Saturday, March 27, 2010

Historians Behaving Badly

The latest is David Bercuson, who wrote a howler recently. About how stephen harper can get out of his own supposedly ill-advised promise to get Canada out of the Afghanistan nightmare by 2011. It's called "This U.S. plea is a [h]arper saver."

The United States, according to The Globe and Mail, is going to ask Canada to retain some 600 soldiers in Kabul to help train Afghan National Army troops after the Canadian mission in Kandahar ends next year. If this comes to pass, it will give Stephen Harper a way out of his rash promise – made during the 2008 election – to leave Afghanistan completely.

It also will force Parliament to have a very significant debate over Canada's role in Afghanistan. And it will force the Liberal Party – Canada's other national governing party – to choose between a foreign and defence policy made primarily by former NDP premiers and one that puts the Liberals back where they belong, in the political centre.

OMFG!! Foreign and defence policy made by former NDP premiers!!! EEK! As opposed to what? Some slimy born and bred Liberal continentalists? And what the fuck is the political centre when a majority of Canadians reject "the mission" (tm.)? I'd pay to watch the crazy movie in Bercuson's head that plays when he imagines the "significant" Parliamentary debate that will occur as we consider kissing the USA's ass for another 5-50 years in Afghanistan. (Although I suspect I'd want to try to drink it out of my memory afterwards.)

Bercuson continues to babble thusly:

The Prime Minister is now in a box of his own making because the Americans are not happy with Canada's intent. A complete Canadian withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011 will be read in Washington as abandonment of the U.S. in the midst of a war and abandonment of NATO. If Canada pulls out of Afghanistan entirely next year, it won't matter how many Canadians have been killed there. In Washington, history is nothing more than a rationale to be used to make or break policy; history does not substitute for politics.

A Canadian government that leaves Afghanistan in the middle of a fight will find very few friends in the State Department, the Defence Department, the White House or on Capitol Hill.

How about this David? We got sweet dick-all from the USians for having gone into Afghanistan (except for getting mocked on FAUX-News for having a wimpy military) and harper won't get anything from Obama because Obama hates harper for having leaked Obama's assurances to Canada that he was lying to those Pennsylvania workers about revisiting NAFTA.

And how about this David? We've bled billions of dollars in Afghanistan. We've lost over a one-hundred and forty Canadian soldiers. We've committed war-crimes. We've disgraced ourselves to curry favour with an imperialist super-power by helping prop-up a corrupt, narco-state of torturers, rapists and murderers. Does any of that resonate with you Davie-boy? (If not, then you're a useless fuck-up.)

And what's David scared of anyway? That the USians will stop buying our oil? That the USians will cut-off all trade with one of their biggest trading partners if we make a respectful exit after 10 years of slaughter? Well, fuck them if that's the case. And it won't be. Reality being what it is and all.

More bad craziness:

After all, few Canadians can have much of an argument about one last parliamentary debate on Afghanistan. In fact, many might believe it would be right and proper to have such a discussion before Canada quits the fifth most costly military mission in our history.

Maybe we should have had genuine debates before we got into this mess. This "fifth most costly military mission in our history." Maybe we should have them now, except shit-ass harper refuses to on grounds of "national security." But when I hear David talking like this, I'm thinking he imagines that there's something to be gained by him and his ilk trotting out all the stale, moronic rationalizations that have animated them for so long, as if that will somehow change the minds of the sane majority in this country who never bought into all the lies in the first place.

In any such debate, Michael Ignatieff can only lose. He has effectively allowed the Liberals' foreign and defence policy to be captured by Bob Rae and Ujjal Dosanjh. These two men – and the small but highly vocal left wing of the Liberal Party – simply don't see the world the way Liberal centrists such as Paul Martin, Bill Graham and John Manley do. Thus Mr. Ignatieff would have to cope with a nasty split in Liberal ranks.

Again with this "centre." David, David. Define what the "centre" is. 60% of the country hates "the mission." Where is the "centre" in this vague concept that's circling around inside your empty skull? Slavish devotion to the USians is the "centre" between an independent foreign policy and some form of Anschluss?

Washington may well have weighed the political importance of keeping Canada involved in Afghanistan against Mr. Ignatieff's neck and decided to sharpen the axe. But it will be up to Mr. Harper to swing it or not.

It's funny. When these right-wing historians turned political geniuses talk about Canada-USA relations, they switch back-and-forth between deriding our influence and importance to the USA and imagining all sorts of detailed strategic considerations on their part regarding us.

At the end of the day, the trucks will continue to go across the border, plane travel will continue to be stupid, and they'll add their dumb-ass security precautions no matter what we do. Sort of like how all the sacrifices we've made in Afghanistan have counted for nothing with the USians up to now. If we leave, they'll hardly notice really.


900ft Jesus said...

good one.

I am so sick of that pathetic nonsense that all those deaths will have been for nothing if we pull out now. How many more deaths, then, are needed to give those ones meaning? At which point will the cost be judged too high?

We shouldn't be there, militarily.

Anonymous said...

Afghans in the Uruzgan province have asked the Dutch not to leave their province by presenting them with a petition. In a document given to Radio Netherlands Worldwide, the Afghans praise the Dutch for building and restoring "bridges, schools and medical centers". As far as RNW knows, this is the first time Afghans have used this way of asking foreign troops to stay.

Now I wonder who put the Afghans up to that?

Alison said...

David Bercuson
Director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, recipient of $780,000 grant for fiscal years 2006/07 to 2010/11 inclusive from the Dept of National Defence for "publishing activities related to security and defence issues; and conduct outreach activities with the Canadian public, the DND and CF, and Parliament about security and defence issues."

Also Director of the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute lobby group, corporate donor - General Dynamics, world's 6th largest defence contractor.

Alison said...

According to Steve Staples of the Rideau Institute, U of C's Centre for Military and Strategic Studies is one of 12 university programs funded by the Department of National defence to "churn out 6oo articles a year which have to toe “a particular view” that subscribes to larger spending on the military."
“It’s not about scholarly journals, peer reviewed articles that they have written—it’s really about appearing in the mainstream media. What you tend to get as a general trend, is a steady stream of hawkish opinion from academics that are all linked together through Department of National Defence funding,” says Mr. Staples.

Embassy Mag, 2007