Sunday, May 13, 2007




Will Harper bring back Loyalty oaths for all Canadians as they pledge allegiance to the Canadian Flag
Afghan mission not up for debate, Harper says
Tuesday, March 7, 2006
CBC News
A debate on whether Canadian troops should be in Afghanistan would put the troops in danger, and any attempt to pull them back would be a betrayal, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper, speaking after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, stressed that the previous Liberal government committed the troops to their Afghan mission, which has proved deadly in recent weeks, and that the Conservatives will honour the commitment.

"I'm saying that Canadians don't cut and run at the first sign of trouble," he told reporters. "That's the nature of this country, and when we send troops into the field, I expect Canadians to support those troops."

He did not say why a debate in Canada would put soldiers at risk in Afghanistan, but he stressed it is "a very dangerous mission.

"It's not the intention of this government to question the particular commitment when our troops are in danger," he said. "Such a debate or such a lack of strength by any of the political parties in Canada will merely weaken the resolve of our troops and will even put our troops in even more danger."


Harper boosts Afghan mission
Sat, May 12, 2007
He argues the heroic deeds of our soldiers are belittled by opposition MPs.

" Speaking to a rally in Petawawa, which has lost more troops in battle than any other base in Canada, Harper cited nine soldiers who were recently honoured for their work without fanfare.

"Unfortunately, these soldiers did not get the attention they deserved, because their stories were eclipsed by arguments in the House of Commons over media reports based on information from Taliban prisoners," he said.

or Anyway like George Bush & Tony Blair Prime Minister Harper is now using patriotism & the borrowed slogan " support the troops " to silence all critics of the mission in Afghanistan as if members of the other political parties & anyone who dares question the Mission or the government's handling of the Mission are not patriotic enough & that they do not " support our troops ". It is a mindset more worthy of the Inquisition or McCarthyism in which the aim is to root out the Heretics & the enemies of our society. I say this half-jokingly as it were but I believe it is an important issue which goes to the heart of what values our society wishes to promote.

One of the important questions raised in Parliament were about procedures taken or not taken to ensure prisoners captured by Canadians are being treated properly & that steps were taken to ensure those prisoners once handed over to Afghan forces were not abused or tortured . In part these concerns have been raised due to the negative press & actions of the American forces in Iraq & Afghanistan where they have been accused of mistreating prisoners of War or what the Americans call " detainees ".

And the Bush Regime has admitted to using torture in order to gain information from prisoners & to sending prisoners to secret prisons or to country which are known to routinely use torture on prisoners. These are in fact War Crimes & whether fair or not because Stephen Harper & his party are seen as being close to Bush & the American Neocons in their ideology & views of society, politics, government & international affairs similar concerns & fears are bound to come up .

So there are those of us who are wary of what Harper says & what is his real agenda . If Harper & those around him are Neocons then they have a somewhat Machiavellian view of the world so they may see little wrong with misleading the Canadian people or even lying when it suits their own purposes. Questions of ethics & morality are not a consideration in the political sphere & the wielding of power.

Since they see themselves as a natural elite who are entitled to rule as they see fit.
But we still live to some extent in a free & open society which should not seek to silence all dissent in the name of " national Security ".

And from: The Pembroke Daily Observer we get this headline & report:

Petawawa shows support of troops

ANTHONY DIXON, Saturday, May 12, 2007

From veterans, to school children, from soldiers recently returned from service in Afghanistan, to spouses responsible for keeping the home fires burning, Petawawa put on a fine display for the troops and the distinguished guests, creating a veritable sea of Red Friday - red. Nearly everyone was sporting a red top, pants or hat. Many carried Canadian flags or homemade signs conveying support for the work done by Canadian troops overseas.

Young, old, it didn't matter. Everyone was wearing their patriotism on their sleeve.

More than one person in attendance shed a tear at the emotional outpouring of support.

Heather Jobe, wife of Cpl. Dave Jobe of 427 Squadron, was touched by the display of encouragement.

"We are such a small community and to get this many people out here is really great," she said. "It's pretty moving to see so many people come together like this. The significance of it is just amazing. It shows that we all play a part in this. Even though we are a small community, everything that is happening so far away from home is affecting us here at home."

And from Orilla Packet & Times:
Harper thanks troops for heroism; Overshadowed by political wrangling over prisoners

/ CP
Saturday, May 12, 2007

Prime Minister Stephen Harper told an audience of military families that his political opponents are drowning out soldiers' accomplishments in Afghanistan.

Their military heroism, Harper said Friday, has been overshadowed by attacks over the handling of prisoners.

Attending a weekly Support the Troops rally at a military community north of Ottawa, Harper rebuked political foes who have been hammering the government for weeks on the detainee issue.

BUT ON THEIR OP-ED page we get a more reasonable commentary by John Waite which goes beyond simplistic sheepish mindless knee-jerk patriotism:

We owe it to our children to change
Editorial - Saturday, May 12, 2007

I support our troops, unequivocally. That should go without saying, but anyone who "dares" to express concern about the Harper government's handling of the mission in Afghanistan will have their patriotism questioned, and with "Bush-like" logic will be accused of disloyalty to our troops.

It is evident that I am not alone in having serious doubts about the leadership of the prime minister, his Minister of Foreign Affairs, his Minister of Public Safety and his Minister of Defence. According to a recently released SES Research-Sun Media poll, more Canadians disapprove of the Conservatives' handling of the mission than approve, and an astounding 67 per cent feel that our presence in Afghanistan is making us less safe from terrorist attacks here at home.

Our soldiers are working hard in Afghanistan. No one is questioning their skills, their professionalism or their integrity. What is being questioned is the terrible position they have been forced into by the abject failure of leadership of the Conservative government. Canadian soldiers have been facing the likelihood of contravening international law under the Geneva Convention just for following orders. The men and women of our armed forces protect us through their selfless work at home and abroad, and they put their lives on the line for us. They need to trust that they have the protection of the Geneva Convention.

and he ends with:

So, important questions still need to be asked. What is Gordon O'Connor's strategy for success in Afghanistan? Can the government begin being honest with Canadians about this critical mission? Demanding these answers is one of the most important ways we can show our support for our troops and protect Canada's international reputation.

And from the Liberal Party website:
Prime Minister Using Canadian Forces as Political Prop
May 11, 2007

OTTAWA – Prime Minister Stephen Harper should be ashamed for using a rally to support Canadian Forces soldiers to distract from his failed leadership on Canada’s Afghanistan mission, said Liberal Defence Critic Denis Coderre today.

“Canadians want leadership, not partisanship, when it comes to our Armed Forces, especially while our soldiers continue to show their courage and dedication. The Prime Minister, quite frankly, should be ashamed of his comments today,” said Mr. Coderre.

And from James Travers of The Star .com writes:

Harper looking to kick off his 'training wheels'
May 12, 2007

" Opinion polls tell the story. They tracked upwards when the Prime Minister's mantra was government ethics, trimming the GST, crime busting, easing patient wait times and, of course, family values. They reversed when he was forced to defend two green plans too brown for most Canadians and the prosecution of a war increasingly at odds with the national persona.

To say those issues trouble this government is to misjudge just how far it's now off course and off message.

In labouring so hard to neutralize the environment as a ballot-box question, Harper's government is providing a revealing answer about itself. Dragged kicking and screaming to do marginally more about climate change than its all-hat, no-cattle predecessor, Conservatives are confirming the nagging fears of those who used their votes in the last election to punish Liberals.

As Ipsos Reid analyst Darrell Bricker points out, Canadians had something specific in mind when they agreed to road test a new ruling party. Bricker, who watched closely as Reform became the Alliance before carrying off the Tory brand, says voters wanted a government "with training wheels," one that wouldn't stray too far from campaign commitments.

But on Afghanistan – as well as on the environment – Conservatives are in a different, more ideological and sometimes meaner zone than most Canadians. Harper's performance yesterday's at the second Red Friday rally at Canadian Forces Base Petawawa provided an unusually precise measure of the distance between this "new" government and "old" values.

What should have been a non-partisan and unifying show of support for the troops, their families and a town suffering more than its fair share became needlessly political and divisive. Rather than simply honouring nine soldiers for their heroics, the Prime Minister whined at his opponents for their attention to the wholly unrelated and seminal problem of humane treatment of prisoners.

Harper's apparent assumption, showcased almost daily in Parliament, is that Canadians can't walk and chew gum at the same time. He wrongly believes they can't support the troops while raising legitimate questions about a complex mission being fought against an elusive enemy in support of a government that corruption, an opium economy and clan politics make hugely suspect. "

On NEOCONS see for instance BBC documentary " THE WAR PARTY " which aired on BBC May 2003

BBC - Panorama investigates the "neo-conservatives", the small and unelected group of right-wingers, who critics claim have hijacked the White House. They brought us war against Iraq - what do the hawks in Washington have in store for us now?
watch at Information Clearing House THE WAR PARTY
or go to homepage of INTERNET ARCHIVE

Also see link below to earlier post on NEOCONS ...


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