Letter: Harper’s War

In the 1960’s, politicians in the US decided that they were in great danger from a conflict between the Vietnamese. To “protect” the US, they began to send “military advisors” into Vietnam. When those “advisors” didn’t accomplish anything, they began sending troops, first hundreds, then thousands, and they expanded their bombing from Vietnam into neighboring countries where the enemies were “escaping to”.

To get support for the war, the US government told the public that America faced a great threat at home from the Vietnamese conflict. Most of the public bought it. They waved flags and were happy to see the US standing up to stop Communism, which they were told would soon be at their doorsteps if something wasn’t done to stop it, thousands of miles away.

The patriotic cheering began to slow when the corpses of thousands of young Americans began to return home in body bags. At this point the US government was faced with a problem: How could it untangle itself from the un-winnable war without making themselves look like liars and “quitters” on that “Big Threat to America.” A policy of honesty and reality would loose votes for those in power, so the war dragged on and on, causing the deaths of more and more people.

Politicians know that they can gain a lot of popular support by convincing the voters that they are in danger, then talking tough, and acting like they are doing something to protect them. Stephen Harper’s plan to run his re-election on his management of the economy, was de-railed when his petro-dreams went bust. He needed to find something else to hang it on, plus something to distract voters from the worsening economy.

Sending “advisors” and fighter jets and to “degrade” (now they are saying, “defeat”) ISIS sounds fine, as long as people don’t think too deeply or rationally about it, and it makes Harper look like he is doing something to a despicable group that every one hates.

Luckily for him, a few fanatical Muslim extremists, who wanted to join ISIS, in frustration with Canada’s role in the Middle East, did kill some Canadians, and ISIS’s continuing horrific publicity stunts do upset all decent human beings. Harper took advantage of the incidents, telling Canadians that by killing fanatical Muslims over there, will prevent them from killing us here. He became a tough talking “Warrior Leader” and his poll numbers rose.

Some lessons were learned from the US’s disaster in Vietnam, like: Don’t send ground troops into situations where many might be killed. (It quickly makes you loose support for your adventurism.) But one lesson that Harper apparently failed to learn is don’t get yourself involved in wars that can’t be won.

Despite Harper’s attempt to paint the Middle East in colors of black and white, the reality is, it is a snake pit of different religions, tribes, ethnic groups, and countries, all of which have competing goals. While some of them might welcome Canada’s help (thinking it will help to achieve their own agendas of power) secretly they don’t really care about us and probably detest us and our heathen values and lifestyles. Canada is now fighting on the same side as with Syria’s Assad (a war criminal), Iran, and Hezbollah. They are the ones that will really benefit from Canada’s actions.

It was Canada’s Middle East involvement that has caused the Muslim extremist threat in this country in the first place. By Harper’s warrior actions, we are not preventing danger to this country, we are increasing it.

Even if Canada managed to kill all of the ISIS fanatics in Iraq and Syria, we would still not be safer, but would be put more at risk, by all those who would see our actions as “against Allah” and the “Paradise” those fanatics wish to establish. They will seek revenge on Canadians and martyrdom because of Harper’s action.

A hundred years from now, Harper’s military adventurism will look the same way Canada’s involvement in the Boer War looks today—just a useless waste of Canadian lives.

David Marchant
McBride