Editor's note: This article was written before Saif al-Arab Gaddafi, the youngest son of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was reported killed in a Nato air strike on April 30, 2011. Three of the elder Gaddifi's grandchildren were also reported killed by the strike on the family compound in Tripoli.
As Canada enters the final days in 2011 election campaigning, politicians streaking across the country have offered little more than resounding silence on Canada's military role in Libya.
Operation Apollo, Operation Athena, Operation Archer, Operation Accius, Operation Altair... since Canada first entered the war on Afghanistan in 2001 the list of extensions, renewals and "spin-offs" has gone on and on and on. Originally scheduled to end in 2003, Canada's involvement in this imperialist aggression threatens to continue until 2014 if Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets his way.
Afghanistan has been the central preoccupation of Canadian foreign policy over the past decade. It has also been a main focus of peace movement activity. Mobilizations against the war in Afghanistan have not been nearly as spectacular as those against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The build up was slower, and it took more time to locate a basis of unity upon which to build mobilizations.
An initial look at the first 76,000 records in the "Afghan War Diary" leaked by Wikileaks yields some important information, much of which has been known or suspected by analysts for years. Given the sheer size of the database, there is a great deal more to be learned, but here are some initial findings.
The first impression is one of an extremely lopsided war, like all wars of occupation, where occupied casualties are vastly higher than those by the occupier.
"The West is in decline." "Great powers rise and fall." "We now live in a post-American world." We have perpetually heard various proclamations about the inevitable collapse of Western domination since the end of World War I. These assessments have been cyclically presented by both progressives and conservatives for almost one hundred years. Will they continue to be disproven? If so, why?
The West's hypocrisy and oil-greed are coming home to roost with a vengeance in Libya as the Arab Spring in that country turns into a nightmarish winter characterized by armed gangs, economic collapse, a decline in services by an incompetent government and increasing political domination by radical Islamists.