matters worse faster, at least from their point of view.

Civil war now rages in Iraq, even if it’s as yet of relatively low intensity. But Dubya insists that he sees light at the end of the tunnel. With the neo-con project of turning Iraq into a giant platform for U.S. domination of the Middle East in danger of being blown to smithereens by endless I.E.D.s planted by Sunni good ol’ boys, the U.S. administration is reduced to endless repetition of the mantra that we must fight the terrorists over there or else we’ll have to fight them over here. Never mind that Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and little to do with terrorism. And now Bush and company are cranking up the rhetoric about the imminent threat from Iran, just in time to ward off a Republican defeat in the upcoming November Congressional elections. The problem is that the U.S., having shot itself in the foot in Iraq, doesn’t have the capability to invade Iran. But air strikes are a real possibility, something that would have unpredictable and possibly dangerous consequences for the whole region. Having just reaffirmed his doctrine of pre-emptive war, and with an unshakeable faith that God is on his side, Bush is not likely to be deterred by common sense.

Meanwhile, the Harper government insists that Parliament should not debate Canada’s role in Afghanistan because that might undermine the morale of our troops there. How fragile does the P.M. think our soldiers’ psyches are, anyway? It’s true that Canadian forces in Afghanistan free up some U.S. forces for Iraq (though the numbers are not large), but there is a case for international intervention against the odious Taliban, religious zealots who assassinate school teachers for teaching girls to read and write. It is insulting not only to our troops but to the rest of the Canadian public to be told that the people’s elected representatives ought not to debate this issue.

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