Wednesday, March 15, 2006

War Is Peace-keeping

To misquote Orwell.

When is WAR not WAR?

When it is part of a convoluted argument by Progressives For War, (PFW) in order to justify their mistaken allegiance to the Canadian State and its military actions. In this case in both Afghanistan and Haiti. These are NOT WAR's according to the PFW.

This is the argument posed by Skippy the Amazing Wonderdog, and cross posted at the Torch . Skippy sez, and pardon me while I quote him extensively in order to address his argument;

This is not really the case in Afghanistan. The enemy Canadian soldiers face -- or do not face, in fact -- is not organized in any military sense, does not occupy terrain, and cannot be defeated through firepower alone. Calling this a "war" is an attempt to manipulate perception by emphasizing combat operations.

The Taliban certainly are an organized military as they were also the Government and State of Afghanistan and as such can be considered the Government in exile. There are also Warlords, gee that title might hint at their involvement with 'war', who rule a variety of provinces. There is Al-Qaida which was an army in Afghanistan, and of course there are various armed tribal groups spread through out the Tribal districts between the Afghanistan and Pakistan border. All of these are organized Mujahadin armies. Even if they use Guerrilla tactics.

Does it matter what we call it? Yes, it matters a great deal, at least as far as public opinion is concerned. Canadians seem happy to support "peacekeeping," but they aren't so keen on seeing Canadian troops deployed in a "combat role." But what does that really mean?

Peacekeeping which is currently being trashed by the Right and the PFW,is also being dismissed as an outmoded idea by the Conservative government and its spokespersons. Peacekeeping by definition is:
  • Deploy to prevent the outbreak of conflict or the spill-over of conflict across borders;
  • Stabilize conflict situations after a cease fire, to create an environment for the parties to reach a lasting peace agreement;
  • Assist in implementing comprehensive peace agreements;
  • Lead states or territories through a transition to stable government, based on democratic principles, good governance and economic development.
What we are not doing in Kandahar is peacekeeping. We are in combat to pacify the province of Kandahar and its surrounding region in order to create the conditions for peacekeeping.

There was plenty of support for a "combat role" in the Balkans, where one side of the civil war had been demonized.

True, especially when the war against Serbia was declared the first Humanitarian War by Clinton. However there were many of us opposed to that war, including some who now support the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Jingoism and nationalism in this case was replaced with bleeding heart liberalism, the poor suffering Albanians in Kosovo vs. the nasty demonic Serbs. However as that war was conducted and Serb civilians were targeted, the humanitarian gave way to the usual conduct of war. And suddenly it was clear that this was an Imperialist War as all wars are.

Nobody seemed to notice at first that our operation in Somalia was not "peacekeeping," and Canadians initially supported that ill-fated deployment. There would have been little objection to sending troops into Rwanda to stop the genocide by force.

In fact Somalia was a peace keeping mission from the beginning . The failure which led to scandal and national shame, a national inquiry found that the mission was ill conceived from the begining, was that Canadian military leadership failed to define it as a Peacekeeping mission rather than a combat mission. Canadians were led to believe that Somalia was a peacekeeping mission, but with the American involvement it quickly degenerated into another oil war, with the consequences of being a failure for the UN and a disaster for Canadian Forces.

Rwanda on the other had was the result of Imperialist disdain and interference. In this case the interference of France and Belgium, the former colonial masters in that region of Africa, it was their refusal to allow the UN in, and their support of the Hutu subaltern leadership that led to the disaster. The failure of American Imperialism in Somalia, their first defeat in battle since Viet Nam, led them to abandon Rwanda.

There would be, on the other hand, a strong objection to deploying Canadian troops in a "combat role" to overthrow a government -- in other words, to "war" as we usually understand it

Really then what was the coup that Canada supported militarily in Haiti two years ago? Canada led the joint American, French, UN troops in a combat operation to overthrow a duly elected government? And we are still there. Despite the most recent election. These are combat operations, war by any other name.

And in Haiti's case we led those operations, because of Quebec's close relationship with Haiti. In fact as I have written here, it is because both Canada and Quebec view Haiti as our 'neo-colony'. See
Gildan Sweat Shop Success Story

So let's ask an expert on War, Carl Phillip Gottfriedvon Clausewitz as to his definition of it;

War therefore is an act of violence to compel our opponent to fulfil our will.

Violence arms itself with the inventions of Art and Science in order to contend against violence. Self-imposed restrictions, almost imperceptible and hardly worth mentioning, termed usages of International Law, accompany it without essentially impairing its power. Violence, that is to say physical force (for there is no moral force without the conception of states and law), is therefore the means; the compulsory submission of the enemy to our will is the ultimate object. In order to attain this object fully, the enemy must be disarmed; and this is, correctly speaking, the real aim of hostilities in theory. It takes the place of the final object, and puts it aside in a manner as something not properly belonging to war.

So yes folks this is a war we are in. And yes we should be opposed to this war.

Those PFW who say this is not war are merely deluding themselves, or like Skippy the Wonderdog barking at the moon.

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