Little Fish in a Giant pond

Friday, July 06, 2007

I hope I can be forgiven, but this cartoon (which I clipped from today's edition of the London Free Press) was just too good not to share. Like most political cartoons, I find it to be a rather obvious over-simplification of the matter, but to be honest, I don't think it is terribly far from the truth.

The recent news of Canada's six latest combat deaths has only increased the cries for Canada's withdrawal from Afghanistan. To be perfectly fair, Mr. Layton and the NDP are not alone however, as far as I can tell Layton is the only one calling for Canada's immediate withdrawal. The Liberals are simply demanding that Canada's mission not be extended past 2009, to which we have already committed (Click Here for details). But even then, the Liberal leader may still leave the door open for Canadian soldiers to continue serving in less volatile areas of Afghanistan and/or in more of a supportive role rather than the combat role they are now playing.

Let us not forget that just a few months ago, the NDP actually teamed up with the Conservatives to vote down a Liberal motion in the House of Commons urging the government to give notice to NATO that it would not be extending the mission past 2009. Why the unlikely alliance? Because it did not call for the immediate withdrawal of all troops.

Now don't get me wrong, if Jack Layton feels that Canadian soldiers are getting killed needlessly it is his duty to speak up, but it kind of bothers me that this may just be sending the wrong message to the enemy. Since Mr. Layton's cries seem to be loudest whenever there is a Canadian death in Afghanistan, the message he appears to be sending is that if enough Canadians are killed, sooner or later we will give in.

Mr. Layton is also quick to point out that "Students of history will know that all major conflicts are resolved, ultimately, through peace-oriented discussions. . . . And that's what needs to happen here." (click Here for details) Well as it just so happens I am somewhat of a student of history and I have news for him. British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain held some rather interesting peace-oriented discussions with his German counterpart Adolph Hitler. It may surprise Mr. Layton to learn that although these negotiations appeared to assure that "there will be peace in our time" (according to Chamberlain's famously ironic words), ultimately they did not go so well, and the Munich Pact failed.

Mr. Layton was right about one thing though, ULTIMATELY the ensuing conflict between the Axis countries (Germany, Italy and Japan) and the Allies (the U.S.A., The Soviet Union, and the British Commonwealth countries) was ended through peace-oriented discussions. Unfortunately what he seems to have failed to realize is that the Axis did not seem too interested in peace until we started starving their populations by blockading their ports, carpeting their cities with firebombs, and slowly but surely defeating and eliminating their armies in the field. Japan did not surrender until the allies dropped not one but two atomic bombs on them! The Germans fought on even as Soviet troops and allied bombers leveled their capital city!

Need a more recent event? No problem. The 1973 Treaty of Paris was signed by the Americans and the North Vietnamese (among others) in an effort to end the Vietnam War. The idea was to effectively turn Vietnam into another Korea. A seemingly perpetually divided country, split between communists and capitalists. It seems that the Communists had other ideas, as they invaded yet again in 1974 (unsuccessfully) and then again in 1975, only this time the Americans had ultimately had enough. The Canadian navy was sent to South-Central Asia to mop up the humanitarian catastrophe and rescue the "Boat People" as they fled the new communist regime.
I am not trying to say that we need to resort to World War II tactics of bombing cities and starving countries. The only point I am trying to make here is that during any conflict, either side is likely to score a victory every now and then, or at the very least manage to inflict casualties. I can even see his point that if we are taking casualties in a war that we should not be fighting, we probably should withdraw immediately, but this country's elected body has already voted on staying until 2009. The fact that we have taken casualties since then has not changed this. It is not as if we are fighting against a group of innocent kittens here.
We should not be pulling out of Afghanistan because of the rising body count, and we should not be fooled into insincere negotiations. If World War II taught us anything, it is that the only negotiations for peace that can be counted upon, are those in which our enemies have a very strong interest vested in obtaining peace, and that a defeated enemy is much easier to negotiate with.


  • I can agree with you on this one Brian. Knowing a buddy of mine was part of the six latest casualties in Afghanistan, it would certainly prove that their lives were meaningless if we pull our troops immediately.

    By Blogger Léo Bourdon, at 1:46 AM  

  • Disagree.
    Pulling our troops out the moment our commitment ends will be the only sign of sanity to the whole affair.
    The notion that there is dis-honor in removing our country from a war that most Americans now dissaprove of is simply a regurgitation of a media led propaganda campaign that insults basic intelligence.
    And who better than the Sun chain to warp reality to aid there 'man'. The Sun should stick to what they do best; participate in the sex trade.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:35 AM  

  • Interesting that Layton is horrified that Canada (Harper) would break an international commitment like Kyoto BUT it's OK to break the Afghanistan commitment.

    Tommy Douglas didn't want Canada to participate in fighting Hitler.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:42 AM  

  • Thanks Léo. I saw your posting about your buddy. I do not doubt that he will be greatly missed. We shall have to lift a glas in his honour when I get back to Ottawa.

    Annonymous #1, you seem to be arguing that we should stay until our commitment ends, but no longer.

    I for one was arguing that we should stay unti AT LEAST the end of our commitment. Once our commitment has expired, I would not be entirely upset if our troops took on a more supportive role for a while. There is a very legitimate and necessary need for combat operations in Afghanistan, but if we are taking a disproportionate amount of casualties, it may be time to move our troops to a less volatile region of the country (once our commitment is up), so that America or other NATO troops can step up to the plate for a while. But threatening to utterly abandon the mission should not be an option. Our soldiers have already sacrificed too much to just give up.

    By Blogger Fish, at 7:44 AM  

  • I am so sick of, when there is something about war, hitler hitler hitler, even though we had a part in the defeat of germany, thank be to russia, other wise england with be signing the good grace of the fuhrer right now. That said, layton, has its use, bringing the army home is the right thing to do, for the simple reason, we lost the hearts of the population, when we sided with the women and children killing values of the americans, even if we stay, and start building schools and hospitals, we will still be attacked because of it. layton might be explaining it wrong, but then the liberals at this moment have their heads in their asses, are trying to find a way to come up with a policy, until they do, the population of this country have no definate policie to follow. As for tommy douglas, lets not forget the bush family selling secrets to the nazies and the kenedys admiration for hitler, so on so on. Oh and stalins alliance with hitler, in invading poland, starting the second world war. the original comitment to afghanistan was to build and secure the country by giving them schools and hospitals, thats all gone, thanks to the harpy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:32 AM  

  • Easy does it Anonymous #3 (I'm assuming you are not one of those that commented before, though I really have no way of knowing).

    If you're so upset with my Hitler comparison, perhaps you should really be taking issue with Jack Layton, for making such a broad (and in my opinion inaccurate) generalization about how armed conflicts come to an end.

    It is always fun to discuss the Second World War, so I wil indilge you for a bit. I will conced one point to you. It was the Soviet Union who won that war. The British saved themselves (Hitler had to scrap his plans to invade the UK when the RAF proved to be too much for the Luftwaffe to destroy). And the Americans saved Western Europe... from the Soviets. It could also be argued that a Soviet victory would not have been possible without British/American Aid, as the Soviet Army was heavily supplied by her two largest allies. Without said supplies, they may not have been able to hold out long enough to turn the tide (though in my opinion Uncle Joe would have just kept choking the Wehrmacht with his seemingly endless suply of soldiers)

    You can hate the Americans all you want. But keep this in mind. The Americans and their allies have nothing to gain by killing Afghan civilians. They know that it will only make their job tougher. For this reason, they have a vested interest in keeping Afghan civilian casualties to a minimum (completely avoiding them is tragically unavoidable I'm afraid).

    "...even if we stay, and start building schools and hospitals, we will still be attacked because of it. " Now that's a brillian comment. I love the message you would have us send to the rest of the world. "Just kill enough of us and we'll stop trying to help those who need it most".

    By Blogger Fish, at 11:13 AM  

  • o31165nIt seems appropriate to the Afghanistan comparison that the soldiers in the cartoon are wearing American style helmets and battle dress, rather than that worn by the Canadians in Normandy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:48 PM  

  • Yeah, I noticed that too. Apparently the cartoonist has not spent nearly as much time in front of the History Channel as the rest of us!Good eye Grogey.

    Not really sure I'd call it appropriate, but it does go to show that you can't take political cartoons too seriously. On second thought, let's riot and make asses out of ourselves in front of the entire world!

    By Blogger Fish, at 1:30 PM  

  • Good post, but after talking to several people I know on the issue of Afganistan it's concerned me just how many people think that Canada is active in Iraq....I wanted to slam my head into a wall after people I have known for so long even mentioned that seriously makes me wonder how informed the Canadian public in general really is...

    By Anonymous Manuel, at 4:48 AM  

  • Now that is SCARY! lol

    To be fair, I am pretty sure that there are actually about a handful of Canadian Armed Forces personel in Iraq, fulfilling certain defence treaty obligations and things like that (but I could be mistaken). Still it doesn't sound like that was what your friends had in mind. Just sad.

    By Blogger Fish, at 9:54 AM  

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