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Our Times 3

War Zones

  • Afghanistan may forever be the graveyard of empires

    Joe Biden had to face a difficult choice: keep US and NATO troops in-country for an unknowable number of years, risking more American and Afghan lives to maintain a shaky, corrupt government in a nation riven for centuries by tribal rivalries. Or cut loose and send our people home. Blood would further spill no matter which he chose but by leaving, American blood will no longer soak Afghan soil.

  • Canada’s shameful legacy of torture in Afghanistan

    This essay was first published on several Canadian websites in April 2011, during an election campaign that Stephen Harper hoped would give him a parliamentary majority. I wrote this essay out of anger—anger, first, that Canada had been drawn into an illegal war of military occupation in Afghanistan. And a deeper anger that the war’s justification, and the manner in which it was being fought, both rested on practices of torture.

  • Our disastrous war in Afghanistan

    Compared to the 2,981 lives lost on 9/11, in the response about two-and-a-half times as many American and coalition soldiers and contractors died (7,528). About twenty-four times as many Afghan and Pakistani civilians (71,254), and about twenty-six times as many (pro-coalition) Afghan and Pakistani security forces (76,814) were killed. In total, about 240,000 lives were lost. And the war failed.

  • Canada’s failure in Afghanistan

    Canada’s biggest military deployment since the Second World War, more than 40,000 Canadian troops fought in Afghanistan between 2001 and 2014. Canada also spent $20 billion on military operations in the country. And while the stated rationale of the war was to neutralize al-Qaeda members and topple the Taliban regime, the latter has now regained control of the country and the influence of jihadist groups will likely intensify.

  • 76 years after Hiroshima bombing, time for a nuke-free world is now

    Nuclear weapons constitute one of the most serious threats facing humanity. On the 76th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, it’s time to acknowledge Canada’s contribution to building the first atom bombs, express regret for the deaths and suffering they caused, and sign the United Nations Nuclear Ban Treaty. If the federal government is serious about supporting nuclear disarmament this is the least it can do.

  • Canada’s fighter jet purchase is a waste of public money—and a disaster for the climate

    In this political moment, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for progressives to argue that resources should be devoted to fighter jets rather than pandemic recovery and mitigating the climate crisis. Perhaps a few hundred more phones calls, emails and tweets could move the NDP to just say no to spending tens of billions of dollars on unnecessary, dangerous, climate destroying fighter jets.

  • The ‘new Cold War’ and the hegemony of global capitalism

    A double-barrelled ‘new Cold War’ is on, with the US-led empire of capital on one side and its rivals in China on one front and Russia on the other. The Canadian ruling class has enthusiastically enlisted to fight alongside its American partners. This camp has been the primary instigators of tensions with China and Russia that could culminate in a disastrous war between major world powers.

  • No ‘real change’: Trudeau’s militaristic approach to the Middle East

    The Liberals continue to espouse a “feminist foreign policy,” but in practice they preside over a patriarchal, militaristic, and violent approach to the Middle East—all while leaning on the assumption that they will not be scrutinized as forcefully as an unabashed right wing government. If these policies continue, it signals that the world assuredly does not “need more Canada,” but less of it.

  • Unions must stand united to end Canada’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia

    Unifor’s call for a full weapons ban and embargo on Israel should be followed by a call for the Government of Canada to immediately end arms exports to Saudi Arabia. Labour can and must do its part to stop the flow of arms to Saudi Arabia. Our movement’s commitment to peace, human rights, and solidarity with working people everywhere, demands it. We look forward to hearing from you.

  • Will there be resource wars in a renewable future?

    It’s tempting to conclude that the days when competition over finite supplies of energy was a recurring source of conflict will soon draw to a close. Unfortunately, think again: while the sun and wind are indeed infinitely renewable, the materials needed to convert those resources into electricity—minerals like cobalt, copper, lithium, nickel, and the rare-earth elements, or REEs—are anything but.

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