Afghanistan Transforms Canada
To play junior partner to empire, we’ve militarized our identity.
Some government policy decisions are so profound in their impact that they can actually change the nature of the country. Medicare was one such policy decision and so was the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement.
It could be argued that the decision to take on an explicitly war-fighting role in Afghanistan will turn out to be another watershed decision, this one at odds with Canadian values and Canadians’ convictions about the military’s role in the world and society.
It also is having the effect of transforming both our foreign policy and our foreign aid policy. Our role in the war is dominating our international reputation and integrating us into the U.S. and its imperial designs on Middle East oil. In order to justify this colonial occupation, Canada now spends so much of its (paltry) aid budget on Afghanistan (much of it finding its way into the pockets of corrupt officials) that there is barely any financing left over for other developing countries’ needs.
Meanwhile, the conflict and its “war on terror” rationale are being used to justify massive increases in military spending, completely distorting the role of government and the spending priorities of Canadians.
Lastly, the military’s role in Canadian politics and culture is being rapidly Americanized. Canadian military spokespersons now openly promote their war-fighting role and take part in cultural events, and the media (most notably the CBC) promotes this new expansive role.
Why we fight
Read more of Murray Dobbin’s viewpoint here. (The Tyee.ca)