Soldiers, Stay at Valcartier!

Translated from Le Drapeau Rouge, No. 64, May 2007. Next summer, a Canadian Forces contingent from Valcartier (outside of Québec City) numbering some 2,000 soldiers will depart for Afghanistan. These soldiers will replace the current Canadian forces based in and around the Kandahar region. With this contingent, Canada will be the most important component within […]

Translated from Le Drapeau Rouge, No. 64, May 2007.

Next summer, a Canadian Forces contingent from Valcartier (outside of Québec City) numbering some 2,000 soldiers will depart for Afghanistan. These soldiers will replace the current Canadian forces based in and around the Kandahar region. With this contingent, Canada will be the most important component within the NATO imperialist occupation force in Afghanistan.

After more than five years of military occupation, the Afghani people are subjected to the daily horrors of the deteriorating situation in their country: in the North, warlords enjoy passive compliance with the occupation forces, enforcing their own brutal authority on the population; in the South, where the resistance is concentrated, and where NATO forces arbitrarily detain men and women and accuse the population of passive compliance with the Taliban, and use this accusation as an excuse for increasing military control.

And there are more recent cases, such as the Afghani prisoners (mainly innocent civilians arbitrarily detained for little or no reason) who were knowingly given to the local Karzai authorities where they were beaten and tortured; the proven cases of corruption and war crimes committed by members of the Karzai government and his warlord partners; the support of the Canadian and US governments to this overtly corrupt system, and their support for the violent warlords; all of this shows that the continued occupation of Afghanistan by Canada and NATO brings only increased suffering to the Afghani people. It brings imperialist military domination, not liberation. This fact is irrefutable: the Afghani people did not ask the Canadian army to come and occupy their country!

And today, this Canadian occupation force upholds Karzai’s national security forces who routinely use torture against civilians, in complete contempt of the most basic international laws. On April 23rd of this year, the Globe and Mail reported that detainees arrested by Canadian troops and given to Afghan authorities were subjected to torture. These detainees had been stopped by Canadian forces, suspected of being Taliban members or supporters. In the vast majority of these cases, the prisoners were eventually released because of lack of evidence of their involvement with the Taliban, but not before undergoing extremely violent treatment at the hands of the authorities, which involved electrocution, bludgeoning, and other physical cruelty.

These incidents are a clear indication of the lies of the Tory government and its Liberal predecessor: despite the contradictory claims given in the weeks that followed the reports, the facts have shown that the understanding reached between the Canadian government and Afghani security forces did not guarantee any humanitarian treatment for the transferred prisoners. These lies are a case of history repeating itself, as the Canadian state attempts to justify its inhuman actions during “war time.” There is no difference between Harper’s response of “when you question the Canadian government, you are defending the Taliban” and George Bush’s mountain of lies and excuses that have served to justify the war in Iraq again and again. These are not the first or the last lies that we will hear. But we’re sick of them!

No country has the right to impose itself or its political system on the people of another nation. No country has the legitimate right to force war on a population, and expose it to misery and destruction. Not by armed force, or by politics, or by economics. And yet these crimes occur on a daily basis, committed by imperialists in the past in Vietnam, Africa, Latin America; and committed by imperialists today in Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine. The vivid links between the economic interests of the United States and Canada, which was the true force behind the invasion of Afghanistan, are becoming increasingly clear.

In January 2003, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) launched its North American Security and Prosperity Initiative, in the form of an increasingly acute military and economic partnership with the United States. In April 2004, the CCCE continued it’s crusade, announcing: “The way that we and other countries respond to the relentless threat of terrorism and rogue states has vital implications for global economic growth just as it does for Canada’s future both as a trade-dependent economy and an immigrant-based society. In short, for Canada and for the world as a whole, economic security and physical security have become inseparable.” (Building a 21st Century Canada-United States Partnership in North America, April 2004) Today, the “terrorists,” such as Canada’s armed forces, and “rogue states,” such as the USA, destroy physical and economic security throughout the world, and their primary target is now Iraq and Afghanistan.

Enough of this occupation! Our support mustn’t go to the Canadian government, or to its parliament, or to the armed forces! They have all collaborated to forcefully occupy one of the poorest countries in the world, for no other reason than to protect its economic and political interests in partnership with its American big brother. Our support, our solidarity, must go to the Afghani people, and to those that resist the occupation! No country can be liberated under foreign occupation. On the contrary! The presence of NATO forces has only increased the popularity of the Taliban, making them heroes in the eyes of part of the population. Only the Afghani people can liberate their country from oppression, be it from external or internal sources.

For us here in Canada, we have the duty to stand up and oppose this occupational war undertaken by our government and by the entire Canadian bourgeoisie whose interests the government defends. We have a duty to demand the immediate extraction of Canadian troops on Afghani soil. And this summer, we will have to say loud and clear that the soldiers of Valcartier, who are preparing to leave for this dirty war next Summer, must remain here!

Canada, out of Afghanistan! Canadian soldiers, stay in your barracks!