Here is a video series depicting a day in the life of a company of
soldiers which is unlike anything you'll see on the nightly news.
No gore--you never see the "enemy" the soldiers are fighting.
There's also not much editorializing done within the series - viewers will come to their own conclusions.
Readers know I'm not normally inclined to post Liberal speeches or videos but people really need to see this video as it underscores everything that has been said about Stephen Harper as being married at the hip with other right-wing governments such as John Howard's government of the day (Australia) and of course, George W. Bush.
Harper is often criticized for being too cozy to the agenda and policies of failed American president G.W. Bush. For a long while these criticisms stuck, but haven't over the last two elections because Harper has managed to turn the page, not because the criticisms are not wholly valid.They haven't stuck because understanding what those policies lead to can't always be turned into a simple sound bite or graphic image.
Its time to turn back the page.
In so doing we have reason to completely re-examine who Harper really is. He is not the sweater-vested centre of the road gent he'd like us to believe, but is, as he always has been, a ruthless ultra right-wing politician who will say and do anything to get and keep power. While many politicians can be accused of the same base objective, what truly sets Harper apart is what he's willing to do with that power.
In 2005 I wrote about this in an article entitled Harper Would Have Sent Canada To War With Iraq. In addition to parroting the conservative government leader of Australia in 2003, on 1 October 2002 Harper stood up in the House of Commons and at length used the same arguments - based on lies - that George W. Bush used to usher his country into the disastrous Iraq war. The full text of Harper's speech of the day is attached to that article, linked here for your convenience. The evidence is clear.
Directly contradicting the spin continually pumped out of the White House and now also spun by Canada’s New Government, is a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which determined that the invasion and occupation of Iraq has directly led to an increase in radicalization and world wide terrorism. (New York Times)
This report is not to be dismissed; a NIE is put together for the National Security Council – the overarching security body which the President of the United States himself chairs.
The NIE‘s conclusion is merely common sense. Tens of thousands of innocent civilians have been killed by “coalition forces” during the so-called liberation of Iraq and its immediate aftermath, and to this day, each and every month thousands of civilians die violently due to the undeclared but raging civil war which is a direct result of Bush’s actions. Each death leaves a trail of anguish, and anger, through much larger family, community and tribal connections.
While the NIE won’t judge the president for his decision to start an illegal, immoral, and unneccessary war, the rest of us can. We can also hold to account Canada’s biggest political booster for the Iraq war, Stephen Harper. (MW: Harper would have sent Canada to war with Iraq; “We support the war effort and believe we should be supporting our troops and our allies and be there with them doing everything necessary to win,” – Stephen Harper, Wednesday April 2, 2003)
More to the point for Canadians, almost inextricably, Afghanistan appears to be headed to the same unfortunate end as Iraq. Will we merely keep trudging along the same path – the path to failure that the U.S. has already blazed, or will we do something different that leads to a better outcome?
Today I write on a matter that is more important in this election campaign than tax cuts, more important than health care, more important than fiscal responsibility or scandal.
This matter I raise today is war.
One of the most serious decisions the leaders of any nation will ever make is to engage in war. Rarely do voters head to the polls with the intention to judge their prospective leaders in this light, however in this day and age we must.
Had Stephen Harper been Prime Minister of Canada in 2002 and 2003, he would have committed Canada to war – a war which many informed thinkers believed then as now was illegal; a war which most observers today believe was foolhardy and avoidable.
Before I launch into this discussion, let there be no doubt: my position is not borne of anti-Americanism – most of my family and all of my wife’s family are American; I have had the great privilege to work in the United States on a work visa, and I count among my friends Americans from across that great country. No, my objection to Mr. Harper, and other neo-conservatives within his support base, is the unflinching deference they give to ill conceived political and military decisions made by others. Based on the facts, its clear that Stephen Harper did nothing but follow, quite blindly, the lead of George W. Bush.
If you truly care about your country you want to make informed decisions based on facts, not on the current spin of the day. If what I present here in this note and linked articles is not enough for you, there is ample evidence of the spirit, intent and certainty of Mr. Harper and many of his ideological bretheran who sit in the House of Commons. Use the search tools , browse all of Hansard using the search terms Harper AND Iraq OR Alliance AND Iraq.
When you emerge from that experience, you can not reach any conclusion but this: Stephen Harper, with the backing of a significant majority of his caucus, would plunge Canada into war with Iraq, had he the chance. Any rational and unbiased evaluation of the man and his track record will leave you certain that Stephen Harper, as Prime Minister, would willingly respond to any US call upon neo-conservative think-alike governments to support such action in the future. Mr. Harper will be right there, thick as thieves, damn international law, damn the truth, damn the torpedoes.
Mr. Harper was willing to use the American tactic – tie Iraq as a potential threat to the attacks of 9/11, and use the do-nothing and the UN becomes irrelevant scare – to help buttress his case, and in fact cited questionable evidence (supplied by the US administration making the same arguments) far beyond his area of expertise:
The dossier also revealed that Iraq tried to buy the special equipment including 60,000 specialized aluminum tubes necessary to process natural uranium into weapons grade uranium. The dossier identified all of these procurement attempts as having occurred since 1998, since the end of UN inspections.
Today Iraq may possess a nuclear bomb and the ability to launch it at targets in an arc ranging from Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. Some respond that this information does not constitute proof. To that I reply, not only does the risk exist but Saddam Hussein’s possession of a launchable nuclear bomb is also a risk that is a fairly quantifiable one.Stephen Harper, Leader of the Opposition
See Fool Us Once for a thorough discussion of this evidence.
The bottom line is that the UN and its inspection forces were demanding more time; they were the experts, not the politicians in Washington and Ottawa.
If Stephen Harper is to be Canada’s next prime minister, we, the people of Canada ought to be fully prepared for Mr. Harper to lead us down whatever path the US would have us go, including shouldering the burden of an illegal, irresponsible and foolhardy war.
Responding to a question from Ms. Carroll, Mr. Harper raised the very argument George W. Bush had been using to incite anger (and thus support) within his own country:
The credibility of the United Nations is at stake if the United Nations Security Council members, and, in particular, our allies, do not achieve the objective that is sought here, which is the complete removal of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and all capacity to pursue those programs in the future.
There can be nothing short of that achievement. If we do not achieve that then the credibility of the United Nations will be permanently damaged, as was the League of Nations in a previous incarnation when it failed to take the necessary steps to back the necessary action to ensure international security.Stephen Harper, Leader of the Opposition
Mr. Harper’s arguments on that fall day in 2002, and on the days leading up to and months following the key debate on Iraq, continue to agitate for Canada to fully support the US position on Iraq (and the UN), despite a lack of concrete evidence to support the US position and despite the rational continued calls from UN experts in disarmament for more time to fully discharge their responsibilities—and avoid a war in doing so.
The Liberals are not free from taint in this matter either; former Deputy Prime Minister John Manley, so-called “star candidate” Michael Ignatieff, and other prominent Liberals are just as likely to blindly accept the current US administrations position on such grave matters.
But in this election our focus must be on Stephen Harper, as it is him, not Manley or Ignatieff, not Ducceppe nor Layton, who is positioned to take over as prime minister of the country following this election.
If you, like me, demand that our country be led by people who will do more than parrot the position of other governments, then you, like me, can not support the leadership of Stephen Harper.
Read all of Stephen Harper’s statements on Iraq over the course of 2001 through 2003 and you, like me, will come to the unavoidable conclusion that Mr. Harper fully supported the position of George W. Bush, his cabinet and his advisers in every way, shape and form.
The start of the Iraq war was some time ago, but the lessons learned about our potential and current leaders remain as valid and critically important today. Waging war is an issue that, unlike others, can not be swept under the table. When Canadians mark their ballot this coming January 23rd, they’d better be doing so realizing that the man – and they are all men – that they are selecting has the power to send Canadians into battle.
I am a conservative, and I will remain a conservative, but I will not vote conservative in this election. I will not contribute to a Stephen Harper led minority or majority government. I will not contribute to the neo-conservativization, as exemplified by the George W. Bush administration, of our foreign policy.
My loyalty is first and foremost to a sovereign and smart Canada, not to a political party.
November 15, 2004: But its not a war crime (it would be informative to measure up Liberals Michael Ingatieff and John Manley against this issue)
October 2, 2004: Fool Us Once (which illustrates quite plainly that the Bush administration cherry-picked intel so as not to destroy its case; this includes the same ‘evidence’ which Stephen Harper elected to use to bolster his October 2, 2002 argument in favour of marching into Iraq)