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Palestine Chronicle: Jim Miles: Canadian Militarism on the Rise

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tuvor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:17 AM
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Palestine Chronicle: Jim Miles: Canadian Militarism on the Rise
I had dialogues with several Canadian Members of Parliament who seem to honestly appear to believe the rhetoric about rebuilding Afghanistan.

Militarism is defined as being the undue prevalence of military spirit and ideals. It includes not only the positively presented recruitment and training ads that tell a wonderful story about finding yourself and your career, it also includes the underlying sombre tones of manly death and honour, with flags flying at half mast. It derives also from the government and its presentation of their glorious role on the world stage and the good deeds they are attempting to do at the giving end of the gun barrel. Even more so it comes from the media, and while the media pretends to be unbiased, the bias is evident in the selection and presentation of news whether it be good news or bad news.

The media in Canada presents the war as one of Canadian altruism in helping the Afghanistan people, speaking fine rhetorical flourishes that would warm the hearts of anyone not actually having to receive this help which most directly comes from a gun barrel and very little of which arrives in the form of civic control and civic infrastructure. Admittedly the NATO forces are facing an implacable opponent but that itself should cause concern about the understanding of the history of the area that has not been honestly reported by the media or the government.

Global National, the largest part of Canadas limited media groups, is currently running a series on the Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Their news channels regularly emphasize the solemnity and pomp and circumstance surrounding the deaths of Canadian soldiers killed in action. The glorification of the military deaths, the rhetoric about all the good Canadians are doing in Afghanistan even though the military says we are tied in their evaluation of combat against the Taliban and in spite of their claims to have won the battle in Panjwayi district has had the understandable result of increasing support for the Canadian effort, even as the Taliban return to attack more troops. The crying widows, the sad faces of the uncomprehending children are all destined to tear at our hearts and invoke sympathy and unity towards the Canadian cause in Afghanistan. Certainly I have a great deal of sympathy for the mothers, wives, and children of soldiers who have given their lives for our freedomsorry, Afghani freedombut I also have a great deal of sympathy for all mothers, wives, and children globally who have suffered the torments imposed on them by any militaristic culture.

The local newspapers cannot supply the martial music or the sombre throat clenching grief of the survivors but they do their part in increasing the militarism of Canadian society. The Globe and Mail, a neo-liberal Canadian paper, presents front page spreads that glorify the war, most recently a photo with a Star Wars framework, from the belly of a transport plane loading in another flag wrapped dead body with the military standing in honour on the tarmac in behind. It would make George Lucas proud.

The government itself, under Stephen Harper, has chosen to act like a mini Republican camp, saying it will not cut and run (which is exactly what the U.S. did after helping he mujahideen beat the Soviets, leading directly to the rise of the Taliban), and that it will honour its commitments (presumably right or wrong). It further tells Canadians to honour its troops, but government comments about unity and honour are their best way to inculcate (rather than educate) the public with the militaristic honour that allows no defiance nor counter arguments or presentations. It is a convenient way for the government to deny any opposition on the patriotic front. Harper is being a bit more subtle than Bush, not directly invoking god and evil in his rhetoric - although from his background and unless he has become a recidivist fundamentalist religion is known to be an important factor. The government is also hinting that it wishes to support the American missile defence system and other American military initiatives that lead to further global militarization. Other arguments abound about Canada taking its rightful place in the world, of improving its position within the western powers - to my mind appearing to be to the side of and about ten paces behind American foreign policy.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Oct-09-06 11:58 AM
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1. Read this article!
The description here of the militarization of Canadian culture is spot on.

Not sure I agree with the proposition that American hegemony in the region is based primarily on Imperial economic and trade ambitions (I think its mostly about fear, ideology and security, with economic goals being cmplementary) but that is just nuance.

In paricula, the description of what constitutes cultural miltarization is quite astute. And sadly, it describes exacly what is happening in Canada.

- B
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MrPrax Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Oct-10-06 11:07 AM
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2. Good piece...
It's good to read someone that sees the picture.

Miles points out the part that pisses me off -- the warmongers merely have to stick to the script of 'reconstruction' without ever having to explain whether it will work...nutbars like Hiller, O'Connor, Harper, Iggy, etc are either liars or simply so deluded to the point even the history of the last fifty years have escaped them.

Where has this ever worked? We at the moment are 'reconstructing' Haiti...we already reconstructed them back in the late 80s when Duvelier was deposed. This 'game plan' of occupation, uprooting tradtional society and imposing a pro-western government doesn't work.

Canada will face it's 'Saigon Embassy' moment soon enough as will the rest in Afghanistan and it will end up hurting Canada's long-term global image as well as getting our guys killed for a military action that has nothing to do with defending this country.

(Early prediction; Everyone knows Afghanistan is a lost cause, so NATO can use the US planned attack of Iran to shuffle the troops and mission -- goodbye Afghanistan, hello Iranian border and the New Threat...the Taliban hate the Iranians so we will negotiate with them in the end to secure our backs and they will become our allies fighting 'terrorism'-- again. There will be another '9/11' hoax and this time it will be blamed as retaliation by Iran for the attack on their nuclear/defense installation)
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