Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Supporting the troops the war


The Ottawa International Airport has a large banner in the arrivals area proclaiming that "We Support Our Troops". I think it's worth considering what this means, so let's take it word by word ...

We

Who exactly is "We"? Perhaps the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority, since they're the ones who presumably authorized the banner. But isn't the airport a public place? Nobody asked my opinion.

Support

Perhaps the key word. As a taxpayer, I suppose it's a given that I support the troops financially. But let's cut to the chase: we're talking about the Afghanistan mission here, and I don't believe Canadian troops should be in Afghanistan. My disagreement is not with the troops themselves, it's with the foreign policy of the Canadian government.

Our Troops

The trouble is, the wording of the slogan seems to suggest that if you disagree with the presence of Canadian troops in Afghanistan, then somehow you're "against the troops". It brings to mind George W. Bush's infantile pronouncement that "You're either with us or against us". Is it just me, or does this sound a bit Orwellian? The standard left-wing response has been a modified slogan: "Support our troops: bring them home". A clever rejoinder, but I still wonder if we shouldn't challenge the whole framework.

Criticizing the Canadian military adventure in Afghanistan is not equivalent to passing moral judgement on individual soldiers.

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2 Comments:

Anonymous Mohammed-TA said...

Nick, Happy Birthday!

I think while you voice your disagreement with the way an over arching principle is being operationalised in Canadian foreign policy, you forgot to express your agreement with the over arching principle --- the basis upon which countries 'apparently' base their policies -- (of goodness) itself: to do whatever in one's capacity to establish peace and justice, be it within or beyond borders.

In case of Afghanistan, the principle holds true as well. If troops, in your mind (as in mine), can't deliver, then can you think of an alternative approach for that broken country?

But first, why do we think the troops can't deliver? Is there violation of another overarching principle in the current operationalisation?

1:15 AM, January 06, 2007  
Anonymous Trivial Pursuit Champion said...

Canadians out of Afghanistan -- now!

1:00 PM, January 13, 2007  

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