So, all the comfortable, sheltered Canadians who are willing to embrace torture and the summary execution of prisoners, out of anger over the killing of Canadian soldiers whom they don't know personally,* think that they're justified because our enemies are "savages."
Supposedly, the people of Afghanistan, having lived through three decades of almost constant warfare, and through grinding poverty under brutal dictatorships, ... if any of these people turn out to be cruel killers, well there's no excuse for that.
We can embrace torture and killing at the drop of a hat while still holding on to the claim that we're "civilized." But if people living under far more brutal conditions do this, they're monsters whose extermination is self-evidently required.
The whole notion went bad in the comments section as "Reason" of the Canadian Forces took my post as a slag against himself and other Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan. But I'd like to re-visit this concept. I've just finished reading a book about the Paris Commune of 1871 which ended with the slaughter of between 15,000-25,000 Parisians. Most of the killings were carried out by the "forces of law and order" representing bourgeoise interests and they were carried out in retaliation (supposedly) for the murder of between 500-1,000 soldiers and hostages taken by the Commune. Just having read that and also recently thinking about the Tamil community's blocking of the Gardiner Expressway outside of Toronto in response to the Sri Lankan government's bombardment of the last refuge of the Tamil Tigers and their Tamil hostages brought me back to the ideas in that early post.
For one thing, both the example of the Paris Commune and the bloody violence of both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tigers, show how humans can descend into appalling cruelty quite quickly. We Canadians have, for the most part, never had to deal with these issues. Canada has for long been a peaceful country in which the majority of people enjoy ready access to the essentials of life and much, much more. This peace and prosperity has given some of us a sense of gratitude and a desire to protect, preserve and expand these blessings for ourselves and for the rest of the world. Then there are those who are cocooned in a blissful unreality, who believe that this state of affairs is mysteriously simply inherent to us either as human beings born within these lines of latitude and longitude, or out of some hocus-pocus of our political traditions. For these Canadians (let's call them "morons" or "blogging tories") we are simply better than these other people, these "savages," and whether this arises out of our genetic superiority or out of the political traditions that inferior, retrograde cultures can only attempt to emulate, the point is that nothing we can do will ever place us at the level of these inferiors.
Canadians of almost all stripes say that when you come to Canada you're supposed to leave your baggage from your homelands behind. We don't dwell in the past here in Canada. This has been the myth since the 1950s at the earliest. Before that there were simply too many fights between English and French and Catholic and Protestant to make that conceit even remotely true. Canadians have consistently tried to ignore their troublesome past when it comes to historical treaty obligations to the First Nations, so we were consistent on that point. But have we been consistent in ignoring the conflicts between other people in other lands? If so, then how do we explain our willingness to avenge the USA for the attacks of September 11th? Some Canadians were among those killed that day, but many of the Canadians crying for vengeance for those Canadians were less than concerned for Lebanese Canadians under Israeli bombardment in 2006.
The point is not many Canadians are immune to feeling tugs from issues in their countries of ancestry. It has always been thus.
The second point is that the smug condescension over the irrational, violent nature of others is unwarranted by those who practice it. For the most part it's these smug imbeciles who are labouring mightily to place us on the road to the sort of behaviour they condemn. Disregard for human rights? How many Blogging Tories supported and continue to support the overuse of Tasers by the police? Freedom of Speech? How many Blogging Tories support the free speech of anything other than nazis and Muslim-bashers? Human dignity? What's there respect for human dignity? Very selective I see. According to these vermin, our governments can capture people from anywhere in the world, far from any battlefront, call them "enemy combatants" in a "'War' on Terror" and deprive them of the right to face their accusers in court until such a time as a kangaroo court can be established to use their coerced testimony against them. If First Nations peoples mobilize after a century of theft and neglect and attempt to claim their legal rights, these fine "conservatives" shriek for the institutions of the police and the military to shut them up, shut them down and clear them out. This is their response to overwhelmingly peaceful protest campaigns. Imagine the slavering bloodlust that would be released if Canada's First Nations actually began to mimic the IRA or the Kosovar KLA or Kurdish or Tamil independence groups!
It is the work mainly of people on the left, "peaceniks," "bleeding-hearts" that keeps the Canadian political scene from descending into something like Iraq or Somalia. And much of our work consists of resisting the depraved impulses of these self-satisfied morons and fools.