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Old 04-20-2004, 10:39 PM   #1
madasacutsnake
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I'M AUSTRALIAN DO I COUNT?

In a chat room recently I was told that as I am australian I had no right to an opinion on the war in Iraq. I demur.

We currently have 800 troops in Iraq (not a lot compared with the US obviously) however there nonetheless. We have allied ourselves firmly with the US and will therefore most likely suffer consequences.

Shut up and do as we're told?
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:51 PM   #2
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I am Australian too. Sure, you have a right to an opinion on the war in Iraq and you would still have that right even if we had no troops there. How could you ever lose your right to have an opinion?
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Old 04-20-2004, 10:54 PM   #3
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Australia has traditionally sent soldiers for peacekeeping duties, rather than active-fighting duties (even though peacekeeping often winds up being active fighting sometimes -- Somolia). Canada is the same way.

It's the government's way of remaining neutral on US foreign policy without awakening the beast (the US administration).

As for allying with the US firmly with the Iraq war, Australia, like Canada, dragged their heels for many weeks before committing (Canada wound up just sending troops as peacekeepers to Afghanistan).

I don't think it has anything to do per se with a dislike of America, but more your and the Canadian govt's dislike of the current leader here -- he treads on toes a little heavily.

If you research how many peacekeepers are in Afghanistan, I'll wager you'll see a significant increase in soldier numbers. And it's a job that has to be done, we can't just crush Afghanistan and then bail on them. We'd create another Bin Laden if we did that. So peacekeeping duties are significant.

One of my good friends is from Taz (she lives in Sydney) and her brother is a peacekeeper and seems to perpetually be sent all over the world, he's never home long.

As for your right to be heard, it's my opinion that everyone's entitled to one and should not be quashed.
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Old 04-26-2004, 12:19 AM   #4
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As an American, I say your opinion sure as hell does count!
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Old 04-27-2004, 01:53 PM   #5
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Hell, I was in a forum last week argueing with a Norwegian who supports Bush. In this modern era the world is one big community whether my fellow Americans like it or not.
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Old 05-10-2004, 04:41 PM   #6
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I think there is a global hatred of Bush. He just represents all that is bad and evil......
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Old 05-12-2004, 11:15 AM   #7
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well... all that is ignorant and shortsighted at least.
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:14 PM   #8
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I don't think Canada's decision not to actively fight the war was BECAUSE we don't care for Bush.

I think it had more to do with the breaking of the UN agreement.
Canada signed with the UN to eliminate the possibility of one or more countries monopolizing or overpowering another through force.

The UN was supposed to be a (I'm not sure if I can use this word but...) 'democratic' way of policing the planet, urging countries to do what is best, guiding, mediating etc.. Rules and procedures were created and decided on by a committee of many diverse nations.

Canada chose to stand by it's word to the UN. It chose to wait for the pre-designed processes to finish, as agreed upon. Canada wanted to allow the World's Justice System to follow the plan, as it should, then it was fully prepared to do what was necessary.

Our people ARE armed and over there. We stand with other nations against the atrocities. We care for the soldiers like other families and we want justice to prevail. We also believe that it takes a United Nations Sanctification to declare war.
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Old 05-14-2004, 09:25 PM   #9
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Yes, but there has been great antagonism between Chretien and Bush ever since Bush came into office. There were the pulp paper/timber conflict, the potato embargo conflict, the wheat conflict ... all of these things have been resolved with different heads of states over the decades -- right back to the first reciprocity agreement.

This conflict between the leaders lead to strained relations -- to the point where Chretien came down to the first anniversary of Sept. 11 and was quardoned off with Guiliani and the locals, and wasn't allowed in the Bush camp for the visit (whereas other world leaders were readily embraced and invited) -- which is the equivalent of an international slap in the face.

Those strained relations have lead to hesitancy on the part of Canada to get involved in any kind of war or conflict that results in direct man-on-man fighting -- in Iraq.

However, because of the import of the USA being Canada's neighbor, they couldn't sit idly by either. The compromise was to send over peacekeepers to Afghanistan ... the Canadian military being only 50,000 strong, that was a justifiable move.

Last edited by nycwriters : 05-14-2004 at 09:38 PM.
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Old 05-15-2004, 12:56 PM   #10
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Ah the posturing occurs with all the leaders of all the countries and Bush isn't invited to all the parties either, but Canada did not stay out of the war because of a snub.

Canada didn't declare war due to the UN treaty. That is why so many countries advised the States to wait just until the treaty agreements were fulfilled. Then we could all go ahead together, sanctioned and unified.

Our armed forces are not great in numbers but you are incorrect in your figures. At around 89,000 military personel we don't have the means to call our forces to battle without the world's support. Our poplulation is about 32 million people. Canada's area is about 3,560,200 square miles (in square kilometers it is 9,984,670), making Canada the second largest country in the world, behind Russia.
In Canada, an average of 9.1 people live in each square mile. In the United States, an average of about 80 per square mile.

There is no 'great antagonism' between the Bush and Chretien. Nor did the social relationship between the two Leaders have any impact on Canada's decision. Every two leaders of our two nations have had to deal with conflict and resolution. Neighbours do that.
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Old 05-15-2004, 03:21 PM   #11
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My dad told me the 50,000 number, I just assumed he was right because he did a stint consulting with (oh man I've been away too long, what's our acronym for Canadian military arm of the govt?). Anyhow, sorry if I was off on the numbers.

Absolutely Canada hesitated because of the UN and its regulations, it was a justification ... but the fallout from that afterwards -- and the build up prior of mini-conflicts over potatoes, over timber, over fishing, etc... only helped towards an antagonistic relationship between the US and Canada -- and that falls on our leaders' personalities, nothing more complex than that. They just didn't like each other.

If you think there's "no great antagonism" between Bush and Chretien, you need only look at how Arar was handled -- and how several Canadian entities -- newspapers, govt, threatened to sue Ashcroft over that gaff. We've never seen that kind of action on the part of Canada or Canadians ever before.

The United States govt still hasn't addressed those allegations. Canada is on "ignore" ... Meanwhile Blair gets instant response to all and anything.

And if Canada was waiting solely on the UN sanctions, why aren't they in Iraq now?

Another add:

After the whole Arar threat of suing, the US gov't decided that all Canadian visa holders must be fingerprinted when travelling between Canada and the USA .. this had never been considered before because Canada was the US's "neighbor" ... but now, Canadians are lumped in with every other potential "threat" to the US. If I move, as I did recently, I have to report in to homeland security where I've moved to, filled out a form and everything. Never had to do that before either.

So yeah, relations aren't strained?

Last edited by nycwriters : 05-15-2004 at 03:32 PM.
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Old 05-18-2004, 09:45 PM   #12
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Canada was justified in not jumping in after the states. Whether or not the population is unified in approval, the decision was based on a preconceived agreement. Steps were in place to be followed.

As for fall out since Canada chose to stick to it's word? Well nothing is noticeably different here. We still get our potatoes from PEI, we still fight for our old stand forests, we still fight for our waters, etc.. To be honest, nothing seems different and I don't even recall these other issues being reported.

I do know that when we said marijuana was no longer illegal in small quantities, there was some issue. This I see as justifiable due to the potential for increased smuggling opportunities. But hey our stoner apathy didn't let it bother us too much..

As for Arar... He is the only one suing the States, not any Canadian Governmental Agency.
Cbc report
Jan. 22, 2004
Arar launches a lawsuit against the American government, seeking financial compensation and an admission of wrongdoing.

Nov. 5, 2003
Prime Minister Jean Chrétien tells the House of Commons that the U.S. government's deportation of a Canadian to Syria was "unacceptable," but he is adamant that he will not allow an independent inquiry into the case of Arar. He says his government has asked U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell for an explanation and that the government also wants to find out whether Canadian intelligence officials played a role in the deportation of Arar.

So why is it that you believe Canada is acting unusually aggressive? We aren't even investigating you, we are doing an internal investigation.

If, as you said, Blair is answered promptly and Chretien is not, well that is understandable. Chretien isn't the Prime Minister anymore!

Aside from that

Blair is under the microscope as well. Blair is being forced to justify any action or reaction. Chretien never cared what anyone thought one way or the other.

As for why aren't Canadian forces in Iraq now? Well although an actual request hasn't arrived in Ottawa yet, The question was posed to Prime Minister Paul Martin, and as the CTV reports it:

"Prime Minister Paul Martin is ruling out a military stint in Iraq, saying Canada's Armed Forces are already stretched too thin. "

We have forces in Afghanistan, Haiti and Bosnia. We would have to pull our people out of there to go to Iraq.

You also questioned why Canadian Visa holders are being fingerprinted and for some reason you linked it to the occurance of Arar. The fact is that we have persons coming into our country or already living here that may have moved here for the easy access to harming the States. It is now a requirement for all foreign nationals to be fingerprinted at US airports etc.. This is not exclusive to Canada.
As I live in a border town, I do get to see the various levels of security alerts and the increased procedures at certain times. This has to do with reports of potential threats and has nothing to do with the pissing contest that Chretien had with Bush.

Remember, our Prime Minister is Paul Martin now. Let's see how he plays the game with Bush before we decide.
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Old 05-18-2004, 10:08 PM   #13
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One of the horrible things about the Canadian media is that it's controlled primarily by one entity -- at one point it was Conrad Black, and now it's CanWest/Global. The owner of CanWest/Global is a personal friend of Jean Chretien ... he has coordinated all owned newspapers and demanded that universal op/ed pieces be run throughout the country -- critical stories about Chretien were to be kept at a minimum to "harbor nationalism." (I know this because I have friends who work in the industry back home and have told me point-blank this is the mandate). The Ottawa Citizen ran an editorial that was critical of Chretien, and the publisher, the top dog of the Citizen was fired as a result of printing critical literature about the Prime Minister.

The long way of getting to the point is this: you are limited in what the media feeds you and in some ways because of favors, favoritism and political connections, you are not being told the whole story.

Thankfully there's the Internet.

While I'm not saying anything you've said above is false, it's not, it's not quite the whole picture.

The Arar case was blown open by a reporter of the Ottawa Citizen who received a private memo detailing Arar's restraint in JFK airport and subsequent deportation -- the originator of that memo was an RCMP arm of the govt. That reporter was then subject to home invasion by the RCMP where they ripped apart her home searching for any other confidential memos -- a complete violation of our charter of rights.

In retaliation, the Ottawa Citizen threatened to sue Ashcroft, and the government (RCMP) stood behind this move -- as a means of sloughing off the spotlight they were currently being scrutinized under. If you aren't hearing anything more about it, I guess it's been dropped. But it hit our news wires down here and I was shocked to read of any such action on the part of the government, let alone a Canadian newspaper.

As for Canada saying it's "stretching itself thin" -- read between the lines. As the US's immediate neighbor, it would make more sense for our soldiers to be in Iraq, fighting alongside US soldiers, than in Afghanistan.

And as for linking Arar with the fingerprinting ... well.... prior to this incident, only people outside of North America were required to be fingerprinted if living here on a visa. After the incident Canadians were almost immediately added to the list of "foreigners" who must be fingerprinted. Mexico and its citizens living state-side haven't been asked. It wasn't a huge leap for me to assume this was the fallout.

And I thought I'd put something in about Martin, but I guess I must have imagined that. Blah. Yeah it'll be interesting to see how he handles things -- but for all intents and purposes, he's just Chretien Lite.

P.S. You do realize I'm Canadian, don't you? I get the impression you think I'm attacking Canada when I'm not. I have reservations about both the Bush and Chretien administration and how they've behaved ego-wise to the point of alienating each other and having the fallout affect its citizens. This is not a commentary on either nation as a whole.

Last edited by nycwriters : 05-18-2004 at 10:20 PM.
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Old 05-19-2004, 12:18 AM   #14
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I know that you are a Canadian. Did you know that I am an American?

We are both living in a media fed world. We get snapshots of what happens in the world and often the entire picture can only be seen from another country. It is like that everywhere I guess.
I am lucky enough to watch the news from both of our countries.
Both whitewashed but a little clearer when you blend them.

Arar was a terrible thing. This is why Canada is investigating it's own responsibility. They did admit that they were already investigating him. Also, did you know that Arar's wife is now running for NDP nomination for Ottawa South?

The soldiers in Afghanistan can't be simply yanked and leave those people sucking air. There are close to 1400 soldiers there who cannot abandon the country to go fight somewhere else. These are not lines I can read between and come up with a different answer. Abandon a country we have committed our forces to because another country needs us? That could be construed in many ways and each would reflect badly on us. It could be seen as our desire to control oil the way the states are painted. There are many ways it could be taken.

The finger-printing did come about after Arar. It also came about after 9/11. It came about for many reasons including the links between al-queda and recent immigrants to Canada from Syria and other countries under scrutiny.

You think of Martin as Chretien Lite?
Funny. We don't know much about him at all. Chretien was such a huge and vocal political figure. You either loved him or hated him. He was distinctive and bold.
Martin kind of slipped into Chretien's chair while we were heartily waving Good-bye to Jean. Barely anyone noticed. It just seems quiet in Ottawa now. A vacuum where a great wind once blew.
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Old 05-19-2004, 12:35 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Aphrodite
I know that you are a Canadian. Did you know that I am an American?
No shit! What made you move north?

Quote:
Originally posted by Aphrodite
Arar was a terrible thing. This is why Canada is investigating it's own responsibility. They did admit that they were already investigating him. Also, did you know that Arar's wife is now running for NDP nomination for Ottawa South?
Yeah I heard she was running -- not sure that it has anything more to do with her being the 15 minute spotlight at a time of election though ...

And yeah, what's happening with the gov't right now in Canada is fascinating -- it's the first time in a long time I can recall an internal investigation of this caliber ... of course I won't be surprised if they all find loopholes to excuse themselves. Bah.

Quote:
Originally posted by Aphrodite
The soldiers in Afghanistan can't be simply yanked and leave those people sucking air. There are close to 1400 soldiers there who cannot abandon the country to go fight somewhere else. These are not lines I can read between and come up with a different answer. Abandon a country we have committed our forces to because another country needs us? That could be construed in many ways and each would reflect badly on us. It could be seen as our desire to control oil the way the states are painted. There are many ways it could be taken.
Without sounding trite, 1400 is not a significant number of soldiers -- what was the number you cited 85,000? -- in an army of 85,000. Pulling out 1400 soldiers from Afghanistan, with other envoys -- Australia, France included -- already there, wouldn't make that signficant a change in the status quo there. Putting those 1400 soldiers in Iraq WOULD show support in the international arena of being on the same page as the USA -- a cooperative effort for an immediate neighbor.

As for being lumped in with the rest of the oil lovers -- Canada has never been seen internationally as gluttonous, I doubt that sending soldiers in would be perceived as anything more than united neighbors. Ya know?

The fact that we haven't even offered aid to Iraq is very telling, diplomatically. Coupled with Chretien being shoved off and not allowed in the Bush camp for the 911 anniversary, coupled with embargos put on potatoes when Bush decided to give Chretien a slap and let him know "who's boss." eh, there's a million little things that add up.

Quote:
Originally posted by Aphrodite
The finger-printing did come about after Arar. It also came about after 9/11.
If you mean it came about three years after 911, then I agree. Up until the Arar spectacle, Canadians were NOT lumped in with other foreigners as a "security threat."

Quote:
Originally posted by Aphrodite
It came about for many reasons including the links between al-queda and recent immigrants to Canada from Syria and other countries under scrutiny.
Absolutely, but these facts were known pretty much by the end of 2001. Why wasn't something enacted beforehand when they had all muslim foreigners go down and register, when they made other foreigners go down and register? They never asked Canadians. They still haven't asked Mexicans.

Quote:
Originally posted by Aphrodite
You think of Martin as Chretien Lite?
Funny. We don't know much about him at all. Chretien was such a huge and vocal political figure. You either loved him or hated him. He was distinctive and bold.
Martin kind of slipped into Chretien's chair while we were heartily waving Good-bye to Jean. Barely anyone noticed. It just seems quiet in Ottawa now. A vacuum where a great wind once blew.
Oh man. Martin has been around a looong loooong time. I can't believe people have forgotten the number he did when he was budget minister and the ensuing stagflation that followed. He did such a piss poor job there Chretien had to reshuffle his cabinet (don't you remember when Chretien would shuffle his cabinet every couple of months during his first term?).
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