Wednesday, May 24, 2006


Dear Prime Minister Harper,

This communication is a criticism of your recent commitment of Canadian troops to the American-lead military operation in Afghanistan. I will begin by reminding you that massive bombing raids associated with America’s “war on terrorism” in Afghanistan swelled temporary makeshift camps close to the Pakistan border with desperate families (I am citing Nancy Hatch Dupree, who has been studying families during crisis in Afghanistan). Never in the history of the Afghan refugees have families been reduced to such misery and it will be long before the effects of these tragedies on the society are known, but there are strong indications that many have been alienated from the support networks that once sustained them. The fact that they even survive is ample testimony of their courage, resilience and determination. However, all NATO allies and eight non-NATO countries have supplied troops to the destructive American-lead reign of chaos in Afghanistan. The largest single commitment is that of Canada, with about 2,000 or 2,500 troops.

Today, there are advertisements in the Washington subway, which promote a Canada-U.S. trade website with the slogan “boots on the ground.” These advertisements break my heart. My mouth goes dry when I consider that 50 000 DEAD CIVILIANS owe gory and untimely deaths to coldhearted economic agreements. Canada will do anything – apparently - to ingratiate itself to America. Why?

Although very little information in this regard is accessible to me, I hypothesize that your recent commitment to keep Canadian boots on the ground in Afghanistan is part of a long-term plan. In a Deutsche Presse Agentur article “We’re Doubling Afghanistan Numbers, Says ISAF Deputy Head” (February 6, 2004) the Canadian deputy commander of ISAF envisioned only a slow expansion of the force to “between 8,000 and 12,000 troops countrywide in the coming three or four years.” In any case, the ongoing war in Afghanistan is preoccupying the Canadian military, while both U.S. and NATO commitments to peace in Afghanistan seem inadequate (here I am citing Laura Neack's "Peacekeeping, bloody peacekeeping" from the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists). The Bush administration’s refusal to acknowledge that it has made mistakes has combined disastrously with its refusal to acknowledge that the immediate past holds any lessons for its messianic version of a new world order. Whether you, Stephen Harper, are for or against the Bush administration, you are now focused on Bush administration demands almost to the exclusion of all else.


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