Wednesday, May 23, 2007

A picture's worth . . . ?

Regardless of political affiliation, most people say they support our troops. Personal feelings about war in general and the war in Afghanistan in particular, don't seem to factor in.

Why is it then, that Liberals are still bent on portraying our military as ominous in an effort to malign the Conservatives?

A photograph of tanks at the ready, combined with the word 'Conservative' seems to be a favourite stunt of the Liberal Party's communications staff. This image of Light Armoured Vehicles from the Liberal website, is reminiscent of the Liberal television ad yanked during the election last year. Apparently they thought they'd dust off the idea and give it new life in a different format. With so many other aspects of the Afghan mission to choose from, they have chosen one that could be seen as the most menacing. No faces, just an overpowering machine. Subtlety is obviously not their forte.

The NDP doesn't like the Conservatives any more than the Liberals do, and they like the war in Afghanistan even less. Yet the NDP website doesn't misuse the military to make a point about Harper. Their criticism of Harper's Afghan vision and visit is linked to by a photo of soldiers on the ground, with Afghan children in the background. It appears unstaged and seems unthreatening -- no attempt to draw deleterious connections or conclusions.

Maybe I'm being fussy here, but photographs are used to evoke emotion. You'd think that the Liberals would have learned their lesson and if they want to assail Harper, they'd stop using our military as their weapon of choice.

*** I've edited this post because commenters corrected me (thanks) --The photo is not of tanks, but LAVs (Light Armoured Vehicles). The visual holds the same connotation IMO.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Conversion Tools

Who knew that kidnapping would become an instrument of religious conversion? Imagine if they could do this on a grand scale? Too bad they didn't discover this tactic before they got the taste for blood.

One wonders which side Ms Ridley is rooting for, and should the Taliban prevail, does she plan to move to Afghanistan don the burqua and shut up?

I don't ask this because I believe she should be quiet. The woman has the right to speak -- here. It's simply an observation about the 'courteous' society whose company she enjoyed well enough to keep.

Sometimes you just have to shake your head.

** Update -- Darcey's written on this today too.


Monday, May 21, 2007

A matter of conscience

Via Red Tory, I came across this article by Scott Taylor about the war in Afghanistan. It wasn't the article that interested me really, it was RT's assessment of it. He quotes heavily from the column which describes unspeakable methods of murder and violence used by a former Afghan warlord who is working against the Taliban and who in doing so, is on the same 'side' as Canada.

RT is shocked:
And those are the “good guys” on whose behalf we are fighting!
Is that what liberals really think? That we're fighting on 'behalf' of those monsters? Linear thinking, indeed. I rather doubt that's how our soldiers see it, but then they aren't limited by piety and an insular reality.

It would seem to me that we're tolerating those monsters in order to fight on behalf of a beleaguered and oppressed civilian population.

Red Tory goes on to say:
Quaint notions of “peacekeeping” in such an environment are clearly misplaced.
We were never in Afghanistan to 'peace keep'. This is a war. It was never sold as a peacekeeping mission, even by the Liberals. This 'quaint notion' is only held by those who don't keep up on current events. That any of this would come as a shock, is what's shocking.

The trouble with articles like this, and more so the interpretations of people like Red Tory, is the not-so-subtle suggestion that Canadian troops are complicit in torture. They make the black and white connection between our guys handing over detainees and allegations of torture by detainees -- as though the allegations are fact, and as though abuse of detainees captured by anyone other than Canadians is simply hunky-dory. The premature and selective outrage is mind-boggling.

The 'guilt by association' nonsense denigrates our soldiers, which is a concern I've written about before. But beyond that, it pointedly excuses and ignores Western indifference during the years when the Taliban perpetrated all manner of abuse on its own dissenting citizens and particularly its systemic victimization of women, all of which took place long before this war. It also ignores the potential for a return to this regime should we pull out before stability is firmly established.

In the minds of our liberal elites, maybe that torture was okay. It wasn't our people. We knew, yet did nothing to intervene, but because we weren't there -- our hands are clean. Despite news reports coming out of Afghanistan during that time period -- we could turn a blind eye, but have a clear conscience because it wasn't our country and it wasn't our women and it had nothing to do with us.

No, I know. Human rights abuses by the Taliban are not why we went there, but now that we are there, isn't it fortunate for all those women who would otherwise be assassinated in soccer stadiums for simple indiscretions? Isn't it fortunate for all those little girls getting an education for the first time?

The holocaust is not why we entered WWII. Had it remained an internal German problem -- had there been extermination of just Germany's Jews -- we would have allowed it. We would have said that it was not our place to intervene in the domestic affairs of an autonomous country. Had Germany never crossed its own borders, WWII wouldn't have happened. The Allies could stayed at home, witnessed the barbarity and had a clear conscience because we wouldn't have been complicit in the deaths of Jews.
That's obscene, but it's the logic of the Canadian left on this one.

Over at RT's they're questioning the financial cost of staying in Afghanistan, and yet they pretend that humanity is the exclusive domain of the left. Humanity is demanding that we stay and finish the job and that the preventing the suffering of civilians, and elevating their potential for a renewed society is our primary concern. It might not be why we went, but it's why we should stay.

We could leave Afghanistan now and watch from a safe distance, and we might even allow ourselves to believe that our hands remain pristine. We could smugly shrug as innocent people are tortured and murdered by their countrymen, while we stay safe in our liberal dreamworld where we'd be comforted by the 'quaint notion' that at least we aren't violating the human rights of captured Taliban fighters.

We can't solve all the world's ills or rescue all of its vulnerable people, but if we were to abandon Afghanistan now, there is no question that we would be complicit in the return to disorder which allowed the Taliban to victimize its most defenseless citizens.