Saturday, August 04, 2007

Stephen Harper & Michael Ignatieff no longer support Adolph Hitler by Louis Evan Palmer

Or the War in Iraq.

Saying the equivalent of "oops" is not enough.

For many reasons, there are long-standing rules & laws governing international relationships. Among them, Justice, Fairness, the preservation of the Peace. One of the most prominent of these governance strictures is the rejection of using "might makes right", or its camouflaged little brother "pre-emptive strike", as a justification for aggression.

Throughout history and continuing to this day, self-defence in its various guises has been used as a cover for military action and the thrust of a "no-one can stop us" realpolitik from the "just do it" and "bring it on" crowds. To prevent its fraudulent use, the only unassailable justification for military action is bonafide self-defence where it's an action against an aggressor who is physically threatening your actual borders.

Not a future threat. Not a potential threat (if this and that and that and that... then). Not a threat to an ideal like "democracy" in a given country or to a given group of people like the "Kurds" or the "Baluchi". Not the threat posed from an ideology or tactic as in the "War on Terror". Not any of these, or other, nebulous and easily conjured up reasons.

For example, an oft-used causi belli is where the people under threat are your own nationals placed, or having placed themselves, in a foreign country - then military action in that foreign country to protect and extract y/our citizens might be justified but only where the foreign country itself is not in control of the region in question or is not considered legitimate. If it goes forward, it would become a police action to rescue your nationals and would end with their safe extraction. It does not become the launch pad for outright aggression and occupation.

This highlights an important consideration, the proportionality of the response. This is typically the first clue as to the real intentions of the aggressor. When the response versus the "problem" is hugely disproportionate and would normally require significant preparation and pre-positioning, it strongly indicates that the "problem" is a pretext.

Harper and Ignatieff stood "shoulder-to-shoulder" with Bush & Blair & company in supporting and promoting a war of aggression. That decision resulted in war crimes and death and destruction for the nation of Iraq and instability and the threat of an expanded war for the entire region. This is a decision from which one cannot walk away.

This is why these decisions and statements by Harper and Ignatieff cannot be minimized or explained away. The various assertions about democracy and tyranny are stunningly threadbare. Advanced democracies do not support democracy by waging wars of aggression under whatever contrived names they care to devise. Period.

To then focus solely on this or that "tyranny", especially ones which received substantial (often surreptitious) "aid" is the height of hypocrisy. Calling a war of aggression, part of the "War on Terrorism", or a "War for Democracy", or whatever, does not change its moral wrongness and comes to be seen for what it is, self-serving propaganda.

Both Harper's and Ignatieff's diminishing support for the war now and their lukewarm repudiation of it ring false and hollow. They back away because it's not going well. They back away because the Canadian people don't support it. Poor execution, lack of popularity - these are not positions of principle to which both these men constantly point to as a distinguishing characteristic.

They and the armchair Generals who were crowing for war and about realism and facts on the ground and hard decisions and sacrifices are bellowing now about what's wrong with Iraq and Iraqi society and outside interference and the "situation" and not about the deep-seated illegitimacy of foreign intrusions into sovereign countries. Some of them also complain about the unfairness or lack of balance of their critics. Or, more ominously, the lack of patriotism of their critics.

Decisions like this prove that Harper and Ignatieff are not qualified for Canadian high office. The fact that they are better, smarter persons than Bush or Blair underscores how deep of a moral quagmire we're all in.

Stephen Harper & Michael Ignatieff no longer support Adolph Hitler, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


No comments: