War! that’s what the Prime Minister of his erstwhile minority Government decided; that was his choice of words, as Canadian fighter jets were sent to bomb Libyan targets. And what did the supreme power of Parliament, which of course could have reversed his decision, do about his unilateral declaration of war? …. nothing. Liberals, socialist NDP, even the Bloc all agreed with Canada’s war on Libya. Harper was supported UNANIMOUSLY.
As we go into the next election, THIS WAR WILL NOT BE AN ELECTION ISSUE since they all approved of it. Now isn’t that interesting! Ironically perhaps, it falls to a Capitalist to say “wait a minute“, has war really become so trivial a matter in this video-game era? (Have a read of Paul Robinson’s article, Globe & Mail, March 25, p. A19)
To slightly change the concept for a moment, in Quebec back in 2007 there was an incident in which the police seeded a peaceful demonstration with black-ops officers. Their apparent function was, whilst disguised as protesters, to throw rocks, thus instigating an opportunity for the riot police to move in on the (otherwise peaceful) protestors. This is all on Youtube, the trial of the police has occurred [they were let off of course], I am not making it up. Ironically, this kind of tactic was used by Hitler to justify his invasion of Poland in 1939; he dressed up some prisoners in Polish uniforms, shot them on German soil, and voilá, instant justification for German invasion of Poland. In other words, fake the cause – spin the situation to suit your needs.
In 2010, at Toronto’s G20 Summit, it has been fairly readily established that our police were not only eagerly enthusiastic in beating up protestors, coralling bystanders and disregarding ancient rights, but far more ominously their senior officers were thereafter complicit in covering up the facts. The Sun covered this topic with ample irony.
I have written in previous blogs about the cover-ups by the RCMP with respect to an unsettling number of deaths in custody ["shot trying to escape" situations]. That our police can be thugs is a concern, and their alleged errors ought to be exposed at trial; that their chiefs encourage this ethic of violating the law with impunity is profoundly disturbing.
What have these occurrences in recent Canadian fact have to do with our present War on Libya? Well, if I understand correctly, the moral [and whimsically legal] justification for our spontaneous declaration of war was Colonel Gadhafi’s harsh police action against rebellious citizens of Libya. The United Nations says we can attack if we want, to help people in distress.
Well, what’s good for Gadhafi is good for Gander.
If there is a principle of law involved here, would it not follow that the Americans, for instance, would find justification for invading Canada in order to protect our protestors from the ham-fisted cops we seem to be stuck with? Oh no! That’s different, right? Because the standard for deciding what is State oppression and what isn’t, is so clear, right?
Iraq was invaded because of Kuwait: Saddam made the international legal error of attacking over an international border. Hitler was fought not because of his oppression of the Jews during the 1930′s, but because of the Treaty ruptures arising from his invasion of Poland. Rwanda was NOT invaded when 800,000 were killed in 1994, because no border was violated. War, historically, has only been justified on the basis of international infringements; an offence by one nation of another nation’s “rights”. Internal conflicts, civil wars, have been left to their own devices in international law; …until now.
Colonel Gadhafi may be an animal of historic proportions, I don’t necessarily disagree (although inconvenient facts have a habit of surfacing years after the ‘heat of the moment’ decisions). But the Canadian legal principle is that if the law is not broken, we leave nasty people be. And under our Criminal Code, we don’t punish a nasty person unless we are able to prove they are nasty; a person is innocent until proven guilty: they are not supposed to lose because they are unpopular. Remember that rule? That rule is not there to protect the nasty people: it’s there to protect the nice people.
Government exists to protect the people from, amongst other things, internal violent opposition to the established order. Gadhafi’s Government was valid according to Libya’s non-democratic standards. Do you not realize that several of England’s Kings did exactly the same thing, as he has done, to retain their thrones? We have attacked him because we don’t like him; but this is a very interesting precedent. Doubtless it explains China and Russia’s hesitancy to endorse the policy: where will it lead? What other countries shall be invaded because we don’t like them? Russia, or China perhaps? What of communist Albania, or bad old North Korea? What about easy marks like Bahrain, Syria and Yemen? How far are we to take this hitherto unexplored compunction to intervene? And worse, if we don’t intervene, are we by our silence then deemed to endorse some totalitarian regime? Canada will either be perpetually at war, or sooner or later be an international hypocrite!
Or was it really just all about oil?? If so, what if the United States decided it wanted Canada’s oil one day; and what if it saw our daft police beating up innocent people as they seem wont to do? If it invaded, would you understand the justice of their cause? What’s good for Gadhafi is good for Gander, after all.
And if your response is to suggest that things are different: the poor Libyans are freedom fighters trying to overthrow a harsh, “Axis of Evil” regime… well, yes, that may be true in vastly simplistic terms; for all I know they are a bunch of savage rascals too, or more likely there are some nice, some nasty, some kind, some brutal – and we don’t know who will come out on top. How can we know whether things were made better by our presence? What the heck are the conditions of Victory? How will we know when we “win”? Obviously, your Parliament felt there was no need to pursue such trifles as “the Goal“.
But all the patronizing Imperialist jingoism aside, did Parliament ever consider that Libya’s Freedom fighters (if that’s what they are) need to win this, or lose this, on their own two feet?
The history of brilliant British and American law both have depended on centuries of resistance to Authority; sometimes successfully, but sometimes with a decapitated head perched on London bridge… Failure is indeed sad. But once it succeeds, the heritage of earned Liberty rings out over the centuries. Sometimes, after all, it was the King’s head that came off. The result of the West’s centuries-long struggle for Liberty is the greatest system of democracy in history. How can Libyan people be proud of throwing off their yoke of oppression if they must owe their success to “American Imperialists” or NATO? Where is the glory if the price was not paid? Where will be the pride of accomplishment? They may win this rebellion now, with our foreign intercession, but they will hate the west all the more, since history will record that the victory was due to the western powers. I fear we are sowing a very bitter seed.
This attack on Libya is a mistake of fundamental proportions. That none of our Parliament can see what is so obvious is despairing – the quality of your so-called “leaders” is appalling. They are nothing but patsies, with no training in the history of the struggle for Rights. Not one of them could think of an issue to debate… really?
You indeed lack Statesmen with sound ethics. In this new election, as the Liberals and NDP pound Conservative candidates over ethical breaches regarding public funds and so forth in Canada, ask all the Candidates this question: have they any thoughts about War?
Only Governments want war. Capitalists want peace. Next election, vote Capitalist.