The recent opinion polls (focussing on the Israel-Hezbollah war, though no doubt also affected by the Afghanistan conflict) showing that many Canadians have an attachment to the ideas of "neutrality" and "playing the honest broker" susggest that many in this country have sunk into a nihilism where they are unwilling or incapable of choosing sides, or in which they seek some mystical "third way" beyond all conflict, as proof of their righteousness. Many are refusing what should be a rather clear choice between the forces of freedom and totalitarian religious terrorists. So if this is correct, the opinion polls suggest that we have a large task here at home to move public opinion further away from certain assumptions, such as that the west is largely to blame for the pervasive anti-western resentment in this world, the "White Guilt" that leads many Canadians to seek guarantees of their rightness in self-denying commitments to "neutrality" in the current war of Israel and the west more generally against totalitarian Jihadists; some even offer active support for the anti-western forces.
So I find the words of Christie Blatchford in today's Globe and Mail (subscription required) appropriate:
The bleeding was barely stopped when the bleating began.After commenting on an array of evidence that there are many people from many lands at work in support of a global Islamic Jihad and hence against the very existence of western civilization, not only in Afganistan but around the world, including in Canada, Christie Blatchford concludes:
On the day of Canada's most appalling losses yet in Afghanistan - four soldiers killed in three separate but linked attacks and 10 injured - it took but an hour for the open-line radio talk shows in Toronto to fill up with the cries of those who would pull the plug on the mission there, yank the troops home immediately, have the nation revert to its mythical, if cherished, peacekeeping role and go back to that sterling foreign policy of keeping fingers crossed.
I thought of what Lieutenant-Colonel John Conrad, the boss of the combat logistics arm of the Canadian battle group, said not so long ago in Kandahar.
We were talking about the Canadian mission when Col. Conrad said, "Each man and woman has asked, `Why am I here? Why did I volunteer?'" but most, he guessed, had come to the same conclusion he had. "For all that we're here to help Afghans," he said, "we're also here to protect our country."
It was only later, when I was going through the notes of that conversation, that I realized he was the first person I know to put it so squarely.
If it is a thought that might offer some comfort to the families of the dead - that their sons did not die only in service of a Biblical-era faraway foreign land where violences is as reflexive as breathing, but also in service to our own - it might also stand as a reminder that notwithstanding the absence of a formal declaration, Canada is at war.
The least we can do - and we do, in this country, prefer to do the least - is stiffen our collective resolve, face up to the truth, and recognize that the soldiers' terrible sacrifice is in our name.Covenant Zone is not satisfied with doing the least. We are resolved to challenge any and every Canadian who would seek proof of western guilt, the virtue of "neutrality", and utopian ideas about "world peace", in the deaths of our soldiers. Neutral and holy Canadian Gnostics: we are going to expose you.