Canadian troops are starting to take casualties in Afghanistan. We have to ask if it is worth it. The new Conservative gov't is refusing a debate in parliament, saying it would be "bad for the troop's morale." The foreign minister also said "Canadians don't cut and run." The rhetoric could have been written by a Bush staffer. (The last gov't wasn't perfect, but one thing I miss is the ability to feel smug about how at least we weren't as bad as the Americans.)
The Buddha said something very interesting about war; he said "men strap on armour and wield swords against each other for sensual desire's sake." In the case of all these new colonialist wars in the Middle East; that holds very true. The sensual desire is energy to run our autos and heat our homes.
Bringing democracy? Give me a break. The western powers are getting less democratic by the day with their Patriot Acts and secret trials. (And we have made in Canada versions here.)
In Iraq of course, it's about the oil stupid. The Afghan war has been out of the spotlight until recently and the polite cover story seems to have held up with the public better. But what you see on CNN ain't neccessarily the whole picture. The stark fact is that this territory needs to be held because it is the only viable route to bring Caspian gas to market.
There are also some specific questions that Canadians need to hear answers to. Are we turning over prisoners of war to the American military, which does not respect the Geneva Convention? If we must have troops there at all, why aren't we working with the United Nations instead of putting them under the banner of the US Operation Enduring Freedom? (Don't you love the Orwellian panache of those guys?)
Anyway interested in some background can read a pdf file published by the Canadian Peace Alliance.