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.
What happened in Geneva last month between Iran and the UN Security Council P-5 plus Germany was more than just a deal on the right to peaceful nuclear technology; it was, for the NATO P-3 (U.S., U.K., France) certainly, a pivotal return to diplomacy in world affairs after decades of knee-jerk first use of arms as weapon of choice in "resolving" conflicts.
Following in the wake of the Russia-brokered agreement on the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal, the Iran deal confirms that the U.S. administration has finally and effectively decided (for how long?) to break with the war-mongering strategy of its predecessors, including one-term "peace" president Jimmy Carter -- under whose watch began the Iranian Revolution and the Jihadi war that continues in Afghanistan.
Graeme Smith stood out among his colleagues for his comprehensive coverage of the war in Afghanistan in a 2007 to 2009 posting for the Globe and Mail. Now he is on a book tour, promoting The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan, published by Random House. He recently sat down for an interview with rabble.ca.
Smith, dressed in a dark brown sports jacket, is soft spoken and modest in person. He has written a frank and honest account of his posting in southern Afghanistan in the conflict zones.
It was easy, he explains, to identify initially as he did with the NATO solders, diplomats and NGOs who arrived in Afghanistan in the post 9/11 period with the naive idea of reshaping the seemingly medieval country in a significant way.