Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Support Our Troops!

That’s what I’ve been seeing more and more on the backs of cars with Ontario license plates. You know, those crossed yellow ribbons, many with a US flag emblazoned on them.

What’s up with that? So much for the repeated sentiment in Canadian media that Canadians are becoming increasingly anti-American. Apparently, a whole raft of Ontario citizens think they are Americans!

And what the hell does it mean…support our troops? You mean those poor Canadian suckers over in Afghanistan? Well…OK.

And what the hell does it mean…support our troops? Support the troops in their undoubted desire to get the hell out of that mess in Iraq? Well…OK.

But this is a different message than the one I’ve been seeing on the backs of transport trucks…something like “Support our troops whenever they go. No aid or comfort to the enemy. No way.” What enemy? Whose enemy?

For the US to fight terrorism, that’s one thing. But to invade Afghanistan as the heart of Terror-land is another thing entirely. Especially when they are unable to capture, or even locate, the presumed ringleader of international terrorism after 4 years! Same goes for Iraq. As late as last week, Donald Rumsfeld was still repeating that long-discredited claim that Iraq and Al-Qaeda were related. Something tells me that neither the defeat of terrorists, nor truth, nor justice, are exactly what the US administration is after.

Whether there were good reasons to invade either of these countries and bring about regime change is a whole different discussion. These were not the reasons that brought about the current state of war.

No, the poor deluded Ontario-Americans with yellow ribbons tied around their necks have been sold a phoney enemy.


Anonymous said...

At what point would you actually "fight" terrorism? You bring the topic up yourself that there might be a time when it is necessary. What is the line in the sand?

I struggle with Afghanistan, more so than Iraq - which seems to me to be a war where the son is making amends for the father's perceived failings.

My struggle - when is a religion (or rather, the way the religion is put into practise) a violation of human rights and needs a response? Women who cannot be educated by law, who cannot be treated medically, who must hide their bodies, who live in fear of men, who keep windows blackened, who can't participate in society or in the changing of society, widows who don't have a chance for a decent life for themselves or their children simply because their husbands are dead....

The Taliban were not the original inhabits of Afghanistan, but were imported and brought their intolerance with them in the name of religion. Remember the shelling of the Buddhas? Interestingly, that act in itself was a metaphor for a tenet of Buddhism - nothing remains unchanged - it all decays eventually - even giant carved Buddhas. But notwithstanding metaphor, the act was representative of intolerance for other "ways" (to harken back to your other posting), other thoughts.

I don't know the answers, don't pretend to... Perhaps the huge failure with Afghanistan wasn't the original invasion, but the post-rebuilding efforts.

Re: yellow ribbons. Perhaps Canadians just need their own version, something homegrown. In a sense, the youth who are sent to fight in Iraq, or wherever, are our youth too - our children. To me, as a Canadian, that is what the yellow ribbons symbolize. I see children much younger than my own child, who herself seems far too young to have to face similar things as these young troops. The ribbon is an attempt to express a desire to protect, to wrap them up, so to speak, and bring them home... more this than a symbol of a desire to win a war...

Larry Keiler said...

A thoughtful comment. I agree that conditions for women have improved in both Afghanistan and Iraq. My complaint is that none of these issues were the reason for the invasions. From my point of view, they were side-benefits which the invaders were able to conveniently point to while distracting us from the true geopolitical motivations. In other words, I don't like being lied to. Events in London today show that the war on terrorism is about as effective as the war on drugs.

I don't know what it is the terrorist expect to achieve with the tactics they've been using. Political action, even of the terrorist variety, should have some sort of goal.

But the US is learning, I think, that they can't fight this war with the usual military means, and there is some news that they are in fact rethinking their whole strategic approach to military action. This is probably a good thing. But, given the encroachment on individual liberties (so dear to the American heart)that has occurred so far, it presents a danger. When security becomes the god, freedom becomes the slave. Especially when you're fighting shadows. And if you're afraid to step out your door because the security forces are marching out there, how far away from a Taliban-like regime are you?

Anonymous said...

Support our troops. It means, dont make it another vietnam. They dont want to be there anymore then we went them to be there, but they are. So lets support them. Lets let them know that we want them home as soon as possible.

Help! I've written and I can't get up!