Monday, January 24, 2011

Murray Dobbin: Canada in Afghanistan - the Big Lie

Our country's leaders are lying to themselves, to us and to the rest of the world. They implicate us in their lies, so, as Canadians, we become part of the big lie. If we refuse to swallow the lies or go along with them, we are called un-Canadian, unpatriotic or lovers of terrorists or terrorism. Just because lots of people sign on to the Big Lie doesn't make it true. Just because leaders of "democratic" governments skate over, ignore or refuse to see the illegality of their actions, it does not make them legal.

I always imagine Murray Dobbin standing on a mountaintop during a storm, calling out to Canadians to warn them of the danger they face - and very few can be bothered to listen.

Canada in Afghanistan - the Big Lie

Our tragic and pathetic Afghanistan adventure is a dramatic commentary on the state of Canadian politics and democracy. Despite all the evidence that continuing to stay in this benighted country is worse than pointless, despite the fact that the majority of Canadians want to get out sooner rather than later and despite the fact that even Stephen Harper recognizes that the Karzai regimen is one of the most repugnant and corrupt Canadians have ever been asked to support we are unable as a nation to extricate ourselves from this deadly mess.

In spite of all the blathering about the common sense of Canadians, politicians, except for New Democratic leader Jack Layton, who has never supported and does not support the Big Lie, do not listen to us. We are expected to pay up and shut up.

And our country is being ruined.

The Afghan war/occupation not only further corrupts and destroys Afghanistan; it corrupts Canadian politics by obliging everyone to be involved in a Big Lie. We have to lie about everything: the likelihood of improvement, the objectives of our partner, the US; the building of democracy, the role of oil and gas pipelines, the liberation of women, Afghanis’ attitude towards Canadian soldiers, our commitment to the Geneva Convention, and the story we tell Canadian soldiers about why they are there. Nothing but lies and everyone one of them corrosive of our political culture and international image.

Whistleblowers, whether they be diplomats like Richard Colvin, translators like Ahmadshah Malgarai, or members of JTF2, who report wrongdoing by members of the Canadian Armed Forces are ignored, bullied, or have their integrity or their motives questioned.

The legal maxim, "Cui bono?" or "Who benefited?" should indicate that a diplomat, translator or member of the armed forces is unlikely to advance his career if he exposes the wrongdoing of the government or military brass. Clearly the bureaucracies have much to lose if the truth is told and everything to gain if it is simply swept under the rug.

Dishonourable wars – and most are – dishonour everyone involved and make liars out of the most senior people justifying the conflict. This war is incredibly destructive not only of the country being attacked and occupied but it corrodes every Canadian institution involved: the military, the civil service, Parliament, political leaders, the media and those in academia recruited to supply justification for an unjustifiable war.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent piece which I will be linking myself.