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JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I have heard Rick Hillier speak at some length recently on CBC Radio. Naturally, he is out promoting his book.I thought he largely came off as a whiner, rather naïve about the realities of war and politics.Hillier went into Afghanistan literally barking about doing some killing, arrogantly tossing aside Canada’s sense of itself as a peaceful and peacekeeping place.

His words rankled many people, and naturally a control-freak like Harper put limits on Hillier’s mouth.

I tend to agree with Chantal Hebert’s assessment that Hillier’s book, unintentionally on his part, will only contribute to Canada’s not continuing a military commitment in Afghanistan beyond its commitment.

The entire Afghanistan adventure is nothing more than a demonstration of America’s ability to behave much as it pleases in the world. In the aftermath of 9/11, it pulled out all the stops in finance and diplomacy to get UN and NATO recognition of what essentially was vengeance.

The invasion never made any sense, and after America’s superficial “victory,” it had no idea what to do, except to let its brutal special forces loose on villages all over Afghanistan. Its “victory” amounted to a pact with the devils of the Northern Alliance – monsters like the mass-murderer General Dostum being as bad or worse than the Taleban – and it achieved nothing but a great deal of killing and the dispersal of the Taleban.

No NATO country – especially powerful ones like France or Germany – has made a commitment of troops that is in keeping with America’s paranoid assessment of the world dangers of Afghanistan – that fact is telling beyond anything else.

Canadians should never forget that the only reason we sent troops to Afghanistan was a decision in Ottawa that “we owed one to the Pentagon” after having refused to participate in America’s missile shield and its even more disastrous and murderous adventure in Iraq.

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