Thursday, February 19, 2009

Afghanistan

OK, I always need to wrap my brain around how to deal with the issue of Afghanistan as I am a pacifist. I am enough of a pacifist that I will not buy a federal government savings bond because that money will in part fund the military. To me I can not reconcile killing humans with remaining true to my faith as a Quaker.

That said, I do still live in this world and I enjoy the luxury of not having my faith tested in real terms as I would in other places such as Afghanistan.

I found out this week that an old university friend is now a Canadian Forces Chaplain. I have no idea if he will be posted to Afghanistan, but he has an interesting blog called the Mad Padre. He is also the person I know with the driest humour ever, he would make Aki Kaurismäki look like the king of slapstick.

He has had some interesting posts about the deaths of the Canadians in Afghanistan.

Canada and NATO involvement in Afghanistan is very different than the involvement of foreign troops in the country. This is the first time someone has come into the country to defend the people from human rights abuses and to allow a civil society to be built. The posts at the Canada-Afghanistan Blog and at Terry Glavin's Blog are showing the sort of real change that is happening on the ground.

To condemn our involvement in Afghanistan is to condemn the use of military for the defense of basic human rights. If there is such a thing as a just war, it is the one in Afghanistan. I can not condemn and I can not support and remain in a limbo.

Interestingly, the left in Canada that has so loved Obama, is not pushing for Canada to help him in his quest to build a democratic, just and civil society in Afghanistan. I suspect the left in Canada will soon condemn the core of the Obama/Democratic global foreign policy.

To leave now would be to admit defeat in the face of fascism. Admitting defeat in Afghanistan will not only destroy hope there, but in many countries in the world where fascism is on the rise, places like Iran and Sudan.

I believe that the opposition to the war in Afghanistan is easy in Canada because most people they are a bunch of illiterate, brown skinned, tribal zealots that are "not like us". I remember on September 11th 2001 pointing out to people that mass deaths are common in the world and happen on a 9/11 scale once a month. The response I got from Canadians is "they are not like us".

I do not understand how any person in Canada that believes in the existence of the military and supports humans rights does not support the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. There is a global conflict between fascism/totalitarianism and human rights/democracy.
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