2.24.2006

saying no to war

According to a Globe and Mail/CTV poll, a clear majority of Canadians oppose sending troops to Afghanistan and want to see Parliament vote on the issue.

According to the poll of 1,000 Canadians, people are generally supportive of increasing the size of the military - but they don't want the military to be used in international conflicts that aren't strictly peacekeeping ventures or to help prop up the US military.

In this poll, 62% opposed sending troops to Afghanistan, a whopping 73% want their MPs to vote on any troop deployment, and only 48% support further participation in the so-called war on terrorism.

Let's hope the Canadian Parliament is more responsive to the people's wishes than the US Congress.

CTV story here.

38 comments:

Lone Primate said...

I just read this in the Globe. I know Harper's been all anxious to grease up for Uncle Sam... mood music and scented candles optional... but it's pretty clear that's still not where the country's at. He'd do well to accept that fact. If he does, he could rebuild the Conservatives and maybe they'd get better at playing parliamentary musical chairs with the Grits. If not, the country will quickly remember why we hardly ever put these guys behind the wheel and slot them back into backseat driver mode where they'll belong.

Scott M. said...

I wouldn't put much faith in this survey, the questions were very leading.

L-girl said...

I don't put faith in any survey in particular. They're all to be taken with at least a few grains of salt.

In my opinion, the questions were actually leading towards support for military intervention. Just using the expression "war on terrorism" does that.

But in general, I'm only reporting its existence. It doesn't mean everything, but it means something.

L-girl said...

If not, the country will quickly remember why we hardly ever put these guys behind the wheel and slot them back into backseat driver mode where they'll belong.

Amen to that.

Scott M. said...

In my opinion, the questions were actually leading towards support for military intervention. Just using the expression "war on terrorism" does that.

Actually, I think if you talk to your Canadian friends you'll find that the expression "war on terrorism" does not evoke any emotional response. Even people who agree that we should actively seek out and destroy potential terrorists (after all, if they have already committed a crime it's just an attempt to bring people to justice) won't think much of a "war" on terrorism.

In fact, I would suggest using the term "war on terrorism" would, to many Canadians, turn them off the idea of sending troops. It's too vague.

If they said "send troops to help Afganistan recover from the Taliban regime", people would be in favour. As well, everyone would support a vote in parliment. It just makes sense to people. By implying that none happened, they're leading people to disagree with sending troops. As well, they aren't saying what the troops' mission is.

RobfromAlberta said...

In my opinion, the questions were actually leading towards support for military intervention. Just using the expression "war on terrorism" does that.

Not in Canada, it doesn't. Saying "War on Terrorism" here is the same as saying "Bush's War". In any case, the Liberals sent the troops and the Conservatives have not committed to any deployment above what has already been planned. So Parliamentary debate is a moot point. Both of the two major parties support the mission.

I might add that this is a NATO mission, not an ad hoc "Coalition of the Willing". If we pull out, we will be failing to live up to our international obligations, something the left in this country has repeatedly criticized the US for doing.

Lone Primate said...

I wouldn't put much faith in this survey, the questions were very leading.

This is the Globe and Mail (à la Is is bad that Liberals eat roast kittens while they rob corporations of hard-earned money just to hand it over to welfare bums, yes or no?) we're talking about here. If they're getting negative results on a soft conservative plank, it's not really unreasonable to suppose the country's actually opposed. Odds are the results are lowballing it. :)

Lone Primate said...

I might add that this is a NATO mission, not an ad hoc "Coalition of the Willing". If we pull out, we will be failing to live up to our international obligations

This is not the case. Have you actually read the obligations of signatories to the North Atlantic Treaty? They do not involve support roles in extraterritorial conflicts of any nature. Hence, Canadians weren't obliged to fight in Vietnam, and the US didn't show up in the Falklands War (and in fact, came dangerously close to supporting Argentina's position). So how are we "obliged" to support NATO in Afghanistan if NATO is operating outside it purview in being there in the first place? We might legitimately be there under UN aegis, but not not as a member of NATO.

James said...

Sending troops to Afghanistan is probaby the closest thing Bush has had to a justifiable decision in his entire time in office. He went about it all wrong, of cousre, but at least there he was dealing with an enemy who had actually attacked the US.

And I'm not opposed to sending troops to Afghanistan -- or Iraq -- as part of a peacekeeping mission, either. I just know that nothing the US is going to be leading (at least with this administration) is going to qualify as peacekeeping.

And I really don't like the idea of any of our troops potentially finding themselves under the command of someone like General Boykin.

Lone Primate said...

but at least there he was dealing with an enemy who had actually attacked the US.

Afghanistan did not attack the United States in any way, shape, or form. At worst, Afghanistan was harbouring a foreign national accused of instigating an attack on civilian targets in the US. Not long ago, the United Kingdom was harbouring Augusto Pinochet despite the fact that Spain had requested his extradiction on the basis of the murder of Spanish nationals in Chile; Britain, in fact, sent the man home. Would Spain be thus -- to borrow your term -- justified in sending another Armada? By the logic of the argument, unquestionably. But in both instances, I question it.

Osama bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia. From what I understand, so is virtually everyone else who participated in what took place on September 11, 2001. And yet, our unfortunate troops find themselves in Afghanistan, not (if you HAD to pick a place) Saudi Arabia... Curious.

RobfromAlberta said...

So how are we "obliged" to support NATO in Afghanistan if NATO is operating outside it purview in being there in the first place?

Nowhere in the NATO Charter does it prohibit to use of military force in extraterritorial missions for the defense of the Alliance. In the aftermath of the Sept.11, NATO activated Article V of the NATO Charter declaring 9/11 an attack on the Alliance. We agreed with that declaration. It is true, we are not required to send troops (we could provide financial aid), but our NATO allies certainly expect us to shoulder some of the burden. Weaseling out by hiding behind a strict reading of the Charter is not going to earn us much respect from the rest of the Alliance.

L-girl said...

Afghanistan did not attack the US.

If they said "send troops to help Afganistan recover from the Taliban regime", people would be in favour.

Well, we don't know that, do we?

I would say using the word "recover" there is loaded, implying something nurturing as opposed to a military engagement.

There's almost no way to make a simple poll free of bias. I do agree with Lone Primate: the Globe And Mail and CTV are conservative venues. If they show these results, actual opinion may be even more starkly against Canada's involvement.

Just using the expression "war on terrorism" does that.

Not in Canada, it doesn't. Saying "War on Terrorism" here is the same as saying "Bush's War".


Ah, good point. I was thinking of what "war on terrorism" means to someone from the US, not to a Canadian.

The "War On Terrorism" - as opposed to efforts to lessen the chances of terrorism in the world - is Bush's War, so if Canada hears that, they're right.

Scott M. said...

This is the Globe and Mail... we're talking about here. If they're getting negative results on a soft conservative plank, it's not really unreasonable to suppose the country's actually opposed. Odds are the results are lowballing it.

C'mon, we're not talking about the National Post here. The Globe is considerably less biased in it's coverage. That being said, look at the questions. It may be unintentional, perhaps designed by a person from the US who expects the "war on terror" to be able to tug at heart-strings, but the questions lead people to reject involvement in Afganistan.

L-girl said...

They're not the National Post (who are reactionary) but they are fairly conservative. One could generously say right-centre.

Why would a poll from the G&M and CTV have been designed by an American?

Scott M. said...

Why would a poll from the G&M and CTV have been designed by an American?

Media people tend to wander back and forth across the border a fair bit (especially in Radio). For instance, did you know that Andy Barrie, the host of one of the most listened to and award-winning morning shows was an American draft-dodger?

RobfromAlberta said...

They're not the National Post (who are reactionary) but they are fairly conservative. One could generously say right-centre.

It depends on where you draw your line. Most western Conservatives consider the G&M to be pretty pro-Liberal (and politically centre-left). It's true, the G&M endorsed the Tories in the last election, but it you could tell their hearts weren't in it. The National Post is seen as centre-right, the Sun papers further right and the Toronto Star, Pravda, circa 1979. It's all a matter of perspective.

L-girl said...

Anyone who thinks the Toronto Star is Pravda is saying a bit more about themselves than about the media.

Rob, can you honestly say the National Post is centre-right?

For instance, did you know that Andy Barrie, the host of one of the most listened to and award-winning morning shows was an American draft-dodger?

Well, first of all, I don't use the term draft-dodger. I would say draft resister. But I don't listen to the radio (ever), so I don't know any radio personality. And if he's been here since the Vietnam era, he's a Canadian now.

L-girl said...

It's true, the G&M endorsed the Tories in the last election, but it you could tell their hearts weren't in it.

I don't know, I read them every day and their hearts seem pretty in it.

Lone Primate said...

Nowhere in the NATO Charter does it prohibit to use of military force in extraterritorial missions for the defense of the Alliance.

It's not a matter of what's not prohibited; treaties are a matter of obligation -- the things we agreed to in 1949. There are an infinite number of things that aren't prohibited by the North Atlantic Treaty; it doesn't mean we must, or ought to, do all or even any of them. Let's not get cute; NATO was conceived in terms of containing the expansion of Soviet influence into Western Europe. Really, it should have been ashcanned no later than the early 1990s. The United States is certainly big and ugly enough to look after itself when it comes to dealing with an attack not predicated on 8000 Soviet tanks crossing the Ruhr but two or three dozen angry Arabs who may or may not have had the sponsorship of a recognized state. When the various countries in NATO agreed to support an invasion of Afghanistan it was done during the shock and (brief) worldwide support the US enjoyed in the immediate wake of the attack. It's highly unlikely that were it undertaken today, it would receive such support: witness the reaction to the invasion of Iraq.

It was a bad idea, a cynical abuse of the North Atlantic Treaty -- no doubt with an eye to breathing new life into it by providing it with the vaguest possible targets -- and something that, given sober reflection, I don't think we would ever have gotten involved in.

Lone Primate said...

And if he's been here since the Vietnam era, he's a Canadian now.

Andy Barrie is, in fact, a Canadian citizen, and has been for some time now.

L-girl said...

My last comment may have come out sounding snippy. I didn't mean it that way, I was just rushed. Smiles and good will to all. :)

James said...

Afghanistan did not attack the United States in any way, shape, or form.

I did not mean Afghanistan, I meant Al Qaeda, who were in Afghanistan.

Would Spain be thus -- to borrow your term -- justified in sending another Armada?

I didn't actually say anyone was justified in anything -- I said it was as close as Bush had ever come to justified, which is different. He was at least pointed at where Al Qaeda were, and at a country which did have ties with them, which is far more than you can say about his Iraq adventure.

And, as I said, he went about it all wrong -- it should not have been a military mission at all, but a matter of policing. And not a "police action" in the euphamistic sense of "it's a war, but we don't want to admit that", but an actual "go in and round up some criminals for trials" thing.

Osama bin Laden is from Saudi Arabia. From what I understand, so is virtually everyone else who participated in what took place on September 11, 2001. And yet, our unfortunate troops find themselves in Afghanistan, not (if you HAD to pick a place) Saudi Arabia... Curious.

Not that curious. Bin Laden may have been from Saudi Arabia, but he was in Afghanistan. It wouldn't make much sense to try to arrest Tony Soprano in New York if he was hiding out in Chicago.

Not that I can't imagine that kind of subtlety being beyond Bush's grasp.

Scott M. said...

[L]And if he's been here since the Vietnam era, he's a Canadian now.

[LP]Andy Barrie is, in fact, a Canadian citizen, and has been for some time now.


Indeed. I was just using him as an example of media folks that wander back and forth across the border.

RobfromAlberta said...

Rob, can you honestly say the National Post is centre-right?

I wouldn't say anything since I don't know where the "centre" is.

Let's not get cute; NATO was conceived in terms of containing the expansion of Soviet influence into Western Europe. Really, it should have been ashcanned no later than the early 1990s.

Perhaps, but it wasn't and Canada is still a member. Until such time as we choose to leave NATO, we have an obligation to contribute to it.

L-girl said...

I wouldn't say anything since I don't know where the "centre" is.

Fair enough. I'm sure you're right. That is, correct. ;-)

Lone Primate said...

And, as I said, he went about it all wrong -- it should not have been a military mission at all, but a matter of policing. And not a "police action" in the euphamistic sense of "it's a war, but we don't want to admit that", but an actual "go in and round up some criminals for trials" thing.

I entirely agree. These are two very different things. Bringing such people to justice was completely justifiable. Invading a foreign country, ruining its infrastructure, causing the direct and indirect deaths of thousands of its people and opening it up to civil war were not.

Lone Primate said...

Bin Laden may have been from Saudi Arabia, but he was in Afghanistan.

Again, and? Does that give Spain the moral right to attack the UK over Pinochet? Charles Ng was in Canada for a long time and we weren't ready to turn him over because we oppose the death penalty and demanded certain assurances first. What, that means we're liable to the Green Barets dropping from our skies? Are nations only really sovereign if they're sufficiently ethnically European? It would seem so.

Lone Primate said...

Until such time as we choose to leave NATO, we have an obligation to contribute to it.

We don't have, however, is an obligation to embroil our troops in imperialistic ventures outside the borders of any NATO member actually under attack by a non-NATO country. Even the Falklands didn't qualify for that.

RobfromAlberta said...

Invading a foreign country, ruining its infrastructure, causing the direct and indirect deaths of thousands of its people and opening it up to civil war were not.

Afghanistan had virtually no infrastructure to begin with. The multilane highway between Kabul and Kandahar which has been built since the invasion with US and Japanese financing is the single largest infrastructure project in the country.

As for the civil war, the US invasion ended it. The Taliban and the Northern Alliance had been fighting each other for years.

Does that give Spain the moral right to attack the UK over Pinochet? Charles Ng was in Canada for a long time and we weren't ready to turn him over because we oppose the death penalty and demanded certain assurances first.

Apples and oranges. Pinochet and Ng did not represent threats to the national security of the countries requesting their extradition. Furthermore, the governments sheltering them were not actively aiding them in any sort of foreign terrorist activity. A better analogy would be the Fenians who attacked Canada from the US in the 1860s and '70s and were sheltered (at least initially) by the American government.

Lone Primate said...

Afghanistan had virtually no infrastructure to begin with.

Oh, well, that makes it okay then. Next time I see a guy who's not taking care of his lawn up to my personal standards I'll feel free to grab a gun, kick in his door and help myself.

As for the civil war, the US invasion ended it.

Wow! Which corner of the Twilight Zone are you living in, Rob? I'd love to visit it. Are the Dodgers still in Brooklyn there? Cause that would also be cool if that were true. :)

A better analogy would be the Fenians who attacked Canada from the US in the 1860s and '70s and were sheltered (at least initially) by the American government.

Or the Americans, Britons, et al. who attacked Iraq, I suppose. But it's not apples and oranges, Rob. A sovereign nation is a sovereign nation, and if you can overlook that simply on the basis someone you're after happens to be there at a given time -- someone who's not even FROM there -- then you have no respect for the rights of others and you're a rogue nation.

redsock said...

The 19 hijackers had about as many ties to Florida as they did to Afghanistan. Anyone up for bombing the Sunshine State? (They also had many ties to New Jersey, Nevada, and Maine.)

At least five hijackers had training from the US military. Several of them listed US military bases as their addresses on their drivers licenses.

And no less than seven of the men identified as hijackers are actually alive. The FBI has admitted this, but has yet to change the photos and descriptions of the 19 men.

And despite what the Cheney administration will tell you, no one has confessed in any way, shape or form to being responsible for the attacks.

What all this means is that we have no idea who was on those planes -- and thus have no idea who was responsible -- and thus have no idea who to "get" for revenge.

From the evidence presented, the hijackers could have been Arabs, American white guys, Inuits, little green men from Mars, etc.

Reports of a US invasion of Afghanistan in mid-October 2001 were published in foreign newspapers months before 9/11.

P.S. Bush's next good idea will be his first.

RobfromAlberta said...

Wow! Which corner of the Twilight Zone are you living in, Rob?

Yeah, you're right, lp. There was no civil war in Afghanistan before 2001. The Northern Alliance and the Taliban were simply polo teams.

A sovereign nation is a sovereign nation, and if you can overlook that simply on the basis someone you're after happens to be there at a given time -- someone who's not even FROM there -- then you have no respect for the rights of others and you're a rogue nation.

Al Qaeda was not in Afghanistan for the weather. They were there because the Taliban were their ideological brothers. It was impossible to distinguish them. The Americans gave the Taliban an opportunity to hand over bin Laden and his lieutenants. They refused and how could they do otherwise, since Al Qaeda and the Taliban were one and the same.

Lone Primate said...

Yeah, you're right, lp. There was no civil war in Afghanistan before 2001. The Northern Alliance and the Taliban were simply polo teams.

Actually, there was; it went on pretty much from the time the Soviets pulled out till the Taliban consolidated control over most of the country in 1998. That lasted till the Coalition showed up and the lid came off all of that. Hence the frequent references here and elsewhere to the President of Afghanistan as "the mayor of Kabul". Hardly a vote of confidence in the Americans having ENDED the chaos in Afghanistan, is it?

Prior to 2001, Afghanistan was arguably on its way to becoming an workable state again, albeit one with a government none of us would have liked to have lived under -- but that's kind of the point: it's their country, not ours.

The Americans gave the Taliban an opportunity to hand over bin Laden and his lieutenants. They refused

No, Rob; they did not refuse. They asked to be presented with the evidence the Americans supposedly had, the same as any other sovereign nation would upon being served an extradiction request -- this isn't obfuscation, it is actually an international legal obligation of the state served a request. It was, in fact, the Americans who refused. But why waste evidence (however spurious) on mere ragheads when you have bullets, bombs, and boobs like Canada and England to back you up? It's not like Afghanis are REAL people or anything. :(

L-girl said...

Good to have you back, Rob. :)

RobfromAlberta said...

They asked to be presented with the evidence the Americans supposedly had, the same as any other sovereign nation would upon being served an extradiction request

This was not an extradition request. This was an ultimatum. Besides, what court of extradition would the US submit their request to. Afghanistan wasn't even a country in any real sense of the word. There was no law, except the Taliban's own interpetation of Sharia. Only a handful of countries even recognized the Taliban as the legitimate government. There was simply no way to bring down Al Qaeda without bringing down the Taliban.

Good to have you back, Rob. :)

Thanks. I've been lurking and I notice the discussions aren't very lively when I'm not around. :D

redsock said...

From The Complete 9/11 Timeline:

September 16, 2001: Taliban Said to Agree to All US Demands in a Secret Meeting

A secret meeting takes place between Taliban and US government representatives in the city of Quetta, Pakistan. Afghan-American businessman Kabir Mohabbat serves as a middleman. US officials deny the meeting takes place, but later in the month Mohabbat explains that the US demands the Taliban hand over bin Laden, extradite foreign members of al-Qaeda who are wanted in their home countries, and shut down bin Laden's bases and camps. Mohabbat claims that the Taliban agrees to meet all the demands. However, some days later he is told the US position has changed and the Taliban must surrender or be killed. Later in the month, the Taliban again agrees to hand over bin Laden unconditionally, but the US replies that "the train had moved." [Counterpunch, 11/1/04; CBS, 9/25/01]

Lone Primate said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Lone Primate said...

This was not an extradition request. This was an ultimatum.

Precisely. And who with a soul in him would respond to an ultimatum? Especially when there are processes in place. But it's obvious where the US, and the West in general, are concerned, there are two levels of soverignty: real sovereignty for white countries with similar cultural backgrounds or countries with nuclear weapons, and "sovereignty-schmovereignty" for everyone else. There's no way the United States would have threatened Canada, or the UK, or Russia, or China with a militarily-backed ultimatum. But Afghanistan is weak and swarthy; as such, it did not warrant respect. In fact, it's exactly the kind of human punching bag the right wing seems to crave.

As for your assertion that the Taliban would not have co-operated, it's a matter of public record that on September 19, 2001, Mohammed Omar ruled out the extradiction of Osama bin Laden without proof of his culpability. Any country would have required that same proof; it's due process. But thanks to the chauvinistic attitudes of certain people, Afghanistan and its people are not among those that need be afforded that process. They're mere skrelings to be bombed into submissive hamburger, not human beings with international rights.

Furthermore, it's obvious that the ultimatum was a red herring because Osama was not in Afghan custody. It was only slightly more within the realm of possibility for them to hand him over than to hand over Santa Claus. After all, we've been there since 2001 and still the guy's at large. Maybe the US should be bombing itself and its allies (please, not friendly fire jokes) for no having him in custody either? Or maybe it's just too damn handy having the literal equivalent of Emmanuel Goldstien out there... Osama's worth more to Big Brother as a specter at large than an inmate in a cell.

The entire thing was rubbish from the outset, and posterity will condemn us for abadoning our finest principles.