All right. First off, here's what harper said about sending the Canadian Force's Special Operations teams to Iraq:
The forces will come from the Special Operations Regiment. No specifics were available on what type of work they'd be doing, but Harper has said the Canadian Forces deployed to Iraq won't be involved in combat.Okay?
harper got Parliament's permission to send fighter planes to launch air-strikes against ISIS in Iraq. he did not get permission to involve Canadian ground troops in combat. And yet, these "trainers" have been at the front lines, providing logistics for air-strikes. Which is "combat." They have been shooting at the enemy.
And now a Canadian soldier has died. Our idiotic defense minister, Jason Kenney, asserts that Sgt. Andrew Dorion was not at the front line, but 200 meters away.
You have to wonder if Kenney actually thinks there's a physical line drawn on the ground in Iraq, and if you're not standing immediately beside it, you're not not "at the front line."
War is a serious business, best kept out of the hands of overgrown boys and tormented closet-cases such as inhabit the Conservative Party of Canada. Because people die. I know a lot of people (especially "conservatives") are immune to the idea of war deaths, what with their having a dim understanding that tens of millions of people have died in major conflicts in the past. The problem is that they're not so sanguine when a single death strikes close to them. The way we all feel about the death of someone close to us is how we should feel about deaths caused by our government's policies. Or, at the very least, if we don't allow every person that we meet to have just one murder in their past ("Well, I did kill a guy in a bar once. He pissed me off." "Only one? That's understandable. You were probably drunk, and young and hot-headed. It happens.") then we shouldn't allow our governments to kill people.
Wars can get you mixed-up with bad company too. Especially with our idiot Conservatives and our evil, nut-bar ally, the USA. We've handed over people who were tortured, either by the US-Americans or by the Afghanistan prison system. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have desecrated our democratic pretensions under the pressures of war-time exigencies. Who, in this world, are we going to fight and die for? The vile government of Saudi Arabia? The Iraqi torture state? The Afghan narco-state? The fascists in the Ukraine? The death-squads of Colombia and Honduras? The Wall Street/oil industry/military-industrial complex cartel of the United States?
Wars destroy soldiers too. Imagine you were at a food court at a mall and someone started shooting. You'd drop to the floor in fear and try to find some sort of barrier to get behind. You'd cower on the floor trying to look inconspicuous, hoping that something will happen to make this horrible situation end. "Run away gunman!" "Run out of bullets gunman!" "Someone disable the gunman!" "Shoot someone else gunman, just not over here!"
Now imagine that you're traveling to the mall with the intention of finding a gunman and to engage him. You're in your car, or on the bus, or walking down the sidewalk. You've got a gun on you. And you're going to look for the gunman, while he's looking out for you, and you're going to engage him.
Stressful right? That is what I imagine being a soldier is like. You go to where bullets and bombs will be used, and you're not allowed to cower in safety, but instead you're supposed to advance and kill the people shooting at you. If you do kill people, it changes you. If you see your friends killed or maimed, it changes you. If you're successfully trained to hate and dehumanize the enemies, you're changed. Soldiers often do terrible things. They abuse and shoot prisoners. They rape. They come home and terrorize their families. In Somalia, our soldiers tortured a Somali teenager to death and then posed for pictures with his body. (Chretien held an inquiry but shut it down abruptly.) In Afghanistan, soldiers shot a wounded prisoner (ostensibly to end his suffering, but who knows?) and who knows what else. Oh yeah, ... a significant number of them commit suicide.
So, it's important when a country goes to war. In a democracy, there should be a majority consensus of the whole population, before CHOOSING to go to war. It should never be the case, in any country that pretends to be a democracy, that the government should feel entitled to insert our soldiers into a shooting war without consulting the people. Supporters of our fiasco in Afghanistan always lamented that we didn't have a full discussion before we went in, so that the case for our participation could have been made. (Implicit in this is the idiotic notion that the case could have been made in a full and frank discussion!) But here we have ourselves in Iraq, fighting beside brutal Shiite militias, and, apparently ("Gasp!") the Iranians, alongside a US-led coalition, against the fundamentalist Sunni monsters of ISIS/ISIL. (People who are neither ignorant or insane can only smile grimly in knowing that the military of Saudi Arabia is hardly involved in this, since ISIS/ISIL are their boys. This whole thing is a clusterfuck of cynicism, imperialism and delusion.) Enough Canadians have been herded into thinking that ISIS/ISIL is a threat to civilization itself, and that their atrocities are the worst things that have ever happened in the world (especially since information about our atrocities is generally suppressed and/or rationalized away) and that we have to do something.
Fine. But all harper got permission to do was contribute fighter-planes to conduct air-strikes. Later he dispatched ground forces to train the Kurds, explicitly stating that they would not be involved in combat.
Then, when reports came out that they were shooting at the enemy (supposedly in self-defense) while "training" at the front-line (and providing coordinates for air-strikes, i.e., "combat"), harper spat at his critics that of course "we" would shoot back and kill anyone who shot at us. (As opposed to running for a closet to hide in.) After that bit of drivel went over well with the brain-washed populace, we now find ourselves with a dead soldier. The poor, young sap apparently said in his high school year book that his ambition was to fight terrorism. Just like "American Sniper" Chris Kyle decided to avenge the Saudi attack on the USA by attacking Iraq. Terrorism armed, funded, by US allies, or engaged in as a reaction to US foreign policy. NOT some inexplicable hatred of our freedoms on the part of random evil-doers.
But when Thomas Mulcair stands in the House of Commons and asks what that soldier was doing at the front, when we were told our soldiers would not be engaged in combat at the front-line, what do we get in response? (Besides Jason Kenney's cretinous statement that he was all of 200 meters away from the front-line?)
We get morons or Conservative hacks accusing Mulcair of making "political hay" out of the soldier's death. (Did they ever say anything about harper, mackay's et.al. constant photo-opping with "the troops"? Especially at funerals and Remembrance Day ceremonies?)
Supposedly if an employee of the federal government gets killed on the job, the opposition is supposed to wait until after the funeral to ask about what happened. Supposedly the family cannot grieve if the opposition is trying to figure out why and how their loved one died.
Supposedly it's not an issue that our soldiers were sent to war without Parliament having been told and now they're dying.
One Canadian Forces soldier vented that Mulcair should shut the fuck up while the military mourned one of it's own. Because, oh yes, the CF is one big happy family. Every soldier is treated with dignity and respect. Every wounded soldier is well compensated for their sacrifice. And, obviously, this soldier knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that the dead soldier's family doesn't care what he was doing at the front, and identifies 1,000% with the clannishness of some members of the CF about those they choose to claim as their own.
For these people, it's not even an issue that our soldiers are sent into ground combat without a vote in Parliament!
I'm finding it difficult to convey my contempt for these idiots. I'm finding it difficult to convey the cretinism on display in their yammerings. I can't find the words to express my anger at the brazen stupidity and ignorance and hypocrisy these idiots reveal. I wish I didn't have to associate with this scum. Let them all find a fucking island where they can have their own little military dictatorship, where the cowardly, lying fuckwad stephen harper can disgrace and abuse them to their heart's content. I want nothing to do with this anti-democratic rabble.