The death last Sunday of six Canadian soldiers in southern Afghanistan reminds us of Santayana’s famous maxim that those who fail to study history are doomed to repeat it. The soldiers were killed near Maiwand, a name meaning nothing to most westerners. But there, on 27 July, 1880, during the bloody Second Afghan War, the British Empire suffered one of the worst defeats in its colonial history.
Wednesday, April 18, 2007 – A series of coordinated bomb attacks shook Baghdad hours after Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said that security would be in Iraqi hands by the end of the year. Overall, at least 312 people were killed and 302 wounded throughout Iraq. One American soldier died yesterday of non-battle releated injuries.
For Immediate Release
Liberals Rubber-Stamp the Afghan Troop Extension.
Commons Debate Shows Dion’s True Colours.
April 19, 2007
Toronto: The Liberals confirmed their support for the extension of Canada’s Afghan deployment until 2009 with a motion debated in the House of Commons today, proving that they are more out of touch with Canadians than ever.
“The Liberals are saying the same thing that the Conservatives said last year.” Said Christine Jones, Co-Chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance. “They have not called for the troops to be brought home. They are supporting the mission extension that Canadians oppose.”
Given that many Liberals voted against the extension of the mission when it was last debated, this is actually a step backwards. None of this should surprise the Canadian people. It was the Liberals, under Paul Martin that sent troops to Kandahar in the first place and it was the Liberals under Jean Chretien that sent troops in 2001 and increased their numbers in 2003.
The motion doesn’t call for troop removal after 2009 but instead asks only for an end to the combat operations in the south. That is not what the people of Canada have been asking for. Canadians are asking for this war to end now. The bloodshed in Afghanistan is increasing daily and the counter insurgency mission, based on the Iraq model is clearly making things worse. The war in Afghanistan is a disaster, reconstruction is failing the people and human rights are deteriorating under the violent reign of the new Afghan government that NATO supports.
The Canadian Peace Alliance, Canada’s largest umbrella peace network, will continue to campaign, lobby and protest until the troops are brought home.
For more information please contact Sid Lacombe, coordinator of the Canadian Peace Alliance at 416-588-5555 or 416-333-7567 (cell)
Mike Wallace: because of the growing spread of the technology of explosively formed penetrators (EPF’s), these tanks will *not* reduce Canadian casualties.
After he couldn’t get a visa to tell Americans about an alarming rise in cancer levels among Iraqi children, a renowned Iraqi epidemiologist has been told he can’t fly through Britain en route to give a similar talk in Canada.
Letter to the Daily Gleaner, Published April 18, 2007
Your front-page story ” Will deaths Cripple Support For War?” ended a week of remembrances of World War One. I believe past wars hold lessons for human security in our violent world. At Vimy Ridge my father and the Canadian Corps learned how Canadians were ‘different’.
Father believed in the League Of Nations and its promise of a world without war. A promise broken in 1939 when the Second World War started and veteran fathers had to watch daughters and sons go to war. They had been betrayed politically.
Both world wars were started by military invasions of other countries.
After World War Two the United Nations was formed to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war” as its goal. I wonder how many veterans see “succeeding generations” off to war and mourn each one lost with mixed emotions of political betrayal and public praise for facing a situation needing United Nations peacekeepers.
Greg Palast in his book “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” tells this about his father, a World War Two Pacific theatre Veteran. “When the Vietnam war began he threw his medals into my toy box saying: I will never wear them again, my country just did to Vietnam what Japan did to us in 1941″.
I mourn every soldier lost in action today. I cannot support the war. Canada is famous for Peacekeeping, for “saving succeeding generations,” for being different, for bringing hope to this world.
R H Young
Munir, an Indonesian human rights activist and lawyer, known for his critical views on the military, was poisoned with arsenic during a flight to the Netherlands in 2004. His wife has received death threats for continuing to pursue justice for the father of her child. Activists in Indonesia display a sticker with Munir’s face. It reads ‘never be afraid to seek the truth.’ Finally, some arrests in connection with his murder.
In a groundbreaking decision, the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has told Canada that it must rein in Canadian corporations operating on Indian land in the United States.
If you would like to add your support to this letter please send (or deliver it) to Dr. McLaughlin with your name added.
Office location: Sir Howard Douglas Hall, 111, UNB Fredericton campus
Office Phone: 506-453-4567
Open Letter to Dr. John McLaughlin, President of the University of New Brunswick
April 6, 2007
Dear Dr. McLaughlin
On March 28, 2007, UNB faculty and staff were invited to the Advanced Learning Technologies Symposium to hear about “potential areas for UNB/Military collaboration” with a special emphasis on encouraging closer ties between CFB Gagetown and university departments and faculties. Notably, students were not invited to this briefing and local citizens who tried to register were informed they were not eligible to attend. What happened during the briefing and why were doors closed to all but faculty and staff? Are students and the wider community not affected by the nature of academic work undertaken at UNB?
Department of National Defense (DND) funding, like all funding, comes with strings attached. The majority of academics who receive DND funding are supportive of the Canadian military’s current operations while several Peace Studies programs suffer under funding. Peter Langille, a professor at the University of Western Ontario, in a briefing to the federal government Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs, described those who receive DND funding as “embedded academics.” UNB already receives DND funding for the Gregg Centre. With greater prospect of “UNB/Military collaboration”, can we honestly expect to have objective academic work concerning military issues conducted at UNB? Given the closed nature of the briefing on March 28th, the student population and general public are being left in the dark as to what this collaboration may look like and are not being given an opportunity to voice their views on such a controversial collaboration.
It is perfectly appropriate for military issues to be the subject of academic enquiry. However, when the major partner in this research is the subject, in this case the military, there is little room for objectivity. Robert Baldwin, one of the founders of the Canadian democratic ideal, envisioned universities as institutions where academics could freely explore truth without interference from various special interest groups. He saw this freedom as the cornerstone of our democracy. Collaborating with the military removes this freedom.
Furthermore, given the current nature of the Canadian military, we denounce any ties between the Canadian military and the university. Canada’s military is no longer a peacekeeping force. Missions in Haiti and Afghanistan, where evidence exists of the Canadian military bringing hardship to local populations show clearly the new face of Canada’s Armed Forces. The Counter-Insurgency Manual, currently in development by DND, shows clearly that DND is seeking new tactics such as deception and fear mongering in protecting its image as well as combating its enemies. By working with the military, UNB would be supporting an institution, which endeavors to cover up the truth to achieve its ends. UNB must continue in the academic tradition of Robert Baldwin by ensuring that academic work not be tainted, and rendered unsound, by “collaboration” with the military-industrial complex.
We, students, faculty and members of the wider community, request that UNB take several measures to ensure the academic integrity of the university. Firstly, any discussions regarding collaboration with the military must be open to the wider UNB community as this collaboration has profound implications for the university. Secondly, the university, as a public institution, must take a more active role in demanding more government spending for education.
Dr. McLaughlin, we look forward to your prompt attention to these issues of serious concern.
Matthew Abbott (UNB Student), Tracy Glynn, Gloria Paul, Jordan House (UNB student), members of the Fredericton Peace Coalition
Kevin Beets, UNB student
Sarah MacLellan, UNB student
Larissa Fulawka, UNB student
Melanie Bell, UNB student
Andrea Norlund, UNB student
Catrina Haun, UNB student
Theresa Richards, UNB Student
John McKendy, Professor of Sociology at St. Thomas University
GRASPe (the grassroots association for student power) McGill University