In this season of “Peace and goodwill to all humankind” I would like to make a point about peace, in particular Canada’s role in the ongoing Afghan War.
I have perused a very eloquent book by Canadian journalist Graeme Smith entitled The Dogs are Eating Them Now. It has provoked me to write this letter.
Are Canadians ready to admit our collective error? The Afghan mission was wrong. The 158 deaths of Canadians, to say nothing of the tens of thousands of Afghan people, did not bring the good our political masters of all parties tried to tell us would “justify” the violence.
I protested our mission on Nov. 11 every year from 2002 until we withdrew — our final flag was lowered ceremoniously on March 12, 2014 — at the Nelson cenotaph. There I encountered verbal abuse, physical threat, and much disapproval from sections of the Nelson public for my action. But I did gain some respect, most notably from Michael Enright of the CBC when he featured me on Sunday Edition. Some Nelsonites thanked me every year.
New documents released by American military sources in response to journalists’ FOI requests demonstrate that this war was fundamentally wrong as well as being stupid and without plan or measure for success.
I feel completely vindicated but no one who abused me for my acts of protest will apologize, nor I do want that. I will again appear at the cenotaph on any Remembrance Day when Canada is again engaged in a criminal war. (This year I did not protest.) I wish Nelsonites of all opinion a fine and peaceful end-of-year holiday. Peace is ours to make, if Canadians act as if we mean to be peacemakers in the world, not as adjuncts to powerful allies’ egoism.